Debra Shigley Goes from Attorney to Entrepreneur with New Beauty App
The movie “Black Panther” is decidedly 2018’s biggest blockbuster, grossing more than $1.5 billion worldwide. It’s also the first global superhero film to feature a mostly black cast and director—and all the hairstyles are natural! Both the male and female characters are sporting natural looks, which has been trending on red carpets and locally.
Former Atlanta attorney-turned-entrepreneur and creator of Colour, an app that delivers in-home hair services for women of color, Debra Shigley is experiencing the trend in Atlanta.
“Client after client has been bringing us photos of the afros, dreadlocks and Bantu knots they’ve seen on the big screen, asking our stylists to re-create them,” says Shigley. “This film has been a cultural event, and if we’re lucky, it could be the beginning of the end to the anguish many of us feel about our hair.”
Trying to achieve a white standard of beauty has created an environment of basically half of black women hiding their real hair with fake hair, sewing another woman’s hair—weaves, wigs or extensions—into their own. This process is clinically proven to cause permanent hair loss, so if natural styles become more mainstream it would be a big step forward, explains Shigley.
Shigley created Colour to offer women with textured hair an alternative and a huge timesaver to the traditional salon experience.
“When I was an attorney in Washington D.C., I remember spending all day Saturday at a Dominican salon, waiting, then sweating under a dryer and thinking there has to be a better way,” says Shigley.
After a move to Mexico in 2013 with her husband, she decided to go to beauty school to learn the business. After some market research, trial runs and a relocation to Atlanta, Shigley had created an app that would bring inspiration and in-home hair services to women of color.