Carra is a game changing new global digital platform offering bespoke professional hair coaching services for anyone with afro and textured hair.
Created by beauty tech entrepreneur Winnie Awa, also the founder of Antidote Street, Carra is all about helping Afro naturalistas to embrace their unique hair texture through education and empathy.
Carra represents a new tech-based approach for catering to the needs of people in the afro and textured hair market and foreshadows how beauty services may need to adopt a more personal and individual approach to the needs of clients.
In an exclusive interview, we caught up with Carra founder, Winnie Awa, to tell us about her exciting new venture and her views on tech and the hair industry.
In a nutshell what is Carra all about?
Carra is the first expert-backed, 1-on-1 coaching platform for anyone looking to learn more about the care of afro, curly, wavy, and multi textured hair. During their virtual session, every customer receives expert advice, a personalised hair care routine, and product recommendations that offer on-the-spot clarity around the care of their hair.
Carra operates from the lens of creating hair care routines as unique as the textures they are designed to care for, taking a personal approach that focuses on listening to the customer and addressing their needs in a personalised way that has not previously been done.
Our coaches have years of experience around the care of textured hair of all textures, including the care of children’s more delicate follicles and strands. We aim to not only empower people with the tools and products to care for their hair, but to eschew the stereotypes of hair care being “difficult” to care for.
What are some of the main issues Black women struggle with when it comes to taking care of their Afro curly hair?
Through my work in building Antidote Street it became clear that many Black women continue to lack guidance around the care of their hair and are overwhelmed with the breadth of routines and product choices available to them. Even though we were curating products for textured hair, our customers wanted so much more. They wanted education and guidance on how to care for their hair and select the relevant products. I launched Carra to fill this glaring gap.
There exists a belief that products created for Afro hair can work on *any* Afro hair, and that simply isn’t true. Even within the realm of Afro hair, every texture is as unique as the head it grows out of, and we’ve created Carra to provide access to that hyper-personalised care by giving anyone with textured hair direct access to hair care experts. Furthermore, Carra is here to empower anyone with textured hair, whether their journey includes stylist sessions every few weeks, or if they are the sole person responsible for the care and maintenance of their hair.
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With this platform, you’re merging technology and science with the hair industry. How convinced are you that this is the future and why?
We’ve seen the application of technology and expertise in other categories such as fashion (think Stitch Fix), but it has never been applied to hair care before. Today, haircare is exploding with new products being launched every day, causing extreme confusion and overwhelm for customers. The next logical step here is personalisation of those offerings, which is where Carra comes in.
While the pain points of access have been addressed across the industry, it has been addressed in a “for everyone” way. Carra is taking a “for you, especially you” approach to this, acknowledging that as with anything else related to the care of our bodies, like skin care, exercise, and diet, the care of hair is unique as well. We’re that BFF that you go to for empathy and advice because they know you so well, but we’re backed up by science.
Will technophobes be able to use the platform?
Absolutely. Carra is built with simplicity in mind, for you, your nephew, your parents, and their parents. The steps are simple: take a quick hair diagnostic with some questions about your current routine, pick a coaching appointment time that works for your schedule, and you’re on your way. After the virtual session, which can take place from any mobile device, our coaches send over an in-depth, comprehensive overview of everything that was discussed, along with your new routine and product recommendations. Plus, you can continue to receive ongoing support from our coach as the seasons and your hair goals change.
Can you explain the two packages on Carra and what customers will get for each one?
The first package, the Carra Starter is great for those who are curious and want to see what everything is all about. With this option, you have a 30-minute virtual session with your hair coach after which you will be sent a personalised routine plus product recommendations to match your unique hair texture.
Our Carra Bundle package is more for those who want to commit tangible changes with their hair – think of this as an enduring kind of love with your hair – perfect for a thorough hair revival. During these sessions you get the same as the Carra Starter but with the additional benefit of follow-up sessions and direct messages to your coach for ongoing support and advice.
How are hair coaches selected for Carra? And what experiences do they bring?
Our Carra hair coaches understand the science of textured hair care, product ingredients formulation and most of all are very approachable and most importantly empathetic. They have been through the journey themselves and are super passionate about educating others.
You’ve had previous entrepreneurial success with Antidote Street and so how does this new platform link with that, if at all?
We like to think that Antidote Street was the incubator that gave birth to Carra. Everything that we learnt in building Antidote Street, having spent time listening to feedback from each customer has brought us to this moment – allowing us to build something more impactful with Carra. Whereas Antidote Street was all about products, Carra is about providing expert guidance and arming people with knowledge and tools to care for their hair.
What Afro hair trends can we expect to see in the Afro natural hair world for the rest of 2021?
I expect that the next few years will see more experimentation with ingredients and product formulations. It is very exciting to see typical skincare ingredients such as CBD, Probiotics, Salycylic acid making their way into hair care products, in recognition that the scalp is after all skin. We will continue to see growth in the hair care market, particularly driven by Textured Hair. However, the more products we create, the greater the discovery fatigue for customers. This is why we are building on Carra. We are re-envisioning today’s noisy and overwhelming textured hair experience to build a truly borderless personalisation platform targeting multicultural women all across the globe.
Learn more about Carra on the website here.