All Articles Tagged "hair extensions"
Detroit, Michigan native Jameela Powell knew she was onto something when she started her business distributing hair extensions while she worked her full-time job. Now just a few years later as the CEO of Beyond Beautiful Hair, this mom is glad she made the leap into entrepreneurship. Read on to find out the steps she took, what she feels is the next trend in hair extensions and her big brand plans for the near future.
Mommynoire: Tell us all about Beyond Beautiful Hair. When did you start your company?
Jameela: We started back in April of 2014, that’s when we actually registered it as a business. I kind of started a year prior to that, just kind of delivering out the trunk of my car.
So what was the transition like when you went from selling in your car to really deciding to make it a business?
I was a little nervous but also excited. I based the transition off of what was going on in the economy–hair extensions were going from zero to 100 really fast and I just wanted to get on board. I was thinking to myself, this company can be way bigger than what it is. So I was excited and wanted to just step out on a maybe and try it.
Awesome! Do you have previous hairstyling experience?
I have business experience. I attended Henry Ford Community College and I took up business courses, but didn’t even finish because I just jumped right into opening my business. I was an orthodontist’s assistant, that’s what I did for 11 years, putting on braces and things like that.
So was it career burnout that made you make the leap into entrepreneurship?
That’s exactly what it was. I was really tired of working for someone else. I wanted to branch out and do something different and I really started with the extensions as something on the side to see how it would go… I never thought I would leave my job of 11 years to solely do extensions. So I was really excited after I got the first location up and running. I felt confident and encouraged like, this is something I can see myself doing for a nice amount of time.
So you’re almost on two years in this business…Why do you think hair extension sales are at an all-time high? The natural hair movement is taking over too.
We are already beautiful, I think women like the variety and the ability to enhance their beauty. Hair is the first thing people notice most of the time. Also, packed hair is fading out with the bundles of hair becoming more available.
Do you have a salon as well?
We have a salon in Detroit. It’s going pretty well.
What do you see as the upcoming trend with hair extensions?
Units. They’ve always been popular when called “wigs” but now they’re getting a new life by being called units. That’s the biggest thing, the frontal and the illusion of a natural hair in a unit.
When you have a unit you leave some hair out?
No, you have all your hair braided up. It’s great to promote healthy hair.
So you’re a mom as well, how has your child been influenced by you becoming an entrepreneur?
Yes, I have a 14-year-old daughter and the more I do, the more she wants to be a part of it. I have a lot of things coming in the future with our company. I let her get her first sew-in, so she’s really excited and I let her do a photoshoot and model some of the hair.
What are some of your plans for the future?
We’re actually going to launch a teen collection and it’s something I haven’t seen other companies do. It will make the hair more affordable for young adults and teens. It will only be a certain length and won’t be too full and just too much for the younger girls.
I was well into my high school years when I first wore weave. My decision came about as I searched for a cute prom hairstyle. It was my first prom so I had to come fierce to and tenth power, and that it I did! Braids (with added hair for length), however, those came around my elementary years, especially during the summer. However, the days of kids and teens waiting to experiment with their hair when it comes to wearing extensions is a thing of the very distant past it seems.
Earlier this week, I spotted the absolutely adorable North West rocking a super-cute hairstyle of two plaits. Now, at first I found nothing wrong with the style after just a glance. The two-year-old had worn braids like this before, but it wasn’t until I really looked at the photo that I realized that her hair was a lot longer than I remembered.
Apparently, whomever did North’s hair added hair extensions to make her braids longer — much like her own mother, Kim Kardashian, and her five aunties. Not to mention, North’s cousin Penelope, Kourtney Kardashian‘s daughter, is rocking a similar ‘do, but they added platinum blonde extensions to match Khloe’s hair. Hmm..
A photo posted by Khloé (@khloekardashian) on
At the ages of two and three years old, I’m wondering why this hairstyle had to happen with extensions, as if they hadn’t already looked cute when they executed the style with their own natural tresses. Did the young girls want this done to their hair or was this the parent’s choice? Or was this another social media photo opp?
It may not be my place to comment on someone else’s child, but to say the least, I don’t think this was appropriate no matter how cute. But I can say that I’m glad that the extensions were used for this style and not a full weave where the hair would hang down and cause trauma.
Comments regarding the hairstyle, which became a trending topic on social media, were blended:
“They are using the little girls as dress up dolls…pathetic.”
“That little girl’s saying, ‘help me please’.”
Whether you’ve never worn a weave before and are considering getting one or you’re just about to get your hair done up with extensions, it’s always best to do a bit of research about the hair, the process, and if you can, the brand.
Today, let Mommynoire introduce you to I Wear Glam, a global hair empire known for its unmatched services and quality hair extensions. They now can also be noted as the go-to extension brand for top celebrities sporting their extensions, including Rihanna, rapper Nicki Minaj, “Empire” star Taraji P. Henson and La La Anthony. If you’re going to do it, why not go with a product endorsed by these ladies?
Though I’m an infrequent weave wearer–I’ve had about four weaves in the past 10 years–I can personally attest to the quality of I Wear Glam hair.
Owner and founder of I Wear Glam Luxe Beauty Empire & Extensions, LaToiyah Roland, recently told Rolling Out about the success of her burgeoning beauty empire.
“When I started the company in March 2014, I was working as a nurse, an LPN. By July or August, things took a turn. I decided to quit my day job. We started with the hair extensions. We extended the line to shampoos, conditioners, edge control … we launched a new cream for curly hair extensions and our blow dryer bonnet for at-home use.”
In just a year, Roland’s hobby turned into a million-dollar enterprise. How did she do it?
“It takes persistence. The market is saturated. Instagram is the best thing that happened to this business. If [the] marketing [is] right, you can definitely have a successful brand. For us, we focus on the hair and the products, not the models. We’re getting quite a bit of feedback about the hair dryer bonnet from social media. Also, our strategy is to make I Wear Glam the one-stop shop for extensions and related products. Customers are buying what they need from us,” explains the Michigan native. “We networked and connected with a team of celebrity stylists. Good branding is essential for growth — from the Instagram marketing and website to the packaging.
“We’ve had a successful first year. I am still shocked the company is growing so rapidly.”
@badgalriri rocking Brazilian Body Wave hair extensions. Styled by Ursula Stephen.
Rihanna’s cover photo shoot with Harper’s Bazaar for their March 2015 fashion issue was jaw-dropping, literally. For the 40th anniversary of Jaws, the great white shark thriller, the beautiful Bajan pop star went swimming with sharks, and she worked her I Wear Glam hair extensions, while in the Florida Aquarium tank with three sand tiger sharks.
So now that you know all about the woman behind the brand, here’s the answers to frequently asked questions about the product, how to care for and styling tips from I Wear Glam:
How long do I Wear Glam virgin hair extensions last?
The longevity of your product depends upon how well you take care of your extensions. With good and proper care, our virgin extensions can be reused and reinstalled and last for up to one year.
Can I wash and blow dry my extensions?
You absolutely can! These extensions are 100 percent virgin human hair which means you should treat them as your own. Washing and blow drying should be done to keep your extensions fresh and filled with glamourous body.
Can I apply oil to my extensions?
Yes you can apply oil to your extensions but to keep the body it is not recommended. Only oil that is recommended for our hair extensions are very small amounts of Argan oil or Moroccan oil.
Can I use styling products on my virgin hair extensions?
Yes you can use styling products on your extensions but we recommend that you keep products to a minimum to avoid build up. For a wet and wavy look we suggest a leave in conditioner and water. We strongly suggest avoiding alcohol base drying products as they can dry your extensions out and shorten the longevity.
Can I color my hair extensions?
Our hair is 100 percent unprocessed raw virgin hair and can be colored and dyed.
What color are the hair extensions?
The hair comes in the originally state of the donors hair. Which is normally closest to a 1B. Remember hair can be colored to your liking.
Can I straighten or curl my hair extensions?
What about if I’m going on vacation, can I swim in my hair extensions?
Yes you can swim in your hair extensions but we suggest putting hair in a ponytail or a bun to keep hair from tangling when wet.
How many bundles will I need for a full sew in?
For inches 14-18 we suggest 2 bundles. For inches 20-30 we suggest three bundles. For inches 32 and up we suggest four bundles. It is all up to the discretion of the customer how many bundles to use. These are suggestions, but how many bundles you need solely depends on your own personal preference for thinness or thickness. Keep in mind the longer the length the thinner the bundle, that is why number of bundles for use vary.
A couple of bundles of quality 100% virgin hair extensions can cost you hundreds of dollars. Many consumers consider these purchases to be an investment, as the hair can last eight to twelve months. However, as in any industry, there are many hair companies who misrepresent their products only for the customer to learn weeks or months down the line that what they believed was virgin hair was actually a blend of synthetic and “fallen” or “dead” hair. Many of us have been there at one point or another—including Riqua Hailes, owner of the Just Extensions hair salon chain. A client purchased extensions from Hailes’ shop in Los Angeles and returned one month later with matted and tangled tresses. The entrepreneur ordered the hair from a supplier in China. She was apparently under the impression that she was stocking her salon with top-notch extensions and paid the supplier as such.
“I’m not going to pay $10,000 for $200 hair extensions,” Hailes told Refinery 29. “I picked up the phone, I told China I was getting on the plane, and then I went, and I brought the girl.”
That experience inspired Hailes’ Just Extensions documentary, which documents her six-week journey through China, Cambodia, India, Brazil, and Peru to learn exactly how hair extensions are sourced and processed. Her findings were equally intriguing and disturbing. For example, Hailes recalls watching as workers dumped “fallen hair”—split ends and dead hair that sheds from women’s hair on a daily basis—into buckets and proceeded to soak them in germ-killing solution before mixing them with synthetic fibers and creating extensions. Hailes had a similar experience in Brazil where she discovered that horsetails are being sold as extensions.
“I want them to know where their hair is coming from, so they can put a value on that,” she says. “I’m not saying you can’t buy fallen hair; there’s a use for that. However, I don’t want to pay $500 for that, and I don’t want you to pay $500 for it either.”
Hailes also recalled meeting women in India who shaved their heads for religious reasons. The hair was later collected to be auctioned off in China.
“To have so much faith that I’m going to cut my hair, cut my children’s hair, because I believe they’re going to be blessed by God — they have no idea where their hair is going,” says Hailes.
Hailes hopes that the documentary will not only inspire her clients but consumers across the country.
“Everyone in this salon has extensions,” she says. “That’s why I did this — so people who come to me know exactly what they’re getting.”
Just Extensions is now available on iTunes.
If you’re anything like most women today, you are looking for an easy way to maintain your tresses. Typically, hair extensions are the easiest way to protect your hair, but how many hair extension companies offer the versatility us women truly yearn for? We are usually limited in the styling that can be done with our extensions and even the textures that they offer. Enter Ericka Rochelle, founder of Valley Girl Hair Collection. Ericka started Valley Girl Hair Collection with hopes of filling the void of quality hair in her hometown of Southfield, Michigan and has since provided women nationwide with quality, luxury hair extensions that can’t be found elsewhere. Ericka spoke with MadameNoire about Valley Girl Hair Collection (VGHC) and their rapid success in the industry through their unique texture blends and versatile styling abilities.
MadameNoire: What inspired you to start VGHC?
Ericka Rochelle: Originally, I didn’t know anything about hair when I first came into this. I did start with a business partner who did hair for 16 years. She was supposed to be more of the brains behind the hair, but then we broke up, so I went off on my own. Initially, I started because I’m a business woman I see an opportunity in making money in the hair world. This is a billion dollar business so I was like, “I want a piece of this pie.” I knew that I have very strong selling skills, I have great customer service skills and with a strong business mind I knew that I could do this. Through researching manufactures, trying hair for over a year, we found the perfect manufacture that fit us the best, that will work with us through everything and that’s how it came about.
MadameNoire: Who is the VG woman?
Ericka Rochelle: It’s every woman. I think when we first came out it started to sound like we weregoing toward that suburban girl, that valley girl, that California girl, but now it’s everybody. So whether you come from the east side or the west side, or you’re coming from Detroit or you stay in the suburbs of Michigan, everybody can wear Valley Girl. The name makes people very excited. They want to be a Valley Girl. They want to be what everybody thinks is this California surfboard girl or something like that. One of my customer’s favorite line to say when leaving the store is “Now I’m a Valley Girl.”
MadameNoire: In what ways is VGHC improving the application method of hair extensions?
Ericka Rochelle: We are the inventors of the back closure piece, which is a patent-pending piece. We invented that piece because we wanted to think outside of the box. I do not want to stay in the realm of whatever my manufacturer offers that’s all that I can sell. I tell them what I want. I’m a person who, if I have a sew-in, and I want to put a ponytail in my head then that’s just what I want to do; but every time you get a sew-in and you put it up in a ponytail, you’ll see tracks on the side and you have to maneuver around this ponytail to get it right because if not it’s going to look tacky. So the invention of the back closure piece came from that. We wanted to invent a piece that you could just take a brush and you could comb the hair straight up as if it was your own hair and it was that seamless ponytail.
We’re always thinking about the next wave of hair. I invent five different curls every single year. I bring out five new curls that I actually invent myself. Right now we have a curl out called Barbie Wave. The Barbie Wave curl is a curl that is a curl and a crinkle together. Putting those two beautiful textures together it made this wave and it looks amazing and it’s selling like crazy right now. I don’t even have the stock for it, it selling so crazy.
MadameNoire: How does VGHC improve/accommodate its consumer’s lifestyle?
Ericka Rochelle: I sell twelve different types of hair, so that’s one thing that’s good because most hair companies that are out right now they may sell one, or two, or three; I sell twelve. That in itself will accommodate. One thing I definitely think that Valley Girl Hair offers is a variety of hair, whether it be the region where the hair comes from or that I have eight different curls right here in my showroom in Detroit.
In Detroit, everybody either sells body wave, straight, deep wave, and maybe a loose wave, but I have eight different curls that you can pick from when you walk into my door. That accommodates everybody too because now you have a lot of choices. If you’re that workout lady and you sweat a lot and you’re like “I want this certain type of curl,” I probably have that certain type of curl right in the store. It doesn’t have to be ordered or anything. It’s right there for you.
MadameNoire: You recently made a deal with Wal-Mart, what can we expect from that?
Ericka Rochelle: Wal-Mart has gotten into hair. What caught their eye was that I was definitely thinking outside of the box. I wear frontals myself and every time I would wear the 30 second glue, if I went swimming or was on vacation, my frontal was definitely coming up. I wanted to create glue that I could go swimming in and it won’t come up. Wal-Mart picked it up because they want to make Wal-Mart a one-stop shop. They actually want to make a beauty supply within Wal-Mart. I can go to Wal-Mart, I can go shopping, grocery shopping, get my beauty supplies; I can go get my hair. That’s their goal. So, I think putting it in Wal-Mart was making it reachable to every single client. No matter where you are.
MadameNoire: What sets VGHC apart from other hair vendors?
Ericka Rochelle: Being innovative and thinking outside of the box is what’s going to keep Valley Girl going because like I said, I don’t stick with the norm, I’m always thinking outside of the box. Where they’re just selling the same old body waves, I’m thinking of the new wave of hair. Another thing that I think that everybody knows about Valley Girl is that I invest in a lot of education to educate stylists. I think of different closures, seminar classes that I can have for stylists. Giving back is something that a lot of companies don’t do. I have so many different relationships with stylists this year, where I know a lot of companies here don’t have a lot of relationships with different stylists.
Our showroom alone is a little bit different. A hair showroom, that’s not really heard of. A lot of people are trying to do storefronts and things like that. I made my showroom look more like an LA buying/fashion showroom. Just thinking outside of the box is what’s going to keep us going. Don’t stay inside the realm.
Roland, 23 (above), owner and chief executive officer of I WEAR GLAM, recently inked a deal with Trina for the “Trina Rockstar Collection,” which will include a line of hair extensions, that will be available this summer.
The partnership came after Trina endorsed I WEAR GLAM on social media site Instagram, and Roland says it was shortly after, that Trina wanted to discuss how she could be a bigger part of the brand.
“A couple months ago I was able to meet Trina and I let her wear some of the hair extensions from I WEAR GLAM and she really liked them. I ended up giving her some more and it was then that she really wanted to become involved more with my brand,” Roland says. “It was surprising but I am so excited to be moving in this direction with someone of Trina’s caliber.”
Since launching in 2014, Roland says the brand has also caught the eye of Rhianna, Taraji P. Henson, Lil’ Kim, and Rasheeda Buckner-Frost from Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, but is still relatively new in the big scheme of hair brands. Roland says high quality, dye-ability, and longevity of the extensions is creating the recipe for success.
“There are a ton of hair companies out there, but I think that our products have really created a name for itself because it is not only great hair – it’s affordable. That is key to staying ahead of the competition,” Roland says. “Before I launched I WEAR GLAM, I tested out so many hair samples from different distributors and I really payed attention and narrowed down what I liked, versus price and longevity. I think I really came out with the best of the best and some customers are saying they have been able to keep their extensions in for up to eight months. I think that’s why we have become so popular.”
In addition to the new developments with Trina, Roland has also opened her first location in Detroit, the city where she grew up. The store will carry a variety of what Roland sells online including 100 percent human hair extensions like Brazilian Straight, and Peruvian Loose Wave, as well as I WEAR GLAM weave scratchers, blow dryer bonnets, ceramic hair straighteners, brushes, Argan oil shampoo and conditioner, Luxurious Curly Cream, Luxurious Argan Oil Masque, Luxurious Edge Control, Weft Sealer, and mink eyelashes. Roland says she hopes to eventually have a franchise and become a “one-stop-shop,” where customers from across the country can pick up anything they need in the world of hair care.
“I have built my business by being friendly with my customers, and offering advice and maintenance tips on how I do my own hair. I have also built relationships with different stylists and it’s really been about being friendly and helpful and I think that’s the most important thing when you own a business,” Roland says. “With the location, I hope to do more of the same. There will be a different approach in terms of marketing because we have done so much online already but opening this store is amazing and I hope to open more locations in the future.”
While Roland admits that it has become hard to keep up with demand, she explained that she is still learning about business as she goes. The brand’s success has come quickly, and she says she hopes it is primarily because of her devotion to customer service and competitive pricing.
“I was never a business woman, and I never went to school for this. I was actually a nurse – an LPN at the age of 19 – and I never dreamed that I would soon own my own corporation. But just as I used trial and error to find the right hair for my brand, I have done the same with my business,” Roland says. “People ask me all the time how I got to know this industry and my simple answer is this: when you want to know something bad enough, you are going to do whatever you need to figure it out. This business is like my baby and nobody is going to treat it like I would so I handle the bulk of customer emails and I pay attention to their needs because at the end of the day no one is going to care more than I do.”
And as she moves forward, attaining goals and projecting future endeavors, Roland says she will continue to work hard to make her business the best it can be.
“Apple wasn’t always a billion-dollar company and it took a lot of hard work and dedication for it to get the way it is now,” she says. “So in terms of my own brand, I know that it’s not going to be successful on its own and that I need to put in the hard work and dedication. I remember when I only had one order a week, then it was one a day, then two a day, then thousands. So it’s just about staying focused and remembering where I came from and where I’m going.”
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that the ancient Egyptians were not Black people. There is plenty of evidence. And if the fact that the country is located on the continent of Africa, there’s also the fact that archeologists just discovered remains of an Egyptian woman from around 1335 B.C. and her hair, still in tact– in some way–after all these years, was styled with more than 70 extensions.
Homegirl was literally fresh to death…I had to do it.
Livescience reported that the woman was laid to rest more than 3,300 years ago in a newly built city in Egypt now called Amarna.
She was not mummified, her body was simply wrapped in a mat.
The extensions were placed and fastened in many different lawyers and heights on her head.
Researchers haven’t been able to determine her name, age or occupation but she is one of hundreds of people who have been found with their hairstyles still intact, who were buried in a cemetery near an ancient city.
The researchers are trying to determine if the hairstyle was particularly for her funeral and burial.
Jolanda Bos, who is leading the hairstyle research, said:
“The hair was most likely styled after death, before a person was buried. It is also likely, however, that these hairstyles were used in everyday life as well and that the people in Amarna used hair extensions in their daily life.”
The other skulls Bos examined had extensions made of gray and black hair, suggesting that several people donated their hair to create the extensions.
Bos analyzed 100 excavated skulls recently, 28 of them containing hair. She noticed that the skulls featured a variety of hair types “from very curly black hair, to middle brown straight” she says this “might reflect a degree of ethnic variation.”
The skulls with brown hair have rings or coils around the ears. And others in the city seemed to be fond of braids, a style that is consistently seen throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa.
With the extensions, fat was used to keep the hair in place. Scientists are currently doing more research to determine if the fat was from animals.
In one case a woman had an orange-red color to cover her graying hair. She may have dyed it with henna.
Bos said this woman and other ancient Egyptians might have dyed their hair “for the same reason as why people dye their hair today, in order not to show the gray color.”
You know what they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Fascinating stuff right?
Lisha Lee and Bethany “Queen B” Bell are two beauty entrepreneurs who have amassed a large following in a short period of time. Lee’s Hair Insanity, Lisha Lee Cosmetics brands and Queen B’s majestic hair artistry have put them both in positions of “ones to watch” in the worlds of beauty and art. MadameNoire talked with both women to find out their secrets to business and creative success in an already crowded industry.
Madame Noire: Please talk about why you decided to get into your respective fields in the beauty industry?
Lisha Lee: With hair extensions, I thought about starting my business (Hair Insanity) about four, five years ago. My hair is very coarse and my hair was breaking off due to flat ironing. I was trying to get my hair the same texture as a friend of mine, who has virgin hair, which is very fine and silky. I thought to myself that there has to be something different to achieving the same desired results for my hair without damaging it.
I started doing research and that’s when I [read] about Brazilian and Malaysian hair. I thought to myself, “Hmmm, what if I got some of this so I can see what will happen.”
Then I came up with Lisha Lee Cosmetics to expand on the success of Hair Insanity. I kind of did it for myself because I love nail polish. I’m not going to sell you something that I won’t wear myself. I wear nail polish, hair extensions, and lip gloss. These are things that I wear on a normal, day-to-day basis. Then you see other women out doing the exact same thing. I just basically took my business ideas from there.
Bethany “Queen B” Bell: I actually never wanted to be a hairdresser. It was something that I was never passionate about. I didn’t grow up braiding or coloring my girlfriends’ hair or anything like that. I wanted to go to school for fashion and changed my mind during my senior year.
My mom had a little heart attack. She was like, “This is my oldest daughter. I can’t spend 50 grand a year while she still can’t decide what she wants to do.” My mom was also getting married that year and where she was getting her hair done they had a school upstairs. So I went to check out the school and decided to try it out and it stuck.
I was only halfway through school and I had a position behind a chair. I built an awesome book and a salon out of the experience. About seven years into my career, I got really bored and needed to play around because I’m an arts kid. I decided to play around with my business of making hair art and ended up on Oxygen’s “Hair Battle Spectacular” (Season 2). From there I pushed myself even further to create the pieces that I have today.
MN: Lisha, did you have a start-up funds before creating your businesses?
LL: Honestly, I started my business in 10 minutes. I had no money. I had no job. I did all of this on my own, with no help, no boyfriend, no family, nobody but just me.
A few years ago, I got laid off and I thought “Oh my God, what am I gonna do?” Then the hair came in and I did my research. Every time I got money in my hand I would buy samples (of hair). I just put everything into the business.
I spent money on the logo, business cards, brochures, samples, bundles. Of course I was struggling. I was completely struggling. Then in 2012, my mom ended up with lung cancer. At that stage, I kind of put the business on hold for a little bit. For some strange reason in 2012, all of a sudden people just started ordering and I was just making it from there. I didn’t even have a website, only social media links. In 2012 I made $80,000 and in 2013, I made $120,000.
The Black Market: Thieves Steal $50K Worth Of Weave From Chicago Beauty Supply; Cash Register Untouched
The market for weaves of all luxurious lengths is pretty large these days, and it seems that more and more people are looking to buy extensions, but at a cost that’s not as exorbitant as some beauty supplies sometimes try to sell them for. This demand makes way for a black market, where individuals are bold enough to throw bricks in beauty supply store doors to break in and take as many bundle packs of extensions that they can get, only to make a profit on the streets.
In 2012, thieves busted through the wall of a beauty supply store in Chicago to steal a massive $230,000 worth of weave. Earlier this year, a beauty supply store worker, also in Chicago, was pepper sprayed as a woman grabbed 10 packs of remy hair, valued at $100 each. And when a group of men and women tried to rob a couple purchasing hair at a beauty supply in Atlanta late last year, one of the suspects ended up being shot dead. Things are getting quite crazy for some hair, ya’ll.
And just this week, a beauty supply store in Oak Lawn (which is just outside of Chicago) was burglarized, as nine people broke in (using a brick), grabbing all the bundles of hair extensions they could get, with the owner saying he lost $50,000 worth. But aside from the weave, the robbers didn’t want anything else. The store owner says they didn’t bother to even go near the cash register.
“It’s crazy, it’s unbelievable the way it happened,” said beauty supply store manager Al Salman in an interview with an ABC affiliate in Chicago.
“If it was a one person thing you would think, okay he needs some money, he broke in. But this was organized. That’s what makes this scary. They did it right. They knew what to get, they exactly got the expensive stuff. You’re talking about tens of thousands of dollars gone in less than a minute.”
Salman believes someone had been keeping an eye on the beauty supply before the robbery, because one of the burglars knew to open a closed box that held quite a few bundles of stored extensions.
No one has been arrested for the theft as of yet, but Salman wants justice, and to see “any organized crime like this” stop. Such robberies have been hitting many beauty supply stores all over the city in the last year or two, and really, been hitting stores all over the country.
In a piece on these thefts done by CNN last year, Arizona State University English Professor (and lecturer on hair matters) Neal Lester had this to say about this uptick in robberies for hair:
“People who have the audacity and the ingenuity to do this will be able to sell them. It’s no different from selling DVDs, where they are sold out of the back of your trunk. The trend speaks to the notion that hair is so intricately wrapped to one’s identity that there are risks people take. And it’s a telling moment in the economy, that people are now ready and willing to pay such a price.”
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.”
“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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