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Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Black Astrophysicist Makes History Again — This Time, in Haircare

Miona Short

Nationwide — In 2018, Miona Short became the first Black woman to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics. 5 years and one layoff later, she’s taking on the beauty industry with the launch of her company, Shukrah – and a first-to-market innovation.

The company’s flagship product, the Carefree Comb, is a patent-pending wide-tooth comb that holds hair product in the spine and distributes that product along the base of the comb in order to make washing, conditioning, and detangling faster and easier.

Consumers with coarse, thick, or Afro-textured tresses can now:

• 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.

She started looking for tools that would allow her to detangle her hair quickly while applying her products, but didn’t find anything available.

For the next 7 years, the Chicago-native would teach herself computer-aided design (CAD) in order to produce different prototypes of her comb invention. She would further go on to learn business principles from watching popular television shows like Shark Tank and listening to business-related podcasts.

“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,” Short laughs.

The Carefree Comb concept would go on to win business competitions, including a grant from rapper-turned-investor, Chamilloinaire. In 2019, Miona took a job in tech to save money for her first production round and to learn what it was like to scale a business from the inside. However, after being impacted by the mass layoffs of 2022, she decided to lean into building out 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

Also, follow the brand @helloshukrah on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

For press inquiries, contact hello@shukrah.com



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