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beauty - Page 2

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.

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.

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.


“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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6 mins read

How This Intimate Apparel and Beauty Brand Got into Major Retail Stores Across the Country

As an entrepreneur, getting a major retailer to carry your brand can be a challenge. Getting several top retailers to carry your brand is even harder. However, that’s exactly what UI Global Brands LLC did. We chatted with one half of the Texas-based husband and wife duo, Psyche and Vontoba Terry, to find out more about their journey and success.

SB: What inspired you to start UI Global brands?

VT: We started UI Global Brands because we wanted to give people products that would make them happier and healthier. Psyche was taking an entrepreneurship course in her MBA program and I was wrapping up an M.A. in Economics at UNLV.

Psyche was always trying different business ideas and testing her concepts on our friends in Las Vegas. We started with great-smelling body butters that were natural and made for people who were tired of dry skin. A month later we added lingerie for women who wanted fashionable products at an affordable price.

Shortly after launching, we were pregnant with our first son, and Psyche’s body changed. Psyche saw a need that wasn’t being met for women like her (she went from a B cup to a G cup) and launched a new plus-size collection for women who wanted fashionable intimates that flattered their curves.

SB: Describe the “Workshop at Macy’s” and explain how it changed the game for you?

VT: The Workshop at Macy’s was life-changing. We were a small e-commerce shop before meeting the Macy’s team. The Workshop gave us a crash course on how to sell our intimate apparel collection to a major retailer like Macy’s.

We met game changers like Lisa Price and Daymond John and learned the ins and outs of strategic retail marketing and retail math. We used that knowledge to expand our skincare business as well, and within two months of the workshop, we had our first wholesale skincare customer, TJMaxx. Psyche visits the Workshop at Macy’s regularly to share her experience and inspire new participants.

SB: What has been the most challenging experience on your entrepreneurial journey so far? What has been the most exciting?

VT: The most challenging experience has been making more people aware of the great products that we produce and where they can buy them. We make natural body products and natural hair care products that are as good as or better than a lot of products on the market.

We also produce quality bras at affordable prices and size-inclusive lingerie made with attention to detail. The most exciting aspect of our journey has been traveling around the country to Macy’s stores and Sally Beauty stores, and hearing from customers who have fallen in love with our Inspire Psyche Terry, Audrey Olivia, and Urban Hydration products.

SB: How do you handle being a business partner with your spouse?

VT: It was difficult for the first few months. We have been in business for 8 years, and for the first 6 years, I was working at a bank full-time and doing what I could in the evenings and weekends to support the business as it grew. In 2015, I left corporate and joined the company full-time.

We learned how to communicate better and “stay in our lanes” by understanding what we do best and trusting each other to handle our side of the business. We meet every day about different topics and there are no secrets. If we make a mistake, we own it, and then we grow from it. But it isn’t easy. It takes effort every day.

SB: What is the biggest business related risk you have taken?

VT: In 2015, we opened a factory within 30 days of finding out that a factory couldn’t make our natural Urban Hydration sugar scrubs for an order that was going to 3 national retailers the next month. Psyche was 35 weeks pregnant and we had no capital to finance the opening.

We received 30 day terms from our suppliers, received the first month free on a warehouse, and called every church member, friend, and relative we knew to work on the assembly line. Three weeks later, we delivered more than 15,000 units to our customers and saved those relationships.

SB: Where do you see the business in 5 years?

VT: In 5 years, we will have expanded our natural hair and bath business, Urban Hydration, into more retail doors, and we plan to grow our Audrey Olivia bra collection into more sizes and expand our Inspire Psyche Terry luxury lingerie collection into more store locations and boutiques.


SB: What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

VT: Know why you want to be an entrepreneur and what makes you special. There are many products and services vying for the attention of buyers and you must stand out in a crowded marketplace. Learn your competitors and highlight what makes you different and better.

Find out more about UI Global Brands LLC here.


Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson

1 min read

Black Owned Food & Beauty Businesses in the UK

We’re back with more Black-owned businesses based in the UK! These offer something for your taste buds and your personal style. Check them out and support!

Black Owned Food & Beauty Businesses in the UK

Colour Riot Nails is a cool girly nail haven specializing in bespoke nail treatments and nail art.


TreasureTress is the UK’s first monthly subscription box for women and girls with kinky, curly, coily, or frizzy hair.

black owned

Love Chin Chin is the company responsible for introducing ‘Chin Chin’, a sweet snack popular in West Africa, into the UK market.

black owned

Dark Sugars Cocoa House offers the culture of West African cocoa production. At the Cocoa House, you can sway your hips to the sound of the Senegalese sabar, or taste some pitch Black Hot Chocolate.


Chikas offers a delicious range of West African inspired snacks.


-Tony O. Lawson

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2 mins read

8 Black Owned Natural Hair Care Brands from the UK

As more Black women around the world continue to embrace their natural hair, the demand for quality products that make it easier to care for Black hair has increased. Here are some Black owned natural hair care brands that are based in the United Kingdom.

Black Owned Natural Hair Care Brands from the UK

I Love Afro is a family owned company specialising in handmade hair care products using the finest quality ingredients that nourish and encourage soft manageable curls.


Shear & Shine is the UK’s first Black owned grooming brand for Black men. They are committed to redefining the perception of Black men and inspiring them to be the best they can be.


Big Hair Beauty is a natural hair care range for curly, kinky, multi-textured hair. Their products are formulated using natural ingredients and are free from harsh chemicals and ingredients.


SimplyMoi offers a range of natural hair products including their our line. Their oils are 100% organic and are extracted via cold-pressed methods to safeguard their valuable antioxidants and other nutrients.


TLC Naturals offers products, which are made made in small batches, using simple blends of nutrient-rich & antioxidant-rich plant and fruit ingredients and minimal processing.


The Naturally Made For You products are made from 100% natural ingredients. Their mission is to promote and encourage the use of natural body products to achieve healthy, vibrant looking hair and skin.


Hug My Hair provides premium handmade natural hair products that are organic, Fairtrade and made from unrefined shea butter. 100% Vegetarian.?

14484774_976839019091727_2856550907443072925_nCurly by Nature produces naturally derived hair care treats for genetically curly hair to enhance its health & beauty. Their mission is to serve people with natural solutions that revive the beauty of their hair and dispel the myths associated with curly hair.

Natural Hair


Feature image is of Whitney White: Founder of @MelaninHaircare 

-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson

1 min read

20 Black Owned Beauty Brands

According to Nielsen, Black consumers account for a disproportionate amount of product sales in a number of consumer goods categories. One of these categories is Beauty. Almost 86% of the $63.5 million spent on “Ethnic Hair and Beauty Aids” is attributed to Black consumers.

Source: Nielsen Homescan 2017

I’m sure you would agree that Black owned beauty brands should be getting these coins. Here are a just few.

Black Owned Beauty Brands

Crayon Case

Beauty Bakerie

Juvia’s Place

Black Opal Beauty

Laws of Nature Cosmetics


GloGirl Cosmetics

AJ Crimson Beauty


Nagi Cosmetics

The Lip Bar


Lamik Beauty



Fashion Fair


L.O.G. Cosmetics



Iman Cosmetics

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Flawless Faces


Gold Label Cosmetics



KA’OIR Cosmetics


B.L.A.C. Minerals Cosmetics

Magnolia Makeup


Black Radiance Beauty