Meet Phoebe Tagoe, a beauty entrepreneur increasing the visibility of Black solopreneurs
She runs a platform that focuses on and empowers independent beauty and grooming service providers.
Phoebe Tagoe is a Toronto-based entrepreneur and the founder of Sohlo, a platform that focuses on and empowers independent beauty and grooming service providers in Toronto and the GTA. Sohlo highlights the work of these service providers and increases their visibility, supporting the discoverability of these entrepreneurs in their cities. In addition to Sohlo, Phoebe also works in the corporate world as a User Experience Designer, and at her organization, she works to improve belonging, diversity, and community for Black employees within the workplace. Learn more about Phoebe below.
My first job ever was… assembling and distributing newspapers in my neighbourhood at 12 years old. I got paid a few cents per paper, and split about $300 a month with my two younger sisters. It was the most amount of money I’d ever made at the time and it was glorious (the money, not the job — that was a lot of work!).
Before I was the Founder of Sohlo, I was… a recent Human Kinetics graduate, trying to figure out what I wanted to do in life after I realized medicine wasn’t for me. During that time, I started working on Sohlo.
I founded Sohlo because… there is a lack of good quality experiences when it comes to the independent beauty and grooming space — especially in Black communities and communities of colour. In these communities, these types of service providers are most prevalent due to a lack of access to resources for opening brick and mortar spaces.
With my passion for well-designed experiences, seeing friends scrambling to find a service provider near them, and them having poor booking experiences, I wanted to be someone that helped us all have a better experience.
This is a space that has been overlooked; the people that are usually able to solve this problem don’t believe or understand it is a problem because it is outside of their and their friends and family’s day-to-day experience, and I just feel we deserve better as a community.
One of the most important things I learned about myself in my time as an entrepreneur is… I love creative and strategic visioning work and am not as good at some of the other things that it takes to run a business — and that is okay! Everyone can’t do everything, that is why we have an abundance of different people on this earth. The most important thing is for me to do really well in the areas I am good at and find great people for the other parts.
My proudest accomplishment is… listening to myself and pivoting away from the path of medicine even though I didn’t have a solid plan. It ended up leading me to a more fulfilling life.
My advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is… imagine you only had what you have in front of you, how could you solve the problem you want to solve, and in the best way for the people you want to help? That is the fastest way to create a minimum lovable product (MLP) or service without having to raise money or hire people. What can you do right now, today, if you had to?
The one piece of advice I give that I have trouble following myself is… full transparency, it would be “just do it” or “just start.” I am an overthinker which is very helpful for strategic thinking and big picture thinking, but not so helpful for executing tasks quickly. I also recognize that it is the one thing that is the simplest way to ultimately achieve the goals you want to achieve!
If I had an extra hour in the day, I would… spend it with my nephews. I feel like every time I blink, they are so much older and bigger, and I don’t want to miss too much.
The thing I love most about what I do is… engaging potential Sohlo users, hearing what they are struggling with, and knowing that I’m working on something that will remove the pain. I also love designing useful products and employing a human-centered design approach, really involving the people that will use the product in the building process!
The one thing I wish I knew when starting Sohlo is… it will take longer than you read about or hear on the podcasts you listen to, and THAT’S OKAY. It will take as long as it takes to help the right people.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I love playing volleyball. It brings me the most joy.
I stay inspired by… Black and POC folks creating, because more often than not, it is often from a place of disadvantage — which makes it even more amazing to me.
The future excites me because… it’s so limitless and has become filled with more and more Black founded, owned, and managed businesses.
My next step is… internal and beta testing of Sohlo’s pivoted product, a complete overhaul of our website, and taking tennis lessons!
To keep up with Phoebe and Sohlo, connect with her on LinkedIn or Instagram,