Mia Wilson and Rico Ozuna-Harrison, two College of Michigan college students, understood the task once they realized how arduous it was acquiring Black haircare merchandise in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a predominantly white space. In order that they determined to ship on that problem and sought to unravel a novel downside.
The closest magnificence provide retailer was 20 minutes away in Ypsilanti, requiring college students to seize solely determined necessities at neighborhood shops.
“Provides aren’t immediately on campus, and there aren’t any shops or magnificence provides for college students of colour close by. The shops on campus are simply Walgreens and CVS,” Wilson advised AfroTech. “So, oftentimes, you possibly can’t discover the correct merchandise that can greatest swimsuit our hair varieties in these shops.”
This nuisance prompted the faculty college students to create their very own technique of Black magnificence provide accessibility by establishing the YOUniversity Magnificence Provide Machine by way of their enterprise Innovending LLC.
The aim of their magnificence and pores and skin provider is to advocate and instill confidence for Black and Brown college students on the College of Michigan.
“Innovending as an entire finds social inequalities, and we repair them. So, our YOUniversity merchandising machine is a enterprise that provides college students a voice,” mentioned Harrison. “We wish Black and Brown college students to have one thing that’s theirs, and sooner or later, we additionally plan on having some Black and Brown-owned companies by college students in our merchandising machines.”
The YOUniversity Magnificence Provide Machine resides within the college’s Pupil Union constructing basement, the place hair oil, durags, bonnets, hair ties, brushes, lip gloss, lashes, and extra can be found for buy.
They wish to remind college students that though Ann Arbor would possibly really feel as in the event that they don’t belong, these “merchandising machines will function an affirmation that they do belong right here.”
Because of Wilson and Harrison’s participation in OptiMize’s Social Innovation Problem, the place college students pitched a mission that might create social affect, the duo was capable of fund this ardour mission by successful the grand prize of $10,000.
Innovending L.L.C. plans to increase throughout campuses nationwide and even segue into healthcare.