Thursday 8 September 2016

2inspire Inspirational Woman: Princess Onitilo, Founder of

Born in South East London to a Sierra Leonean mother and Nigerian father Princess Onitilo has always had a calling of excellence in her life. Having graduated with honours from Warwick University with a degree in Law and Sociology the future seemed set for Princess but her entrepreneurial spirit has led her down a different path with the launch of Tress Free, The UK's first multicultural hair & beauty booking website.  Read her inspirational interview here and be inspired! 

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
I don’t have a typical business day because I am currently running my business alongside full time employment. I spent most of my time working around my work obligations, but  for the business I spend most of my time liaising with my web developers, partner stylists and developing marketing strategies.

What made you start the business and how did you get started?
The idea to start the business came after I was let down last minute by a hairdresser. I didn’t bother looking for an alternative hairdresser for the same day because I knew it would require a lot of energy – either phoning different hairdressers I know hoping they may be free, or phoning friends to get contact details of their hairdresser. It was at that point that I thought to myself that the process of finding a decent hair stylist in London should be a lot easier than it currently is. The idea of Tress Free is to provide convenience as well as giving the customer the opportunity to view images of the hairdressers work to judge for themselves whether booking an appointment will be worth it.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
I don’t think I have reached a point where I feel like I can cite accomplishments in regards to the business. I think the best thing so far has been the launch. The fact that I brought an idea into fruition is my first accomplishment and I look forward to experiencing the greatest accomplishment in the future.

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
My biggest challenge has been trying to get more stylists signed up to Tress Free. The more stylists that are signed up, the more choice a customer using the website will have. I appreciate that this is a temporary challenge as it is a new business, but with time and more publicity this challenge will become a thing of the past.

What are your future plans for the business?
For now the plan is to build the Tress Free brand in the UK, making it the go to platform for Afro-Caribbean hair and beauty needs. There after I would like to roll it out into Europe and hopefully Africa as well.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I would definitely spend more time researching the market and the feasibility of the business model. I would also spend more time planning. I often get carried away with ideas and rush to the finish line without taking a step back to plan and think.

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
I think it is important because empowered women have the capacity to impact and go on to inspire generations. Women should not be made to feel that their achievements should be inhibited because they are female or because of the expectations society places on us.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
The hair and beauty industry (particularly the Afro-Caribbean market) is highly fragmented and seeking to penetrate a market that is so big and often difficult to understand is not easy.  There will be set backs but I believe your perseverance will set you apart.

What or who inspires you in business and why?
Tech entrepreneurs such as Mark Zuckerberg and Evan Spiegel inspire me. Building a technology based business is difficult because you are selling concepts and ideas rather than tangible things hoping that people will buy into your idea. The starting journeys for such companies were not easy but they had a dream and passion for what they are doing and stuck at it. I am inspired by them and this the attitude I have when it comes to my business.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?
My inspirational quotes are scriptures from the bible. One that is a constant inspiration for me is:

'I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me' Philippians 4:13 

Twitter/Instagram @tressfree

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