Black women have been shopping in beauty supply stores all their lives but make up a small percentage of the industry’s store owners.
Chasity Monroe, the owner of Pink Noire Beauty Supply and Cosmetics, one of the few Black-owned beauty supply stores in Memphis, Tennessee, hopes to reclaim the Black beauty industry through her corporate and consumer perspectives.
According to Memphis Flyer, estimates from The Black Owned Beauty Supply Association (BOBSA) show the Black haircare and cosmetics industry is worth about $9 billion. However, less than 5% of the beauty supply stores in the United States are Black-owned, which presents Black shoppers with an issue; they purchase products from non-Black communities that do not understand Black hair.
“If we’re not driving the decisions, that just suggests to us further discrimination. Just really being on the short end of the stick,” Monroe said.
“If there are people making products for us, that don’t really know about our hair, but are trying to get a profit, that’s never going to end well,” she added.
“We’re literally financing generations of a whole other community, and that dollar is not going to come back to our community.”
BOBSA reported that Korean immigrants own the majority of beauty supply stores in the country.
“Obviously folks who look like us tend to understand what our needs are,” said Monroe.
“A lot of the time those products are also really great quality versus some of those bigger company brands that are just trying to get a profit.”
In observance of what the market currently had for beauty supply stores, Monroe wanted to reflect a grocery store layout in her store, where customers could have a shopping experience. “I felt it was important to have a place, even if it was just for a few minutes, where you feel important, and you feel valued, and you know we got your back,” she said.
Monroe began her career in the beauty industry around 15 years ago, working for Procter & Gamble. Several conversations with Black women stemmed from her market research and work on consumer insights, expanding her knowledge of the Black beauty industry.
Pink Noire Beauty Supply and Cosmetics is located at 152 North Avalon Street in Memphis.