The Business of Beauty: Wigs and Weaves
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

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.

 

Jalena and her sister started Amora Renae Hair Collection before they were 21 years old. Now, with two store locations in Michigan, one coming to Atlanta and their website, the sisters are proudly serving up their beauty tricks in the form of sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners, green tea hair and scalp mists, curl defining creams, and more.

Kinky Curly Yaki (Image: Vivian Kaye)

Interestingly, there is a quiet debate between “us vs. them,” where women with natural hair and women who wear protective styles are constantly questioning each other’s choices. Vivian Kaye of KinkyCurlyYaki simply says, “Do it your way! Whether you do a big chop or you’re transitioning with protective styling, your journey is yours.”

Kaye started KinkyCurlyYaki in 2010 after watching tons of videos of ladies torturing and killing their natural hair to blend with exotic textures like Brazilian, Peruvian and Malaysian. Her company’s hair bundles cost around $61 each and she recommends that newcomers who are interested in using weaves as protective styles ease into it with clip-ins that match their texture. Her website has a vast inventory of products and there are tons of pictures for inspiration on the @kinkycurlyyaki Instagram account.

The ease of wearing protective styles can unknowingly become a woman’s downfall. You can go long periods without washing your hair or even failing to keep it moisturized or tied up at night. As the seasons change, women with protective styles have to remember the one thing that remains the same–the upkeep of their own hair.

“All highly textured hair is prone to severe breakage and dryness during the winter months.  Curly, kinky, coily hair craves moisture more than any other hair texture and, without it, becomes brittle, coarse and breaks easily.  Therefore, women are going to need to get and keep moisture in their precious locs,” adds Delvin Stern, founder of DELLA Beauty products.

Della Beauty weave (Image: Della)

DELLA Beauty is very new to the hair industry and proudly boasts its customer-centric approach, which offers hair subscription services that deliver the product to your door at the same time each month. The company’s premium quality virgin Indian straight, curly and wavy hair extensions range in price from about $90-$100 and can be worn in large loose curls with the curly textured hair or a silky smooth bone-straight look with the straight extensions. Their products can be purchased on the Della Beauty website.

With the overwhelming number of haircare products on the market today, one has to wonder if the owners of such companies are investing in the business or the consumer. “My main factor is would I wear it?” acknowledges Etienne. “I would never sell or endorse something I didn’t believe in 1000% and didn’t try out for myself.”

Vivian Kaye, Melissa Etienne, Jalena Gillette, Ijeoma and Uchenna Tiggs and Delvin Stern stand behind their brands with sweat equity and a desire to help a woman feel as beautiful as possible. Whether it’s weaves, wigs or box braids, these styles give women affordable options ensuring that their needs are met and they are satisfied with their style choices.

 

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Aniesia Williams

Aniesia Williams is an LA-based, yet global senior brand strategist and expert, multimedia journalist, and digital beast. She was recently named as one of Network Journal’s Top 40 Under 40. She brings more than a decade of experience in marketing, new media, and branding. She has provided her expertise to some of the world’s largest brands, including Ford, Samsung, Shell, Lionsgate, and the Clinton Global Initiative. As a journalist, Aniesia also writes extensively about business and luxury travel experiences. Beyond her own media platform, A Global Lifestyle, Aniesia has provided content for top publications, including Business Insider, Black Enterprise, and Ebony Magazine to name a few.


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