February 9, 2022

Getting bullied at age 10 is what spurred Ulupreneur Isoken Igbinedion, co-founder and CEO of Hairtelligence, to embark on a lifelong mission. She was the only Black person in her class at school and kids made fun of the texture of her hair. Her mom tried to help by getting her a permanent, which was great—at first—until the chemicals caused her hair to start falling out. Since then, she’s been learning how to protect her natural hair while searching for hairstyles that reflect her confidence and beauty in personal and professional spaces alike. She knew she wasn’t alone: countless women have encountered similar problems with stylists and online wig companies, wasting thousands of dollars trying to find the right hair and wig products. Iso believed there must be a better way for women to source, customize, and install wigs and extensions.

At Ulu, we see an inspiring and futuristic leader in Iso, one who is reimagining the beauty industry to better serve her community by focusing on technology-enabled beauty experiences that recognize and prioritize Black people. Drawing on her operations experience at Target and Amazon, which included scaling the Whole Foods delivery offering in new markets, Isoken developed a passion for entrepreneurship and innovation in commerce. This passion drove her to build Hairtelligence, a direct-to-consumer startup using computer vision and AI to help Black women realize their own beauty visions, starting with customized wigs and hair extensions.

BIO

Iso started her career at Target as an operations manager focused on variable cost reduction, labor optimization, and multiple channel distribution strategies. Her interest in last-mile technologies took her to Amazon, where she focused on designing fulfillment processes for their 1-2 hour delivery offering. After Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, she moved to a production manager role on the Whole Foods Operations Integration team, focused on scaling the delivery offering in new markets and supporting the product strategy and development of enhancements to Amazon PrimeNow’s order fulfillment and workforce management software applications. Iso is a recent MBA graduate from The Wharton School, and a former Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft.

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About the Author: Rusty Dornin

Rusty Dornin is the director of marketing and communications for Ulu Ventures. An award-winning radio and television journalist, she was a CNN correspondent for nearly 18 years covering domestic and world news ranging from war to natural disasters and tales of crime and politics