Winifred Awa: Changing the Conversation in the Beauty Industry

Winifred Awa is the CEO and Founder of Antidote Street, a global beauty marketplace for multi-cultural women. She talks to Zeze about the relationship women of color have with their hair. Along the way, she dives into her personal history and discovering her natural hair. Winifred discusses how Antidote Street is bringing the salon experience for women of color into the modern era.

Winnie didn’t start in the beauty industry. She originally was an analyst with IBM Business Consulting Services. She stepped into the industry working with Net-a-Porter as a Strategic Program Manager. Winifred Awa discusses the pivot and the need for the work of her hands to have a real impact. Learn about the beginnings of Antidote Street and advocating for her business.

In this episode with Winifred Awa, we talk about:

  • 00:00: Introduction of Winifred Awa
  • 2:13: Winifred’s impetus for starting her business Antidote Street and discovering her natural hair
  • 4:43: Women’s relationship with hair, especially as a woman of color
  • 7:28: The frustration of having people not knowing what they’re doing, and how understanding allows you to make decisions from a place of power
  • 11:01: Bringing the experience for women of color into the 21st century with excellent formulation and packaging
  • 14:01: The ritual of hair
  • 15:05: How Winifred ended up studying management technology and a career in management consultancy
  • 21:15: Pivoting into e-commerce working with brands like Net-a-Porter
  • 25:50: Putting out a salon manifesto and putting the fashion industry to task. Inviting people to have a conversation about the industry
  • 29:45: About the five-point manifesto and staying accountable
  • 31:57: Tapping into our experiences as third culture kids
  • 33:24:  Realizing she wanted the work of her hands to have an impact
  • 36:22: The beginnings of Antidote Street, the hair lab, and advocating for the right location.
  • 40:42: Diving into creating a fashion label andVerv alongside the hair industry; creating black vintage glamour; being at London Fashion Week’s Discovery Lab

Mentioned Resources

Join the discussion

More from this show


Episode 6