In continuation of the conversation from last week about the financial independence black women have been able to carve out for themselves within the booming and increasingly diverse hair weave industry, let me introduce you to Demajali West, creator and founder of the Hookie Do.
What’s the Hookie Do? Glad you asked.
The Hookie Do is a patent-pending reusable hair extension cap, which allows weave wearers to install a head full of new hair in under a half an hour without harmful glueing or sewing anything onto the hair or scalp, and simply by hooking the weft of a track onto some hooks – hence the name. An instruction video of how it all works is available here, but the overall point is that a person using the Hookie Do can quick change a hairstyle without costly hair salon visits or wasting bundles of hair.
Sounds pretty cool, right? Well it kind of is.
And late last month, West officially introduced her cool concept to the public in a Kickstarter campaign in hopes of raising enough investment capital to complete her first purchase order of the Hookie Do. She is asking for $17,000 from potential funders and in exchange, is offering a pre-order of the prototype at the $45 level (she says that the Hookie Do is suggested to retail at $89.99).
West said that she wasn’t quite sure how folks would respond to her crowd-sourcing approach considering that those spaces appears to be more occupied by white males. But by the middle of this July, West has not only managed to reach her fundraising goals, she is a couple of thousand over $42,000 in donations. And she still has five days left in her campaign.
“People say that black women don’t support each other. I can tell you that we do. And I am so appreciative of all the women who donated – even those who donated at levels that meant they couldn’t get the cap like $5 or even a $1 – just because they thought it was a good idea,” she said.
The story has all the markers of a quirky novelty story but don’t count West as either an overnight success or some potato salad farce. The Hookie Do is a culmination of two years of sacrifice, struggle, lots of money and uncertainty. It was a couple of years ago, right before the birth of her first child, when the thought came to West. Money was tight and West, who has no professional cosmetology training and education, had taken to creating and installing her own hairstyles in hopes of saving her family money. But West said that the frequency in which she changed hairstyles proved to still be financially burdensome as well as time consuming. That’s when she started to seriously begin mulling over new ways to go about getting salon quality hair at affordable prices.
It was her father, who first introduced the idea of using hooks. “Like on a ship and on a bra strap is what he kept saying over and over again. I didn’t know what he was talking about,” she said, giggling. But eventually something clicked and West said that she would test out her dad’s theory, using one of her old bras. “What I noticed is that the weft of the hair extension fit perfectly inside of the hooks on a bra and that’s when I knew I had something here.”