All Articles Tagged "hair extensions"
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.
You can read more of this story here.
For all the ladies that love a luscious weave, entering a posh and swanky salon that promises top-grade hair extensions is a pleasure. But when you live in a city that’s known for financial hardship, these sorts of treats can seem out of reach.
Malesa Plater, and her 23-year-old daughter Miranda, are opening a luxury beauty bar in Detroit today, Limelight Extensions. For Detroit, a great city that filed for Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy in July, it’s an extravagance that’s missing from the landscape. Despite the city’s fiscal crisis, Malesa and Miranda saw a void in Detroit that needed to be filled. Where are the beauty shops catering young, chic women? Expanding on an online enterprise, the owners of Limelight Extensions say they “[intend] to operate four sites in the metro Detroit area within the next two years,” DBusiness states.
Madame Noire spoke with Malesa to get the scoop.
MadameNoire: What about Limelight Extensions qualifies as “luxury”?
Malesa Plater: We make sure that the hair is always going to be shiny, bouncy, no shedding, no matting. When you walk out at night, you know that your hair is going to get you a lot of attention. You can dye it red, green, any color you want; the hair will draw attention to you… [W]hen you walk into the door we have this huge chandelier. We have granite countertops. We spent a lot of money on the exterior and the interior as well to create a posh setting.
MN: Most black women are seeing dollar signs in the natural hair industry. What made you decide to jump into the hair extension business instead?
MP: If you actually take a poll and look around you, I think more of the mature woman are going with natural. But the younger generation, which we’re going after, ages 18 to 34, they’re still doing the long, luxury, Hollywood look. If you look at Hollywood, everyone is wearing extensions — long, beautiful locks. Especially in Michigan, where people spend a ton of money on hair extensions. I wouldn’t compare natural hair to [hair extensions] because it’s just not that big of a market yet. Extensions are still ruling the market. It’s a $13 million business!
MN: Limelight Extensions was once just an online enterprise and now you’re expanding. Tell us your secret to business growth.
MP: We didn’t go into the business crippled; we had money. We spent a lot of money on a PR team and a branding/marketing firm. So we knew what we had to do – this is a competitive market. Extensions are nothing new so we went out and we spent the money on media and an entire team to get the word out.
MN: Many businesswomen look to YouTube hair gurus to advertise their products on their channel. Have you done the same?
MP: We’re doing that now as we speak. We have a group called the “Limelight Ladies.” We choose a female and a market that we desire and we send them the hair and work with them to get the word out. They review the hair and share their thoughts. Our Instagram numbers have grown pretty fast!
MN: Why would you choose Detroit, a bankrupt city, as the prime location for Limelight Extensions’ first store?
MP: That’s what you see from the worldview. I travel the world and everywhere I go, when I tell them I’m from Detroit, they automatically say ‘Oh General Motors! [which had a role in Detroit’s fiscal slide] Detroit! Bad place!’ Even if they don’t speak [English] very well. But Detroit put America on the map; great minds came from Detroit. We are going to get back to the glory, we won’t give up on it. I know [business] people are moving to LA and New York, but the brain source is still here. And with young people like Miranda, and others that work under us and with us, they’re staying here and fighting for their city.
We took [our business] here because Detroit still spends a lot of money. There’s some areas I would never go to; I’d be crazy to tell you that I’d set up shop in certain areas. I live in the suburb,s but downtown Detroit is still a beautiful place and people are beginning to move back.
Detroit is starved for businesses because people have passed us over. They’ve forgetten about us, but we keep fighting. Whole Foods just opened up in midtown Detroit. You got a Papa Joes, which has a very high-end, upscale market, that’s opened up in downtown Detroit. So it’s coming back. So those who are on the cusp of Detroit’s return will ride the wave and be successful. There’s going to be a tsunami here soon.
So apparently during the latest episode of Basketball Wives, the ladies voiced concerns about co-star Tasha Marbury’s hair extensions salon, Celebrity Sew Ins and her interesting grand openings celebration.
“I don’t want to sound like I’m hating, but it was off,” Evelyn said during a confessional. “Nothing is ready, like nothing. So I’m like, why are you even having an opening? I feel like when you’re opening a business, everything needs to be in tip-top shape because first impression is what people are going to remember,” she added.
Yesterday Tasha took to her Instagram page to address the criticism dished out by her fellow “basketball wives.”
“It is so disheartening to hear and see my fellow cast mates bash what is now an extremely successful business venture,” the Celebrity Sew Ins founder began.
She went on to defend the beauty bar, despite its not-so-hot grand opening.
“Yes they caught us during our soft opening blues but all the kinks are now fixed!”
“@CelebritySewIns is created to provide affordable, chic extensions installations in communities that typically don’t have access to salons of this type.”
Tasha also defended opening her salon a troubled neighborhood.
“We could have opened ANYWHERE but we chose Brownsville because we felt the community deserved something nice too! Don’t forget to check out our website www.celebritysewins.com”
Check out footage from the grand opening below and on page two. Thoughts?
Celebrities are constantly changing their hair from the style to the length to even the color, so it makes perfect sense for them to invest in the billion dollar industry that is hair. Hair extensions have become a beauty staple that women all over the world enjoy. It is a market that doesn’t have many women or African American leaders, but the tide is starting to change. Click through this list of 15 celebrities who have made waves in the hair extensions world.
Tami Roman has stepped back into the weave game, this time around including her two daughters, Lyric and Jazz. The TR Collection specializes in three types of curly hair and Tami had this to say about her new venture, “Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some really great hair companies (Glamluxe, Indique), in which I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to offer above grade quality hair. So, I’ve decided to try again with my own CURLY hair line called the TR Hair Collection.”
Since Kenya Moore’s debut on Bravo’s hit reality TV show, Real Housewives of Atlanta, some ladies have been dying to know whether or not her gorgeous locs are enhanced by extensions or a gift from genetics. On several occasions she let it be known that for the most part, she doesn’t wear weaves or extensions. In a recent interview with Longing for Length, she did, however, reveal that she’s flattered by many people asking if her hair is real.
“I think it’s a compliment. I have healthy hair and people pay for extensions to look like my hair. I interpret that to be flattering for the most part.”
The former Miss USA went on to reveal that she is in the process of a launching a hair care line, in an effort to help other ladies to attain beautiful, healthy and luscious hair.
“I am working on my own hair care line and it’s a culmination of all of my favorite products and ingredients that I have come to love. I ‘m very passionate about hair care and love shiny, healthy hair. My products will first help to repair hair and then strengthen it so it will grow longer.”
In an interview with Untitled Flow late last year, Kenya stressed the importance of healthy hair and discussed being a “natural girl.”
“I think weaves and wigs are perfectly fine. My product line is basically to promote healthy hair. You can wear weaves or wigs if you want to, but you can wear your own hair as well. I’m very serlous about healthy hair. I do have my own hair. It is just hair. I don’t live and die by my hair. I’ve worn weaves for a movie but in my every day life when you see me on the RHOA, it’s all my hair. I don’t have fine textured hair. I have very thick hair. I don’t perm it. I don’t’ relax it. I’m wearing color in my hair right now but I don’t put any chemicals in it other than color. I wash it, let it air dry and flat iron it in small sections and use roller sets. As for everything else, my fans who’ve known me for a long time know that I’m a natural girl.”
But of course, these days it appears that it is nearly impossible for one Atlanta “housewife” to venture into an industry without one of her co-stars on her heels. It has also been announced recently that Porsha Stewart is in the process of launching a line of hair products as well. Last month she tweeted a photo of her younger sister with a caption announcing her upcoming product launch.
Judging by the photo, it seems that Porsha will be launching a line of hair extensions, as opposed to actual hair care products, but I suppose we’ll have to wait and see to know for sure. Maybe she’ll do both?
What do you think ladies? Would you purchase hair products from either of these reality TV stars?
Follow Jazmine on Twitter @jazminedenise.
Besides stirring up emotions on R&B Divas with her blunt style, Syleena Johnson has been building her business brand. Add her to the list of celebrities with hair product lines. Johnson has just announced her hair extension and wig line. The “True Diva Collection by Syleena Johnson” hair will hit stores in Spring 2013, and sold exclusively at Renown Premium Hair.
According to a press release, the line will feature wefted hair for weaving and U-Part, lace-front wigs. The hair is full-cuticle and can be washed, blow dried, curled, flat ironed, and colored. Johnson herself is a fan of extensions and says she wears them for protective styling, versatility, and convenience.
It was actually while wearing Renown Premium Hair that Johnson approached company founder and former celebrity publicist, Toi Troutman. Johnson had perfect timing. According to Troutman, the brand was looking to create a celebrity line. “[W]hen she reached out to us, we knew that she would be perfect for it,” said Troutman in a press statement. “Syleena Johnson fully embodies our brand. Definitely a true diva, Syleena has sophistication, beauty, talent and class, yet she manages to keep her personality and image relatable to every woman.”
Johnson seems eager to get the line launched. “My True Diva Collection is not only quality hair but its affordable, and accessible to anyone who is looking for amazing hair that will last,” Johnson said in the press release.
Johnson, who is in the studio working on “Chapter VI: Couple’s Therapy,” has other business ventures as well. She recently launched her own fitness brand, SheLean, with a workout DVD. A “Mommy’s Got Soul” DVD, featuring her own original music, to soon follow.
In Hollywood, changing hair is like changing clothes. Celebs want to be able to perfect and tweak their hair on the daily and with the use of weave, it’s plenty possible. Though you only seem to hear about black female celebs and their amazing weaves, here are 14 white female stars who have some notable weave game.
It’s no surprise that Kim’s luscious locks aren’t completely her own, but she does rock some good weave.
Each year, African American women spend millions of dollars on hair extensions and hair care products, contributing to the multi-billion dollar bottom line of a market that is 90 percent owned and operated by Korean businesses.
In recent years, there’s been an outcry by the African American community calling for an investigation on the Korean domination of the market and many media outlets including Madame Noire have tackled this issue in the past.
In spite of higher-than-normal barriers of entry to entrepreneurship in the black hair care and weaving industries, veteran companies like Carol’s Daughter, Dudley’s Q and newcomers like Huetiful and curlBOX are working feverishly to reclaim ownership of the brown beauty conversation.
Joining those ownership ranks is Amizade Hair, a new hair extension company founded by friends Michelle Morant and Kendra Austin that launched this past August.
According to Austin, the company provides “quality, affordable, and luxurious virgin hair extensions from around the world, in a range of textures, styles, and lengths,” and hopes to become a go-to brand among extension loyalists who may have traditionally purchased products from a non-black owned company.
We recently caught up with Morant and Austin to learn more about how they launched Amizade Hair, discuss industry obstacles and where they see themselves in the marketplace.