Black Businesswomen Banking on Hair

Two hair industry trailblazers making their mark on the multimillion-dollar beauty industry

(Image: Thinkstock)

Yaki. Mongolian. Chinese. Indian Remy. Once a hush-hush taboo, hair extensions have become the must-have accessory among women. From celebrities to everyday professionals to top CEOs, many proudly spend top bank on what they consider an investment—hair—with a price tag that can range from a couple hundred dollars to thousands per installment. The hot commodity is so coveted, it’s hit the black market, with thieves swiping thousands of dollars in inventory from supply stores across the nation.

In the multimillion-dollar beauty market, African American women account for a major portion of hair extension buyers and wearers, yet Asians and other ethnicities control much of the production and sale of the product.

Despite the odds, these two African American trailblazing entrepreneurs have been able to gain a strong foot-hood in the industry, taking their passion for beauty and turning it into high dividends. BlackEnterprise.com talked with Ericka Dotson, co-founder of Indique Virgin Indian Hair, and Karen Mitchell, founder of True Indian Hair-–each boasting a client list that includes Ciara, Lady GaGa, Kelly Rowland and Jill Scott—on how they were able to find success in the industry, what it takes to remain viable, and why beauty is such a popular, and profitable, industry to invest in.

Videography and editing by Kahliah Laney

ACROSS THE WEB
  • SisterSarah

    I applaud the women for finding success in an industry that supposedly caters to us yet goes to great lengths to keep us from profiting from it. I still wish more black women would wear their hair naturally.

    • http://blackenterprise.com Janell Hazelwood

      Thanks SisterSarah for reading. We wanted to highlight black businesswomen who are successful in an industry where a tremendous part of the buying market is black women but where the the majority involved in the behind-the-scenes business of the hair extension market is not.

    • Marisa

      It’s true that hair extensions are becoming less of a taboo. I remember a few years ago, those who wear hair extensions used to hide it from people and pretend it’s their natural hair. Now, it is becoming more common and more socially accepted for a girl to wear hair extensions and be open about it. I think it’s a nice leap in the beauty market.

  • Angelina Jolie###

    definite acknowledgement to all the women of color in technology. There’s plenty of us, but our media usually gives so much attention to the athletes, singers and actresses who deserve recognition, but it’s nice to see a balance. Thank you
    A wide range of Australian made UGG Boots and sheepskin leather products.

    • http://blackenterprise.com Janell Hazelwood

      And thank you for reading and commenting. Yes, we want to provide a balance in highlighting the greatness in business, careers and entrepreneurship among people of color.

  • Cleo

    I’m a black woman who thinks Indian hair on black women look ridiculous. I’m amazed how many black women cannot see this.

    • http://blackenterprise.com Janell Hazelwood

      Thanks Cleo for reading and commenting :) I think we are all beautiful in our own varied styles and ways of exhibiting creativity via style.

    • SJ

      How do we as a community invest in the weave market, I would love to get stock in this multi billion dollar business but can’t find any information on the stock market. What does hair extensions fall under in the stock market

  • Cassandra

    what i dont like is when tv commercial portray hair color
    they make is seem to our youth and others as if the black girl has
    to have long strong hair for it to look that good when in reality is a full 3000 dollar weave.

  • Janine Bell

    Kudos to them because we SURE spend a lot of money in this industry. More power to them!

    #iSupport!

    http://www.supportblackbusinesses.com

  • indianhaircity

    What is all the crazy about Indian Hair extensions? The newest hair extension product for black womens beauty salons today is Indian Hair. It is hot! Indian hair is appreciated by African American women because of its versatility. Indian hair can be worn straight with a natural curl pattern or curly with a deeper curl pattern. Both hair types can be flat ironed straight for a silky smooth look.

    http://www.indianhaircity.com

    The Best In Indian Hair !
    We guarantee our weft is 100% human hair,no mix hair,no grey hair,no synthetic.

    1 pack is 4 ounce