Today we’d like to introduce you to Christiannah Oyedeji.
Christiannah, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I went natural in college and really had no idea what I was doing with my hair. But while it was short, it was easy to manage.
As my hair started getting longer, it needed more care and maintenance. I became so frustrated because nothing seemed to work for me the way it worked for my friends or the vloggers I followed on Youtube. I was also spending a ton on products and wanted to try products without paying for a full bottle that may or may not work on my curls.
I wanted to create a way for people to find haircare products and feel fabulous. That is where the name Trymyfab came from. Every woman should be able to embrace their unique style and beauty. That’s where it all started.
Trymyfab is now more than a subscription service. It is a technology company that focuses on building tools to facilitate making being natural and going natural easier. To start, we’re providing guidance on building a hair care regimen through our app. That includes information on products, methods, education on hair types, hair science, and more.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Ha. No. This has been one of the steepest and most boulder ridden and roads I’ve ever experienced. Initially, the first obstacle was time. I had this awesome idea and started building. But I was also working full time and traveling quite a bit and internationally as a result of my role. I made a lot of progress on Trymyfab during this time, but I was definitely not focusing on my health like I knew I should be. Something had to give so I decided to take a break from the workforce and focus full time on Trymyfab. It was a terrifying decision, but I’m glad I made it. There’s nothing like being able to fully devote your attention to a project to recharge productivity and be available to see and grab a hold of new opportunities when they arise.
Lesson 1: If you have an idea that won’t leave your head, just go for it. If you have an idea and you feel strongly about it, there’s no harm in pursuing it. You don’t have to leave your full-time job. You can work on a project when before you head to work or after you come home. That’s what I did for several years. You don’t have to give up the security of your job to try something else. If it gets bigger or you are reaching the limits of what’s healthy, then you can reconsider your job situation.
The next major obstacle was funding. Because Trymyfab is a tech company our biggest hurdle boils down to speed. Trymyfab ran — and continues to run — things very lean by way of team size and operating capital; this allows a great deal of flexibility but the trade-off was and continues to be the speed at which Trymyfab can build, market, iterate, and grow our product. This is hugely important for a tech company and one who is attempting to disrupt an industry. I would have investors interested but none ultimately came through or were a good fit for us. But ultimately, I felt strongly enough about Trymyfab to keep hustling. I started consulting, driving for Lyft, charging Bird & Lime scooters, and Airbnb-ed the extra rooms in my house out, all just to make sure I had enough to keep operations going. I also asked for advice and help from others… A LOT.
Lesson 2: You don’t need a lot of money initially. There are a lot of people that are willing to help or give you advice for free – you just have to ask for it. There’s no harm in putting yourself out there. Focus, be flexible, and creative. You can make it happen.
We’d love to hear more about Trymyfab.
My interests are pretty varied. But if I were to narrow things down a bit, I would say I’m best known as an entrepreneur, startup and tech veteran, self-taught engineer, and strategic partnerships professional. It’s odd. I constantly find myself being pulled between my love of partnerships in the more established tech world and my love of entrepreneurship. More often than not I end up doing both simultaneously.
But a few years ago, I did the unthinkable (as the child of two immigrants), and left the security of my role as Head of Partnerships at Mailchimp to build my company Trymyfab — a natural hair technology platform — full time. I’m now back in the startup world as Head of Business Development over at Calendly in order to continue investing in Trymyfab, but this was the most terrifying and thrilling jump I’ve ever taken. I do it over 1000 times. In three years, we’ve come a long way and have just started onboarding our first users! So, I’d have to say that hands down … my company Trymyfab (https://trymyfab.com) is what I’m most proud of creating.
Trymyfab is still an unknown brand outside of my little slice of the world, but it has already made a huge impact on my life. It’s pushed me beyond what I thought were my limits emotionally, financially, physically and continues to teach me things each day. I believe this brand will become a major player in the beauty-tech world and will have the opportunity to pass on some of this knowledge and hopefully financial support to others.
Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
I’ve always found networking for networking’s sake to be pretty awkward. The connections I made always felt so disingenuous and never really developed into any fruitful business relationships. It wasn’t until I started approaching networking (and pretty much all events I went to) as opportunities to help other people, rather than getting making a connection that I could use later on where networking actually became pretty enjoyable. Folks I’ve met at events have become genuine friends and been instrumental in introducing me to other amazing people.
When most people think about finding mentors, they look for professionals with dozens of years of experience in their field. This is one amazing way of finding a mentor, but I found that when building startups, other entrepreneurs who are just a bit further along in the process of successfully building their business than you are can be very powerful mentors too. In my experience, they’re a bit more accessible too.
- Discover Plan – $14/mo or $10/mo (annual): Includes Hair Profile, Regimen Builder, Evaluations, Regimen Recommendations, Curl Notes, Fabpack Samples (1-2), Email & Chat Support, Priority Event RSVP & Giveaways, Discounts
- Website: https://trymyfab.com
- Phone: 404..538.4698
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.facebook.com/trymyfab
- Facebook: https://www.instagram.com/trymyfab/
Anthony Oyedeji – Full Fledge Entertainment, Houston TX, Trymyfab, LLC