This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the fifteen student startups who are participating in our Terp Startup summer accelerator at the College Park WeWork. Participating student entrepreneurs received a stipend up to $5,000 that would enable them to work exclusively on their startups over eight weeks in the summer.
Founder: Nadia Edet ’20, International Business major
DC: Tell us about your startup. What problem are you solving and for whom?
Edet: Blessed Braids is a hair-braiding company that provides quality braided hairstyles primarily for women. We also provide braid training for women and men who want to know how to braid for their own personal use, stylists who want to add braiding to their service offerings, and those who want to build their own hair-braiding business. My brand is unique because it intersects fashion with hair health and convenience. For women with tighter hair textures, it can be a hassle to provide the necessary care for their hair, so my styles provide them with a healthier, long-lasting alternative to applying a chemical straightener. My styles are equally as great for those who just want to add some flavor to their look and stay up to date with the latest braid and fashion trends.
DC: How did you first come up with your idea?
Edet: When I was young, I always liked to wear my hair in braided styles, but my mom didn’t know how to do them. So she would take my siblings and I to a hairdresser who would braid our hair. I was always interested in braiding, and would always braid the hair on my dolls, but when I figured out how much money my mom was spending for us to all get our hair braided, it made me want to just try it myself. I then started braiding my own hair from as young as 11 or 12 years old and progressively got better and better with time.
DC: What are some major milestones you’ve achieved so far?
Edet: One major milestone I’ve achieved is having the opportunity to have serviced over 500 clients and expanding my brand from offering braid services to offering braid training.
DC: What drives you to keep going?
Edet: I love what I do, but with being a full-time student and having so much on my plate, it gets hard sometimes. Through all of this, my clients keep me going more than anything. The simple fact that so many people are willing to invest in me and my business makes me feel blessed. Not only do they pour into me financially, but many of my clients encourage me with their words, and advice, and even share opportunities with me.
Braiding is a pretty long process so I tend to connect with my clients over the 2-4 hours that they spend in my chair and returning clients are like family.
DC: How do you feel about working in a cohort with fellow student entrepreneurs?
Edet: I’m happy and excited to be working in a cohort with fellow student entrepreneurs. Already, I’ve been able to bounce ideas off of the members of my cohort as well as taking and giving advice, I love it.
DC: What are you hoping to achieve during Terp Startup this summer?
Edet: There are several things I am hoping to achieve, the first being to finish a braiding curriculum that I will use to teach braiding to students. I also hope to improve my social media marketing and expand and hire at least one new person for my company.