When you’re in a new town, whether it be for travel or work, not only do you have to settle in, you have to find all-vendors to handle your services: from a dry-cleaners to where to grab a pizza to where to get a haircut. Most founders build something because they have personal experience with a pain-point and see an obvious gap in the market. Maude Okrah, Founder and CEO of Bonnti is no different. She recently sat down with Project Entrepreneur and explained.
Project Entrepreneur: What inspired you to start your business?
Okrah: It was entirely personal reasons that inspired me to go on this entrepreneurial journey. I’ve been lucky to travel to a number of different cities and countries for work.
As a black woman, our hairstylists are a big part of our lives and finding a good one helps to adjust to a new city that much easier! However, I really struggled with the process of finding good stylists in each new city I went to. I had so many bad experiences with all the different stylists.
If I can get on my phone and order a Lyft, shop for new clothes, and get my groceries delivered why can’t I find a great hairstylist with the same ease? This frustration and desperate need for a solution led to the founding of Bonnti – a mobile app that allows women of color the opportunity to find stylists, discover styles and build community all within a convenient and fun platform.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced so far is learning and becoming fluent in the language of tech. As a non-technical founder, there have been quite a few hurdles I’ve had to face when it comes to app development. I’ve had a crash course in the world of tech.
What is the biggest thing you’d like to see changed in your industry, and how are you working toward making that change happen?
I’d love to see more women, especially women of color, dive deeper into the tech world and come up with solutions to solve the unique everyday problems we face.
I’ve learned so much throughout this entrepreneurial journey that I’d be remiss not to share it with any other woman who even shows an inkling of interest in this field.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to another entrepreneur just starting out?
It’s all about the 3Ps: patience, persistence, and passion. While the entrepreneurial world is very fast-paced, you have to learn there are times where you have to exercise patience, as stressful as that may be, follow your intuition.
You have to remain persistent. No matter how many no’s you get in one day, even in the face of rejection you have to keep trying.
You also have to love what you do; be obsessed with it! This space is a roller-coster, there are high levels of ambiguity and if you don’t have passion you may not survive.
This article originally appeared on the Project Entrepreneur website and has been condensed for clarity.