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I interviewed Saraa Green on IG Live Chat in November. We connected originally as Co-Grantee winners of the Shea Moisture x Brown Girl Jane #BrownGirlSwap
Tell us the story of Braid Releaser!
30 years ago my mother invented the tool to make her life easier. My sister and I wore braids. My mom wasn't a hairstylist at all. She was Vaseline and water, and rubber bands. We had our hair in a puff and that was it. We were always in the salon getting our braids done. When we got to a point to take out our braids, my mom realized this is the worst. She would find anything in the house, shishkabob sticks, whatever she could find.
She said you know what, I need to create something that is going to make my life and also my daughter's lives easier. I was tender-headed My sister knows! I would cry getting my hair pulled and tugged.
My mother created the Braid Releaser. My mom used all her money to create this tool and get a prototype of it. From there, she shopped it around. Unfortunately, there weren't any incubators or accelerators for black women at the time. Of course, unfortunately, she got rejected by banks. She tabled the idea and used it on my sister and I, no one else.
Fast forward, I was working on my masters. I am figuring out what am I going to create my business plan around. Am I gonna do a passion project? I said, you know what, I'm gonna do my mother's Braid Releaser. It was like, God deposited the idea in my brain. From there I created my business plan and my thesis around the Braid Releaser.
What was that process like?
I discovered how much bigger the black hair care industry was and is, and how it's growing. We need something like this to not only educate but also provide a better solution. We lose an enormous amount of hair when we're taking out our braids. It's considered a protective style, yet, we're still losing hair. And that's been because of the tools that we're using. In the black community, we have been using products that are not made by us. This is way before the Shea Moisture and the Carol's Daughter. Wt had to use what was available in the stores. What we're trying to change is creating something for us and by us.
Talk about a legacy moment! Tell us about your developer and engineering background. And how that helps you to bring the brand to fruition.
It's such a journey! I'm a trained fashion designer out of Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. I actually wanted to learn the technical side of designing knitwear. It's more about machinery and the mechanics of things. I learned how these knitting machines are operated and programmed. I had the amazing opportunity to work for Adidas when I was 25 years old. I was a sponge. I got the opportunity to travel around the world and learn the mechanics of footwear.
When working on the Braid Releaser, I had to make sure that we align with the function, not the design aesthetic of it. My mom designed to have an ergonomic handle so that it prevents less strain on the hands and wrists. When people use the rattle tooth comb, the handles break and your hands are cramping. The rattle tooth comb is not a functional item. The Braid Releaser is double-sided because we don't all wear the same size braids. We have women and men that wear everything from jumbo braids to micro braids. We are tackling the function, the design, and the consumer. If you are taking out your braids longer than an hour, your hand is comfortable. We also consider people that might have arthritis or joint pains. It's more than taking out your braids. The Braid Releaser creates functionality through the experience.
Want to hear more? Listen to our IG Live Chat.
Snag a Braid Releaser here