All Articles Tagged "Black hair entrepreneurs"
Almost 100 years ago, Madam CJ Walker became America’s first self-made female millionaire of any race by creating hair products specifically for black people. This brilliant entrepreneur took advantage of the beauty industry’s decision to ignore black consumers by instead serving them well. An economic visionary, Walker also created a beauty school that fed a job market for the black women selling her products. Madam CJ Walker’s acumen in the field of beauty was an overall boon to African-Americans.
In the ‘50s Abram Minis, founder of Carson, Inc., made a grip formulating ubiquitous household products like Dark & Lovely. Black entrepreneurs Edward and Bettiann Gardner founded SoftSheen in the ‘60s, the firm responsible for the infamously greasy Care Free Curl. The early ‘70s saw the birth of Fashion Fair cosmetics, launched by the owners of Johnson Publishing to help black women find make-up that matched their skin. Black businesses have been central to the development of products African-American women need to look good.
But recent moves by mainstream brands make the original need to have our own beauty companies questionable. Revlon and similar entities now shell out millions for spokeswomen like Halle Berry hoping to attract our audience. Mainstream brands like CoverGirl are partnering with stars like Queen Latifah to design lines that target consumers of color. Pantene has created highly popular shampoos and conditioners for relaxed and natural hair.
Black customers may want to support our beauty businesses to reverse years of economic inequality and keep money in the community. Yet, this is an increasingly difficult task, because beauty giants are snapping up black-owned companies, even as they manufacture products for people of African descent.
by R. Asmerom
It’s no secret: the black hair care industry is big business. Very big business. According to marketing research company Mintel, sales of black hair care products in 2008 exceeded $165 million. Although a third of those sales went to corporate conglomerates like L’Oreal and Alberto Culver, who own many ethnic product lines from Soft-Sheen Carson to Mizani, there are still many independent African-American players in the hair product game. From old businesses like S-Curl manufacturer Luster Inc. to new product lines like Kimble Hair Care Systems, black entrepreneurs are thriving. Here, we included a list of 10 independently, black owned businesses that continue to fuel the ever-evolving market for black hair care products.
Miko and Titi Branch – Miss Jessie’s Original
Behind Miss Jessie’s hair products are founders Miko and Titi Branch. The sisters launched their company out of a Brooklyn brownstone and it’s been uphill ever since. Their unique blends of puddings and cremes are primarily targeted to those gals looking to enhance their curls and waves. These type of products were barely present on the market. The sisters realized this market opportunity by drawing from their challenges with their own hair and from their experiences with “hair recipes” learned from their paternal grandmother, Miss Jessie. The duo has wracked up many accolades for their savvy entrepreneurship and hair treatments. The sisters have also opened up a salon in New York city to cater to their curly haired fans.