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The Black Hair Care Industry

Nina44

New 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.

I had a hair stylist once who used to tell me to call when I was about to leave. I'd do that and if she was busy, she'd tell me what time to call. I really preferred that to sitting at the salon all day. I think at times, our American values are at odds with our African values. Truth be told, many of us still operate on CP time during our spare time.

But what's often looked is Hispanics and Asians oftentimes have similar views of time. We just tend to overlook that when we see it in other groups. I've seen some Middle Eastern, and Indian businesses where they put a tacky sign up saying they'll be right back. There was the time when I took a leather jacket into the cleaners and promised to get it back the next week and the Indian owner didn't have it back in for a month. Or the Korean or Vietnamese owned alterations place where the owner closes at 3 everyday to pick up her son without posting that on her hours. They don't even bother posting their prices.

As far as prices go, in my area two strand twists have costed $75 or $80 and a press $55 or $65. I just started looking around and found out the prices have dropped to $55 for two strand twists and $45 for a press. And some AA salons are giving all inclusive rates that include deep conditioning, the trim, etc. I am not relaxed so the places where I visit may do both or just natural hair.
 

Nina44

New Member
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.

You make a good point. AA stylists seem to be focusing on weaves and natural styles now. The time when I went to the Dominican salon, I don't remember seeing them do any trims or perms. So, yes, it does appear people are going to the AA salons for that. I can understand from your other post why Dominican salons don't like doing natural hair. Natural hair definitely takes longer and is not something to rush through. The upscale AA salons are now having patients make their appointments online which seems to help them avoid overbooking.

The other thing I've noticed is some are starting to name their salons Spanish names just like the old school people gave their salons French names. Some are giving the salon a Spanish name and keep always wear their hair long (resisting the urge most stylists regardless of race to get the latest cut). I'm speaking of people who look like they could be from anywhere in the African diaspora and are actually from Chicago, South Carolina or Mississippi. So, the other part of this is there is a tendency for AAs to like the exotic. It's a shame those stylists feel they have to do that, but money talks.
 

Nina44

New Member
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.

That's interesting. It sounds like the beginning of corporation(s). The AA salons I know of that have more than one location are natural salons. I can't think of any traditional AA salons with more than one location. It really sounds. What you've described in terms of service is like comparing a fast food place to Longhorn Steakhouse. I think AFrican salons have a similar model in terms of running the place like an assembly line. In fact, I saw them doing that a long time before the Dominicans did. They will also have more than one person working on each head. What I find is they are very fast but know little about hair. I guess it's okay for people with very strong hair. I think there are good, bad and okay hair stylists for every racial and ethnic group.
 

Nina44

New 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.

ITA! I was visiting a church once where the pastor introduced a Korean pastor with a church in Korea and said they were starting a partnershipand how the minister would be visiting for some time observing. I literally froze and the congregation did too! He said something about wanting to save up money to go to Korea and that was the last I heard of that! Imagine Koreans going after the black church? :blush:

Yes, I have noticed some weird things on LHCF! There's nothing wrong with taking our own. Black hair stylists are usually married (or have a boyfriend) with kids and are very socially connected in the community. Losing that industry could have dire consequences. This is reminding me of black men who have only negative things to say about black women but speak as though nonblack women are angels. Any negative traits in them are overlooked or they make excuses for them. And they gladly hand over their hard earned money to them while getting all petty with sisters over money. All of this is the same issue.
 
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