Patrice Grell Yursik, the founder of Afrobella, a popular natural-hair blog said “We’re aware of where our dollars are going, we’re aware of the power of our dollars, we’re aware of the cultural significance of the way that we choose to wear our hair. There’s been a lot of taking back the power, and a lot of that is from the Internet.”
These words are ringing true all over the internet within the natural hair community, but there is nothing like an actual store you can pop in and chit chat with the clerk, ask for advice and tests products. You then become a regular and create a relationship within the community as a loyal customer.
Be inspired by Judian and Kadeian Brown, the amazing sister duo, both licensed beauticians, who did the unthinkable when they open their own beauty supply store in Flatbush, Brooklyn. The New York Times originally featured the story about their shop, Black Girls Divine Beauty Shop being only one of a few hundred to the 10,000 stores that sell black hair products across the country. As we all know most are Korean-American owned, a sad fact because black hair is so deeply rooted in our culture and identity. Their customer service is a clear testament of how they feel about our patronage. The fact that we do not dominate an industry that caters to our needs is backwards. On one occasion when asked if she was the owner of the store Judian Brown told the NY times her response was “I go, ‘Look at all the faces on the boxes,Who should be owning these stores?”
Hard truths: On the flip side, I’ve found that in the black community we don’t lack Salons or barber shops, but we do lack a certain level of customer attention and professionalism. Long waits and less than appealing salons, with cluttered waiting areas and ripped magazines, are a turn off. Getting your hair done should be a relaxing and rejuvenating experience not stressful and disappointing.
Just a few ideas to inspire!
- Find a local owned beauty supply stores or buy your products from your stylist’s salon. I was thrilled to find my own African owned beauty supply called Ester’s Beauty Supply in Woodbridge VA.
- Don’t let market research stop you from opening your own natural supply shop or cosmetology school for natural hair, there is a need! Where we are, there is business! There will ALWAYS be a market for us, by us in this industry.
- If you are a salon owner, partner with local women who make their own hair care products and accessories.
- Launch live demonstrations
- Host promo parties to introduce new stylists and independent brands. This will bring in new clients and excite old clients.
- Offer huge sales
- Make it a party,have fun! Create a whole community event like a town at a college homecoming.
- Spread the word about a new initiative to support other entrepreneurs in the community.
- Link up with all the salons and barber shops in the neighborhood to encourage everyone to do the same for a whole weekend or longer!
Check out these sample event Ideas!