CEO of a Diversame: Tamiah Bridgett Products Created for Natural Curl Pattern
With a wave of African American women stepping away from relaxers and products that damage their hair, there is a high demand for natural tools and products that accentuates that natural hair look. Tamiah Bridgett of the Pittsburgh area, has started Diversame, a company that creates products that bring out the curls of the natural look.
1. As the CEO of a Diversame, a company that engineers hair tools for the curly continuum, give consumers a synopsis of your business and products?
I started Diversamē after years in the beauty industry as a natural hair specialist. There was a void. Natural hair began to trend globally, small businesses that had traditionally catered to women underground were receiving major investment and corporate deals and were diversifying. Global brands like Dove were urging women to "love their curls." YouTube produced "gurus" and yet there were no tools. Products were available en masse to address styling needs but the fundamentals; the tools have remained the same for years. Furthermore, I noticed an emphasis on certain “hair types” within the curly and natural hair communities but other types ignored.
Last year, I was accepted into Alphalab Gear, a start-up accelerator program and Diversamē Inc. was born. I decided to start our production with reworking the traditional blow-dryer to suit the needs of all curl types. It’s time bid adieu to flimsy comb attachments, fatigued arms and hot hands and hair. They are not serving us but it’s what we use because that is all that is available. That is the reason I coined “curly continuum.” If the hair is loose tendrils or super tight afro textured hair, either person with that hair should be able to use the same tool with the same amount of ease. The Diversamē drying tool will enable user style confidence and time management!
2. Are your products more for women of color?
The Diversamē Drying Tool can be used by all people with hair! We especially think folks with curls will love it, no matter what their racial/ethnic makeup is. However, when I consider my primary demographic, it is WOC with Natural Hair (no chemical relaxers). This demographic has been vastly underserved when it comes to styling tools and has been forced to make it work with what is available. We live in a totally customizable world. Even our cell phone settings are exclusive to our immediate preferences. Yet, the women who support the beauty industry most, economically and dictate industry trends, have very few choices when it comes to tool amenities. I created Diversamē with this demographic in mind.
3. How did you end up in this profession?
I went natural in 2001. I was a graduate student and just curious to learn more about my hair. Once I went natural others asked me to assist them with their journeys into world of natural hair. I would tell them that I didn’t do hair, I only did nails (I did nails through college/graduate school). Each woman insisted that she trusted me and would tell the next (leading to plural!) I worked as a Psychiatric Social Worker during the day and assisted women with their hair in the evenings. In 2010 I’d learned plenty of lessons about natural hair and thought maybe it’d be nice to get some women together to discuss hair. Natural hair was growing in popularity so I figured why not? I hosted a seminar, “Natural Hair 101” in June of that year.
We decided to keep meeting bi-monthly and by October we decided to take a break until spring since the cold weather was near. An attendee (turned friend) said, “Why don’t you start a group on Facebook to so we can keep up with each other while we’re apart?” I immediately got nervous because people can be so cruel behind their screens and I work hard to create safe spaces. The next day, I got over myself and started the group (It’s a Natural Thang). I kept it closed to keep control over the safety and content. We had 18 members (Today we have over 5,000 and it’s still closed!)
I left my job to return to beauty school in 2012. I received my Cosmetology Teacher’s license in 2013. My intention was to write curriculum for cosmetology schools and advocate for more natural hair education in cosmetology schools, but…Alphalab Gear happened first.
4. What sets you apart from businesses that are similar to yours?
The biggest difference between Diversamē Inc. and other brands is that textured hair will be at the center of everything we design versus straight hair being the default.
5. What is your ultimate life goal and with your company?
My Ultimate life goal (ponders…) right now is to build a legacy. Something so special that perhaps one day, a library or even a Cosmetology School with my teaching methodology and tools will have something to do with Tamiah Bridgett/Diversamē/It’s a Natural Thang. Whichever way it manifests, legacy resounds for me.
As far as my company, it is important for me that as we grow, the integrity of our core mission and focus stay in place. There will be no deviation from the importance of serving the underserved.
6. You worked as a licensed psychiatric social worker. Would that be something you would want to further venture into?
I’m not certain if I will ever serve in the capacity as a direct practitioner of social work again. The day I put my license in “inactive status” was a very scary one! It was a declaration that I was pursuing a different direction full time. Since then, I have utilized many skills that I would need to use in many spaces. Sometimes it’s encouraging a woman that her hair is indeed good enough. Sometimes it’s advocating for my company in environments where many influential people won’t understand it’s mission. Sometimes it’s reminding myself to practice self-care.
7. What was your day to day?
As a social worker, it was sometimes rewarding but mostly tough. After a while, my day to day was praying for God to reveal what my purpose was beyond what I was doing. I was good at my “job” but I knew there was something else. So every day that I served, I prayed. Everyday there was a crisis, I prayed. A micro-aggression, I prayed. When I got my green light, I cried! I cried every day because I never thought my prayer would be answered and I was gripped with the reality that it was time to make moves many wouldn’t understand. Then the realization, it wasn’t for them. It was for me.
8. What is something you would say about your business to draw consumers to your products?
I suppose I’d use the familiar, “Ain’t nothing like the real thing.” At the end of the day, we are presented with so many gimmicks, widgets, gadgets, lotions and potions all offering some sort of prize. As for Diversamē, our tester approval with both professional stylists and potential consumes was 100%. Once one experiences authenticity, she can never go back to false promises.
9. Do you have an empowering messages to women looking to have a career like yours?
For women who are considering pursuing another career path, I say “DO IT!” Plan, but don’t plan to the point of paralysis. We get to take this walk one time. The worst thing in the world in is living a life of regret; of I wonder what would have happened if’s…If you try and it doesn’t work out, it’s ok. Try again and try again. I keep a magnet on my fridge that says, “Leap and the net will appear.”