The Business of Beauty: Wigs and Weaves

Several entrepreneurs have built lucrative businesses in haircare

(Image: Eye For Design)

Today’s woman is constantly on the move. With hectic schedules and intense budgets, she oftentimes makes time for everyone but herself. However, there’s one area in her life that women no longer have to neglect—their hair.

Many women have opted for protective hairstyles to keep up with their demanding schedules and styling curiosity. Protective styles consist of weaves, wigs and extensions. Not only do they provide versatility to the everyday woman, but they also protect or help repair damaged hair as they keep one’s ends tucked away and out of harm’s way from chemical or heat-based styles, changing seasons or hair manipulation.

[RELATED: Minding Her Own Business: Celeb Hairstylist, Aisha Ogletree, Talks About Making It In the Haircare Industry]

Women of all ages and ethnic backgrounds are going to their local beauty supply store, braiding technician or favorite website to purchase hair and confidently don a protective style. I caught up with four owners of black hair care establishments to get their take and advice on the popular styles.

Big Chop Hair (Image: Maria Antoinette of www.theMariaAntoinette.com)

Big Chop Hair (Image: Maria Antoinette of TheMariaAntoinette.com)

“Protective styling is for everyone,” says Melissa of BigChopHair.com. Melissa started BigChopHair in 2012, a year after her son was born.  After tedious research about the hair industry and its lucrative sales forecasts, she shifted her interest in hair and beauty into a full-time business venture. She sells various textures and lengths of weft and non-weft hair on her site with the average costs of bundles ranging between $80-$140.

“I have been in the hair industry for years. I’ve worked with women of all races. I’ve provided extensions for European models at fashion week, and I have shipped hair to women in Africa. There is no boundary when it comes to hair and beauty.” According to Melissa, bundles can be added for length and volume and the most popular style choice for the hair she sells is a “twist out.” Big Chop Hair has a YouTube channel that offers many tutorials to help you rock out and style as you choose.

(Image: Eye For Design)

More women are kissing the “creamy crack” (chemical relaxers) goodbye and are proudly showing off their natural-hair. Ijeoma and Uchenna Tiggs of Eye for Design Hair explain how a woman can embrace her natural hair and extensions, “Protective styling such as wigs, sew-in extensions, and clip-ins allow [women] to go smoothly through the transition [from relaxed to natural hair] by allowing them to maintain their previous look or their natural look with a full head of hair while protecting their natural hair as it grows out.”

The sister CEOs have been in business for eight years. They’ve traveled to India and the Ukraine to find the best hair extension manufacturers who would help them develop quality hair extensions that help women with their protective styling desires. Their most popular bundle lengths are 16 inches ($103) to 22 inches ($128) and they’re sold on their website.

(Image: Amora Renae Hair Collection)

Although protective styles are typically known for adding styling versatility to a woman’s crowning glory, they can also be used for women suffering from medical ailments that cause hair loss or hair issues. For the woman undergoing chemotherapy treatments or diagnosed with alopecia, protective styles have become a way of life.

“Those suffering from hair loss due to medical conditions can find refuge in PS (protective styles), such as weaves, because of the coverage they provide,” explains Jalena Gillette of Amora Renae Hair Collection. Amora Renae caters to the needs of women looking for solutions to medical ailments or style changes with textured hair bundles costing around $80 as well as U-part wigs.

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