Wagman Hair

Are Weave Companies Ever Really Black Owned?

One of my pet peeves is hearing excuses disguised as justifications for not supporting our businesses, even in hair and beauty related products.  If you notice, my favorite brands tend to be Black owned and operated:  Black Opal, Bee Mine, Obia Naturals, etc.  While all of my products are not from Black owned companies, I do make a concerted effort to support our community whenever possible.  I hate hearing things like  “I would buy Black products but they are too expensive”  and the infamous “It doesn’t matter who makes it as long as it works.”  I just do not understand how creating wealth in our own communities is not of important to every Black consumer.

Are Hair Weave Companies Ever Really Black Owned - Longing 4 Length

Recently I expressed my love for Perfect Locks hair, which is owned by an Indian couple.  One of my other favorite hair companies is Indique, owned by Erica Dotson, a black female entrepreneur.  I love both brands, readily recommend them and based on my experience find them to be superior to most weave companies.  However, while expressing my preference for the Perfect Locks hair, I felt a bit disloyal because the owners are not Black.  But then I began thinking that regardless of the retailer -Perfect Locks, Indique or other – the original source of hair is either Asian or Indian.  So are hair weave companies ever REALLY Black owned?

One of the major objections from women who are anti-weave is their dismay that Black women wear hair of other ethnicities.  Indian, Malaysian, Brazilian, Chinese – those opposed feel that if we ARE to wear weave, why not wear our own textures?  Although I understand their opinion, obviously I disagree.  But aside from the ethical dilemma of wearing the hair of “others” I am wondering of the origin of the hair is not Black, then regardless from whom we, the consumers, buy our weave – are we ever really “buying Black?”

What do you think, is the idea of buying weave from a Black owned company an oxymoron?

Ebony C. Princess About Ebony C. Princess

A self proclaimed hair enthusiast and healthy hair advocate, Ebony C, Princess is the chief editor of Longing 4 Length. She shares her personal journey towards growing long, healthy hair while providing hair care tips and information.

  • Lisa

    Interesting thoughts. Never thought about this Before so it got me thinking. I guess I tend to go with the ones, as long as it is a good p roduct, does it matter if it is a black owner. The reson for that is that there is a risk it opens up for race defining questions. How black does the owner has to be? Would it be ok to be half black like Obama? Or just a black ancestor? An how would one tell? And does that mean that if the owner is european black feels better than an indian american even if it means buyng from non american companies. Those are questions poping up in my head.
    For me, fair trade and produced in line with a sustainable environment is more important than where the owner comes from. But I understand it is all about the society, politically and culturally.

    • http://www.longing4length.com/ EbonyCPrincess

      Interesting point of view – are you American? I always find the opinions from those based outside the US enlightening on these types of discussions. I think of Black as anyone who has a Black parent. But I don’t give it THAT much thought when looking at the owner of a company, truth be told there aren’t that many situations where these questions come into play. But food for thought for sure.

      • Lisa

        I am from Scandinavia and I live here still :) If you Think of a black person as someone who has a black parent shouldnt a White person be someone who has a White parent? Obama for example has a White parent? Just thinking about it from a different perspective.
        I am of mixed race. half White and half black. Maybe that is why I don.t really care about who owns a company. I am on both sides :) However, I have thought about the fact that so many wigs and weaves are not looking like traditional african hair. I know that there are many different black hair types but I have spent a lot of time in Africa and I know that the dominating hairtype is nothing like the Indian long shinging hair that a lot of wigs are made of. Maybe that would have changed if more black pepole owned wig companies. But the question is, does black people want to buy wigs made out of black hair? I’m not sure.
        Thanks for your response :)

  • http://belowthawaist.blogspot.jp/ Abbi N

    Sure! If creating wealth in black communities is the goal, then supporting a black middleman is just as effective as supporting the manufacturer.

    Abbi of http://belowthawaist.blogspot.jp/

    • http://www.longing4length.com/ EbonyCPrincess

      Great point!

  • Rue

    When it comes to brands for me it comes down to two things what works, and personality. if the brand is family owned or something like bo, I like them because they are friendly and there stuff works, and if the stuff is more of a mainstream brand I just go with what works for me. I love to support family and/or black owned brands overall. but it isn’t really of black origin the same as a lot of dresses and food stuffs are not of american origin, the hair is sold by people that make the people buying feel assured it will work for them, just like dieting things are only sold by thin people. its kind of sad but its just marketing.

    • http://www.longing4length.com/ EbonyCPrincess

      Good points and it does help to feel like WE are selling it to each other, its like having a trusting face behind the product.

  • http://www.myhealthyhairdiary.blogspot.com/ Healthy Hair Diary

    For me, service, quality and price is more important that whether or not the owner is black. To me, we are never truly “buying black” unless the product is made by a black company/person from scratch.

  • blutifulblaq

    I would have to say I am the one who will buy from a company based on how the product works and if it is readily available to me. If they are black owned is a plus but not really a deciding factor when it comes to my purchases.

  • Jenni Lee

    To me race is unimportant, but integrity and respect are. For instance, I was resistant to buy the Huetiful Hair steamer because the price is significantly higher, sometimes two times as high, as other vendors. When you look at the steamers, they look identical in construction, and let’s face it, they probably all come from the same factory, but i bought about three steamers from other vendors and they all stopped working after about two weeks or less, some of them wouldn’t even turn on, but after getting the Huetiful, it’s obvious why it costs more. It’s constructed better than the others, and they have a longer guarantee/warranty. So far, I’ve had mine for five months and it’s still ticking. That was my positive black-owned experience, and unfortunately the only one.

    My bad experience comes with weave hair from black owned businesses, which I’ve been buying for 3 or 4 years now. I was excited to be buying kinky curly hair from businesses run by black women who wear their hair natural, but the customer service is horrendous. The hair was bad and it was hundreds of dollars down the drain. They offered no phone number and you can only contact them through email. And I was treated like a criminal for asking for my money back. I literally got a letter from an attorney.

    What I find lacking in black-owned businesses, speaking from what I’ve learned in the marketing/business classes I’ve taken (one at Wharton) is that they don’t seem to understand the idea of customer retention or the long term value of a customer. A returning customer is much more valuable to a company than a one time buyer, given the market and niche. In my experience the black owned businesses I’ve encountered has been small with less employees, sometimes only one, so they don’t have the man power to be responsive. As great as my Huetiful is, it took weeks to get anyone on the phone when i did have questions. A lot of the hair companies don’t even have phone numbers.
    If I have a responsibility to support black owned businesses, than I expect the same level of responsibility and care from the black owned company that I’ve given my money to.