Opening a beauty supply store had been a dream of mine for many years prior to the actual date that my husband and I began the planning stages. We knew there were not many black owned beauty supply stores the thing that we didn’t know was why. After we began doing research we quickly realized a few problems with starting your own beauty supply store. The information was very difficult to find and there were not enough black owned beauty supplies to assist us in our endeavor. The other issue was among the black owned beauty supply stores that were out there, many were unwilling to give information to another aspiring entrepreneur.
I of course found this unfortunate as the companies that we approached were in different states than we were and we were still unable to gather the information we needed. All that being said I am a pretty determined person and once I set my mind to something I am going to see it through. I did not expect to encounter so many road blocks in my journey.
My husband, Ricky and I continued on our journey and finally got to a point where we thought that we had overcome many of the issues we faced concerning obtaining products until we began to look for hair. So, let me back up and break down how this works. There are liquid goods which are your shampoos, relaxers and hair dressings and things of the sort. These items were not difficult to obtain for our store. This being said we were misinformed in thinking that since we obtained an account to purchase these products fairly easily that it would be the same for the hair accounts……WRONG!!! Ricky and I had already signed the lease on our space and we had our account for buying what we thought was the majority of our products.
ROADBLOCK #1: (Hair Account #1) I am sorry Ma’am we cannot open your beauty supply because it is too close to another beauty supply in your area. (Me) Well actually there is not another beauty supply within at least five miles of me and also the one that is closest to me is closer to another beauty supply and they carry the same hair.
Note: I am in the suburbs and in the inner city beauty supply stores literally sit on top of each other and sell the same hair brands.
ROADBLOCK #2: (Hair Account #2) I can open an account for you Ma’am, but your opening order is $20,000 and each additional order needs to be $5,000 a month. (Me) What am I going to do with $20,000 worth of hair from one brand? As a new business there is no way I can move that kind of volume. (light goes off in my head…..oh, that’s what you know.)
ROADBLOCK #3: (Hair Account #3) I am sorry Ma’am there is a current shortage of hair and we are not opening any new accounts.
And the list of excuses as to why I cannot obtain a hair account goes on and on….”call us back after one year of being open and we will help you then” knowing I cannot be open for a year without hair.
All of that being said 3 Sister’s Beauty Supply is open and has been in business since February 2009. All I can say is Thank God for Natural Hair. To be honest this has been the way that our company has survived for the past two years. We do now have hair accounts and are currently in the process of growing our inventory on hair, but it has been a slow process with hair accounts.
One issue I now see is that these Korean owned beauty supply’s are now starting to carry a lot of natural hair brands. Please do not buy your natural hair brands from these companies that have ignored natural hair for so long. Now, I mean if you have an alternative. If there are no black owned beauty supply stores in your area I understand, but if you have options like a 3 Sister’s Beauty Supply I encourage you to support them. If you want to support a black owned beauty supply and do not have one near you, you can shop on our online store at www.3sistersbeautysupply.com and click Shop. There is a short registration, but that is in place to limit the competition from trying to monitor what we are carrying in our stores. Their goal is to run us out of business and our goal is to turn the industry around and assist other blacks interested in opening a beauty supply that means to do so. If you need assistance with opening a beauty supply please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can schedule a consultation. If you are utilizing other sources and are paying for them, please make sure that they are reputable. You can try Devin Robinson with Taking it Back University, but please do not send any money to the Black Owned Beauty Supply Association. This company is not reputable and I have had many horror stories of people losing their money to Sam Enon, the man that runs the company.
My dream is to one day be able to run my business to the best of my natural ability without being subjected to such discrimination that has hindered our success and can keep many from not opening businesses and many the invest their money and open and the soon fail because they do not have the right resources. We can take the industry back, but it takes black entrepreneurs to stick together and that includes those of black manufactured products.
Natural hair products are predominantly owned by blacks and you owners of these products now have an opportunity to change and industry. Unfortunately many companies are not taking a stand and you will find many well known brands in Korean Owned shops. I am in no way trying to be naïve, but if you are a company that is already sold in Whole Foods why do you need to be in Korean establishments, your product is already easily accessible. And why are many of the black owned beauty supplies that we have assisted in the past few years having a horrible time getting an account with your company to sell your products when you have already opened the door for the Korean owned stores…..I am confused….
At any rate 3 Sister’s Beauty Supply is dedicated to changing the face of the beauty supply industry and truly hope that we are not alone in this plight.