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[Opinion] Why Naturals Should Buy Exclusively from Black-Owned Hair Companies

• Nov 4, 2013

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By Lurie Daniel-Favors

When Chris Rock’s film Good Hair was released there was a lot of noise made about the fact that most of the people profiting from the massive Black hair industry are not actually Black. It seems everyone is benefitting financially from our collective addiction to hair that we don’t actually grow.

A few weeks ago Mintel, the market research firm reported that over the past five years there was a 26% decline in the sale of hair relaxers.  Natural hair sites all over the place did the hallelujah dance and many in the natural hair community greeted the news with excitement.  The idea that more Black women are beginning to embrace ethnically Black hair (i.e. natural hair) is one that makes many of us happy.

The numbers were truly astounding.

  • Relaxer sales are estimated to drop from $206 million in 2008 to only $152 million this year
  • In the past 12 months, nearly 70% of Black women “say they currently wear or have worn their hair natural”

  • Now, granted I haven’t seen 70% of Black women in my area with naturals (and I suspect part of that decrease is due to the prevalence of hair weaves…), but the numbers are encouraging nonetheless.

    But when I read the report, in addition to getting hyped over the increase in naturals, I was instantly reminded of Civil Rights era bus boycotts. Specifically the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott.

    Why? Because just like the Montgomery boycott, for the savvy Black owned hair company, the numbers in that report can mean the difference between financial independence—or not.

    And our decisions as Black consumers may make all the difference.

    History in Context
    For those who don’t remember the details of the bus boycotts, here’s the quick version.

    After slavery, Black passengers were treated like scum third class citizens under legal segregation.  This was especially true when it came to public transportation.  After countless incidents where Black passengers were forced to either give up their seats for White passengers, kicked off of buses all together or subjected to racial violence terrorism, the Black community began to boycott the transportation system and demanded equal treatment.

    The Montgomery Boycott is one of the more famous protests. It lasted over a year and was a tremendous display of Black people really owning their monetary power. Despite the fact that Whites in Montgomery were completely unwilling to provide non-racist equal service to Black bus patrons, they very much wanted the money that Black patrons spent on bus tickets.

    During the boycott, Black taxi drivers stepped up to provide increased services. Black churches across the nation raised money and collected shoes to support the folks who chose to walk to work rather than submit to racist Jim Crow policies. The Black community rallied to keep Black folks mobile—and financially independent—during the boycott.

    However…in the pivotal moments after the boycott’s successful end, the Black community returned to riding buses operated by racist bus company owners.

    But what if instead of giving racist bus owners their transportation dollars going back to business as usual, Black patrons decided to keep their money circulating in their own community? What if during the boycott, the Black community created and maintained its own bus companies, met its own transportation needs and circulated those dollars within its own borders?

    What if instead of celebrating the fact that racists bus owners could no longer openly discriminate, the Black community rejoiced—and then decided it neither needed nor wanted to spend its money with those companies? What if instead, those boycotters chose to take their hard earned money and give it to Black owned bus companies that respected them and their humanity?

    Natural Hair Dollars and The Power of Choice
    Now, what this have to do with the decrease in relaxers and increase in Black women who are choosing natural hair alternatives?

    It all comes down to choices.

    Because believe it or not, the natural hair community is also at a pivotal moment.  We are literally shifting the commerce of the Black hair economy to one that rejects the idea that one must have straight hair in order to be deemed socially acceptable. And since Black women spend a hell of a lot of money on hair care, that shift is under some intense industry scrutiny.

    You see, natural hair websites were not the only ones reviewing that report.

    You can bet your lace front wig that large commercial hair product companies are keenly aware that they are losing money in the hair relaxer market. Anyone who has watched 5 minutes of BET lately knows that companies like Pantene and L’Oreal are hitting the airwaves hard to promote their new products for “naturals.” They’ve even adopted similar language, using terms like “co-wash,” “curl defining,” and “clarifying” to describe their products.

    It’s not because all of a sudden they changed their mind and decided that nappy/kinky/coily hair is beautiful. It’s because they are losing money to natural hair companies owned and operated by Black women. Companies like Going Natural, Karen’s Body Beautiful, Doris New York and Shea Moisture. And they aren’t going down without a fight.

    So now the natural community must choose how to spend our money and whom we will support with our economic power.

    Will we reward companies that played on our insecurities for decades? Will we support companies who profited by reinforcing a standard of beauty that was designed to exclude Black women and our hair?

    Or will we instead choose to support companies started by Black women for Black women? Will we reward those companies founded by sistas working in their kitchens who took the time to blend safe, natural ingredients in ways designed to promote the beauty and health of Black hair?

    Or will we…not?

    Just like those involved in the bus boycotts we have demonstrated our monetary potential.  We’ve shown that “going natural” isn’t just a trend and it is here to stay. Now we have to decide if we will throw our economic might behind those businesses in our own community who believe in the beauty inherent in who we are—or if we will continue in a (bad) tradition of supporting those outside our community who have shown little loyalty to our needs.

    Lurie is an attorney and the author of “Afro State of Mind: Memories of a Nappy Headed Black Girl. You can find her on Twitter,Facebook and YouTube.

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    117 Comments on "[Opinion] Why Naturals Should Buy Exclusively from Black-Owned Hair Companies"

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    First of all
    Guest

    Thank you. I’m gonna try the Shea Moisture. I buy my hair products from Wal-Mart. I will not give my business to beauty supply stores owned by non-blacks. I use Loreal sulfate free shampoo and Aussie moist conditioner and I have been bothered by the fact that Aussie moist doesn’t advertise in black publications because I’m sure they are aware that they are popular in the natural community. I also use IC hair polisher styling gel. I hadn’t given much thought to who owns the companies.

    Cre8tive
    Guest
    Ummm.…no offense, but the owners of WalMart are worse than the owners of the beauty supply stores. WalMart systematically makes business choices that increase their profits while restricting the benefits & salaries of their employees. You may not like that the BSS is owned by a non-black person, but in many cases they are operating in strip malls and plazas that provide local access to the products that stylists and local consumers need. Not all are reputable of course, but neither is WalMart. If you won’t give your money to a BSS owned by non-blacks why give it to a… Read more »
    annmarie
    Guest
    Not to mention that Wal-Mart, like McDonalds (two of the biggest employers in America I might add), regularly depend on tax-payer supported SNAP benefits (food stamps) and other social safety net living assistance programs to factor in how much they should pay their employees. It’s absurd and maddening, especially considering the billions of dollars of profit and the millions of dollars of tax subsidies companies like Wal-Mart get PER YEAR. That being said, if Wal-Mart is the only option (as it is in a lot of America) do what you need to do. But if you have an option to… Read more »
    First of all
    Guest

    I’m really going to have to educate myself about this and make some decisions on the hair products I use and where to purchase them. I just feel better buying from a place that sells hair products for every race and not a straight haired person making money from my hair type.

    awanda
    Guest
    I am all for supporting Black owned hair companies, IF their customer service is up to par. If not, I will not support them simply because they are Black. I recently dealt with a Black vendor whose products were rated on this site. When I eventually received their product, I refused to order from them again, due to the very poor customer. I emailed them at least 3 times regarding my product which I had not received even though I had the tracking number. I didn’t received 1 reply to my emails. There is simply no excuse for this type… Read more »
    Cee Cee
    Guest

    This is cool, but I hope your practice is the same when it comes to other companies owned by other races. I say this because I see a lot of us just cutting off black companies for one incident of poor customer service, but they take it (and go back for more) from companies that are not black owned.

    I am not saying accept poor customer service — no. I am saying be as hard on everyone else as you are Black people and yes that may mean you stop shopping at Forever 21 0_o

    Sylvia
    Guest

    THANK YOU CEE CEE!!! It’s sooo funny how we are quick to cut down a black owned business for whatever we don’t like and get on the bull horn and try to turn everyone against them but I never see them doing that with non-black owned business! It’s like we look for a reason to put down black owned businesses

    awanda
    Guest

    CeeCee, why would you assume I would only be this way with Black vendors? I will let any vendor or store I deal with if I’m not happy with their service. I don’t make excuses for any type of bad/poor customer service!

    Dotty
    Guest
    I agree with you Awanda and I hate when people diminish bad experiences with black owned companies as if to say you should care less about your money when the vendor shares your skin colour and be equally hard or harder on non black owned companies because they don’t share your skin colour. This mindset that some black women have has led to more than a few being ripped off due to wearing blinkers that say black vendor=must support. Anyone care to recall Moptop Maven or the woman who was selling some hair growth thing? Both disappeared into thin air… Read more »
    Georgina
    Guest

    Not one of the points here included quality of the product, which people go for, people buy products because they work well for their hair.

    Shea Moisture products are too heavy for my hair, Carol’s Daughter- expensive, so I’ll stick to what is cheap, and works best for my hair..plus I bet these black owned companies hire non-black employees, and non black owned companies Loreal etc hire black employees.

    Jesse
    Guest

    My all time favorite black-owned companies are Qhemet Biologics and Shea Moisture. Their products absolutely deliver the goods! Thanks for reminding us the power of choice. We can choose who we patronize with our hard earned money.

    Janae
    Guest
    I too can’t bring myself to buy any of the “natural” products made by what I call the relaxer companies. I just don’t believe their story. They don’t actually care about hair health (you can tell this by the like quality ingredients), their only goal is the bottom line & I would rather not contribute to it. Motions? No thanks. Dark n Lovely? I’ll pass. Elasta QP? Yeah right. I don’t want any of that junk near my head now that I understand ingredients & have made health my focus. I know everybody won’t feel the same, but to each… Read more »
    Janae
    Guest

    Low quality, I meant. 🙂

    Cami
    Guest
    I used to be a diehard PJ and tried just about every natural hair gel, pudding, and cream I could get my hands on. Literally. As long as it had a nice fragrance and didn’t hit my wallet too hard, I was all in. But after googling the ingredients of my total stash, I had to pitch it all, except for just two — Shea Moisture and Kinky-Curly Custard. I recently added two new ones to my stash, Naturally Silk Elements’ pudding and curling cream gel, and said good-bye to Kinky-Curly, but only because of the cost. That said, as… Read more »
    Maureen
    Guest

    As long as they ‘deliver the goods’ ( in terms of quality ) I will keep on buying the products of Hairveda and Qhemet Biologics. Am so in love with the alma & olive heavy cream and the acai berry phyto!

    ayisha
    Guest
    This is one of the best articles i have read so far. I don’t know much about American history but today, i have learn a thing or two. I absolutely love supporting our small owned hair care companies, our own sisters and brothers who truly appreciate us and what we are. One thing i have realize is, all this large companies who try to bring some so called natural products ‘ALL NATURAL’ to meet our needs are always far from natural or natural crab. When you start checking your ingredients list, you will find a lot of crab that are… Read more »
    ayisha
    Guest

    Hairveda is a very cheap natural quality product as well, especially for those budget .

    AnonSince87
    Guest
    I buy shea moisture, but I still wonder who’s benefiting? How much do Shea Moisture get when I pay £13 ($21) for their product all the way from a random beauty supply store in London? Do they even know their products are being sold here, because there’s been no ‘official launch’ of their products for the UK. I’m sceptical. Something tells me the Asian owned supply store is getting part of the benefits and whoever else ships it over to them. I’m now in the process of choosing a Black British owned brand so I’m more sure where my money… Read more »
    Niki
    Guest
    Is your issue that a mom & pop business is making a profit from the products they in turn had to pay for and have shipped to them? I understand wanting to support black owned businesses, but I think people need to understand the difference between the manufacturer of the product and the middle-men who resell the products. Are you asking that the “asian-owned BSS” should sell the products at the same price they purchased it? Newsflash!! They are in the business of making money. You as an end user can decide to cut out the middle-man and buy directly… Read more »
    AnonSince87
    Guest
    My comment about Asian owned BSS (and any other BSS) isn’t in regard to how much they charge. I was wondering whether Shea Moisture see any of that money or how much they get in comparison to the BSS & the sellers providing them with Shea Moisture products. Of course the BSS have to make a profit, but my point is am I really ‘supporting’ Shea moisture it they’re not seeing any (or very little) of the profits? I’m all for supporting local businesses! My main point is I’d like to support black owned businesses where possible. My issue is… Read more »
    Flynfab
    Guest
    I buy what I know works for my hair and won’t break my bank. If it’s from a black owned business then fine, if it’s not, then so be it. I’m not going to go out of my way to buy from a black owed business just because they’re black. Just because a product is from a black owned business does it mean that it’s superior to products that are not? No, not necessarily. Also, a lot of times these companies are only online, so that means extra money spent on shipping and then waiting for the product in the… Read more »
    Kami
    Guest
    I want to agree with you, but I have huge reservations. For one, many of these black owned natural hair companies are oddly expensive. I used to make my products, so I have to wonder why ingredients that aren’t expensive when bought from the grocery store, are $30-$40 for an 8oz bottle when purchased as a hair care product. Even with the cost of bottles, labor, and packaging, and profit there is no reason, it should ever come out to be that much. Another issue is that some of these smaller/newer companies have huge egos. My friend tried to start… Read more »
    ayisha
    Guest

    There is some sense in what you are saying sis. That is why research is very important. It doesn’t always have to expensive.

    cacey
    Guest

    let’s define expensive, though lol i have yet to see a natural hair product that sells for under, say, 10–12 dollars for an 8 ounce bottle. is that considered reasonable? idk but to me that’s a shiny penny. it all depends on what the product can do for you.

    Kami
    Guest

    Taliah Waajid products never go to $10. Her bodifying mist cost about $7 for 8oz. Online I can find it for about $6/ $5. And if we are talking about natural products in the sense that they have natural ingredients and are not just for natural hair, I can find Giovanni online for about $3 for 8oz (it’s bought in bulk but that’s a lower cost still).

    So, in short, yes. It takes some searching, but there natural hair companies that sell their products for cheaper.

    Maureen
    Guest

    Try Hairveda. Good products for a fair price. I use their protein conditioners. About 8–12 dollar, 16 oz a bottle.

    cacey
    Guest

    not bad, i might look into that line, then!

    hmm
    Guest

    Where did you purchase the bulk aloe vera base??

    Dawna
    Guest
    My heart is with you on this one. I really want to support black-owned businesses. But, they would first have to take a course in proper customer service skills. I’m tired of leaving this arena with a bad/sour taste in my mouth. Smal business owners have a better opportunity to add a very personal touch to their service and should capitalize on this by making sure every single customer leaves with a small. Treat customers like family and they will keep coming back. I’ve had tons of experience where *black* business owners treat me with an intense level of distrust… Read more »
    ayisha
    Guest

    You have a good point there.

    AnonSince87
    Guest
    I know people have their staple products and are maybe done experimenting. But I think it’s so important to support where possible. If the product isn’t too expensive, why not just buy to support (as long costumer service etc is on point). I’m not business savy, but maybe smaller businesses have to charge that little extra — we forget they’re not walmart or Duane Reid; they’re not at shea moisture status yet. If we don’t support at all — that’s it. Once again, another group will be profiting of of us. If enough of us don’t support, how will these… Read more »
    D.D.
    Guest
    I buy what works my hair hates almost everything so that is few products. I do like Everyday Shea which is a black African owned company that is fair trade which is important to me. I try to support but My hair hates so much I just stick to the same few products. I am also on a budget. Everyday Shea in natural and cheap you get 32 oz for like $10. I use the conditioner as a moisturizer and it works great that way. As a conditioner not so much but I really wanted to find a way to… Read more »
    TravelQueen
    Guest
    So many of you are on here talking about the poor customer service given by Black business owners…have you ever received anything other than poor customer service from the Asian BS owners? Yet, no one is on here complaining about that! I put my money where my mouth is and know that where my dollars get spent makes all the difference. http://atlantablackstar.com/2013/10/10/14-popular-brands-you-may-have-thought-were-black-owned/ If you read the 2nd paragraph of this article you will see that our Black dollars get recycled typically once at most within our community, while Hispanics, Asians, and Whites recycle their money many more times. You can… Read more »
    AnonSince87
    Guest
    I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve asked particular questions about hair or products only to be met with ‘I don’t know.’ This was years ago, I don’t bother asking now; the internet & word of mouth pretty much help. I also remember phoning up and asking one retailer if they sold Shea moisture before I travelled up there; ‘yes’ was the answer, ‘no’ was the reality -__- Admittedly, knowledge is much better now due to their learned experience, but many of them still do not have invested interest or knowledge in what they’re selling and they don’t… Read more »
    TravelQueen
    Guest
    I have found the same thing in L.A. and now in more recent times I’ve noticed that the Asian BBS owners are hiring Hispanic men and women to work at their stores to add insult to injury. And they really have no clue about any of the products they are selling…maybe they are just meant to watch you. It is a strange world we live in…I can’t imagine moving to China; being barely able to communicate in Chinese;opening a Chinese restaurant; and expecting Chinese people to eat there upon seeing me behind the register. I have a feeling my restaurant… Read more »
    Mai
    Guest
    …actually, yes. When I went to college, before I went natural, I went to this BSS where the Asian store owner bent over backwards to make sure I left happy and even helped me carry some of bags to the door, even if I had only one. And because I was a regular, he actually started to not charge some of the items I bought. To make the assumption that all Asian store owners treat blacks poorly is a stereotype and one of the reasons why I was worried about this article. Conversely, I went to the black owned Miss… Read more »
    TravelQueen
    Guest

    I don’t think it makes sense to invest where I am not treated kindly either. And as someone who has actually lived in Asia, and has many Asian relatives that I visit annually, I could never say that all Asians treat Blacks poorly. Albeit our relations are very different in the US versus in Asia. Regardless I think it is clear to most people what is systematically happening in Black neighborhoods all over this country…this doesn’t impact me directly because I’m a global citizen but most AAs as most Americans aren’t.

    Shelly_Shelle
    Guest
    @TravelQueen: For Real though! I stopped frequenting BSS because of the poor service given by the Asian owners. They were usually rude and didn’t appreciate my business. Unfortunately, they assumed that no matter what type of service I received, I would buy their items because I was in need, they’re convenient, and I wouldn’t do anything about it. With regard to Black-owned businesses in general, if I receive poor service I contact the owner; inform them of my experience & make suggestions. I also remind them that I was initially elated to support my people, and encourage them to make… Read more »
    Sylvia
    Guest

    @TravelQueen you are so right!!! But most Black people don’t care about how they are treated by non-black business owners because it is something they are used too and it’s okay. But let them have ONE bad encounter with a Black owned business OH LORD will the earth stop rotating because now all of a sudden they will demand respect. But either way it’s sad that most black people don’t care about where their dollars go and what happens within our community.

    awanda
    Guest

    TravelQueen, Why do you assume that all Black people will take bad customer service from white establishments, but complain when it’s a Black vendor? I complain about poor customer regardless what color the person is or what company. We are free to choose who we wish to purchased products from. If you want my business, you need to respect me and my money; otherwise I’ll take it elsewhere.

    TravelQueen
    Guest

    Lol, Awanda I know there are some Black people who are zero tolerance and let everyone know it. I will be more careful in my wording next time I post on here, so people don’t assume I mean 100% of a population or that I am stereotyping.

    Princess cherelle
    Guest
    I loved this article and agree with what was said. We need to start pushing ourselves more as a finiancial power. Globally we are seen as inferior because we do not have the capital/finances and we generally support anyone and everyone before our own. (Me included — I used to return to the shops that followed me around as if I was stealling for years. Not any more. Need to put in way more then that for my money!) We need to start looking at things logically rather then emotionally. Once we do that we can see the game thats… Read more »
    Dotty
    Guest

    Some people are supporting BSS because they are only willing to spend BSS prices on hair care. I generally think most naturals support black owned companies unless they buy weave or the odd old school product. Non naturals probably spend more at the BSS so aren’t people here preaching to the choir?

    cacey
    Guest

    good point! i hadn’t even thought of that. the rare times i go in the BSS (it’s on the other side of town from me and plus, it takes me forever to run thru product and even when i do walmart or dollar general’s closer lol) i NEVER see other naturals, or if i do, it’s a natural that’s about to slap on a wig or weave. the vast majority of consumers at BSS’s are relaxed women, at least in my area. the naturals tend to go to walmart or just order online.

    ayisha
    Guest

    I totally agree with you.….well said.

    LBell
    Guest
    I think this is a brilliant idea and I want to get behind it. Let me put this out here: I am a veteran natural who’s been using Hello Hydration conditioner for, I’m guessing, about 12 years. I have gone through MANY MANY other conditioners in that time and it’s the only one that has never failed me. Now that I’m wearing my hair in a curly ‘fro again (think WNG with a few extra steps), it’s doing what it needs to do for my hair: softens, detangles, moisturizes, and defines. It’s probably the closest thing I have to a… Read more »
    GSoldier
    Guest
    Black people, I must say we have a lot of pride, but as a majority, are all talk and no action. No other, let me repeat, NO OTHER racial group in our situation would even think of going back to the race that neglected and racially enforced stereotypes in their hair. so you’ve had a couple or so bad experiences with one or two particular black owned business. NEWSFLASH: There are fools within every industry. The amount of white and Indian girls I know that tell how shit a customer service was in different places they’ve been to… it’s not… Read more »
    AnonSince87
    Guest

    I think you’ve made some very valid points!

    NubianPrize
    Guest
    Very valid points.I’ve never had problems with black companies’ customer service because I learned so much about different black companies from message boards & you tube videos that I didn’t have to bother calling them. Customer service is a MESS no matter who it is. I’ve gotten put on hold for a half hour & more,dealt with voicemail roundaboutation that put me back to the first menu, reps that know nothing about their products,never heard of my problem, had nasty attitudes,etc. And those were ALL so called “white companies”.Oh yes,they had black & foreign reps answering phones, too, so the… Read more »
    cacey
    Guest

    ’roundaboutation’. love this! lol if you don’t mind, i think i wanna start using this word. it’s ingenious!!! (i’m an aspiring linguist always on the lookout for new words to describe phenomena, particularly if no words exist for them already)

    Shelly_Shelle
    Guest
    Just to clarify…we are NOT THE ONLY RACIAL GROUP in our situation with this issue. There are descendants of India that were colonialized, enslaved, and/or transported to other areas (to Fiji for example) with the same hair qualms including straightening. People of African descent are usually the poster child for all issues regarding the effects of racism because our experiences have been the extremes. I think we as African descendants are too hard on ourselves without taking into perspective where we have been and the great impacts we’ve had on the entire world. With that being said, fa’ sho! As… Read more »
    GSoldier
    Guest
    Apologies guys but the length was necessary. I just don’t see how I a student on a gap yearis studying online in preperation for next year, whilst working a fulltime job from 8–6pm, sometimes 8pm, then a weekend one that currrntly provides me with making £600 a month can without thinking twice create the time to research, set aside the money to afford well researched black products and the local ones in the market. I was so excited about this natural hair change and wanted to got the whole way. For about 95% of you openig your mouth, there is… Read more »
    Sylvia
    Guest

    I don’t know who you are BUT THANK YOU!! Your points are so valid and dead on but unfortunately they will fall on death ears. Black people complain about the high price of natural hair products but tend to forget how much they paid to go to the salon to get a relaxer or to even get that wear sewed in. Now that they are natural all of a sudden they get cheap which is such a surprise.

    It’s nice to know that there are still some amazing, supportive black people out there. Again great points!

    xyzebra
    Guest

    This article makes a lot of good points. Anyone remember the “Proud Lady” logo that black owned hair companies used to put on their products? Can natural hair companies do this, so that we can know to support them?

    Jojo Satoes
    Guest

    The onus is also on Black owned companies to keep improving and putting out great products. If a black-owned product works great, most of us will not hesitate to support. But I for one will not support an inferior product just because the producers are black. With all things being equal, the majority of us will support black and minority owned businesses.

    the_gypsy_life
    Guest

    Great point.
    Hair care aside, we should want to support black owned companies. The problem is usually the product itself, which is sometimes inferior, or the cost of the product is too outrageous to consider.

    Kade
    Guest
    I’m all for supporting the black community and this article does make sense but it kinda also screams “segregation” I mean this is 2013, aren’t we suppose to be pushing the idea that “why can’t we all live together in peace”. I don’t know, I may sound dumb and young but…hmm. This kinda reinforces the idea of “them and us”. But shouldn’t it be more like support independent-upcoming natural business women over the super chain l’oreal and others. That seems more like “yes girl power! Fight the system!!” Rather than support black owned businesses because they are black… I don’t… Read more »
    mee
    Guest

    I completely agree. That’s what I was feeling from reading this.

    cacey
    Guest
    idk. the jews are notorious for spending the bulk of their money in their communities, and you know most people believe there’s no such thing as a poor jew? there’s good reason for that. it’s because they circulate their money amongst themselves, and with collective buying power buy the businesses that are most profitable to them, such as the media. you see this with asians and indians as well, pretty much everyone but black people. so i’m all for it. until the mainstream opens its arms wide in acceptance of peoples of color, i will fully support any initiative to… Read more »
    merry
    Guest

    lol.

    i knew this jewish guy who joked that his family was poor. he’d tell me i know your don’t believe me, but we were poor jews.

    he no longer is though.

    cacey
    Guest

    lol i’m sure some do exist but…i’ve never heard of it and certainly the ones i have known personally were a far cry from poor. i’d be interested in finding out if it’s urban legend or not

    Flynfab
    Guest

    I totally agree, I was thinking the same thing.

    Flynfab
    Guest

    I mean I completely agree with Kade

    t.c.
    Guest

    Only black people seem to have this thing where we think supporting our own is racist. Girl, free your mind. White people are taking care of theirs. We need to take care of ours. There is no “we’re all together”. If that were the case, we’d all have equal opportunity, now wouldn’t we? Black people need to embrace our economic power. That’s not racist, that common sense.

    Kade
    Guest

    I never said it was rascist I merely stated it was segregating or in layman terms divisive. I also stated I completely understand the point given I just felt as if it put across in a divisive way. I took under my wing both outlooks so my mind is “free” my dear.

    t.c.
    Guest

    I can’t with you. I really can’t. SMH. White folks have your mind on lock, dear. Wake up. Loving and supporting your own is NOT divisive.

    Kade
    Guest
    Once again…*face palm* I did NOT state I didn’t love my race or didn’t support them.…so your wrong t.c. In addition to that “white people” do not have “my mind on lock”… I don’t get why everyone is putting words into my mouth 🙁 I’m not a self hater *pout* , I can’t help the way I felt when reading the article. It is sad that we don’t circulate our income among our own community or we don’t benefit financially from our own intreset which is hair in this case, I just don’t get why it has a “them and… Read more »
    Janae
    Guest

    Kade, help me out here. What you are suggesting doesn’t make sense to me. How does one go about “empowering their own kind” without “bringing race into the equation”?? “Your own kind” implies race, does it not?

    Shelly_Shelle
    Guest
    Oh Kade…dumb, no. Young, yes. Just keep on living. There actually is a “Them & Us” and THEY are aware of this. Hence, the completely SEGREGATED sections at your local Walmart, Walgreens, and Sally Beauty supply target to US. THEY also make it point to do completely different advertisements when trying to get OUR money. You seem to be in favor of a pro-woman “Girl Power” …women supporting women. So why wouldn’t you support black-owned business..Black people supporting Black people??? And even with the pro-woman (feminist) movement, Black women marched in the BACK! So there has always been a Them… Read more »
    Naturalbeauty
    Guest

    Beautifully said.

    Deb
    Guest

    As far as “living in peace with one another”, history shows us that there has never been such a thing on earth.”

    OH GOD THANK YOU FOR STATING THIS.

    Shelly_Shelle
    Guest

    You’re welcome 🙂

    merry
    Guest
    “But shouldn’t it be more like support independent-upcoming natural business women over the super chain l’oreal and others.” “That seems more like “yes girl power! Fight the system!!” Rather than support black owned businesses because they are black…” this set of quotes is a contradiction. there really is no difference in supporting a business because they are small and whatever than supporting one because it is black-owned. in both instances, you not decided to support a company/product based on its individual merits. so, i call complete b.s. on your faulty logic. you happen to be more comfortable deemphasizing race. emphasizing… Read more »
    Kade
    Guest
    @merry I did state my opinion was all over the place when writing what I wrote so clearly you didn’t really take time in actually reading the whole thing and just started writing instantly. And I am not deemphasing my own race I did state that I agreed with a lot of things the author is saying…I just didn’t like they way it came across… And what’s all this “valid” and “faulty logic” business it is my opinion who are you to tell me I am wrong? You can express your opinion but there’s no need to shut another’s down,… Read more »
    eve-audrey
    Guest
    @ kade the dynamics of this world get lost on you. every damn community on this earth improved by keeping at least a significant amount of money inside. every one. except the black community. money is power when you give money to l’oreal or pantene with wishes of unity and peace (nothing wrong with that) that money stays in their pockets and they invest in what and who they have an interest in and that someone barely looks like you most of the time. black people are the only ones who buy hair products geared at people with different hair.… Read more »
    Naturalbeauty
    Guest

    Beautifully said.

    NubianPrize
    Guest
    To all you ladies who believe that supporting our own is racist in today’s world, you need a history lesson! I grew up in the tail end of segregation in a JimCrow state. Couldn’t eat in restaurants, went to separate schools, theaters& beaches were segregated. As result, WE HAD OUR OWN dentists,doctors, & businesses & our communities thrived because we supported them & our values supported that system because it was part of our survival plan & it worked! However , when integration laws passed, a lot of blacks were so eager to go mainstream they left a lot of… Read more »
    NubianPrize
    Guest
    Naturalbeauty
    Guest

    I hope Kade reads this and pulls her head out of the clouds.

    the_gypsy_life
    Guest

    Because the black community IS segregated from the white, asian, and hispanic community (for the most part anyways). And yet, for blacks to yield the type of spending power that they do, none of that buying power every trickles down to our community. We have a broken school system, after school, daycare, head start programs are being cut etc., our community would benefit if we had more successful black business owners that could invest in US.

    Sala Chanel
    Guest

    Imagine a world where successful business owners in the entertainment industry (Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Beyonce, even Oprah) read this article.

    Trisha
    Guest

    I agree with the points in this article. However, the prices from some Black owned companies are outrageous. I can’t in good conscience spend $15 and over for 8oz of product. I buy 33.8oz of HE Honey I’m Strong conditioner for $7. I use this conditioner as a cowash, DC, and styler. Now that’s reasonable for a multifunctional hair product.

    Janae
    Guest

    It’s easier for the larger companies to have such cheap prices though because in addition to the sheer size of their business, they use bad (cheap) ingredients. So I don’t think it’s really fair to expect to pay the same price for quality ingredients.

    merry
    Guest

    it’s “economies of scale”.

    Sylvia
    Guest

    Yeah I don’t know why people cant’ understand that. It’s like they want a product to have the same price as a product that has been out for decades!!!

    RB
    Guest
    What seems to not be understood is that the prices are higher because black owned business lack a consumer base! To put it plainly, black people have a knee jerk reaction when dealing with black owners (and I’m sure this goes both ways). It’s such a cultural problem we need to acknowledge and change! Black people complain about service in the typical BSS all the time. This has not changed the growth of non-black owned stores. This has led to other communities locking up the supply chain of products that are primarily for black consumers. Why don’t we get this?!?!… Read more »
    mangomadness
    Guest

    I believe that buying from Black-owned businesses is really important — especially for beauty-related things. Because of this, I try to maximize the amount of purchases I make from Black-owned businesses.

    For hair, I use Shea Moisture and I also like Njoi Creations on Etsy. For skin, I buy unrefined shea butter from Black-owned businesses at flea markets. For make-up, I use Valana Minerals Stardust Luxury Mineral Foundation.

    In the future, I will try other Black-owned hair care companies. For now, the ones I’ve listed above work best for my grad student budget.

    frauwyler
    Guest

    I totally agree with this concept, but our producers and suppliers must also step up to the plate and provide services and prices that are just as competitive if not better than non-black owned companies. In fact, there is no reason why we can’t take over the rest of the market too! Great article and commendable idea!
    http://frauwyler.blogspot.ch/2013/10/good-hair.html

    TMC (toronto meet up nov 16)
    Guest
    Great report! I’ve been meaning to write a similar post after seeing so many “relaxer” companies come up with their own line of “Natural” hair product lines. I for one won’t purchase such products even if they’re being sold for $1. Any one who knows the history of Black hair companies and the take over by white would not support any white owned black haircare companies. Small black owned businesses still has a long way to go in order to gain the level of popularity and be as competitive with the Giants. This isn’t a form of segregation, but just… Read more »
    WhyMe?
    Guest

    Anyone remember back in the late 70s or 80s the company Revlon the CEO made a statement about how black hair businesses will never make it, anyone remember that, and the black hair businesses said to boycott their products…this is a good article, but…the support, ummm?

    JAgirl
    Guest
    @GSoldier i soo agree with you…it’s like most black people are scared to make themselves and others who look like them better economically and otherwise. but they are not afraid to lift up and praise other races, I swear some of this stupid way of thinking is as a result of the aftermath of slavery. no one is saying that you have to buy from a black owned business just because it is black owned but if all things are equal product quality, price etc then why would you not buy from the black owned company. Every other race realizes… Read more »
    JAgirl
    Guest

    btw long time reader first time commenter… I love this blog 🙂

    Janae
    Guest

    You summed up everything perfectly. Thank you!!

    JAgirl
    Guest

    *we are all equal limbo

    Ij
    Guest
    products from black owned companies come smaller in size and more expensive. yes they may use quality ingredients and it may be ideal but it doesn’t mean its convenient. im a student living in canada and dont have access to a lot of these products. if i even considered buying them ill have to ship them from the states. not only is the product expensive but shipping is ridiculous that is if they will even ship here at all. and the shops that do sell natural care products, if you see the price tags on the products you will shed… Read more »
    Deedeemaha
    Guest
    I just hope that once we give all our money for support they become rich they don’t sell the company. I don’t think white own hair product company were decimating against our hair ( like the bus problem), I just think they don’t know what was good for our hair. I did not know what was good for my hair, until I start watching young. Smart black women on youtube. Remember we did not like our hair to we hid behind wigs, perms. And many white and black companies gave us the tools to do it. Asians gave us fake… Read more »
    JAgirl
    Guest
    @ Deedeemaha yes they might sell there later on, they might sell it to another black owned company who knows. Some white owned companies are definitely destroying our hair to make a profit. Yes we did not know how to properly care for our hair in the past but that was the past and we are smarter know, now we know better and should do better, same goes for spending our money with black people we know that in the long run it will make us better off economically (every other race seems to know this but us) no one… Read more »
    Shelly_Shelle
    Guest
    WHAT DO WE DEFINE AS “BLACK OWNED BUSINESS”? I consider myself to be “Black”. Black meaning a descendant of African enslaved persons brought to North America during the horrific transatlantic slave trade. With that being said, there is a difference between myself and an African or Afro-Latin person (immigrant or otherwise); particularly culturally. To keep it real, when I patronize African businesses, they generally see me as a Black American, and not one of them. Therefore, when I think of this discussion about supporting Black-owned businesses I’m referring to BLACK people, not African or African-American (latin) businesses. **And NO, this… Read more »
    merry
    Guest

    i’m not a product junky so i don’t have much i need to buy.

    my i mostly use three products — cleanser/shampoo, conditioner and moisturizer.

    my moisturizer is qhemet biologics. it’s the best one i’ve tried and i don’t care to look for another.

    i’m prone to changing to two former ones though.

    SJ
    Guest
    This is by far one of the best articles I’ve read on this blog UNFORTUNATELY it will fall on death ears. Just by reading a few of the comments you can see that: ONE: Some Black people expect a product produced by black owned companies to be the same price as a company that has been on the shelf for years! This goes to show that the majority don’t have any real “business sense” what so ever! Guess what people Flat Screen TV’s were very expensive years ago and now they are much more affordable. WHY? Because things take time…… Read more »
    the_gypsy_life
    Guest
    No one is comparing a small start up black community to a tresemme or herbal essence hair company. Yes, black people don’t mind spending $100’s on weaves/wigs etc., But look at what they’re paying for and how long the said products last? I don’t care WHO the company is, I will not $15 for a small product that will last 5 days. ESPECIALLY when I can get it for $4–7 cheaper. When black women are spending $500 for a weave or a wig, it lasts them for weeks or not YEARS. To compare a $15 bottle of shea butter &… Read more »
    SJ
    Guest

    What products are you using that last a week??? Sounds like user error…lol.. My products last me a month because I use them correctly. But maybe that’s just me.

    To justify why black women are willing to spend hundreds of dollars on weave and NOT on products that will nurture their OWN NATURAL hair and will further benefit black owned businesses is exactly the problem. We see “other people’s hair” as more of an investment versus investing in our own.

    But like I stated this was a great article that has and will fall on death ears!

    Iva
    Guest
    I like this article and it makes some EXCELLENT points but personally, I prefer a happy medium of being a “conscious consumer.” I will NOT buy the Dark and Lovely line for natural hair nor Dr. Miracles or other relaxer brands because I 1. don’t their business models of hating natural hair until they need natural hair dollars and 2. I don’t like them overcharging for crap products. But I also WON’T buy Miss Jessies or Mixed Chicks because 1. I don’t like their business models and 2. I don’t like them overcharging for crap products. Will I buy Aussie… Read more »
    Lioness
    Guest
    Interesting article and excellent points raised, but I’d also like to add a factor that hasn’t been mention yet and that these black-owned businesses need to incorporate other markets outside of the US. I’m South African and live in South Africa and can say with certainity that there is a huge market to tap into yet we don’t see any brand presence of companies like Shea Moisture and Carol’s Daughters,etc. These companies need to be more globally competitive and develop an expansion strategy outside of the US. I’ve seen on many natural blogs in South Africa and Nigeria an interest… Read more »
    CJ
    Guest

    Again, black owned hair companies aren’t yet big enough to expand to places like South Africa straight away. Brands like Shea Moisture and Oyin Handmade are now sold in the UK though so trust me they are getting there. They just need the support from those of us here first!

    RB
    Guest

    Wouldn’t it make more sense for SOUTH AFRICANS to start their OWN beauty supply businesses and natural hair products? Somehow the Indians can set up shop in East and Southern Africa with no problem. What’s going on? In Africa there is a much larger consumer base potential than anywhere on the planet for this industry. Don’t wait on imports…start your own!

    Toni
    Guest

    I will buy from whoever makes a quality product that works for my hair. I’m all for supporting each other and making one another successful. However, I will not stop buying things that work for me because the maker of the product doesn’t share my skin tone.

    Akiko Chan
    Guest
    I LOVED this article. Thank you for having the courage to speak out on this during this historical time–one being the natural hair renaissance and the other the so-called “post-racial era”. Carol’s Daughter and Jane Carter are also black women with thriving natural hair companies. I think of this every time I run into a beauty supply shop near my house where I run in to get marley hair or bobby pins and always think that the money I give to THEM (in this case not white but Korean, I believe) does not go back into my community although they… Read more »
    Sala Chanel
    Guest

    Lauryn Hill — Consumerism http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFPhKf_dg7g

    Yolanda
    Guest
    My husband and I have this conversation often. Matter of fact, he gave a speech a few weeks ago on the topic of integration being the death of the Black business class & touched upon the subject of immigrants coming to this country, pooling their funds & working together to start businesses & reinvesting in their own communities. He opened this business almost 20 yrs ago & 99% of our customer base is Black & we have always been conscientious about dealing with other BOB whenever possible. We do differ on our approach, though. I believe in convenience & value… Read more »
    Cassie
    Guest

    That’s one the main reasons why so many black owned business don’t well. Black people, we need to support our people

    Tewdee Que
    Guest

    That is a MAJOR reason not just black-owned business don’t do well, but all Black people in general. No one is free unless we are all free and does with such a@@inine reasons not to buy from black businesses just because it is a Black business, especially a black person should just be left behind. We can not afford to keep dragging them along anymore.

    colorfulkinks
    Guest

    I completely agree and actually but up a list of black owned and non black owned companies and products on my blog in march. And no I am not advertising my blog, I haven’t even posted since may so just check out the list, I have about a 100 brand names there so you know what to buy. I did my research by checking multiple sources, emailing companies, and messaging them on fb. kk, hope you enjoy.

    http://colorfulkinks.wordpress.com/black-owned-hair-care/

    Kristel
    Guest
    I do want to support black owned companies, but al lot of their products are a lot more expensive then the products from the non-black owned companies. I use organic root stimulator and just found out that is was black owned, but not any more. I really like the product and it is affortable, so i dont want to stop using it because it isnt black owned any more. And i have been reading that a lot of the black owned businesses “sell out” and getting taking over by big non black owned companies. Is that true? So what would… Read more »
    anonymous
    Guest

    Exactly

    Tewdee Que
    Guest
    Black owned businesses need to update the logo’s on their products, eg, the proud lady, and keep up with the latest hair movement, like the natural hair movement as a lot of non-black owned businesses are already moving in and capitalizing off of this, with mis-leading terms or names/website names like http://www.nubian(fill in the blank). Those who made sacrifices for my freedom and rights are important and in my case I don’t mind spending that extra buck to support a black business. After all with the black unemployment rate always in the double digits, what white or other ethnic business… Read more »
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    […] we have seen the resurgence of Black economic development within the Black hair care community. As I’ve said before there was a time when the Black beauty industry owned, operated and financed itself. There was a […]

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