How The Internet Created Inroads For Blacks Wanting To Enter The Hair Business

May 6, 2014  |  

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It may be self-evident at this point, but the Internet is a valuable tool for generating attention and sales for a new company. Black hair businesses have found this to be especially true.

“I had made a Facebook status and told people that they could make pre-orders. By the end of the day, I made $2,000 from women I didn’t know from a can of paint,” Damien Stephens, owner of Flawless Hair Company, which offers 100 percent virgin Indian and Brazilian hair tells The Grio. It was online where he located a manufacturer in China that helped him to develop his own brand of extensions. And he used social media to help promote his new business. After building up his business, which he formed in 2011, Stephens moved into a brick-and-mortar storefront in Oak Park, MI. Last year he did nearly a half-million in sales.

The Internet is helping shift the dominance from Asians, particularly Koreans in the black hair business.

“[O]nce women started knowing that we [black people] had it, they were more comfortable,” Stephens said. “They [black women] really wanted to do business with us and were excited to do business with us. I get it all the time, people come into the shop and say, ‘Are you black owned?’ And they are just so excited to give me money.”

According to Catrina Browser, owner of Sugar Rock Candy Virgin Hair, the Internet offers black businesses the vehicle to make the necessary connections. “The Asians in Asia, I believe, have been willing to take money from the black sellers here in the States, but the problem is that before, you had to go there to make those connections. But technology has really changed the game.”

Browser, who works exclusively with a hair collector from Burma, found such websites like Alibaba.com and AliExpress.com valuable in helping her get a foothold in the business.

“In the past, there were black people who were trying to sell hair and couldn’t figure out how to get into the business. But now, you have hundreds upon hundreds of black-owned hair companies — some last a month, some last a year, some are still in business. But it made it possible for anyone from anywhere to get into a multi-billion dollar industry,” she said.

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