Browse Tag

beauty products

9 mins read

From Political Refugees To Thriving Cosmetics Company Owners

Feven and Helena Yohannes are the founders of 241 Cosmetics, a collection of hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, paraben-free lipsticks and lip glosses, eyeshadows, and eyeliners.

During the civil war between Eritrea and Ethiopia in the early 1980s, their parents fled to Sudan to find safety.

The family moved to upstate New York in 1985, when Feven and Helena were four years old, after winning the green card lottery with support from Rochester’s Third Presbyterian Church.

We caught up with them to find out more about their fascinating story and their foray into entrepreneurship.

241 cosmetics

What is the inspiration behind 241 Cosmetics?

When we started looking more closely at the beauty industry, we noticed a common theme: major brands were profiting from manipulating consumers with unrealistic airbrushed photos and encouraging overdone makeup. The subtext was always, “you need this product” and never “you deserve this.” We like to think that every product is a reminder of the beauty that currently exists.

To us, makeup is a meditative process. The stories we tell ourselves are powerful. The name and descriptions behind each product was intentional because words are magic if we use them in the right way.  Names like: “Role Model”, “Honor”, “Class Act” are a practice in daily affirmations. We are not just here to sell to confidence – we want to instill confidence as well.

241 cosmetics

How did your upbringing influence who you both are as entrepreneurs?

Our father was a freedom fighter and leader in the Eritrean-Ethiopian war, who would later be exiled from his own country as he foresaw and spoke up against an inevitable dictatorship.

Our father, who lost half of his vision in a landmine explosion, and our mother, who was four weeks pregnant with our older brother Thomas, walked from Asmara, Eritrea to a refugee camp in Gibra, Sudan. They did this with no choice, and no money owning only the clothes on their back.

We once asked our father, “What did that feel like to walk from Eritrea to Sudan?” He replied with a smile: “It’s like walking from LA to San Francisco. It took us a few months but we got there.”

Two years after they arrived at the refugee camp, during one of the worst famines in global history,  our mother gave birth to us in a hut made of mud and grass as our father stood outside patiently waiting for what would be the shock of his life. With no technology to discern the gender of their baby, they presumed since our mother stood 5 feet tall and her baby bump looked really big, they were having a really big boy.

As our parents looked around the desolate refugee camp, it became clear it was no place to raise a family. Poor with nothing more than faith, our mother decided to apply for the American Diversity Visa Lottery Program. It took another year, but to their surprise we were selected, leaving our extended family behind, leaving everything we had known, to move to Rochester, New York,  a place in America with a lot of snow.

When we arrived in Rochester, we had to learn a new language and embrace a completely different culture. The first few years in America were hard to put it simply. We had a front row seat to our parent’s struggle. They did their best to shield us from the fear and frustration of raising four children with little money in an unfamiliar country, but we could feel it.

Our father worked as a janitor at the church that would later sponsor us and our mother became the housekeeper. We would spend nights with them, watching them clean toilets, and mop floors, breaking only to finish their schoolwork as they both attended English classes at a local community college.

Our father would later graduate with a Master’s in Public Administration and our mother would later become a nurse.  Seeing our parent’s path from struggle to triumph completely influenced us as people and as founders. They instilled the fundamental belief you lead with purpose, never forgetting your roots, and always in service to others. The experiences and lessons they instilled in us as little twin girls would later play a pivotal role in our framework and brand ethos.

As we got older, we noticed the people making beauty products for women didn’t do it from the lens of how we as black women felt. Though the industry has made some progress, there are founders like us who have been overlooked and underfunded. Our voices have not been accounted for. Inclusion should not be an afterthought; it’s actually good business.

So when you ask How did your upbringing influence who you both are as entrepreneurs?”  Thriving is in our bloodline. We are resilient and solution based founders with a deep appreciation for people. We trust the process and we are affirmed in the belief that service to others is the greatest reward. For us, makeup is an instrument in our service to humanity.

241 cosmetics

Describe your individual personalities. In what ways do you leverage the similarities and differences in business?

That’s an interesting question especially since we are identical twins and we built a company with the idea that you can embrace all facets of your personality and positive attributes hence: 2.4.1.

We definitely have similar tastes in music, art, beauty, home decor, and fashion. Though Feven opts for more structure and neutral colors, while Helena gravitates towards more vibrant colors with clean lines.

We both consider ourselves creative in different ways. Feven is really involved with all the visuals on our site and Helena is great at giving direction and making sure the company is running as smoothly.

One example before we launched Helena worked closely with the developers to build the site while Feven worked closely with the product photographers.

If you could both master any business skill overnight, what would it be?

I think we can both answer this the same way: we wish we were better at excel spreadsheets and crunching numbers.

What are your future plans for 241 Cosmetics?

Thank you for asking! We have so many plans for our company: expanding our product line, and a storefront in Los Angeles but ultimately we have our eye on Africa. We believe Africa is the future.

So we want to build storefronts in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, and of course our beloved Eritrea.

What advice do you have for other beauty brand founders?

Feven: Don’t be afraid to start off small and make mistakes along the way. You actually learn more from your mistakes than your wins! So work hard, hope for the best, and WING IT!

Helena: Energy is reciprocal! You get what you give in life, so be kind to yourself and to others on your entrepreneurial journey. Stay focused and let faith be your North Star.

 

– Tony O. Lawson

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3 mins read

Here’s Why Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty is Expanding into 8 African Countries

Fenty Beauty is a cosmetics brand that was launched by Rihanna in September of 2017. The brand is popular for its broad inclusivity across skin types and tones.

Fenty Beauty initially launched in 17 countries with a vision of inclusivity and global reach at its core.

On May 10th, Rihanna announced via an Instagram post that beginning May 27th, Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin products will be available in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe and that it’s “just the beginning”.

“I am a proud Bajan who also feels a close connection to Africa, and its people,” she said in a press release.

“I’ve had the pleasure, and the privilege, to spend time on the continent and those experiences never leave you. Now, being able to bring Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin to eight African countries and then hopefully more in the future — means so much to me.”

The African Beauty Market

Africa’s population of 1.4 billion people is projected to double by 2050. 

With this population growth, the potential in the African market is enormous. With rising disposable incomes, Africa’s 18 most populated cities could have a combined spending power of $ 1.3 trillion. 

Not only is the African population growing, so is the African beauty market. 70% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa is under the age of 30. This group is the most likely to be interested in a wide range of cosmetics and beauty products.

According to recent reports, the beauty and personal care market share in Africa is expected to increase by $1.26 billion from 2020 to 2025, and the market’s growth momentum will accelerate at a CAGR of 2%.

Some of the influential factors that are increasing market growth include the rising middle-class population and the rise in online shopping trends.

Another key factor driving growth in the beauty market in Africa is a demand for innovative products that address multiple concerns within a minimal time span.

Lastly, more African women, especially in the middle class, have attained higher education, allowing many to pursue careers that offer higher than average income and the luxury of spending on premium products, including skincare and cosmetics.

Fenty Beauty undoubtedly sees the potential in this promising market and has made its move.

 

Tony O. Lawson


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3 mins read

Black Owned Sunscreen Brand Receives $1 Million Investment

Black Girl Sunscreen (BGS) is a Black owned sunscreen brand based in Van Nuys, CA. The company produces a fragrance-free, melanin reinforcing SPF 30 sunscreen moisturizer using natural ingredients. This month, BGS secured a $1 million dollar investment from a private female funding source.

black owned sunscreen
Shontay Lundy, owner of Black Girl Sunscreen

Despite Black owned businesses typically having the most challenging time raising capital, BGS achieved this milestone with one single anchor product.

Currently, BGS is the only indie Black owned sunscreen brand carried full time in Target’s sun care section. This came after a successful sales and marketing campaign, which focused on the importance of all complexions needing sunscreen. Now over 200 Target stores across the country sell the BGS SPF 30 and BGS Kids SPF 50.

black owned sunscreen

After months of vetting potential partners, owner Shontay partnered with an investor who embodies many of her traits, namely integrity, and business savvy. Black Girl Sunscreen is valued at $5 million, after recently receiving their newest investment.

In the throes of COVID-19, the five-person BGS staff implemented an “all hands-on deck” mentality to ensure the company thrived. Lundy, refused to let the pandemic slow down her progress, stating that, “I told the team we need to change the narrative and be very nimble to survive this.”

The team immediately enhanced their social media strategy, started working longer hours, and increased their marketing efforts. Since the onset of COVD-19, the brand has seen a tremendous uptick in e-commerce orders and will be launching a new product later this year.

Traditionally, businesses with women of color CEOs at the helm, receive less than 1 percent of all VC funding every year. Black women startups and entrepreneurs are leading the pack when it comes to being marginalized, only receiving 0.2% of all funding.

Despite the large funding gap, women of color, especially black women aren’t slowing up anytime with funding new businesses and diving into entrepreneurship, as minority women account for 89% of new businesses opened every day. We sat down with Lundy to speak about her new private investment in Black Girl Sunscreen and where she sees Black Girl Sunscreen going next.

Source: Dominique Fluker for FORBES

 


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3 mins read

How This Black Owned Beauty Supply Store Is Readjusting To Changing Times

Due to government-imposed mandates, many Black owned beauty supply stores have seen foot traffic decline or completely stop.

However, some have found ways to meet the demand for their products. One of those businesses is Glendale, CA based Blessed Beauty Supply.

black owned beauty supply
Lexus Allen, owner of Blessed Beauty Supply

What inspired you to start a beauty supply store?

I started transitioning to natural in 2015 and I became a bit of a product junkie. I started loving my natural hair/curls, keeping it healthy, and trying new products. I loved shopping for products but didn’t really know anyone else who enjoyed it as much as me.

So, I decided to open my own store where I could create a community/environment to meet other people who loved it as much as I do, and to help other women and men on their hair journeys.
Black Owned Beauty Supply Store

How has the Coronavirus outbreak affected your business?

Initially, the coronavirus slowed business down a bit but things have begun to pick up again. I’ve been getting new customers from all over the world, which is great. Beauty supplies, especially Black-owned products online are in higher demand now more than ever before.

What new strategies have you implemented or do you plan to implement in your business?

Luckily, I already had an online store setup. Having that in place made adjusting to the pandemic much easier. I’ve switched to solely selling online, and I’ve also implemented curbside pickup for those that live locally and don’t want to wait for shipping.

Although our shipping is pretty quick (usually 1-3 days). I’m still strategizing on any other ways I can make this time easier for my customers because I want them to always have a good experience when shopping with Blessed.

If you had one ask of your community right now, what would it be?

Support and patience. During this time and any, I ask that the community unconditionally support Black-owned businesses like they do other business or larger corporations such as Wal-Mart, Target, Sally’s, etc.

Black owned beauty supply stores need patience because we are working overtime to make sure all your beauty needs are being met right now. A lot of us are selling out of items and during these times it’s harder to restock on some things.

If I don’t have something at my store and can’t get it in a timely manner, I will gladly refer you to another Black-owned establishment that may have it. It’s all about support and patience right now, especially for me because I’m a fairly new business and learning as I go.

1 min read

Black Owned Bonnet Brands That Aren’t Charging $98

According to NiteCap Founder Sarah Marantz, she came up with the idea for a satin bonnet “after much consideration, conceptualization, brainstorming, and borderline obsessive research.”

black owned satin bonnet brands
NiteCap Founder Sarah Marantz

Fortunately, for Black women everywhere, someone else had the bright idea of creating appropriate sleepwear to keep their hairdos intact. Black Owned satin bonnet brands have existed for ages. Here are a few of our faves for Black girls who considered hair bonnets when sleeping on their hands wasn’t enough…

Black Owned Bonnet Brands

Regal Ivy

Black Owned Satin Bonnet

Beautiful Curly Me

Chiwrapz

ID Noble

Loccrush

Black Owned Satin Bonnet

Purrty Dimples

Black Owned Satin Bonnet

Peace Crown’d

Beauty Marked & Co

Natural Hair Shop

Black Owned Satin Bonnet

Eboni Curls

Black Owned Satin Bonnet

Glow by Daye

FlorBella Boutique

Goodnight Hair Bonnets

Grace Eleyae

Black Owned Satin Bonnet

Isoken Enofe

Black Owned Satin Bonnet

Loza Tam

Special thanks to Kami (@frobunni) for helping us compile this list! It takes a village!

-Tony O. Lawson 

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1 min read

Black Owned Haircare Brands You Should Know

The global haircare industry is fueled primarily by Black consumers. Let’s funnel more of that money into Black owned haircare brands.

Black Owned Haircare Brands

Beard Organics

black owned haircare

Neter Gold

Wolf’s Mane Beard Care

Safiya Green

103 Collection

Blumseed

curLUXE Naturals 

 

Cara B Naturally

Obia Naturals

Black Owned Haircare

Big Hair Beauty

Black Owned Haircare

Darcy’s Botanicals

Black Owned Haircare

Wonder Curl

Black Owned Haircare

Bask and Bloom Esssentials

Black Owned Haircare

Koils By Nature

Qhemet Biologics

Oyin Handmade


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5 mins read

Meet the Owner of the Largest Beauty Supply store in Stockbridge, GA

Cova Beauty is a black owned beauty supply store that specializes in cosmetics, organic care products, hair extensions and accessories.

They are also the largest beauty retailer in Stockbridge, GA. We caught up with the owner, Dianna Foster to find out more about her and her business.

black owned beauty supply
Cova Beauty owner, Dianna Foster

What inspired you to start your business?

I’ve always loved everything about beauty, hair & fashion. I was the girl known for always switching my hairstyles up and trying new things. This love blossomed into a passion. As I was in a season of inner exploration, looking to determine my next professional career move, I was inspired by the lack of options in the beauty supply industry.

black owned beauty supply

There were certain things I needed and couldn’t find from products to experience. I stepped out on faith to create a space that offered everything I would want and need. I’m so grateful that our customers are enjoying it.

What has been the most challenging and the most gratifying thing about owning a business?

In the beginning, one of my challenges was delegating. My business is my baby, I love every part of it and enjoy doing the work. However, I had to quickly become comfortable with delegating so I can focus on our growth. The cool thing about that is it encourages growth, empowers and gives confidence to my staff. It’s been amazing.

The most gratifying part of this journey will always be the customers and the relationships we’ve developed with them. The joy I feel when our regulars visit us is indescribable. The gratitude I’m overcome with is immeasurable when a woman tells me she drove over an hour to visit Cova.

Knowing we’re a part of their lives now is so humbling. It makes me so happy. Nothing else can compare to that feeling.

What skill have you developed over time that has had the biggest impact on your business?

Self-discipline. Discipline affects every aspect of this business. You must have the discipline and work ethic to complete tasks, be resourceful and execute day in and day out.

When I’m not feeling my best, discipline kicks in. Without it, none of this would be possible. You cannot maintain any level of success without discipline.

How easy or difficult was it to source Black-owned brands to sell in your store?

Fortunately, we’ve had really positive experiences with Black-owned brands and haven’t had much difficulty supporting them here in our store. We have so many great relationships and I’m so grateful for that!

What advice do you have for others who want to start a beauty supply store?

Do your research. Develop self-discipline. Don’t move too fast. Don’t rush the process. Know your worth and make sure your work ethic matches it. Make sure you love it because it’s not a walk in the park.

There will be challenges, man have I had them, but my love for this keeps me going through it all. I really love what I do and I know its that love that had me here 7 days a week, 12-16 hours a day. It refocused me when I needed course correction.

Where do you see your business in 5 years?

I definitely see us expanding and scaling Cova. We’re actually scouting locations for store #2! I’m also planning to roll out an e-commerce extension as well. We get so much support from people across the country that want to shop with us so it’s coming! Cova Beauty will be a household name!


Tony O. Lawson

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9 mins read

Black Owned Beauty Startup Raises $23 Million

Diishan Imira looked at the $6 billion U.S. hair extension and wig market in the U.S. and felt something was amiss. The vast majority of hair extensions used in salons – about 95%, he says — are purchased by customers online or at retail stores, who then bring those products to stylists who use them to service the customer. Salons themselves are not the point of sale, often because of the high cost of human hair.

Black Owned  Beauty Startup
Diishan Imira
Founder and CEO of Mayvenn

Simplifying that dynamic offered an opportunity that Imira, 37, seized with the launch of Mayvenn, an Oakland-based provider of real human hair from India he founded in 2012 with COO Taylor Wang. In the past four years, the company has racked up a cumulative $80 million in sales of hair extensions by partnering with hair stylists whose businesses relies on styling with such products, and who direct their customers to purchase hair from the company—essentially recruiting stylists as salespeople by building them websites, offering online support and a 15% cut of each sale, as well as sales incentives like store credit. About 70% of revenue, Imira says, comes through Mayvenn’s network of about 40,000 stylists, the rest from direct-to-consumer.

Imira and Wang’s strategy has attracted some serious growth money. This week the company announced a $23 million investment, which will go towards marketing to customers and stylists, and developing new package deals that combine hair sales with styling services from stylists within the network, at lower cost.

The influx of capital, which constitutes Mayvenn’s series B, brings the company’s overall growth capital tally to $36 million, adding to about $3 million in seed funding raised in 2013 and a $10 million series A in 2015 led by Silicon Valley powerhouse Andreessen Horowitz.

Investors who have laid bets on the firm since its founding include Serena Williams, Cross Culture Ventures and Jimmy Iovine, co-founder of Interscope Records and Beats Electronics. Imira remains the largest shareholder.

This latest cash injection is led by Essence Ventures, a firm founded last year by Richelieu Dennis, owner of Essence Communications and co-founder of the Sundial Brands family of personal care products, which he sold last year to Unilever for an estimated $1.6 billion. With the investment, Dennis bought himself a seat on the Mayvenn board.

Richelieu Dennis’s Essence Ventures led Mayvenn’s $23 million series B

“They’re taking a lot of friction out of the process and creating data economics for the professionals and the stylists, and greater value for the consumers,” Dennis told Forbes. The concept caters to an underserved market in both cases which is scalable, he added, which is a winning strategy.

Recruiting stylists to the Mayvenn platform to act as de fact brand ambassadors and points of sale shows a level of innovation the hair extension business has not seen, says Dennis. “We think that this gives Mayvenn the opportunity to be a leader in this space both on the service side and on the community side.”

Partnering with stylists is the main difference between Mayvenn and other players in the space, which includes sources like The Hair Shop, My Hair Closet, Indique, and Remy New York. There are also many brick and mortar options for buyers.

“I never thought I was going to do anything in hair,” says Imira, who moved to China in 2003 after college to teach English. While there he would purchase goods like sneakers, art and furniture for import and sale back in the U.S. on Craigslist.

In 2010, to hone his business chops and make connections, he earned an MBA from Georgia State University in affiliation with the Sorbonne, studying in Brazil, Paris and China. “I had fantastic instincts around business and the fundamentals of how to buy things and sell them,” he explained. “What I lacked was a higher level corporate and finance-based understanding of how to build something large. Nor did I have any connections to people in business.”

The human hair extension market beckoned when Imira’s sister, a stylist in Los Angeles, lamented the cost and difficulty in acquiring hair. Imira became a hair hocker, sourcing supply and selling to salons from the trunk of his car. That’s when Taylor Wang, Mayvenn’s cofounder and COO, entered the picture. Wang had been a client of Imira’s back in 2004, buying sleek Asian tennis shoes from the burgeoning entrepreneur, which he would sell online. Wang founded an e-commerce business, Group Swoop, which he sold to BuyWithMe, Inc. in 2011.

As the two discussed the hair market the concept that became Mayvenn emerged, funded with about $50,000 Imira raised through friends and family. As it operates today, stylists sign up with Mayvenn for free, receive a company-created, cookie-cutter website which acted as a gateway to the company’s online hair extension store, offering various types and styles. Stylists could direct their clients to buy from the site and receive a 15% commission for each purchase, plus $100 of free hair for every $600 worth sold.

“I saw these stylists who, for the most part, are independent contractors—they rent their chairs in a salon; they’re entrepreneurs,” says Imira. “I’ve always been an entrepreneur and I saw a way to empower them and, in my view, bring more equity to the marketplace where you’ve got African American women who are purchasing billions of dollars of products but are not really sharing in the economics of it at all.”

Imira ran the concept through 500 Startups in 2013, primarily to make connections to other entrepreneurs and investors he felt could be of help. “I took VCs on field trips to hair salons and beauty supply stores,” he remembers. The effect, he says, was astonishment. “That was what closed the deal.”

That year the company raised $3 million in seed money to get the network up and running and secure hair products from Asia. A series A two years later brought in another $10 million and spurred growth.

Imira first met Dennis several years ago through an introduction by the Sundial chief’s cousin, Emmett Dennis, and Imira identified Dennis as someone from whom he could learn. Ironically, the hair care giant saw elements of Mayvenn’s strategy that could inform its own growth process. “They saw what I was doing in helping to build distribution through these hair salons and through stylists as a component to what they had been trying to do for a long time,” says Imira.

The companies stayed in touch and once Dennis sold Sundial Brands, flush with cash, investment talks began in earnest. “The biggest synergy is that we believe that in all of our businesses, the common theme is community,” says Dennis. “Especially serving under-served communities – that’s our sweet spot – and that’s exactly where Mayvenn fits.”

 

Source: FORBES

1 min read

19 Black Makeup Artists That Are Making their Mark

Thanks to social media, especially YouTube and Instagram, Black makeup artists are reaching potential clients, earning money and growing legions of fans who love their work.

If you’re one of the millions people that want to learn how do everything from everyday looks to halloween costume makeup, check out these Black Makeup Artists for some tips and inspiration.

Black Makeup Artists

(@lakenlasheir_mua)

black makeup artist

@arjiapmua

@erbodyluhgrannie

@_gabriellaelena

@katkarmalust

black makeup artists

@iamcharityleigh

@glamxkam

@toniolaoye1

 

@glamz_junkie

@nymatang

@beautywithtaffy

@southerncutbeauty

@jarrytheworst

@glambyninagilbert

@princessbellaaa

@issheblackorazn

@laomizbeauty_mua

@keishadesvignes 

@fiercefacesbybrianna

 

-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG @thebusyafrican)

6 mins read

Number of Black Owned Beauty Stores on the rise

Temika Morris says customers are usually surprised when they see her, but it brings them a sense of pride to see a black woman owning a beauty-supply store that serves people like her.

The 37-year-old turned her passion for hair into a reality by creating, along with her daughter, Ms. Melanin Beauty Supply and Salon on the Southeast Side in June 2017.

Morris had owned other businesses, but realized she wanted to open one that caters to black women’s beauty needs after a deal fell through on a hair store that she explored with a business broker.

“It is an honor to be able to represent black women who put a lot of the money into this industry,” she said.

There are an estimated 350 to 500 black-owned beauty shops in Ohio, including a handful in the Columbus area, and that number is continuing to rise nationwide, according to the Black-Owned Beauty Supply Association.

Located at 3601 Gender Road, Ms. Melanin Beauty Supply and Salon sells natural hair products, weaves, wigs and accessories. It also sells hair-straightening products, such as relaxers and perms (chemical and non-chemical).

In the past year, the store also has added a fashion boutique and salon services, including hair, eyebrows, eyelashes and makeup services.

The store’s product lines reflect interest among black women in the natural hair movement, which has women embracing their naturally curly hair rather than trying to chemically alter it, Morris said. Many black women look for natural hair products that care for their curls without drying them out, she said.

As the natural-hair movement continues to grow, black consumers are less willing to shop in stores that don’t understand their specific needs, said Sam Ennon, president and CEO of the beauty-supply association.

Black women spent $54 million this past year in the black hair-care industry, according to a 2018 study by Nielsen. Yet black beauty shops are predominantly Korean-American owned, according to the association.

Of the more than 35,000 beauty-supply stores in the United States, about 2,500 are black-owned, compared with more than 7,000 that are Korean-American owned, the group says. Those figures, however, could be changing, Ennon said.

“There is now a rise of black-owned beauty shops because of the want to get back into the business,” he said.

Koreans began to dominate the beauty store industry because they started businesses early on, when hair products were high in demand, said Sam Hwang, vice president of the National Federation of Beauty Suppliers.

“They provided a service where the community could purchase a product they needed,” Hwang said.

Hwang says the number of Korean-owned beauty stores is shrinking because first-generation Korean owners are retiring and closing the stores.

“A lot of the kids don’t want to continue the businesses their parents did,” he said.

The biggest barrier that black beauty entrepreneurs face is that many small businesses do not have the capital to buy bulk inventory and offer products at the lower prices found at bigger beauty stores, according to the Black-Owned Beauty Supply Association.

“People always complain about black-owned businesses being expensive, but they have to understand businesses like us are funding all of this out of one pocket,” said Morris’ daughter, Kayla Morris.

It takes more than just your race to attract customers; it takes knowing and learning about the business, Temika Morris said.

“I don’t want people to support us just because we’re black-owned,” she said. “Support us because we care about our customers.”

Sherman Willis, vice president of Willis Beauty Supply Co. at 1499 E. Livingston Ave. on the South Side, said he’s been running his shop alongside his brother, James Willis, since 1967.

“It has been rewarding, and I can consider it successful that we still have our doors opened,” Willis said.

Rondala Jeffers lives in Canal Winchester and visits Morris’ shop frequently, happy to have a black-owned beauty-supply shop near her.

“The employees are very friendly and make you feel like family,” Jeffers said. “Sometimes, I’ll even come in to just talk to everyone.”

Another customer, Tiffany Jones, who lives in Berwick on Columbus’ East Side, heard about the shop from Facebook, and said she loves that the owner is black.

black owned beauty stores
Temika Morris (right) and a customer (Photo: Eric Albrecht/Dispatch)

“It’s important to have black-owned beauty stores because it’s hard for someone to know what to put in your hair if they don’t know much about it,” Jones said.

Although Temika Morris says her shop still has room to grow — she’d like to expand her inventory — she believes she’s making a difference in her community.

“I’m proud I created this and have been able to sustain it this long,” she said. “It makes me hopeful.”

 

By Tanisha Thomas via The Columbus Dispatch