Bet on Black woman-owned beauty suppliers this Women’s Small Business Month and beyond
October is National Women’s Small Business Month — are you intentionally putting your dollars behind Black woman-owned beauty supply stores and hair brands?
Thanks to Halloween, October is often considered a festive month as it’s the start of the holiday season. However, one of the other notable happenings in October is the celebration of National Women’s Small Business Month!
During this time of year, you may see heightened attention around businesses owned by women all across the U.S., and for good reason! Women are the country’s fastest-growing sector of business owners, with over 12.3 million businesses in the United States. One sector in which you may expect women of color to be on the rise as business owners is the beauty industry, given our status as trendsetters with major spending power.
According to Nielsen, African Americans account for over $1.2 trillion in spending power —and 11.1 percent of total beauty spending, per June 2022 research from McKinsey. The Black hair-care industry alone currently generates $2.29 billion in annual sales. From styling products to hair pieces, it is a known fact that Black women care for our hair in ways that specifically cater to the type, texture, and knowledge of our strands. This often involves a lot of trial and error, including regular runs to local beauty supply stores in search of various hair products, or even trying various hair suppliers to fulfill our needs.
When seeking out a beauty supply store or hair supplier, you may be so focused on what store carries the type of products and brands for your hair, you may not research who consistently profits off of Black beauty. Black women may be big spenders, but the real question here is: Have you intentionally sought out a Black female-owned beauty supply or hair business?
if you know better, chances are you can do better; that’s why this Women’s Small Business Month we made it our business to compile a brief list of beauty supply stores, and wig and hair suppliers owned and operated by Black women. Check out a few of our finds below.
If you’ve ever admired a fashionista in a 30-plus-inch bust-down wig or extensions made of 100% unprocessed human hair, more than likely it was True Indian Hair. Founded by Karen Mitchell in 2005, True Indian Hair is a favorite among the celebrity set. From Beyoncé to City Girls rapper JT, True Indian supplies top-quality strands that keep you coming back for more. You can check out True Indian Hair locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and online at https://trueindianhair.com/.
Co-ownership is very important in business, and it’s even better when it’s a sister duo on a mission. If you are ever in the Philadelphia area, be sure to stop and check out the Hafiz Sisters Beauty Supply store in Germantown. With the support of their husbands and the entire family, the Hafiz Sisters saw and fulfilled a need for a Black-owned beauty supply store in the over-40 percent Black city. Now, Philly locals can shop all of their favorite hair products and tools while supporting a Black women-owned business, not only this October, but forever more! Check out https://hafizsistersbeautysupply.com/.
When Leana McKnight started SL Raw Virgin Hair in 2009, she sought to make accessible the best quality hair, ranging in textures, lengths and styles — products brick-and-mortar stores just weren’t providing at the time. With more than a dozen years of experience, plenty of shoutouts, references, and 5-star reviews since, SL Raw Virgin Hair is one of the most trusted hair supply sites to purchase from today. Visit https://slrawvirginhair.com/.
Former model, mompreneur, and juice bar owner Lia Dias is the ultimate girl boss, owning a chain of beauty supply stores in the Los Angeles area called The Girl Cave LA. With pink as its signature color, Lia didn’t intend for The Girl Cave LA to just be a beauty supplier — she’s turned it into a lifestyle brand empowering women to be their best selves by looking good and showing up, which is most important. If you are in the Los Angeles area, step into The Girl Cave LA and soak up all the boss energy you need and deserve — or shop online (https://www.girlcavela.com/).
If you haven’t heard of Kendra Cooksey of Kendra’s Hair Boutique by now, Kendra stormed onto the scene as the “IT” girl for hair, wigs, and extensions, gaining popularity in 2013 working with socialites like Blac Chyna. However, Kendra’s real reason for getting into the business at the age of 20 was to support and boost the self-esteem of people dealing with alopecia, cancer, and heat damage. In the decade since, Kendra’s Hair Boutique has become one of the most notable hair companies for extensions of all sorts, as well as wigs, frontals, closures, hair-care products, and tools. Shop https://kendrasboutique.com/ today.
One glance at the website of Atlanta Beauty Depot and you know it’s made for us, by us. It’s also a family-owned business, where co-owner France made it the company’s mission to create a haven for Black customers to shop free of harassment and with an educated cosmetologist on the scene. Since its start, Atlanta Beauty Depot has evolved into much more than a beauty supply store; it’s a leader and visionary in the space, giving even smaller businesses the same opportunities to build beautiful Black beauty spaces. When in Atlanta, visit the Smyrna, Georgia, area to check out Atlanta Beauty Depot for your needs. You may also visit them online (https://www.atlbeautydepot.com/).
Monique Allen, the owner of Wig Dealer, has the internet in a frenzy over her natural-looking wigs. Located in the Cleveland, Ohio area, Monique paired her skills as a registered nurse with entrepreneurial ingenuity to birth Wig Dealer while she was dealing with her own major hair loss. Today, Allen supplies some of the best HD lace wigs you’ll find on the market (https://shopwigdealer.com/).
When opening up Brooklyn’s Paris Beauty Supply in 2020, Paris McKenzie became the youngest beauty supply store owner in the New York City borough at the age of 16. Years later, she is still making big moves; stop by PBS to shop the best moisture products, heated tools, hair care, and extensions in New York. (https://parisbeautysupplyz.com/)
Born in Nigeria, University of Houston graduate Yummie Okunfulure initially spent 10 years in corporate America post-grad. She then jumped into her ultimate entrepreneur bag to launch Yummy Extensions, a premium brand offering the best authentic natural hair extensions. Yummy is now ranked one of the top hair goods and extension brands with locations in Brooklyn, New York, and an online shop. Fly by the store when in town or browse the website to get the look you desire: https://yummyextensions.com.
Run by owner Renay Green in Conyers, Georgia, Natalya’s Beauty Supply has been around for over 15 years. It’s a trusted Black beauty supply carrier owned and operated by Black women who have all the wisdom in the hair-care game. Visit https://natalyasbeauty.com/ today.
Conscious Curls is the brainchild of Emmy Award-winning hair stylist Angela C. Stevens, inspired by years spent styling the naturally textured tresses of actresses like Keke Palmer and Lupita Nyong’o in her chair. In 2020, Angela shifted her focus to Conscious Curls as a texture-inclusive line of extensions and wigs. Today, CC is booming on the net, supplying the masses with the best in quality hair and pushing forward the education and conversation about naturally textured Black hair. Visit https://shop.consciouscurlshair.com/ for more.
Kasheena Brookins founded Halo Beauty Supply in Lynwood, Illinois, in 2021 and has been in her bag ever since. As a Black-owned-and-operated beauty supply store, Halo supplies customers with the newest hair-care tools and products that cater to Black hair. You can find everything from bonnets to crochet and braided hair at Halo; head to www.halobeautysupply.com to see what they have to offer.
A former model, Stephanie Nolan turned her sights to entrepreneurship, creating XOXO Virgin Hair company in 2014, and hasn’t looked back since. As the title suggests, XOXO Virgin Hair is a Black-owned supplier of all-virgin hair, widely considered the best quality hair extensions. You can find out more at https://www.shopxoxohair.com/
Teryn McElroy was onto something when she came up with Textured Tech. An extensive beauty supply store offering all the variables one can find in Black hair care, Teryn also sees her business as helping to fill the gap between Black women bringing in the most revenue for hair care but having low ownership. Check out this premier beauty supply store located in Carson, California, or at https://www.texturedtech.com/
For the past decade or more, we have seen an uptick in Black women doing the “big chop ” to start their natural hair journeys and get back to their roots — but many aren’t sure how to style their hair in the process. Owner Melissa Etienne created Big Chop Hair company based on her natural hair journey to help those going through that awkward stage of hair regrowth.
You can find everything from ponytails to wigs in natural textured styles on https://bigchophair.bigcartel.com/ today.
Noel Cymone Walker is an NYC-based writer specializing in beauty, fashion, music, travel, and cultural anthropology. She has written and produced visuals for several notable publications such as The Recording Academy/The Grammys, The Fader, Billboard, OkayPlayer, Marie Claire, Glamour, Allure, Essence, Ebony, and more.
TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. TheGrio’s Black Podcast Network is free too. Download theGrio mobile apps today! Listen to ‘Writing Black’ with Maiysha Kai.