Frustrated with the damage her hair went through with years of relaxers, dyes, etc., Candace Mitchell decided to use her passion of science and technology to develop Myavana, a product that creates a custom hair care plan for its users. She discusses her innovative idea with us and explains the science behind how the product actually works.
Name: Candace Mitchell
Location: Atlanta, GA
How did you get started?
I always had the intuition that the way I would contribute to the world was through entrepreneurship. It hit me in 2008. As a computer science undergraduate at Georgia Tech, I had the opportunity to enter an inventors competition called the Inventure Prize which made me ponder, what is the best thing I can create? It has to be something that I was passionate about and solved a pain or need in the market. I was extremely passionate about two things: technology and hair care. The pain that resonated with me is the trial-and-error of not knowing what hair products to use based on the wide hair texture variety of women of color. After graduating from Georgia Tech in 2011, I had the opportunity to start my company Techturized Inc. one year later, and create Myavana, the first hair care recommendation system for women of color.
What’s an average day like?
I start my morning with prayer and meditation to keep my mind renewed and express gratitude to God. I then jump in to any customer service requests from women who are starting their hair analysis process, or perhaps people interested in a partnership or sponsorship opportunity. I check any new hair data that has come in from my co-founder, Chanel Martin, hair analysis in our lab and I code the hair profiles for our customers. Each woman receives a digital hair care profile on our website that lists the results of their hair health (porosity, elasticity, damage, etc.), recommended products, recommended ingredients, hair care regimens, and recommended stylists. It’s truly a joy reaching women one-by-one through this system! I typically also have meetings with brand partners, investors, and team members. I try my best to get a workout in at the end of the day as well.
Why do you do it?
I truly believe that this is my purpose and calling in life. Before I started this company, I consciously reflected on my purpose through the Purpose Driven Life book by Rick Warren and realized that my SHAPE (spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experiences) would lead me on this path to empower women in a very unique way. God was preparing me for something big that I am blessed to live out every day.
Ups and downs you sometimes face on the job:
Ups – getting new customers and opportunities to grow our company (the startup life is hard!). As we grow, we are in a better position to serve our market. Downs – dealing with the mental and emotional battles of stress, anxiety, and fear. Prayer and faith is essential!
Your greatest achievement so far?
Having women express how we’ve changed their lives and improved their self-esteem by the support we provide for their hair journey which is directly tied to their confidence and sense of empowerment.
What might be next for you?
I recently published my personal website CandaceVictoria.com to help minorities build generational wealth through technology. There have been many billion dollar businesses created in the tech industry over the past 10 years and we are not in a position of ownership in a majority of them, which is directly proportional to resources not coming into our communities. This is largely due to the lack of access to developers, capital, and support system. I’m taking the knowledge I’ve gained in starting my company and my network of developers to help others tap into this wealth potential. I’m excited to share this further as my next platform to empower others.
What are your top go-to hair tips?
- Get a personalized hair care plan! (Shameless plug for Myavana :-) simply because all of our hair is different, so what works for one woman can oftentimes be different for the next.
- Keep your hair moisturized as much as possible (steamers are the best kept secret).
- Wear protective styles when experiencing issues with dry hair, breakage, etc… This is largely due to high manipulation of your hair (it needs a break).
- If you frequently wear wash and go’s, keep a refresher spray handy for added moisture and vibrancy.
- When trying new hair color, do a deep conditioning treatment on a weekly basis to avoid breakage, dull hair, and damage.
Fun Fact: I love butterflies! I will get mostly anything with a butterfly on it (journals, stationary, etc.) For me, it symbolizes transformation.