Drew Dixion Williams Launches New Mobile On-Demand Black Hair Concierge App
Written by Amanda Finney
Drew Dixon Williams’ career has always been off the charts. Anyone who has listened to the songs she produced as an A&R executive in the music business with Russell Simmons, Clive Davis, L.A. Reid and John Legend knows that she has an ear for great music and an eye for popular trends. So, it should come as no surprise that she is approaching the design and development of her new app, EverythingDid, more like the next album of the year than a traditional technology product. Drew started this business to address what she sees as a major obstacle facing women and girls of color, the recurring care, and styling of kinky and curly hair. This busy mom turned tech founder is on a mission to simplify the lives of her customers by putting cutting-edge technology in their hands. In terms of its potential commercial and cultural impact, Drew believes that EverythingDid will be her biggest hit yet.
EverythingDid began with a struggle. Drew’s impromptu decision to help a friend improve the efficiency of his hair product business led her to step in as the interim CEO of Hair Rules for several years. In the process, she got an unexpected crash course in the beauty industry, the latest natural hair care practices and day-to-day salon operations. When she wasn’t working with Hair Rules co-founders Anthony Dickey and Kara Young at the salon, Drew was schlepping her kids from Brooklyn to Harlem for her daughter’s ballet classes and to her son’s soccer, baseball and basketball games. After three years at Hair Rules, Drew decided to go back to being a full-time mom.
Before long Drew and her daughter found themselves wearing their tangled hair in buns laden with styling products for weeks on end. It was not okay. Her kids’ busy schedules did not leave time for Drew to take her daughter to the salon on a regular basis, and the time it took for Drew to do her daughter’s hair herself meant that dinner wasn’t going to get made, or soccer pick-up wasn’t going to work, or homework help would be pushed back into the wee hours of the night. So, Drew decided to try several of the mainstream hair-on-demand apps to see if they might be able to send someone who could do her daughter’s hair, while Drew did the dishes or helped with homework. Unfortunately, the results were very hit-or-miss. At that point, Drew started asking her friends if they were also struggling to find a solution to this problem. The response was overwhelming. She discovered that the demand for a reliable on-demand solution for kinky and curly hair care was massive. Within a matter of months, EverythingDid was born.
“This is our issue and our opportunity,” Drew says. “Like FUBU, EverythingDid is for us and by us. I decided that we have to do this for ourselves.”
When the idea for EverythingDid came to her, Drew knew she had found her entrepreneurial calling. EverythingDid was like the song idea that she knew must be recorded or the unknown star who must be revealed, but it was also an opportunity for her to apply the management skills she’d learned as an MBA student at Harvard Business School. In order to execute her idea, Drew began to build a team. She reached out to friends from the music industry, from Stanford undergrad and from business school to join her board of advisors. She hired Angel Martinez, a Bronx native and Ruby on Rails developer, to build the custom API that is now the underlying engine of the app. Aischa Mitchell, a fellow Dance Theatre of Harlem mom, joined as Creative Director. Aischa’s experience as a model, actress, and working mom influences the creative direction of the brand and informs the high standard of customer service design. Dailey Greene, Drew’s longtime friend and the owner of the H2 Salon in Brooklyn, oversees stylist recruiting and auditions, and like all serious entrepreneurs, Drew reached out to her friends and family to raise seed capital to launch the business. When speaking of the impact of her new venture, Drew contemplates its potential to empower more black female entrepreneurs:
“Just think of all the other amazing things my customers will do when the challenge of maintaining their complicated but beautiful hair is simplified.”
EverythingDid will launch in 10 cities by the end of 2017, and if Drew’s past is any indicator, it’s going to be big.
Amanda Finney is a freelance journalist specializing in broadway, politics and everything in between. Follow Amanda Finney on Twitter @FinneyAmanda2.