As women, especially women of color, heading to the salon can bring a mix of emotions — you wonder whether you booked the right stylist, whether they can work with your hair, recreate a style and stay on budget, all at the same damn time. Even after endless research and Instagram stalking, we still sometimes end up with something that isn’t what we were hoping for. Jihan Thompson and Jennifer Lambert know this struggle all too well, so they set out to make some changes. 

Two years ago, Thompson and Lambert were trying to change the outcome of traveling to a new place or simply wanting to find a new stylist and ending up underwhelmed with your results. 

"Every time I went to a new city, whether it was for work, school or a wedding, I felt like my only option was to not get my hair wet. I couldn’t just walk into a salon off the street and get a blow out," shared Thompson with Elle. 

This inspired the creation of Swivel Beauty — an app that matches women of color with hairstylists that know how to work with their hair type. The app allows stylists to register themselves onto it to display their work, hours, location and hairstyling abilities. It also allows users to select what services they’re in search of and the city they’re located in to partner them with a stylist that will leave them satisfied and their hair well taken care of. 

photo: Swivel Beauty

This is the first time the two have dipped their toes into the tech industry — Lambert is a Harvard-trained lawyer and her dear friend Thompson formerly worked as a magazine editor — however, they realized that their idea could be turned into a reality and made it happen. 

"Neither one of us knew how to code when we started, so that was our biggest initial technical hurdle," Thompson told Elle. "On one hand, it’s been a big challenge, but on the other, it’s been extremely rewarding to see what we’re capable of figuring out on our own," Lambert added.

While the app is only available for those in the New York City and the Washington, D.C. area, Lambert and Thompson have hopes to expand the app to Los Angeles by the end of the year. 

"We both have a real, intimate understanding of the pain that women go through in trying to get their hair done. While it seems like just hair, I think we all know how badass we feel when we look our best, and being able to translate that into a solution for a lot of women has been really exciting for us."

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