From $15,000 to $400,000: What You Didn’t Know About the Lace-Front Wig Business

Tyann Hodges, founder of Allure & More, shares tips to success in launching her business

Allure and More Hair
(Image: Allure & More/Tyann Hodges)

Helmet head. Too Plastic. Too masculine. Just a hot mess. These are all phrases that have been used by women to describe lace-front wigs.

A hairpiece first used in show business to create the illusion of a real hairline for performers and actors in costume—or their alter-egos—lace-front wigs became a mainstream consumer product offered in beauty supply and wig stores across the nation as early as 2000, giving women the option to get their ‘Beyonce on’ in the office, at church or on that special vacation. The units feature lace at the hairline–often in a tan, white or peach hue—where individual strands of hair are hand-tied to the lace to create an more scalp-like look and versatility.

[Related: The Business of Beauty: Wigs and Weaves]

Over the years, the wigs have improved from easy-to-spot fashion faux pas to innovative, natural-looking accessories that not only have people wondering, ‘Is that her hair?’ but offering complements to the wearer and the stylist.

Today, the cost of one lace-front wig can range from as low as $30 to as luxe as $3,000 (for special customization), and the units have now become quite the normal, chic staple among women who not only enjoy the style diversity they afford, but those who suffer from hair loss due to medical conditions or hereditary balding. And where there’s a need, there’s always companies filling it, and experts put the black haircare industry at $500 billion by 2017, with a large part of those revenues coming in from wig and hair extension consumption.

One savvy young entrepreneur who has tapped into the market is 25-year-old Tyann Hodges, founder of Allure & More. A hairstylist by trade, she took $15,000 in savings and investments to launch a custom lace wig and beauty brand that has brought in, according to Hodges, $400,000 in revenues in the first year alone. She recently launched a course series to teach stylists and beauty enthusiasts the do’s and don’t of wig installation and maintenance and the business side of selling the units. Below, she shares five tips that helped her succeed in launching the brand:

1. Get training and stay up to date on the latest hair trends and techniques. “The industry is constantly changing and you want to remain competitive, especially in haircare where there are so many options available to consumers,” Hodges says. “Find your niche. For us, it is customizing the hairline, hair textures and offering different types of lace for a variety of skin tones and needs.”

2. Maximize the art of the visual sale by showcasing your product via a Website and your social media platforms. “When I first started, I’d see lace-front wigs that weren’t applied properly or just looked horrible, so I decided to offer an alternative and train,” Hodges says. “We feature our clients and people who love and wear our products on social media. That’s the best testimonial right there.” Hodges added that she also launched her business first online, starting an e-commerce site to sell the wigs and customization services.

3. Diversify your sources of funding to start the business. Hodges said that she worked in an office job to save up the startup funds, along with being a hairstylist. She also got support from family and friends. “You do what you have to do for your dream,” she adds. “Think outside of the box in terms of how you will accumulate the funds to get your Website going. Source your products from overseas and invest in the best to offer your customers.”

4. Embrace trial and error and practice quality control. Hodges says she gets her product from foreign companies because, for her, they have the resources to accommodate the needs of her business in terms of volume and manpower. “Also, you may have to try out different vendors and distributors for quality control and to find out whether the process, from warehouse to your business to your customers, works for you both production-wise and financially,” Hodges says.  Search out vendors via the Web or get recommendations from other entrepreneurs in the industry. You can also get information via hair shows, such as Bronner Bros., or online forums.

5. Partner with others in the hair industry to expand your product and brand reach. Hodges highly recommends being collaborative where it makes sense and embracing fellow entrepreneurs in your industry not just as competition. “There’s enough money out here for all of us, and since the needs of the customers change so much, there will always be opportunities to cater to them.”



11 Responses to From $15,000 to $400,000: What You Didn’t Know About the Lace-Front Wig Business

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  3. MKOriginal7 says:

    Very good article, but why are we as Black people also allowing Koreans to handle distribution and explicitly state that they are keeping us out? This is Black Enterprise. There is an entire town in Duluth, GA built on Blacks supporting Koreans who laugh at hiring them. What happened to “we don’t buy where we cant work?” Our generation (youth) has to take that mantle now. That includes Sally’s and the other 9000 Korean supply stores strategically placed in Black communities. The Koreans scoff at even wearing those weaves. God knows what is in them. There is no real oversight or testing for chemicals or toxins to speak of (formaldehyde, etc.). No issues with our incredibly beautiful sisters wearing them if they want to, but steer those customers toward Black suppliers. Period. We gave the Koreans that business starting in Chicago, now we also have the power to take back that business as the #1 consumers to transition to owners, suppliers, distribution, and manufacturers of the weaves including the raw materials. Why not? Let others become our customers. Educate customers going into hair supply stores and before they get there @ our points of influence, institutions, and social media. We already have everything we need including the will as we have shown in the natural hair industry.

    • 1blackberry says:

      It seems it’s easier said than done. The hair that’s being manufactured is raw human hair that’s mainly in demand is “their” hair! We are not buying natural black hair so they hold the power because they have the hair that fits the demands. I’ve been trying for years to figure out the best way to get on the other side of that cash register because I hate to continue to help them build up while our communities and culture is suffering!

      • MKOriginal7 says:

        Blackberry, I understand and keep up the great passion and interest. Remember, you are not alone by any means, as evidenced by BE’s excellent articles. Mr. George Fraser said it best: “connect the dots” and leverage your networks for support with your goals. We have great advantages in that Black people can produce all types of hair grades depending on what part of the world you are in-East Africa, etc., and there is increasing demand for all types of natural hair from what I understand. Plug into your local Black MBA organization, tech, or other organizations. You may be pleasantly surprised by the number of people with like minds, and most importantly the ability and means to follow through. We have everything we need collectively, and the future is bright, as we make it so.

    • Florence says:

      Koreans have capitalized the black hair market. Smart people.

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  8. Florence says:

    Koreans have capitalized the black hair market. Providing hair products to women when they would have otherwise been unavailable. Smart people.

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