A MOBILE application, Coily, has been created to help all persons within the ‘curly hair’ community have that one-stop-shop for all of their hair needs, while also functioning to promote local businesses.
Primary App Developer of the app, and Co-Founder of STEM Guyana, Asha Christian related that the ‘app’ was developed to help organise and solve a problem faced by curly-haired persons, i.e., finding the right hair products that would work for their style and texture.
This, according to her, is a problem being faced by people all around the globe, and with awareness and appreciation for curly hair growing over the past few years, it was an opportune time to create ‘Coily’.
The ‘app’, which has been in the works since January, will encompass an extensive database of hair products and accessories, and allow persons to leave or read reviews given, and garner information about the product, so as to ensure the “right product” is selected.
Aside from this, another function of the ‘app’ is to help promote local businesses which provide products and services related to curly hair.
“Essentially, within the app, if I have a product… like let’s say I make coconut oil, I can create a profile in the app and upload my products into the hair product database, and that way, people around the world can search for and find it,” Asha explained.
In this way, persons anywhere in the world will be able to see the product, which, in the long-run will help expand the global market reach of local businesses. Asha also noted that the app allows for these businesses to target specific markets that have the demand for the exact products being offered.
“They can pay for advertisement on the app and say, ‘I want to advertise my coconut oil Online to women in America,’ or in a certain State or area in Africa that has a history of liking products with coconut oil,” Asha noted.
Visiting the simple exposition of the app at the Movietowne on Saturday, Minister of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes noted that the app would help with some of the challenges that a great number of persons face practically every day.
However, she said that the development of the app by Asha and team points to a greater initiative that deserves recognition. This initiative, she related, was that of young people harnessing technology to craft innovative solutions to everyday issues.
“There are so many applications that exist today, and for the first time, we, in Guyana, are not limited,” Minister Hughes said, while reminding of all the software applications developed over the past few years by Guyanese youth for business, agriculture, health and education.
The minister also made mention of how the job industry has evolved, to the point where it is driven by entrepreneurial activity.
“Once you are educated; once you have an opportunity to learn and be trained, and you have access to the Internet, you can be your own entrepreneur,” she said.
Similar to what is intended to be done with ‘Coily’, Minister Hughes noted that entrepreneurs can develop their businesses here, and through the use of technology and Online platforms, they would be able to market their products across Guyana and even across the world.
Moreover, she floated the idea that Guyana could even become a “testing ground” for businesses abroad to come and test the functionality of software applications that they would have created.
“As a spinoff, we want to be able to start saying to the rest of the world, ‘You have an app you want to test; pay somebody in Guyana to test your application here first, so you’ll know how you need to tweak it; how you’ll need to change before they introduce it to other markets,’” Minister Hughes explained.
With apps being developed, it becomes imperative for developers to conduct market research to see how people respond to the software being developed, and if these software can be effective and efficient within the target population.
As such, she opined that this could be done in Guyana, a country which already has persons able to connect with the varying demographics. And this, she said, could create yet another employment avenue for Guyanese.
On that note, it was announced that on July 27, ‘Coily’ will be officially launched at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, where about 1000 persons, including local businesses in the field, will be invited to ‘test out’ the app.
“We’re trying to get people to upload product reviews and upload hairstyles into the app at the event, as well as just giving local vendors and hairstylists a chance to display their services,” Asha highlighted.