Cursory:Miona Short, the first Black woman to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in astrophysics, has launched her own company called Shukrah. The company’s flagship product is the Carefree Comb, Miona invented the comb in 2016 and taught herself computer-aided design (CAD) to create prototypes. The Carefree Comb gained recognition through business competitions and even won a grant. After being impacted by layoffs in 2022, Miona decided to focus on building her company.
Miona Short, who made history in 2018 as the first Black woman to earn a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has now ventured into the beauty industry.
After facing a layoff and five years of experience, she has founded her own company called Shukrah, introducing an innovative product to the market.
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The flagship item of her company is the Carefree Comb, a wide-tooth comb with a patent-pending design that retains hair product in its spine and evenly distributes it along the comb’s base.
This unique feature aims to streamline the process of washing, conditioning, and detangling hair, making it faster and more convenient.
• cut down their haircare times,
• consolidate steps in the haircare process,
• and/or bring the bulk of their routines outside the shower.
Miona (pronounced: mi-ah’-nah) first invented the comb in November 2016 during the time of her grandfather’s untimely death from bile duct cancer at the age of 68. “I didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t want to eat, I didn’t want to go to class or take midterms that week, and I definitely didn’t want to do my hair,” she recalls.
In her quest for efficient hair detangling tools that also facilitated product application, she discovered a lack of suitable options in the market.
Motivated by this gap, she dedicated the following seven years to self-teaching computer-aided design (CAD) skills, enabling her to create various prototypes of her innovative comb invention.
During this time, she also sought knowledge in business principles by avidly watching popular television shows such as Shark Tank and listening to podcasts focused on entrepreneurship and business.“Business school costs too much for me, and I didn’t have any formal mentors so I used a bunch of free media as kind of a scrappy map.”
The innovative concept of the Carefree Comb gained recognition and success, winning several business competitions, including a grant from Chamilloinaire, a rapper-turned-investor.
In 2019, Miona took on a job in the tech industry to save funds for the initial production phase of her comb and to gain valuable insights on scaling a business from an insider’s perspective.
However, after being hit by the massive layoffs in 2022, she made the decision to fully focus on developing her company.
“After being laid off, I knew I didn’t have the money to completely flesh out product development like a bigger company would. I could barely afford rent, much less afford multiple rounds of testing [contract manufacturer] prototypes with trial-and-error. That gets expensive real quick. I really only had one shot at making this work,” she clarifies.
“I had to take a leap of faith. So here I am, hoping Shukrah has wings.”
After going viral on TikTok with a demonstration garnering a half-million views, the rising CEO is finding that the Carefree Comb taps into a deep need within the beauty market.
Miona is expecting to have preorders for the Carefree Comb shipped out around Christmas 2023. For more details about this launch and journey, visit the official web site at Shukrah.com.
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