Company Dive — A Look into Tress Co | Codacious on

“Build your business success around something that you love — something that is inherently and endlessly interesting to you.” — Martha Stewart

So Martha Stewart’s biography reads. The quote in a way represents the journey that these 3 MEST ladies are going through. Just new to the software entrepreneurship scene, Tress ladies have gone to make headlines all over the world with their interesting team, product & finally vision. After reading the Tress founding story on metrolife234, I got a closer understanding of my continued pursuit to discover ‘secrets of success in business’. My conclusions are as follows;

As reiterated daily by Y Combinator, the team you build is the company you build. YC probably saw this too and that’s why Tress was in the Winter 2017 batch(*YC is a global accelerator). Here at MEST, it’s been insightful hearing about the various startups that have come before us. I guess, one of the best things that could happen to a growing founder is having a reference point. And accelerators & incubators provide a good ground for this. The story is always closer home & more believable.

What has always stood out from this team is their belief in the idea & their commitment to making it a reality. Many young people start businesses with the old age debate to be RICH OR TO BE KING. For Tress, they chose the latter. Starting in Ghana, they ventured into a growing landscape-fashion & beauty. An industry in Africa estimated to be worth billions. But with the consumer model the ladies picked, it would mean RICH would come much later after getting a considerable number of users. Which is harder than it sounds. This to me speaks of the long-term mindset these cofounders have. That they could have easily picked another idea that brings money fast or they could go with their guts & battle it out to be the number one hair app in the world for black women.

2. The product

Tress is a mobile app designed specifically for black women to discover & share hair inspiration. A simple app one might think, but choosing a hairstyle is actually a very huge pain for women. I laughed out loud when I read how women stop people in the streets to ask them about their nice hair dos-because I’ve also done that once in Nairobi when I was really desperate!I had a new hairdo and it was getting hard to find a salon or stylist that could do it perfectly.

In our millennial quest to conquer the world like Facebook or Microsoft, we tend to always overthink ideas. We think the more complicated the idea sounds, the better it is. But innovation rather is simply solving a customer’s problem. So for me to be a billionaire, I need to solve ONE customer’s problem then find 1Billion people who face the same problem i.e the compounding theory. For instance;

  • Asana cofounder designed the project management tool to help HIS team manage tasks well, so he created it.

In this day & age of quick fixes & online tools that make it easier to do this or that, sadly they don’t make it easier to discover the customer’s problem. The easiest way to build something that users love, is to build something that YOU WOULD LOVE.

The 3 ladies related to the problem the product would address first hand because they had gone through those problems as well. Making it easier to solve it & more importantly continue solving it years on because it was a continuous ache. As Jason Fried describes in his book Rework, it is always easier to scratch your own itch.

3. Vision

It’s sad that most young people barely go beyond the idea stage. Tress have shown dedication to their vision and even more remarkable is their consistency in their efforts to achieve it. As proposed by Warren Buffet’s 5/25 rule, the ladies have been goal driven & thus dismissed the things they like to do for the things they LOVE to do.

Discipline is thus at the forefront of their success. Choosing what you want most over what you want.

The Tress story has just begun. As more ladies throughout the whole world become more aware of it, the better the product will grow, the better the business opportunity will become. For me, this is a win for REAL entrepreneurs with a burning desire for their dream. It’s a win for people who believe they don’t have all that was needed to undertake the Goliath ahead but that God has given them all they need. And most importantly, it’s a win for AFRICA.

Originally published at on May 3, 2017.



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Stella Ngugi

HR Generalist| Founder @JobonicsHR | Where HR, Tech & Entrepreneurship meet | 🇰🇪 IVisit for more info.