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parfait wig founders

Source: Courtesy of Parfait / Parfait

Wigs are a huge part of the Black hair experience. Many Black women opt to wear wigs that will not only give them a go-to protective style but also have them serving different looks for every occasion. Though its convenient, many Black women, like me, are resistant to entering into the wig world. Between the high prices, installation process and maintenance, it just seems like a headache. But four Black women are determined to change our minds with Parfait, an online company that uses artificial intelligence to make gorgeous custom wigs.

Parfait is the brainchild of 31-year-old CEO Isoken Igbinedion. The idea was conceived after she went to Afrotech in 2019 and noticing the absence of technology that serves Black women. Once she came up with the idea for Parfait, she summoned her University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School classmate 31-year-old Simone Kendle, her younger sister 29-year-old Ifueko Igbinedion, who attended Stanford University and MIT and Marlyse Reeves, 27, who also attended MIT. All four women have impressive backgrounds in the tech world. They have previously worked for Amazon, Microsoft, Capital One, Google, IBM, Waymo and NASA. They combined their expertise and in 2022, Parfait was brought to life.

All it takes is four selfies for Parfait to bring your dream wig to life.  First, customers schedule a virtual consultation with a master hair stylist to discuss wig ideas. Then, with those four selfies, the artificial intelligence can calculate the size of your head so that the wig cap fits perfectly. It also helps pick the best hues for the customers’ skin tone. The customized wig then arrives in five to seven business days.

The wigs are made with raw hair and they come pre-tinted, pre-plucked and pre-cut. They all come with HD lace and closures. The wig cap is also breathable so you can scratch your own scalp as needed. The hair can be manipulated any way you’d like. The hair is heat-friendly so the curly wigs can be straightened. They can also be colored and have a life span of two years. If the customer is dissatisfied, they can return it free of charge. Master stylists are available for as long as the customer owns the wig.

With the use of artificial intelligence you may think that hairstylists are being pushed out of the hair industry. Igbinedion said this technology can’t exist without them. Parfait actually employs hairstylists and they play a crucial role in the customization of the wig. When technology falls short, the hair stylists are there to fill the void. When the ladies began building the algorithms from scratch, hair stylists helped with how they built those algorithms to ensure accuracy.

“It’s the creativity of stylists that really make a lot of this possible,” she said. “Which is why we’re trying to build the technology to really support them in the future.”

Simone Kendle, co-founder and chief marketing officer, said that their goal is to revolutionize the process of creating wigs by eliminating sweatshops and unethical practices with the use of technology.

“Our long term vision is to actually innovate the manufacturing process for wigs because right now, there’s no machine that can make all this and there should be,” she said. “The reason why these wigs are so expensive is because there’s no machines, there’s terrible ethical practices and labor practices overseas because it’s very lucrative business. But it’s because there’s no innovation, there’s no technology, there’s nothing. And so we’re bringing all of that to the industry.”

Wigs have different lengths, come in different types of hair and curl patterns. Sometimes people have a vision in mind and aren’t sure of how to describe what they want. Parfait’s mission is to alleviate the hassle of picking the right wig.

“We just want to give you guys a very personalized customer experience where you don’t have to do a lot of the work to educate yourself to be able to make these products look good for you,” Igbinedion said.

For their first ever celebrity collaboration, they tapped Justine Skye for her own signature capsule collection. Her line offers five different wigs: an ombre purple wig, a 30-inch jet black wig, a lightly waved blonde wig, a chocolate brown 30-inch wig and a shoulder-length bob.

What struck her the most about the new startup was how innovative their process is.

“There’s so many other hair companies, but there’s nothing like this,” she said. “[They are] reinventing the way we as women, Black women, think about the concept of wigs.”

justine skye parfait

Source: Courtesy of Parfait / Parfait

The “What a Lie” singer said that Parfait turned her into more of a wig enthusiast as well.

“It’s a lot easier than I thought,” she added. “A lot more convenient than I thought too. For me, either my hair in braids or I just flick it back.  And so these these units, they give me the flexibility to just be whoever I want to be.”

Learn more about the Parfait experience here.

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