54 Success Story: Slayd

Osazomon Imarenezor pitched the idea of Slayd at 54 2016

Last year, 54’s first place team brought together students from all across campus united by their dedication to make an idea related to cosmetology a reality. Slayd met Friday night, and left Sunday having secured 1st place with their impressive work. This included a user survey that generated around 300 responses that helped shape their product and pitch to the panel of judges.

Lucy Chang, an Anthropology major at UIUC

Lucy explains that she was about to leave because she thought she won’t be useful due to a lack of programming experience, but decided to stay because she found Slayd. She shares how

“participating opened up a whole new world that I thought wasn’t accessible to me because of my major and skillset. 54 helped launch me into the world of innovation that has really shown me the importance of diversity in skill sets and ability to adapt and learn.”

Here we have a profile of Slayd, in honor of the 5th annual 54 coming up in less than 2 weeks!

Description:

Slayd is a platform that aims to provide entrepreneurial tools to freelance service providers to allow them to be self-sustaining.

Mission:

To enhance the experience between consumers and beauty service providers. It wants to decrease the hassle of finding a perfect stylist in a new environment or changing a normal hair care routine. Slayd strives to ensure that providers have the right tools to provide consumers what they need.

Team Members and background:

Kofo Sulaiman

Osazomon Imarenezor: Chemistry Major at UIUC, now pursuing her PhD at the University of Miami in Biomedical Sciences focusing on skin and hair

Lucy Chang: Anthropology Major, class of 2017

Kofo Sulaiman: Junior in Industrial Design with a minor in Architecture

Progress so far:

Secured funding with iventure accelerator — $10,000 and a stipend. They also recruited two interns, grad students in the MBA and Information Management program, who worked on development and the basis for their website this past summer.

How did you meet?

Kofo and Osazomon met while serving on the board for a registered student organization, African Cultural Association, in 2014. They formally became business partners in the fall of 2016 during 54, where they met Lucy.

If you could give your past self advice, it would be to….

Osazomon: Focus on app development and learning coding. She believes that the concept will develop and change but having the skills to actually program that product is necessary as well and she wishes she had focused on that as well in the beginning.

Lucy: Being clear on what I want from the venture in order to better understand how to go about with the next steps and know my limits.

Kofo: I would say to my past self to let the experience change you. Starting out I was very resistant to a lot of the words that were thrown at me. Words like entrepreneur, leader, etc. I didn’t see myself as any of that, so I fought against it and in turn I was fighting against myself. It wasn’t until I started letting the experience shape me that I started to truly enjoy entrepreneurship and have real progress with it.

Next Steps:

We are working on a website to alpha test the best way to connect local stylists to the student community. Currently, it is just a simple directory but by watching how UIUC students use the website and working closely with the Urbana-Champaign area stylists featured on it, we will better understand each side’s need to go forward in our platform’s development.

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