Black Business Owner Faces the Challenges of Hair Care Supply Industry

Phyllis Kimber Wilcox |

Black individuals spend hundreds of thousands of {dollars} every year on their hair and the merchandise they use to maintain it wanting good. 

While there are differing numbers, some push estimates of the quantity spent on hair care merchandise to over a billion {dollars} yearly. Despite what seems to be a profitable market, the Black hair care {industry} is a tough enterprise to ascertain and achieve success in—particularly for Black entrepreneurs. 

U.S. Natural Hair Care Product Market Size, by End Use, 2016 to 2027 

There are a number of causes for this. Although there’s a rising listing of haircare merchandise catering to individuals with curly hair, and when one considers sporting pure hair is a big and rising half of the Black hair care market, Forbes studies that wigs, weaves, and hair extensions have a steady and established share of the {industry}. 

Despite this and different challenges, about 15 years in the past, native entrepreneur, Marcus Jinks, noticed his future on this market, decided to enter it and construct a future for himself and his household. In 2006 he opened MK Beauty Supply at 1200 E Highland Avenue, Suite J, in San Bernardino. 

Over the years, Jinks has skilled first hand the struggles of making an attempt to ascertain a enterprise on this market as a Black entrepreneur. 

“In this enterprise, on this group,” Jinks shared how exhausting it was in the starting explaining his perception some Blacks had been supporting Korean hair care product companies and passing his enterprise up.  “But over a interval of time,” he continued, “my daughter developed a relationship with rather a lot of the Black girls in the group.”

Jink’s feedback about the outsized presence of members of the Korean group in the hair care {industry} are rooted in a bit of identified historical past. Some first era Korean Americans seeking to set up enterprise alternatives for themselves and their very own households, went into the enterprise of supplying Black communities with hair care merchandise, in response to the ebook On My Own: Korean Businesses and Race Relations in America:by In-Jin Yoon.

The wig enterprise right here in the U. S. and the explosion of the wig enterprise in South Korea in the Sixties is instrumental to understanding the Korean possession of magnificence provide shops. Korean Americans personal greater than seventy p.c of the magnificence provide shops nationwide.


Jinks credit his daughter’s persona, heat and talent to attach with individuals by means of her kindness with serving to the enterprise survive. “She braids hair [and] after twelve years, she constructed the enterprise. I give her most of the credit score,” he acknowledged proudly. 

Jinks additionally acknowledges and credit his personal exhausting work and perseverance in rising the enterprise’s serving to to develop their buyer base–this included passing out flyers periodically to promote. 

Younger Customer Prefer Shopping Online 

“But, it’s robust,” he continued, expressing considerations that as a Black-owned enterprise  he doesn’t really feel supported by younger Blacks in the group. “[Y]oung individuals don’t help you,” he famous with out additional rationalization, earlier than including, “But, by the grace of God, we’re nonetheless in enterprise.”  

Research exhibits there are causes for this. While Jinks does have a restricted on-line presence, yow will discover him on Yelp and thru his daughter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts @mskay’slovelyhair, youthful generations together with Millennials, Gen Xers, and Zoomers gravitate in the direction of purchasing on-line with distributors who’ve an lively on-line presence. 

With individuals staying dwelling extra usually throughout the pandemic, brick and mortar shops wanted an internet savvy presence to compete. This is much more crucial with giants like Amazon taking the lion’s share of the market and who can provide merchandise at decrease costs.  Both individuals with larger incomes and youthful individuals with fewer assets are likely to do extra purchasing on-line.

Millennials, Gen Xers, and Zoomers gravitate in the direction of purchasing on-line with distributors who’ve an lively on-line presence. (supply:

Helping Small Businesses Build a Dynamic Online Presence

With the altering retail panorama, small companies are in search of options to handle the new challenges they face. One such resolution is being provided in New York. “NYC Small Biz: Open + Online,” a public non-public partnership is designed to assist small companies create an internet presence to assist them compete in as we speak’s e-commerce market. Many of the providers offered are free with thirty p.c of the companies who’ve taken benefit of their providers being Black owned. Such partnerships may very well be expanded or tried right here to assist enhance small enterprise in the Inland Empire.

Surviving the Pandemic

Reflecting on how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted his enterprise so far, Jinks shared. “We had been closed in 2020, from April to May,” nevertheless, enterprise has picked up. 

Looking again on the coronavirus challenges of final 12 months, Jinks commented about the failure of authorities help out there to him throughout these tough days. 

At the outset of the pandemic, the PPP or the Paycheck Protection Program was flawed particularly when it got here to offering reduction to minority enterprise house owners. Many of the preliminary loans went solely to companies that  had a earlier relationship with a financial institution and had been solely out there to companies with staff. Over ninety p.c of Black companies are sole proprietors.

This was an issue for a lot of minority enterprise house owners who had no historical past with the establishments offering the loans. This downside was alleviated in the second spherical of funding which made positive that group lending establishments with a monitor document of offering loans to small companies, had been concerned in the course of.

Although Jinks was in a position to safe a authorities grant for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), he’s nonetheless looking for further fiscal help. As he defined,  “I wished to get a SBA (Small Business Administration) mortgage. Well, I utilized for one,” he added earlier than stating. “I’m nonetheless ready to listen to again.” 

Challenges to Expanding the Business

Jinks is looking for the SBA mortgage to enlarge  his enterprise into an adjoining area to the place he’s presently positioned. His purpose is to make use of the added area to increase his stock to incorporate wigs and hair extensions. 

Even if he is ready to increase his enterprise, he’ll nonetheless face difficulties in securing stock immediately. The largest market share of magnificence provide shops are held by Korean Americans, who constructed their share of the market a long time in the past by investing in the storefront mannequin of supplying  hair merchandise, and who’ve established themselves as establishments. 

The manufacture and import of wigs and hair merchandise together with artificial hair stays dominated by Asian nations generally, together with China and India with Peru changing into an rising participant in the world market (China being the largest). 

All of these relationships are lengthy standing and Black individuals have traditionally not been concerned on this aspect of the enterprise. However, with an rising curiosity in pure hair, there are extra Black individuals like Jinks, all for establishing/increasing companies promoting these merchandise, are having to construct networks from scratch.

For Those Considering Jinks’ Business Model

When it involves providing recommendation to aspiring Black entrepreneurs Jinks cautioned he wouldn’t give any Black particular person recommendation on opening up a magnificence provide retailer as a result of  there’s a lot of competitors. “I’ve invested rather a lot of cash,” he opined, noting he would most likely encourage them to open a meals enterprise as a substitute, declaring, “If you may have good meals you get every type of individuals coming to what you are promoting.”

Supporting the Community

Before the pandemic MG & J offered meals to the group. (Source: Facebook  MG and J Outreach)

In addition to his enterprise, Jinks additionally has a nonprofit, MG and J. Before the pandemic, the group  offered meals to the group and scorching meals to the homeless. They additionally offered the homeless with resort vouchers, the group discontinued on account of the pandemic.  

People are referred to Jink’s nonprofit by means of a program referred to as Step Up. (Source: Facebook  MG and J Outreach)

Currently, Jinks and his companion, Ernie Vasquez, ship meals to the needy. Jinks mentioned persons are referred to him by means of a program referred to as Step Up.  Today, the nonprofit is constant its good work of feeding and serving to individuals in the group.

Phyllis Kimber-Wilcox is a reporter for Black Voice News. Her pursuits are the intersections of historic occasions with modern realities and their impacts on the persistent social, structural and financial obstacles which proceed to adversely have an effect on and restrict Black lives with an eye fixed towards  community-based  options. Contact Phyllis with suggestions, feedback. or considerations at [email protected]

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