Following extensive market research and a trip to Nigeria, where Tommy realised how much people are prepared to spend on hair and beauty products, All Shades Covered was set up in April 2016, selling premium hair extensions and products for people of colour.
“Many of the products we sell are not available in the shops, particularly outside London. Our research showed us that before All Shades Covered, women in the UK were ordering online and then waiting weeks for products to be delivered and the quality was not always good,” explains Tommy.
Tommy and co-founder Sanmi Ogunmola now employ five young black staff at All Shades Covered. “The people we hire to work for us have grown up using products like these and have a good understanding of what people really want,” he added.
“We have had very positive feedback so far and no returns,” he commented, stating that ASC had received over 200 orders in the first two months of 2017.
Although 98% of orders until now have been in the UK, ASC has reached customers across Europe and plans to expand into Africa.
Tommy, who returns regularly to Wadham to spend time with friends, has found that he has been able to put to good use the skills he learned during his degree course. After working at Goldman Sachs he moved to Nigeria to join Africa’s first e-commerce retailer, Jumia as a Business Development Manager, focused on projects within the black beauty industry.
ASC secured funding from a prominent angel investor and were selected from more than 250 applicants to be part of the Truestart retail accelerator programme that funds some of the most game-changing retail start-ups globally. They are now manufacturing in China and in the UK.