Only about 1% of Utah’s population is black so you wouldn’t exactly expect to see a beauty supply on every corner, but black women throughout the state are having a hard time finding any products to style their hair, let alone a beautician.
Angel Bumpers was one of those women when she first moved to the state nine years ago. She told the Salt Lake Tribune that the fact that she couldn’t properly style her hair hindered her ability to get a job, so after she settled into the city she decided to kill two birds with one stone by opening Beyond Beautiful. Initially, the small business only sold synthetic hair and wigs, but a year later Bumpers expanded the store into a salon and hired a cosmetologist who was trained in caring for black hair.
Bumbers said she began to get more calls for styling than her products when she made that move. “My phone was ringing off the hook,” she said. The products are an important part of her business, though, as she said most black women were traveling to Las Vegas for hair supplies or stocking up when they visited the east or west coast.
Buying products in Bumpers’ shop also helps to boost the local economy, and she’s generated some surprise business from the buzz surrounding her shop as well. White clients who want hair extensions, cancer patients looking for wigs, and white families who have adopted a black child and need help figuring out how to style the child’s hair have also been added to Bumpers’ clientele.
Kudos to Ms. Bumpers. Black women are serious about their hair and it looks like she’s found a way to capitalize on that need. Have you ever lived in a place with little access to black hair products or salons? How did you make due?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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