How A Multi-City Tour Shaped This Founder’s Vision for The Ultimate Hair Tool — digitalundivided

Image via Janice Williams Oliver MisTee Wants To Know, Inc.

Every entrepreneur has a story, but Janice Williams Oliver’s tale is one of personal need, stemming from the mainstream beauty industry’s lack of attention to a whopping 65% of the world’s market.

Williams Oliver is a Procter & Gamble Beauty/WWD Media winner and a digitalundivided’s Do You cohort. As the CEO of MisTee Wants To Know, Inc., launching the MisTeePRO Handheld Steaming Tool — a tool made for stylists that quickly detangles hair, keeping it healthy — she is providing a solution that makes daily curly/coily hair maintenance easier/faster, eliminating multiple steps.

In this founder feature, Williams Oliver, — — a seasoned consumer packaged goods industry veteran, — walks us through the inspiring realization that led her to create the MisTeePRO tool, how her cross-country road trip (paid for using digitalundivided Do You award money!) increased her use case list, and how she’s positioned her business going into her next round of investor funding.

Also, learn how Janice plans to take her company to the $125 million mark in five years!

Image via Janice Williams Oliver MisTee Wants To Know, Inc.

digitalundivided: What inspired you to start your company?

Founder/CEO, MisTee Wants To Know, Inc.: When I learned from the National Institute of Health that cancer can be caused by using chemical relaxers or hair straighteners, I decided to go natural. However, I learned that I would need to care for my hair differently than when my hair was relaxed/straightened.

I found that it took many tools and products to detangle and maintain my hair…. spray water bottles, creams, detangling lotions, blow dryers and different types of brushes and combs. I needed to do this daily to prevent it from tangling or locking.

The whole process was complicated and cumbersome. That feeling resulted in the creation of the MisTeePRO handheld steaming tool with its oil filled pods, releasing an “oily steam” to detangle hair fast and enable curly/coily hair maintenance ease.

The MisTeePRO also allows hair stylists to detangle hair in 10 minutes vs. one hour while still charging $100+ for the detangling service.

digitalundivided: You are one of the few women in any digitalunidivided program who has developed a physical, tech-based product. What sparked your interest in hardware?

Founder/CEO, MisTee Wants To Know, Inc.: The MisTeePRO Handheld Steaming Tool is a combination of disciplines…engineering, technology, and chemistry. It’s hardware but, the tool has software capabilities too. Think of it as an intelligent tool.

And, my background has prepared me for this entrepreneurial role. I have a results-oriented marketing background where I managed profit and loss statements in excess of $100 million and shipped over 1M units of product. I have an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and I am a third-generation graduate of Hampton University.

I love what I am doing. It dovetails nicely with what I enjoyed in brand management, managing multi-functional teams, product forecasting, problem solving, working with legal and sales teams plus launching new products.

Furthermore, living in Silicon Valley, attending events at the MIT/Stanford Venture Lab, Palo Alto Research Centre (PARC), the Computer Science Museum etc., one can’t help but get the entrepreneur bug!

Image via Janice Williams Oliver MisTee Wants To Know, Inc.

digitalundivided: We understand you used your grant funding from digitalundivided’s Do You Fellowship to travel around the country to meet with hair stylists who specialize in textured hair to test your MisTeePRO prototype (made with off the shelf materials) and have conversations with them. What were some of the most impactful experiences from that market research trip, and how have you applied those insights and learnings to your product and business?

Founder/CEO, MisTee Wants To Know, Inc.: The $5,000 from the digitalundivided’s Do You Fellowship was very beneficial because it allowed me to travel all over the United States. I drove to Ohio from New York and then from New York to North Carolina to save money on flights and car rentals. I’m very appreciative of that funding.

What did I learn from hairstylists? I learned parents will embrace and love the MisTeePRO tool. I knew that stylists would love it because they don’t have a tool for detangling hair. But several stylists talked about how parents don’t have time to care for their children’s hair. The MisTeePRO detangles fast without tugging and pulling which is very painful for “tender headed” children.

A surprising bit of feedback was the MisTeePRO tool can be used to pretreat synthetic hair. Synthetic hair has a coating and tends to be hard and stiff, making it difficult to maneuver. Running the MisTeePRO tool through synthetic hair softens it and adds movement. Stylists ordinarily soak synthetic hair in apple cider vinegar, which takes time. Using the MisTeePRO tool saves time and is easier.

I also learned because some hair stylists rent chairs or are in confined suites, the MisTeePRO can be used to provide steam treatments. It is portable and does not take up space like a hooded steamer.

digitalundivded: So far, you have raised $170,000 in funding. Now, you are raising for your next round. Tell us more about your fundraising goals and what you want investors to know about you.

Founder/CEO, MisTee Wants To Know, Inc.: There is no tool like the MisTeePRO Handheld Steaming Tool on the market. We know this because a third party conducted a domestic and international prior art search before filing our first patent.

Over 65% of the people in the United States and world do not have straight hair. In terms of actual numbers, that’s over 200 million in the US and a billion worldwide.

I have a very clean cap table. My funding goal is $600k. Our proprietary formulation is final, thanks to the former L’Oreal chemist. The money will be used to finalize MisTeePRO’s design and pods for shipping. And note, there are white labeling opportunities particularly with beards and dogs.

I have an excellent team that includes a VP of Engineering who sold one of his startups to Dell and a CFO who has worked with Silicon Valley startups for multiple years. And, I have an external team, the Product Realization Group, responsible for supply chain management and manufacturing plus Multi-Innovation Group, who assisted me in writing my patent. The goal was to protect the company and technology.

We will be a $125 million business in five years selling to over 6k stylists who will sell the MisTeePRO tool and pods (pods via subscription) to consumers. This is very achievable because we have a letter of intent with Mayvenn who has access to over 50k stylists. We also have relationships with other entities that have access to hair stylists like ShearShare.

Please join the emailing list on You can also follow along the MisTeePRO tool and pod journey at the social handles (listed below). We keep grinding!