Gender Equality Month: Q&A with Baby Tress Co-Founders, Aspen and Hannah
To celebrate Gender Equality month, we sat down to speak with movers, shakers, and badass beauty Aspen and Hannah Choi of Baby Tress.
“Our mission is to create modern hair tools that honor the legacy and evolution of textured hair care”
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
ASPEN: I really fell into this. But once the idea for Baby Tress had been established, it felt like something that must exist in the world, and I wanted to tell the story. I’m also inspired by the freedom of not having a roadmap or a plan laid out by someone else. We’re laying out the plan in real-time, and it’s tough. But rewarding.| HANNAH: For me, it was the idea of creating something, whether it’s a product, a team or a space that never existed before. The process of creation is so sacred, and having the opportunity to do that for a living is a blessing.
What challenges have you faced on your journey?
ASPEN: The biggest challenge is self-doubt/imposter syndrome. I know I’m worthy to have this seat, but there are times when I’m comparing myself to someone with better connections, more followers or more investment dollars that I feel like I shouldn’t be here. And those times are the hardest for me.
HANNAH: The biggest challenges I’ve faced are the moments when I have to do something I’ve never done before. The fear of the unknown is palpable and can be paralyzing, but it’s definitely something all entrepreneurs must face and push through. Fortunately, I’ve found that most of the time, those challenges are never as bad as it seems.
What impact do you want your brand to make on the beauty industry?
ASPEN: Our mission is to create modern hair tools rooted in legacy, and with multifunctional, beautifully designed hair tools for textured hair, we want to create tools that work really well and look really cool, because we deserve it.
HANNAH: I hope Baby Tress inspires the industry to be more thoughtful in the products that are introduced. We created the Edge Styler because nothing like it existed. Instead of launching products that already exist, we hope to always see innovation in new offerings, rather than more of the same, which can feel wasteful.
What has been your most significant achievement as an entrepreneur?
ASPEN: Aside from being on Beyonce.com, which was amazing, the most significant moments are always when someone knows about Baby Tress before I even tell them the name. It’s really humbling to have created something that’s so far-reaching.
HANNAH: Hearing positive feedback about our products from beauty editors and respected hair professionals is the most rewarding and validating. But if I had to choose one achievement, I would say that having an operational business that we built together from scratch is what I’m most proud of.
Do you think the beauty industry is becoming more intersectional and inclusive?
ASPEN: Yes, it’s becoming more inclusive & intersectional just simply because so many brands these days are comprised of underrepresented founders such as Hannah and myself. There are new launches every week, and it’s great to see so many different types of people, who are historically underrepresented, take a leap of faith and start something they wanna see in the world.
HANNAH: Yes, definitely more now than ever before! Back when we first came up with the idea for Baby Tress in 2017, we observed how underrepresented and underserved the BIPOC community was in every regard—from consideration in R&D, and representation in advertising to the distribution of products at major retailers. Baby Tress was born to address these systemic issues that we saw. And I’m happy to see that today, the landscape looks very different.
How can we ensure that intersectionality and inclusivity become a norm within the beauty industry?
ASPEN: By supporting these founders of color! Most of us are building our legacies from the ground up, so when people with more access share their resources, we will see more diversity in the beauty space.
HANNAH: As Aspen said, supporting BIPOC-owned brands. But also, having these conversations with all parties in the industry, from retailers to brands to consumers, to keep each other accountable for continuing the progress that’s been made.
What advice would you give to other women and non-binary people who want to start their own business?
ASPEN: My advice is to share your idea with people who you trust to gauge their reactions and to see what questions they have. Is there really a product-market fit? From there, if you still feel strongly that it needs to exist, just get started. Maybe it’s as simple as listing out what you need to start, then get working on that list. Take your time, but be action-oriented. Go after whatever’s in your reach in the beginning. That could be as simple as using social media or building an email newsletter! The steps will be unique to each person and their idea!
HANNAH: You are capable and you are worthy of starting your own business. Self-doubt will inevitably creep in, and being able to motivate yourself and gas yourself up is going to be vital. Remind yourself of your greatness often, and surround yourself with people who support you wholeheartedly.