Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Southeast Queens Black Beauty Supply Stores Lead National Trend To Reclaim The 12.7 Billion Black Hair Care Market

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Southeast Queens Companies Lead In Recapturing The Global Multibillion Dollar Black Hair Care And Beauty Supply Market

By Jody-Ann Buckle


Located on 200 Street and Linden Boulevard, IBI Beauty Supply, is just one of the beauty supply stores located in Southeast Queens. This black owned beauty supply store is merely steps away from residential homes, beauty salons, a barbershop, a laundromat, Golden Krust, Innovations in Creative Arts, and many other commercial businesses. As I was waiting to interview, Brigite Bolling Emmanuel, about the success of her business, several customers entered the store in search of various items such as; face creams, hair extensions and hair wigs.

Despite having an assistant in the store, Ms. Emmanuel engaged her customers, maintained the cash registry, and displayed excellent customer service. Ms. Emmanuel grew up in the neighborhood and is an Andrew Jackson, High School alumni. After working as an IT Technician for 20 years, Ms. Emmanuel and her husband bought the building, which is now IBI Beauty Supply in 2005. Since establishing ownership of the building, tenants have moved out, the building was renovated and in 2010, IBI Beauty Supply was born. 

Ms. Emmanuel calls herself fortunate, because while other beauty supply stores has opened and closed, eight years later, IBI is still going strong.  Since opening her store, Ms. Emmanuel identified obtaining contracts from hair suppliers as a challenge.

Since most of the hair suppliers are Asians, they are more likely to support other Chinese or Korean owned beauty supply stores, which have been popping up in predominantly black neighborhoods. Nevertheless, Ms. Emmanuel persisted in solidifying her hair contracts.

Ms. Emmanuel plans to keep the store open for the next 10 years and smiled as she said, “there’s nothing better than working for yourself.”  Ms. Emmanuel does not have an online presence but markets the business in the neighborhood newspapers, flyers, T-shirts, and promotions.

Ms. Emmanuel has also prepared gift bags for events such as autism walks and donated to Bowlin 4 Colon Cancer. For anyone looking to open a beauty supply store, Ms. Emmanuel recommends owning the building as she had seen at least four black owned beauty supply stores become extinct due to steep rents.

As I was wrapping up my interview with Ms. Emmanuel I was curious to know what “IBI” stands for.  Ms. Emmanuel stated the I stands for Ike, Ms. Emmanuel’s husband, The B stands for Brigette and the I stands for Ikea, Ms. Emmanuel’s daughter.  For your hair care needs, consider stopping in to shop at this black owned beauty supply store located at 200-13 Linden boulevard, St. Albans, NY 11412.  There are more Black owned beauty supply stores in the area and a national source that we cover after the sponsors messages below... 

Article On Black Beauty Supply Stores Continues After The Sponsor's Message Below...

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Located on 193rd street and Linden Boulevard, Ms. Christobelle Washington, is the owner of Sparkle Hair and Beauty Supply Boutique, in the heart of Southeast Queens. This coming November will mark two years since the opening of this black owned business.  

Ms. Washington holds a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and has been a cosmetologist since 1996. Long before Ms. Washington obtained her license she has been creating the perfect look for her clients.

During my interview with Ms.  Washington, one thing was clear, she is passionate about educating women about maintaining their hair and being knowledgeable about the products they use. Over the past 10-15 years, Ms. Washington has noticed a decline in the way black women have been caring for their hair. As a result, women as young as twenty-years years old have been experiencing hair loss, Alopecia, and thinning hairline.

The decline in hair care, Ms. Washington explains have led to increased visits to the dermatologist, increased usage of wigs, and a continual dependence on hair products that black women are not educated about. Ms. Washington has also witnessed insufficient questions being asked of customers by a hairstylist, who is seeking to repair damaged hair.

In an industry that has been booming, several Dominican Salons have established themselves in black neighborhoods. But Ms. Washington wants black women to proceed with caution as they enter these salons to straighten their natural hair.

Instead of utilizing a blow dryer, Ms. Washington recommends using a hot comb to straighten hair to help minimize thinning of the hair. During our conversation, I shared with Ms. Washington my own experience with going to the dermatologist due to the fact that my hair was thinning. I also shared with Ms. Washington that when I made the decision to go natural, I was unsure of what products to use.

So the end result for me was buying several products at a time. In light of this information, Ms. Washington wants women to get a better understanding of what’s contained in their hair products. A lack of product knowledge could be the primary reason for diagnosis such as Alopecia.

Since the boutique opened Ms. Washington stated business has been profitable, but in the near future Ms. Washington is looking to relocate. Looking ahead, Ms. Washington would like to expand her wig boutique into a hair salon.  When asked about some of the challenges since its inception, Ms. Washington stated, “Small businesses is not always the heart of America, because not many suppliers support black owned business”.

Similarly to one of the challenges Identified by IBI Beauty Supply, Ms. Washington acknowledged that once your business is ethnic owned it becomes challenging to obtain contracts since many of the suppliers are not black owned.  Ms. Washington identifies the billion dollar hair care industry as gross negligence by products and wants her customers to understand the nature of the business and how it relates to the care of their own hair.

Currently, Ms. Washington does not have an online presence, but she gladly accepts walk-ins and referrals. Ms. Washington is not your average hair stylist, she’s a buyer, an educator, a lobbyist, and advocate for proper hair care. If you are in need of some wigs or a consultation, Ms. Washington offers free consultations seven days a weeks located at 193-04 Linden Boulevard, St. Albans, NY 11412.


In addition to local beauty supply stores in our area springing up we see movements to make inroads into importing Black hair products into the US.  In less than two months, Shanon Nelson, the owner of Amari Hair Extensions will be celebrating her one year anniversary of her online hair boutique, Amari Hair Extensions. In just under a year, Ms. Nelson’s business has been profitable selling not just hair extensions, but also clip in’s, lace front wigs, oils, brushes and bonnets.  Even with so many women going natural, Ms. Nelson finds that the business is very lucrative, because women like versatility when it comes to their hair. 

When I asked Ms. Nelson what inspired her to start an online business, Ms. Nelson credited an article she ran across years ago referring to the hair industry and extensions being in demand so much so that theft rates were on the rise.  Having worn extensions for a few decades, Ms. Nelson felt that the hair industry was something she would be passionate about. In pursuit of this dream, Ms. Nelson began doing a lot of research on hair suppliers that sold quality extensions, she researched the cost of a decent website, received feedback and leveraged the knowledge she acquired from various stylist. In addition, Ms. Nelson made several trips to factories in China to purchase quality hair, which she now offers on her online boutique.

When asked about some of her challenges since opening her store, Ms. Nelson first quoted, “get your money up”. When I asked her to elaborate, Ms. Nelson stated purchasing hair extensions can be expensive and intimidating. Ms. Nelson went on to state that when a customer is seeking to buy hair, Ms. Nelson has to have all the inches and different textures readily available for her customers who want to buy. Another challenge Ms. Nelson identified is the competition in the hair industry. In order to combat this Ms. Nelson realized that poor quality extensions will put you out of business fast. Because of this, Ms. Nelson sells quality extensions and 100% virgin hair on her website.

This could also be challenging because not many women can afford to purchase the best quality hair. However, Ms. Nelson recommends the best quality as an option because it’s an investment and the hair will last up to a year or more.

If you are looking to purchase hair extensions for that special event or considering a new look check out, Before I concluded my interview with Ms. Nelson, I asked her to share any tips on how to properly care for your hair while wearing extensions. 

Ms. Nelson recommends that when choosing a stylist, make sure they are just as passionate about your natural hair and refrain from sowing in extensions too tight. Ms. Nelson recommends the maximum wearing time for extensions should be 6-8 weeks.  Ms. Nelson also recommends some oils that has been giving her hair life; Jamaican black castor oil, Pretty Strands Hair and Scalp Oil and Moroccan Oil.  You can read more about Ms. Shanon Nelson by clicking here.  You can take a look at her online hair products at Amari Hair Extensions click here.

About The Writer

Jody-Ann Buckle is a published author and entrepreneur who lives in Southeast Queens.  She blogs about women empowerment issues.  She has published a moving book of poems entitled "Reflections Of Queen Rising At Amazon."  You can enjoy and be inspired by more of Jody's insights at Buckle With Jo.  See our interview with Jody-Ann Click Here

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