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Talking hair and beauty with Tress Free

BEAUTY: Tress Free, founded by Diamond

FOLLOWING A successful event that celebrated the Afro-Caribbean hair and beauty industry, Tress Free Live founder Princess spoke to The Voice about her hair and beauty booking website Tress Free, why she launched the event, mainstream media and her favourite black owned beauty brands.

How did the concept behind the event come about?

The concept behind the event came about as an extension of the Tress Free platform. Tress Free is an online directory which allows you to search and book appointments with Afro-Caribbean hair and beauty professionals. I wanted to bring the platform to life and create an event where industry professionals could network, showcase hair and beauty products as well as offering hair and beauty tips and tricks. In the UK there are a number of similar events within the hair and beauty sector but there are not enough that cater for the young Afro-Caribbean hair and beauty enthusiasts and that is one of the main reasons why I decided to start Tress Free Live.

How long was the production process to put together Tress Free Live?

There were only 2 or 3 months between conceiving the idea and the date of the event! Looking back, this was not enough time to plan and put on the event. But, somehow everything came together through hard work and determination, but for the next event I would like to give myself at least 6 months for sure.

What has been one of the highlights and one of the challenges of putting together Tress Free Live?

My highlight was seeing my vision come to life on the day. I was thrilled and overwhelmed with how the event went and I can’t pin it down to one thing in particular. The event ran smoothly, the panel sessions were informative, inspiring and engaging; the live makeup tutorial was epic; and the main exhibition went very well with our vendors selling many products on the day.

One of the main challenges was managing my time, because alongside running my business and planning the event I also work full time as a financial analyst. I strive to make sure that I am giving my best efforts to both, but this can often be hard especially during busy and stressful times at work. It can be very difficult at times, but I have learnt to plan ahead and prioritise tasks.

How do you think the hair and beauty industry has progressed for black women in mainstream media?

I believe the representation of black women in the media has come a long way, particularly as it pertains to hair and beauty issues. Today, there is more of an acceptance of natural hair and increased diversity in makeup and beauty products which cater for women of colour. There is still a long way to go, but with more events like Tress Free Live and more focus on addressing these issues, we will hopefully get to a place where black women are equally represented as well as portrayed in a positive and true light within mainstream media.

What more can still be done to further the inclusion and representation of black women within the hair and beauty world?

I think first and foremost we need to pave the way for ourselves and create our own lanes before seeking inclusion. As we forge forward and disrupt the mainstream hair and beauty world by embracing our hair and beauty issues, creating products for ourselves rather than waiting for big corporations to create them for us they will begin to take notice. This can be seen with the inclusion of a number of afro-caribbean hair products in stores like Boots and Superdrugs.

What are your plans for 2017?

My plan for 2017 is to start planning the next Tress Free Live event which I hope will take place at some point this summer. In addition to that, I will continue to work on building our main hair and beauty platform, seeking to get more hair and beauty stylists signed up as well as increase the number of users on the site.

What are some black-owned beauty brands you can recommend for our readers?
All Shades Covered is a beauty destination for WOC, selling premium hair extensions & hair care products, as well as KLB, a new cosmetics line focusing on shades and products that are needed but overlooked within the beauty industry.

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