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Trio invents app to help black women find Afro hairstylists

HAIR NEEDS: A new app helps find local hairdressers for kinky, coily and curly hair [Photo credit: Instagram]

THREE AFRICAN tech experts have invented an innovative app for helping black women find the perfect afro hairstylist.

Finding the perfect hair salon and stylist can be difficult and time consuming - you have to consider location, affordability and whether you'd trust them with your beloved tresses.

With the Bantu app, which launched this year, the right hairdresser can be located with pinpoint accuracy in mere minutes.

The Ottawa, Canada-based company was founded in 2015 by 32-year-old Nigerian John Eke, and co-founders 31-year-old Eritrean Meron Berhe and 29-year-old Ghanaian Richard Kyereboah Jr.

Within the course of a few months, Bantu has an estimated 10,000 users on iPhone and iPad. While the app is not available on Android at the moment, there are 2,000 people waiting to use that version when it is released. The team has created a directory of 400 stylists — with 300 of them based across the U.S, Atlanta Black Star reported.

Users can pick stylists based on price, customer feedback/ratings, or particular hairstyle specialty. The app also allows the user easy access to hairdressers’ email and phone numbers.

In addition, women can mark their favourite stylists — once they have found them — and tailor their search accordingly.

Explaining the inspiration behind the app, co-founder Berhe told Atlanta Black Star: "John, the technical founder of Bantu, was an international student studying in Ottawa.

"He saw other international students relocate to the city and struggle to find anyone in their area to style their hair. After some market research, John decided that technology offered a unique solution and was the perfect way to address the problem of searchability.


TECHIES: Founders John Eke, Meron Berhe and Richard Kyereboah Jr
[Photo credit: Bantuapp.com]

She continued: "Hair stylists are out there, in salons, or working from home, or are traveling hair stylists — but the problem presented that women didn’t have an easy way to access this network of stylists. Word of mouth tended to be the way that most stylists were discovered, which posed a challenge if you didn’t have a network to help you out.

"But Bantu is not just meant strictly for natural hair. This is probably one of the most common misconceptions about Bantu.

"The app is for every black woman, no matter her hair needs. I think that ladies who are natural do struggle to be catered to the most, so we’re pleased that our app is able to solve this problem," the Eritrean added.

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