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4 mins read

The Politics Behind the Black Beauty Store Industry Dominated by Koreans – MPR

Karen Coffey opened Bella Beauty and Hair in January with lots of optimism and a stylist’s eye for hair extensions and other products tailored to Black women. She thought that would be enough to succeed.

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Karen Coffey speaks with a customer inside Bella Beauty and Hair, which she opened earlier this year. Evan Frost | MPR News

She didn’t realize the game would be stacked against her before she even opened her door.

Like Black entrepreneurs before her, Coffey quickly discovered that behind the beauty supply storefronts that dot the nation’s urban neighborhoods and suburban shopping plazas sits a multibillion-dollar industry for black hair products that’s run largely by South Koreans and does not cede its power or market share without a fight.

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Wigs on display at Bella Beauty and Hair

Korean-Americans cornered the market decades ago by controlling the manufacturing, distribution and retail sale of hair extensions — the moneymaker of the industry. Black owners believe Korean wholesalers shut them out and only supply Korean retailers.

Korean American beauty supply industry leaders at a meeting in the Northeast U.S. – The Korean Times

Coffey says she’s seen that firsthand. Some Korean wholesalers, she said, have denied or ignored her requests for products. Meanwhile, a new Korean-owned store that opened across the street a month before her has some brands she can’t get.

“All of it is run by Koreans,” said Coffey, 32. “A lot of them don’t make it easy for Blacks to get in. I didn’t know it would be this challenging.”

National Federation of Beauty Suppliers (NFBS) Board Members – The Korean Times

Korean wholesalers deny any preferential treatment. Shake-N-Go, which supplies Coffey’s nearby competitors, said it works with retailers based on local competition and other exclusively economic factors, and the choices are “far from being discriminatory.”

Coffey, though, says those statements run contrary to what she and other Black beauty supply owners experience daily.

Coffey’s part of a growing number of Black women here and around the country determined to persevere even if it means bypassing the Korean supply chain. They’re going to extreme lengths, employing innovation and grit, to do so.

NFBS BOARD MEMBERS – THE KOREAN TIMES

“There’s been a really concerted effort to get Black people to enter the retail side of this business,” said Lori Tharps, Temple University journalism professor and co-author of “Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America.”

“There are success stories,” she added. “Somehow black people are finding alternative suppliers and moving past this idea that Koreans are keeping them out of this very lucrative space.”

 

Read full article by Emma Sapong at MPR News


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2 mins read

Black Owned Businesses in Canada

Canada is known for many things. Currently, it’s best known as the place that everyone wants to move to if you know who wins you know what. Our North American neighbors should also be known for the many awesome Black owned businesses that exist there. Here are a few:

Black Owned Businesses in Canada

Bôhten (Quebec, Ontario & online) is an eco-luxury eyewear line handmade from reclaimed material, sourced from Africa.

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Locsuria Natural Haircare Systems (Ontario) is a “pure and natural hair maintenance line of products.”

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Curl Bar Beauty Salon (Ontario) aims to provide the highest quality service and experience for your hair and beauty services.

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Nannis Natural Hair Studio (Ontario) provides “a unique holistic approach to healthy natural hair with locks, braids, twists, and customized styles for a wide range of special occasions.”

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Le Nil Bleu (Montreal) is an Ethiopian restaurant that offers flavourful meals.

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Club Balattou (Montréal ) is “one of the first venues to bring African bands to North America in the 1980s.

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Black Theatre Workshop (Montréal) is “Canada’s oldest Black theatre company and is committed to reflecting Black culture and community by developing and providing visibility for Black Canadian artists.”

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Tassot Creole (Quebec)is a Hatian restaurant that offers delicious meals made from scratch.

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Le Virunga (Montréal)provides traditional African recipes that have been reinvented. “When African fine cuisine meets Québec.”

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Ritz Caribbean Foods is a franchise that offers “the best Caribbean food in Ontario.”

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Divas Hair Design Studio (Ontario) offers “a variety of services including hair services: Virgin Hair Extensions –Weaves, Braids, Custom wigs, Dread locking, Up-dos, Color, Relaxers, Hair products, accessories and many more.”

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Earthtones Naturals (Ontario) was “developed out of necessity for Canadian-made premium and effective natural hair and body products.”

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Shakara Naturals (Ontario) offers “natural products that help strengthen hair and improve skin.”

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London Ivy Products (Ontario) is “a hair, bath & beauty line that heals, nourishes & serves multiple purposes.”

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 -Tony O. Lawson

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4 mins read

Black Owned Businesses in Brooklyn You Should Know

Over the past decade, countless Black owned businesses in Brooklyn (and nationwide) have fallen victim to gentrification.

Rising rents and leases are forcing businesses to close. However, there are still many Black owned businesses and institutions that have weathered the storm and continue to provide great goods and services.

Black Owned Businesses in Brooklyn

The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) aims to serve as a conduit for African Diaspora forms of expression ranging from the visual and performing arts to film and television.

Black Owned Businesses Brooklyn

Calabar Imports is a trendy, specialty retail and gift store that offers home furnishings, unique crafted jewelry, fashion, and gifts sold at moderate prices.

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Khamit Kinks is a natural hair care salon that specializes in natural hairstyles and maintaining healthy hair.

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Akwaaba Mansion is a meticulously restored Italianate villa that features exquisite architectural details, including 14-foot ceilings and ornate fireplaces.

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Adrian Fanus Grooming is a highly rated barbershop that tailors to each client’s grooming experience to maximize his/her own personal and unique sense of style.

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From old-school haircut styles to the most current popular hairstyles, Brooklyn Master Barbershop focuses on providing high-quality service and customer satisfaction. 

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BCakeNY is a custom cake studio dedicated to creating specialty cakes for every occasion. Owner & Cake Designer: Miriam Milord
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La Caye offers authentic Haitian cuisine & inventive sangrias in an intimate, art-hung space with outdoor dining. 

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The Crabby Shack is your destination for all things crabs! They dish up crab in full plates with sides, as well as in rolls, tacos & sliders. 10525846_868818223139365_263334174250857375_n

Bed-Vyne Brew Bar is a pub with reclaimed wood decor that serves draft microbrews & hosts DJs from Wednesday to Saturday. 

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Brooklyn Bell is an ice cream shop that sells classic & seasonal flavors & other housemade sweets. 

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Brooklyn Swirl is the first independently-owned frozen yogurt shop to serve the Brooklyn Community. They serve crepes & smoothies in bright modern digs with a patio & free WiFi. 

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Bati is a traditional Ethiopian restaurant, located in the heart of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, dedicated to serving authentic delicacies that possess homemade quality flavors.

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Jollof Restaurant is a West African eatery with colorful art-filled walls serving a variety of Senegalese and other West African dishes. 6_1440061230_joloff_restaurant
Joire’s Spa Studio is a beauty salon that offers different types of hair extensions, full body waxing, teeth whitening, and Henna tattooing.

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Joshua Dwain Photography is an international wedding photography husband and wife team. 

Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy is a community-based arts and cultural organization dedicated to supporting the creative, educational, and vocational development of disadvantaged youth and families. 

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Greedi Vegan is a vegan restaurant that offers fast-casual vegan soul food.

Cafe Rue Dix is a French and Senegalese cafe, restaurant, and bar located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Marche Ru Dix is a trendy concept store featuring a curated selection of vintage clothing, jewelry & home goods.

by Tony O. Lawson

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1 min read

Black Owned Businesses in Paris You Should Know

We’re back at it with another guide to shopping Black in the Diaspora. This time, we’re highlighting Black owned businesses in Paris.  Let’s show some love to our brothers and sisters in the “City of Light”.

Black Owned Businesses in Paris

Café Dapper by Chef Loïc Dablé  is located a stone’s throw from Champs Elysées. The restaurant Café Dapper Loïc Dablé is set in Dapper Museum, a place dedicated to Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, and its diasporas. black owned businesses in paris

FASHION

Natasha Baco

black owned businesses in paris

Sakina M’sa

black owned businesses in paris

Adama Paris

black owned businesses in paris

BaZara’pagne

black owned businesses in paris

Nefer 

black owned businesses in parisHOME DECOR

Myriam Maxo tells a story through fabrics with abstract patterns and wax that provide a touch of fantasy with contemporary design.

black owned businesses in paris

TRAVEL

Visiter L’Afrique or “Visiting Africa” ​​is an interactive digital platform dedicated to tourism and culture on the African continent.

BOOKSTORE

Présence Africaine is a pan-African quarterly cultural, political, and literary magazine, founded by Seneglese-born Alioune Diop in 1947.

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 ART

Alexis Peskine is a Parisian resident who is renowned for his work on race and identity issues in France.

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2 mins read

20 Black Owned Businesses in the UK

By now you must have seen our first list of Black Owned Businesses in the Diaspora. On that list, we mentioned several Black owned businesses based in the UK. This time, we are showing even MORE love to our brothers and sisters across the pond with a new list of dope businesses you should most definitely check out and support from your country or when you visit the United Kingdom.

20 Black Owned Businesses in the UK

Home Decor

Eva Sonaike is a lifestyle company that produces luxurious home décor, fashion accessories and textiles.

Black Owned Businesses

 

Fashion

Uptown Yardie is a British company inspired by Jamaican heritage, selling a lifestyle captured through shoes and clothes.

Black Owned Businesses

Afrination is an urban clothing brand inspired by African culture and tradition.

Black Owned Businesses

Dionne Gooding is a footwear designer that combines the latest London styles and soft leathers and suede with jaw dropping fabrics from West Africa.

Black Owned Businesses

Tsemaye Binite  is an award winning contemporary fashion label characterized by exquisite clothing encapsulating a love of luxury and innovative design.

Black Owned Businesses

 

Duro Olowu is impressing the right people with his vibrant mix of African prints, seventies tailoring, and unlikely color combos.

 

Hair/Skin Care

Hug My Hair

Curly by Nature

Almocado

Root2Tip

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Jewelry and Accessories

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Afro Deco 

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MaroonDawta

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Sapelle 

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Food

The Black Farmer

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Check out our most recent list of Black owned businesses in the UK !

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