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CULTURE

Black-Owned Business WaySlay Makes its Way to the DMV

WaySlay, a Black-owned on-demand delivery app founded by entrepreneurs Mike James and Ian Grant II has made its way to the DMV area. Their service is designed to bring beauty and hair products to your doorstep within 20 minutes.

Courtesy of WaySlay

WaySlay, a Black-owned on-demand delivery app founded by entrepreneurs Mike James and Ian Grant II has made its way to the DMV area. Their service is designed to bring beauty and hair products to your doorstep within 20 minutes.

WaySlay collaborates with local beauty supply stores to add products they have in stock onto the app. The customer is able to pick the products they need, and once an order is placed, the store is alerted to begin preparing it. The order is then picked up by a delivery partner and brought right to the doorstep of the customer.   

The app was conceived when James’ fiancé was getting ready for an event. She did not have a product she needed, and in an attempt to help, James asked if there was an app that would deliver it. When he realized nothing like it existed, he immediately knew that had to change. He brought the idea up to Grant II during a Christmas party, and shortly after, WaySlay was officially in the works. 

The beauty delivery industry is fairly new to both co-founders, but they have been able to connect what they already know throughout their experience. 

“We’re working with small businesses with the end goal to increase their customer reach so they make more revenue and we’re doing that through the empowerment of technology. That’s exactly what Mike and I have done in our experience in different ways,” Grant II said.

Both co-founders have been able to use their background knowledge to bring WaySlay to life. 

Grant II, the chief executive officer, previously helped restaurant brands roll out tech initiatives focused towards revenue growth. James, who serves as the chief technology officer, has experience in creating apps. He created an on-demand app for barbers before starting WaySlay. 

However, Grant II admits that their journey has not been an easy one.

“When we were first trying to expand past store one, we ran into the ‘who are you?’ kind of situation. The way we go about doing outreach has completely changed. We were originally calling stores, and now we walk in with a full deck presentation. At first we didn’t even have cards, our entire process has improved since then and that’s really helped us to be able to partner with the stores we have today,” he said.

They have encountered many obstacles but consider themselves a self-sufficient business, with the ability to overcome anything thrown their way.

“We are lucky in the sense that Mike develops everything in house, we’ve had obstacles but we’re able to get around them quickly. Whatever we think of, we can build and I think that’s what makes us strong and able to scale quickly,” Grant II said. 

When speaking with The Duquesne Duke news publication, Ariana LaBarrie, communications officer for WaySlay spoke on what sets WaySlay apart from other delivery companies.

“What I find unique about WaySlay is that they are not only helping these brick and mortar retailers get more people in, they are providing dignity in getting your hair care products and acknowledging that, in the beauty space, women of color are trendsetters and main consumers that are often left out of the conversation,” LaBarrie said.

WaySlay, originally located in parts of Miami-Dade County, has expanded to Pittsburgh, and now to the DMV area. 

When asked why the DMV specifically, co-founder Ian Grant II said,

 “There’s a few things we look at, the hypothesis is that areas that have a large professional black community [which] is important because hair’s what gives you the confidence to do what you do. Seeing that it’s an enabler and there’s so many people doing great things in D.C., the thought was that there is a large target market there. It’s also a top market for food delivery, and we believe that’s because of the reliance on transportation. Not as many people drive and that’s normal there so you’re going to find more people that prefer to have delivery.” 

James and Grant understand that many college students will find WaySlay helpful for having their beauty supply needs met in a timely manner. They have created code “HOWARD” for Howard University students that will make their first two deliveries free.   

Copy Edited by: N’dia Webb

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