BTS with Annie Amusu: Black haircare gamechanger and Digital Makeover winner

4 December 2020

253 nominations, 114 companies, five finalists and Two winners. Meet Annie, one of our winners and founder of Epiphannie A.

So Annie, can you tell us a little bit more about your journey to starting Epiphannie A? How did you come up with the idea?

I started playing around with the idea of my business during the first UK Lockdown (March 2020).

I wanted to repurchase my usual brand of Castor Oil – which is an afro hair staple - but I couldn't get to an afro hair shop and it was sold out on the regular online retailers that I usually shop at. The alternative websites I found via Google had massively inflated the prices and I was just not prepared to pay £12+ for a £4 product.

I realised the digital age had not been embraced the UK Black community and that there was a clear space for my website with a large consumer demand pool.

Great! and who or what was your inspiration?

At the moment, I am inspired by Georgie Coleridge Cole (Sheerluxe). Sheerluxe completely revolutionised the way a UK business can utilise user generated content, social media interactions and reviews to create a presence that consumers can easily engage with.

It sounds like you both have an eye for spotting very worthwile gaps in the market, is there a problem you’re looking to solve or address with your business? is the UK 1st black haircare & beauty comparison website. We are a UK based community where price savvy black women can come to compare the best prices for their favourite hair products and discover new products that better suit them.

Before the Covid-19 lockdown, only 17% of UK BAME women bought their hair products online. As such, there is not much hard data on how this specific demographic shops, where they shop and what products they are buying.

We offer beauty/haircare brands & retailers who are struggling to reach the UK Black Female audience with a product directory platform that sells their products. We offer brands qualitative/quantitative data insights on BAME shopping behaviours to better serve their KPIs as well as the BAME community.

What is your business’ goal / vision?

My vision is to be the number 1 product discovery platform in the UK.

Did you face any challenges when starting your own business? How did you overcome them?

When was launched, it was done on the presumption that the BAME market were comfortable shopping online for their haircare and beauty needs, however I identified that the pool of content (reviews, blog posts, pictures etc) created from a UK BAME narrative was severely lacking.

I realised that I had to meet my user where they currently are rather than having to lead them to a point that they fully understand and appreciate the service I am providing.

I pivoted my original price comparison website idea to include a community led approach with the user generated content (in the form of product reviews), to successfully plug a bigger consumer desire need.

This required upgrading to a larger server – which is super pricy - and launching a product review panel.

How did you feel about being nominated for Virgin Media’s digital makeover competition?

Honestly, I was in shock. only launched in June 2020, so to have been nominated was a huge signal that I was doing something right and people outside my family and friends could understand what I am trying to create.

Being nominated has been the biggest confidence boost.

How will the digital makeover help you?

The Digital Makeover will help me optimise the website. I will be using this makeover to increase the speed of the website, invest in our website’s SEO ranking and make the website easier to use for our members.

It sounds like you are a woman with a plan, what advice can you give to other Black entrepreneurs / start-ups?

I would advise Black Entrepreneurs to work on their website’s customer journey. I find that as a Start-up, we tend to focus more on growing our social media numbers to build brand trust and customer engagement but if you website does not look credible or is a hassle to use – you will lose that customer.

Some really valuable advice to be taken from you, I'd like to say Congratulations again. You have paved the way for something new and you should be proud.

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