Buy Black: The Bantu App
“Black women far outspend any other demographic when it comes to hair care products and services. However, they struggle to have their needs met by a majority of salons, and hair care product brands.”
The above quote comes directly from Bantu’s mission statement, and clearly outlines a reality many Black women are all too familiar with: the incredibly frustrating endeavor of attempting to find a great hairstylist whom she can entrust to effectively nurture and finesse her mane.
But now, thanks to Bantu, there’s an app for that; and it’s truly a game-changer.
“Bantu is a free app that will help you discover local hairstylists, specifically for Black women,” says Meron, co-founder and head of Bantu’s PR and User Engagement. Along with the other co-founder Richard, the head of Finance and Operations, and the main app developer and original founder John, the app was essentially born this year at the intersection of demand and aptitude.
“Because [John] has the technical ability and also because he heard a lot of frustration from Black women that he knew were having a hard time finding a hairstylist, he put up the app. Later, we all met up together and had this excitement about Bantu.”
While there are other apps out there that aim to connect hairstylists and potential customers, Bantu’s creators noticed that there weren’t any apps that specifically engaged women with kinky, curly and coiled hair.
“Are there competitors in the marketplace now? Yes. And they’re not exclusively focused on the Black woman demographic either. And that’s where our unique edge is,” Meron said. “We’re focused on discoverability. We’re focused on promoting Black businesses. Specifically in the Black community, it’s very hard for us to find hairstylists, even when we know they’re out there.”
As the app’s users continue to grow and the company continues to garner support, their goal is to make Bantu available worldwide.
“Right now we’re available in Canada (where we started), the U.S. (where our largest user-base is), the UK and France,” Meron says. “It’s interesting because we want to make sure that where we open up we have solid presence and have the ability to do a targeted launch, but at the same time, we get requests from people in Germany, etc. and people who are travelling. A friend of mine is in Prague for three months and she’s like, ‘I need a hairstylist Meron, help me!'”
But aside from making the app available globally, Meron and her partners are also focused on increasing its functionality as an all-in-one hairstyling marketplace.
“Right now, it’s more listings for hairstylists where you can look them up and review their rating, but there’s so many more ideas we have for the app,” Meron said. “Exciting things like booking through the app and paying through the app. People are really excited and give us a ton of really, really good feedback.”
What currently has the team incredibly excited is the news that the app will be made available on Android.
“Previously, we’ve only been available on iOS and it’s kinda been the thorn in our side. Team Android has been extremely upset at us,” Meron said jokingly. “But we’ve officially launched the Android app so I’m really excited about that!”
If you don’t have the Bantu app on your phone already, you may want to download it now because it will open your eyes, and expose your hair, to a world of new possibilities.
For more information on the Bantu app, visit www.bantuapp.com.
Lincoln Anthony Blades blogs daily on his site, ThisIsYourConscious.com. He’s author of the book, “You’re Not A Victim, You’re A Volunteer.” He can be reached on Twitter @lincolnablades and on Facebook at Lincoln Anthony Blades.