What happens when a Nigerian, Ghanaian and Eritrean living in Canada come together? They create BANTU!
Too many women with kinks, coils, and curls really struggle to find hairstylists who meet their needs. Bantu solves this problem by seamlessly connecting these ladies with the hard-to-find network of stylists.
Launched in 2015 by Nigerian developer John Eke, the idea of Bantu app came to him as an international student studying in Ottawa, Canada. He witnessed other international students relocate to the city and struggle to find anyone in their area to style their hair. After some market research, John discovered that word of mouth tended to be the way that most stylists were found. However, John knew that technology offered a unique solution for hair stylists working in salons, from home, or mobile to be discoverable.
John and Meron Berhe, from Eritrea, met in University through mutual friends, while Richard Kyereboah, from Ghana, is John's family friend. When the trio got together, they vibed and got working on developing, marketing and growing Bantu. In terms of the team's responsibilities, John is the software guru developing and updating the app, Meron is responsible for the public relations and marketing, and Richard takes care of day-to-day operations and keeping the finances in check at Bantu.
Bantu brings much needed innovation to this billion dollar market, providing end users with a rich and seamless discovery experience while enabling hair stylists with tools to organize and grow their business. Through the app, users can search cities and book appointments with hair stylists, while filtering by desired style, price and proximity.
To ensure that every woman with kinky, coily, curly, textured, relaxed, transitioning or any other state to have options, Bantu has over 64 hairstyle options on the app. The most common request they get from users is for natural hairstyles, which makes sense given how huge the natural hair movement is.
We asked the Bantu team if they had advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and app developers, Meron answered "If you have an idea, of any kind, get working on it. I’m not discounting planning, because of course, that is necessary. But often, there is fear around pushing send on that first email or deploying the first prototype. I think that you can plan and plan but find ways to avoid executing until it’s perfect...the potential for greatness will never be realized if you don’t get over that fear."
Currently the app works in Canada, the US, UK and France, however they plan to expand to other countries and, eventually, world-wide.
Bantu is free and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch running iOS 8.0 or later. Discover hairstylists near you by downloading Bantu today. Don't forget to follow Bantu on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.