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The Black Hair Care Industry

Nina44

New Member
I've seen quite a few threads on here and some other black websites where people put down black or AA salons and rave about Dominicans, whites and some even look forward to Koreans entering the field. A few years ago when I didn't know any better, I fell for the myth of Dominican salons. I was at first awed by the ooh so straight hair but after a few visits, my hair started to break off and thin. The other thing was she didn't do a good job styling my hair. At this particular salon, the stylist didn't ask me what my name was and the owner after my first visit was telling me I needed a perm.

People will even write on review websites a negative review about a Dominican salon but say they have to find a good one. Why don't the AA/black salons get that kind of treatment? How would we like it if people chose to not hire us because afterall blacks are XYZ? We just seem to be so hard on ourselves. This is the only industry we still have a stake in it and people are happily giving it away. Don't you know once the black stylists are gone the Dominicans will raise their prices? Someone even said in one thread that their sister went to a Korean stylist who patiently learned how to do hair from her (the black client) and she was cheap. Would we put up with that from one of our own--I think not!!

This is kind of reminding me of how about 20 years ago, AAs dominated the braiding market and generally left the hair in good condition. AFricans entered the scene and dropped the prices but raised them once they dominated that market. And it's not just in the hair care industry. So, my question is why are we so hard on ourselves? Your thoughts?
 
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czyfaith77

Well-Known Member
As far as black own businesses, I thoroughly support them. I only stop supporting when the people get messy or start charging astronomical prices. I would do the same for any other ethnic group. I did it to my former mechanic who I loved and was Puerto Rican. A Jamaican guy now does work on my vehicles and does superb work. I would definitely go to a black owned BSS if many of them would start selling things as if they were trying to pay their overhead with one item purchased. I have seen this on several occasions and some of the products are questionable. If they give me reason to respect their establishment, then I can guarantee my happy return as well as referrals.
 

CrissieD

Well-Known Member
The Dominican salons I've gone to were owned and operated by black Dominicans as I assume most are. I have only ever met a handful of white Dominicans. So I have never felt as though I was not supporting a black owned business.
 

Nina44

New Member
The Dominican salons I've gone to were owned and operated by black Dominicans as I assume most are. I have only ever met a handful of white Dominicans. So I have never felt as though I was not supporting a black owned business.

I've noticed that even though Dominicans are racially black, they're often viewed as Latino and thus in a seperate racial category. Whereas for example, Jamaicans and AA stylists get the black salon treatment--thus any negative experience with those is treated as just another example of a so-called black salon but the Dominicans can get away with not even knowing the customer's name.
 

czyfaith77

Well-Known Member
Good point Crissie....I like that one. Didn't think of that. Not all would do so but my cousins claim being Dominican as much as African-American.
 

Nina44

New Member
As far as black own businesses, I thoroughly support them. I only stop supporting when the people get messy or start charging astronomical prices. I would do the same for any other ethnic group. I did it to my former mechanic who I loved and was Puerto Rican. A Jamaican guy now does work on my vehicles and does superb work. I would definitely go to a black owned BSS if many of them would start selling things as if they were trying to pay their overhead with one item purchased. I have seen this on several occasions and some of the products are questionable. If they give me reason to respect their establishment, then I can guarantee my happy return as well as referrals.

Koreans play some dirty games in the BSS industry. They'll often refuse to sell to blacks even though most of their customers are black. I have been fortunate to have been shopping at black owned BSS for almost a decade. How they took over was they'd open up a store close to a black owned store and sell stuff cheaper. We seem to fall for the okey dokey each time.

I also sometimes go to Target, Walmart or Sally's but get this the Koreans got the industry on such lock down that they deliver hair supplies even to drug stores--all the way down to the truck driver! I also buy stuff from black owned companies like Qhemet online.
 
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hair4romheaven

Well-Known Member
Nina44 said:
What is good and fair? A $15 wash and set or a $40 wash and set? For that matter, I have AFrican friend who tell me hair stylists back home only make about $5 or $10.

I'll pay $200. For good & fair services. Good & fair are simple words that are not hard to understand. Are you a hair stylist?
 

Nina44

New Member
I'll pay $200. For good & fair services. Good & fair are simple words that are not hard to understand. Are you a hair stylist?

No. I'm not a hair stylist. I only do my own hair from time to time! Almost overnight, Dominican hair salons have sprung up in my area. I mean literally on each street. It's like it's definitely well planned out. Since I'm natural, I only go to salons that do natural hair (or at least press hair). The upscale black salons that do natural hair I know are thriving. I've also seen some natural and traditional black stylists leave salons (or salon close) and they are now working in salons at places like JCPenney's and even at Korean owned BSS. Others are working at smaller white salons or doing hair from home. So, I guess the biggest change is blacks are not opening hair salons that much now which means fewer black hair salon owners. I see an industry in turmoil. It's showing all the signs of every other industry blacks once had and lost. But the biggest threat will be probably be the Koreans because they have deep pockets and already control the rest of the industry--products, hair, distribution.
 
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JudithO

Well-Known Member
I'll go to wherever does a great job and charges reasonably no matter the race. However, if there is an AA or African place that does just as good a job for the same price or just a tiny bit more... I'll go to the AA place...

1. I'll feel more comfy there, jokes r funnier, gossips are juicier... lol.... and
2. Not racist, but I'd rather help honest AA or Africans grow .... I just feel more obligation to help Africans than others....
 

topnotch1010

Real Housewife of Houston
People like shiney new things and AA salons need to get with the program. The Africans came in and put up formal braiding salons. I NEVER saw a braiding salon before they came in and I lived in the Black Hair Capitol of the South, ATLANTA! :lachen:

Now we have the Dominicans moving in with their round brushing. It's a simple technique so why can't we beat them to the punch and start offering it in our salons too? In the world of business, you can never get too comfortable. You must be willing to grow to stay relevant. I'm sure that if they got with the program they'd keep their customers. We are simple tired of putting up with mediocre service and we will not keep spending with you for the sake of "supporting black businesses".

Furthermore, before we start comparing the pay in Africa the CONTINENT with USA the COUNTRY, we need to look at the exchange rate and cost of living index to put things into proper perspective.
 

Ann0804

Member
I totally get what you are saying. We are hard on us, but let others get away with treating us any type of way. I also believe in good service no matter what race someone is.
 

Nina44

New Member
People like shiney new things and AA salons need to get with the program. The Africans came in and put up formal braiding salons. I NEVER saw a braiding salon before they came in and I lived in the Black Hair Capitol of the South, ATLANTA! :lachen:

Now we have the Dominicans moving in with their round brushing. It's a simple technique so why can't we beat them to the punch and start offering it in our salons too? In the world of business, you can never get too comfortable. You must be willing to grow to stay relevant. I'm sure that if they got with the program they'd keep their customers. We are simple tired of putting up with mediocre service and we will not keep spending with you for the sake of "supporting black businesses".

Furthermore, before we start comparing the pay in Africa the CONTINENT with USA the COUNTRY, we need to look at the exchange rate and cost of living index to put things into proper perspective.

You make a good point about the braiding salons. I just knew of 1 AA braiding salon. But onthe other hand, lots of Africans to this day work out of their homes the same way AAs were. And Africans braid tighter and generally don't know much about the hair. But it was the price that was probably a deal breaker.

Can a stylist give superior service and not even know the client's name or try to pressure her into getting a perm? That was my experience at a Dominican salon. Maybe black salons should give the client the option of the round brush. I don't know. I think black salons are kind of in a Catch 22 because if they do exactly what the Dominicans do, they'll lose their spark and the only difference will be the price. Probably the best bet is to definitely become specialists with doing natural hair and helping people transition. And the ability to revive hair damaged hair. And emphasizing the positive like the ability to creatively come up with new styles.

I brought up the pay in Africa as an example. If a hair stylist is in NYC charging only $10 or $20 for a wash and set it, stands to reason she's not going for the same standard of living as American hair stylists or maybe the plan is to just charge those prices indefinitely until the competition is out of business and then drive the prices up to $40 or $50. And where are they getting the money to open up salons on every corner? Are richer Dominicans financing this or even non-Dominicans? These are the questions we should be wondering about. Either the profession as a whole will change with stylists going from being solidly middle class to poor or we're seeing well financed entrepreneurs systematically driving competition away and then upping the prices.
 

Nina44

New Member
I'll go to wherever does a great job and charges reasonably no matter the race. However, if there is an AA or African place that does just as good a job for the same price or just a tiny bit more... I'll go to the AA place...

1. I'll feel more comfy there, jokes r funnier, gossips are juicier... lol.... and
2. Not racist, but I'd rather help honest AA or Africans grow .... I just feel more obligation to help Africans than others....
I agree! I'm partial to supporting AA and West Indian businesses but also support African businesses. I don't mind paying a little more to support my own. The biggest challenge for me is time and location. There are times when I want to support a black business that is really out of the way. But I guess we do the best we can do. I've started talking to friends about this and have discovered local black owned businesses I didn't even know about. And I do care about quality. But there is a twist to this. I've seen some black doctors and dentists who only hire non-blacks.
 
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Nina44

New Member
I totally get what you are saying. We are hard on us, but let others get away with treating us any type of way. I also believe in good service no matter what race someone is.

Exactly! Most black women expect for black hair stylists to not only know their name but also their children's names. Some even know they're being talked about in Spanish but keep going back anyway. I think it's really a balancing act. We should expect good service wherever we go but on the other hand it's not right to hold black businesses to a high standard while overlooking negative traits in other businesses.
 

SavannahNatural

Well-Known Member
This is certainly not a new topic in the AA community. I've had the conversation time and time again about AA taking back the hair care and product industry. I don't know if it's simply the fear of approaching a bank for a loan or the ultimate fear of failure. I'm sure that the women on this board alone could pull their resources and open and run a successful BSS. But if the drive to do it isn't there, then who am I to force it on someone?! I say the next time you hear someone complain about the Asian owned/operated BSS offer your assistance in opening a store of their own!


If we the consumer don't demand it, then it simply won't happen.

As far as the level of service, I don't think it's up to the business as much as it's up to the individuals that allow the sub standard service.

I believe that as a whole (USA) we have allowed for those who provide the service/product to dictate what and how we'll receive something, with a greeting and a smile or a cell phone toting side eye! I'm not going to blame a business for something I've allowed to happen. When I change my standards they will either fall in line or lose my business.

I've recently become very hard on businesses that don't perform to a level that I believe I pay for. I complete every survey offered wether I get 10% off on a future purchase or enter for a chance to potentially be in the running for $1000; $750 after taxes :). I check reviews for businesses, as best I can, before I give them my hard earned money! And I write my own reviews on businesses good or bad!

All I'm saying is don't blame them for what you allowed to happen...
 

beana

Well-Known Member
Nina44 some people don't mind putting up with BS from other races/ethnic groups. I've said this over and over again, people LOVE to use the worst examples of black salons and businesses and compare them to the very best of everyone else.

I love inexpensive, but I also value good quality and service and will never put up with abuse in order to save a few dollars. Black people have been so disillusioned because we actually think its racist to support and ensure the prosperity of our own. Meanwhile we congratulate everyone else for their racism (ex, italians care so much about family--- really? how do we know this because they give their convict son a high paying job over an overly qualified "other"). Or how dominican salons have better business practices, some do, MANY don't. Just because you cant understand what Xiomara is saying doesn't mean she isn't bad mouthing you and values your business.)

We want black business to be grateful for our business and don't hold anyone else to that standard. Nina, you're new here and you'll notice some "weird" things here ever so often on this board. Most of the time I just KIM, but tonight this struck a nerve.
 

jillybean2012

New Member
Luckily for the AA salons in my area, the dominicans have not taken over. In fact, they are pretty hard to find. The ones that I have heard of are pretty expensive, probably due to lack of competition.

We do have quite a few african braiders but I really don't know how well they are doing. I am not seeing a lot of braided styles lately.
 

topnotch1010

Real Housewife of Houston
I have only been to one of these braiding salons once and it was not because of price, it was because they had a definite location and were fast. Other people I know that go to them state their primary reason for going is speed/time. AA salons are notorious for overbooking. Overbooking in extremes like they do is a bad business practice. Most white salons have a rule that if a customer has to wait over a certain number of mins on a stylist, the service is half priced and the stylist will be in danger of losing their job.

A business has to decide on what side of the value equation it will be on: qualitative or quantitative. Dominican salons are quantitative. Dominican salons are not considered nice/high end. They service price sensitive clients. Client's don't look for bells and whistles. That's not what they pay for. They pay for speed. Those stylists have to service a high number of customers in a short amount of time to make up the numbers. They don't have time to get friendly with you, they want you in and out.

Most AA salons are qualitative. They charge higher prices and in turn you're supposed to get personalized service (but we don't). The problem is they've failed to do so for the most part. Most AA stylist don't know how to cut, color, nor care for real hair. Who the heck wants to pay $50+ for someone to burn up their hair with unregulated heat marcel irons or fry it off with poor chemical practices? No one. Most AA stylist need more education but are too arrogant to go get more.

I don't know what the individual salons strategy is, but I can say that the $10-20 shampoo set salons only shampoo and roll you up. They don't take down the rollers and style your hair. That's a significant time savings. That time that they saved on you is spent with another customer. So instead of making $40 on one customer, they make $60 on three and spend less because of lower product costs.

I've done a little research and a lot of these salons are owned by the same people. I don't know what the hesitation is with AA stylists investing back into their business and opening new salons but they don't while the Doms do.
 

topnotch1010

Real Housewife of Houston
Think about it like this, the speed cutting houses, SuperCuts, Master Cuts, etc... they have their place. You don't go to them for an hairdo. You go to them for a quick haircut. Dom salons are the same thing. You wouldn't go to them for a special occasion updo or a weave. Heck, I wouldn't even let them cut or relax my hair. They have one purpose, a blowout.

AA salons are still a cornerstone of our community. It's not too late, they just need to up their game.
 

Ogoma

Well-Known Member
I support black-owned (regardless of ethnicity) businesses as much as possible. I mean no other racial or ethnic group seem to be doing the 'I don't see color, I don't know color' routine when it comes to supporting businesses. At the end of the day, we pay for it by having the lowest levels of overall ownership and wealth, and continuously losing influence.
 

Ogoma

Well-Known Member
The AA salons I went to in my relaxed days were really good, but not cheap. I have been to one of those salons where you spend all day there and I never went back. There are some really good AA salons with great customer service. I really cannot complain.
 

CrissieD

Well-Known Member
It is definitely not racist to support our own. I guess when I am lost or where I differ with you OP and some of the other ladies is in the definition of our own.
 

NJoy

Here I grow again!
:boredwrk:


No offense but this topic has been done to death. I think we all get it. *sigh* or maybe I'm just tired. Taking my butt to bed now.

Love, peace and hair grease....er, I mean, coconut oil (but, that doesn't really rhyme so...yeah. G'night)
 

beana

Well-Known Member
Yes it has, but its still worth the discussion. Several new people join the board everyday, and IMO the topic is very relevant because it's still an issue. Not talking about it wont make it go away or cease to exist, the more awareness the better.

Not towards you NJOY, and speaking in general, nothing bothers me more than someone asking a question and there are several responses of "do a search". If you took the time to open the thread and read it, at least attempt to respond with something worthwhile, or just ignore it. I think I'm cranky today, going to bed in a few...
 

Chaosbutterfly

Transition Over
Unpopular opinion here, but I honestly don't care about supporting black owned businesses. I don't care if the person providing me with a service is black, white, yellow, brown, purple, orange or green. The only thing that matters to me is if I am satisfied. As long as I am happy with the service or product that I'm receiving, I will continue to be a patron of that business or salon or whatever.

Personally, I switched from my black-owned salon to a Dominican one because the Dominican salon had better practices for relaxing, used higher quality, up-to-date products, could do a nice blowout, and I don't have to fight anyone about what to do with my hair. I go to my Dominican salon because overall, they provide me with the best service within my budget. If I could find another salon that could do better for a comparable price (not necessarily lower, just comparable), I would go to there, regardless of the ethnicity or race of the owner.

If black stylists feel like they are being shafted, it's happening for a reason, and it's up to them to figure out how to do what the Dominicans do, but better. I'm not gonna subject my hair to lesser treatment just for the sake of supporting black-owned businesses. Nobody is entitled to my patronage because they are black. They have to earn it by providing superior service, just like any other business person.
 

Nina44

New Member
I support black-owned (regardless of ethnicity) businesses as much as possible. I mean no other racial or ethnic group seem to be doing the 'I don't see color, I don't know color' routine when it comes to supporting businesses. At the end of the day, we pay for it by having the lowest levels of overall ownership and wealth, and continuously losing influence.

ITA! Although foreign blacks usually support their own businesses, there's still a common thread there. In the Caribbean and in quite a few African countries, the Chinese and Indians are running thriving businesses. I visited one small Caribbean island where the East Indians and Lebanonese from Guyana had taken over a slew of stores once owned by blacks there. It's well documented that S. Korea financed the synthetic hair industry and China gives its citizens money to open businesses abroad. That would definitely play into their ability to charge lower prices until the competition has thinned out. The I don't see color attitude I think is really our wanting to be accepted and to fully integrate in America. People hoped it would happen with Obama but instead there's been even more racial hostility which is why the black unemployment rate is so high.
 
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