When I first delved into the world of wigs five years ago, I ran to the internet to purchase them from anonymous sellers abroad. There were tons of options for length and color, but the sizes available for the actual wigs were limited, either running super small or practically hanging off my head because of how large they were. I had to take out measuring tape to measure my head from all angles and choose the cap that came closest to my head size. This dilemma always resulted in uncomfortably tight wigs (and the headaches they came with) or excessively huge ones that slipped back incessantly (and always having to monitor my hairline). But custom wigs cost thousands of dollars and just weren’t as convenient as ordering straight from a manufacturer, so I eventually gave up on wigs altogether.
However, over the past few years, there’s been an emergence of innovative hair companies founded and led by Black women that are disrupting the stagnant industry. For so long, people outside of our culture have been profiting off of one of the most pivotal aspects of our identity but often failing to meet our specific needs — these companies are changing that. Among them is Parfait, a company that’s truly caught my attention and has alleviated my apprehension. Its compelling niche? Personalized wigs tailored precisely through the use of artificial intelligence.
Given that my number one concern was always finding a properly fitting wig, discovering a company that appeared to offer a solution piqued my curiosity. What sealed the deal for me was the knowledge that this groundbreaking concept was conceived by Black women. With that realization, I was convinced — I had to give Parfait a try.
AI might sound intimidating to many (especially within the Black community) given the unsettling news stories about racial biases in the technology. However, discovering that Parfait's co-founder Ifueko Igbinedion has a background in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence was a comforting reassurance. Ifueko serves as the companies Chief Technology Officer and works together with her sister Isoken Igbinedion (Co-founder & CEO), and Isoken’s Wharton Business School classmate Simone Kendle (Co-founder & Chief Marketing & Operations Officer) as the leadership team.
In a landscape often dominated by impersonal tech, it's refreshing that Parfait has found a way to infuse its business with a personal touch. Despite being AI-driven, the company takes a dedicated step towards familiarity; free virtual consultations with Parfait stylists and their social media presence, marked by videos of real customers embracing their Parfait wigs, reflect this commitment. This approach serves as a clear example of how AI can be used in ways that actually benefit our community. As we stand at the crossroads of technology and authenticity, Parfait reminds me that innovation doesn't have to be cold and distant. It can be a blend of advancement and the human touch, the familiar and the future.
After navigating their site, I was initially tempted to skip the stylist consultation part. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted when it came to the style of my wig, but to my surprise, the service turned out to be extremely helpful. My stylist provided insights on wig length, color, and curl patterns that I hadn't even considered. After using their interface to fully customize my wig (Parfait allows you to choose from a curated selection of pre-style wigs or make your own from the ground up), next up was the part I’d been waiting for: using AI to get my exact head measurements. I used a credit card for size reference and let my computer’s camera capture photos of my head from different angles. As someone who often struggled with this part of the wig process, this felt like a personal victory. The technology made sure that every dimension was captured to ensure a snug yet comfortable fit.
When my package arrived, it wasn't just a wig I unwrapped; it was an entire luxury experience. Alongside the wig came alligator clips, a rat-tail comb, an edge brush, scissors, and a hanging wig storage bag. The quality of the hair, the delicacy of the lace, and the precision of the color treatment were immediate standouts. I eagerly put on the pre-styled wig and ventured out the very night that I received it, pleasantly surprised to find that the wig remained firmly in place until I removed it before bed.
While my experience was overwhelmingly positive, the only minor disappointment was the fact that the layers cut in my wig were slightly shorter than expected. In the future, I’d probably order a longer wig or opt out of the layers option. (A minor hiccup in an otherwise seamless journey.) From the wig's quality to the thorough customization process, Parfait addressed all of my wig-related woes. Getting a tailor-made wig from the comfort of my home? Game-changing.
Parfait's visionary approach to wig creation has the potential to revolutionize the hair industry, proving the transformative capabilities of AI technology in beauty and style for Black women. As the company’s journey continues, its team plans to expand its offerings to encompass even more diverse styles in order to meet the ever-changing hair needs of Black women. Not only that, but the Parfait founders are also on a mission to cater to women facing medical hair loss due to conditions like cancer or alopecia, a part of the community that is often left struggling with mass-produced wigs. Parfait envisions a future in which AI-driven personalization is the norm, enabling women from all walks of life to embrace their inherent beauty and express themselves.