Sometime last year, I was surprised to learn that the United States 1965 decision to ban the import of any wig that contained hair from China contributed to the Koreans domination of the US Black Hair Care Industry. Six months earlier in a successful attempt to aid their own wig manufacturers, the Government of South Korea banned the export of the desirable raw hair by anybody other than their own. The result was a Korean monopolization of the Black Hair Care as depicted in Aron Ranen’s, http://diaryofahairobsession.com/black-hair-the-korean-takeover-part-2/ documentary. In a four-part documentary, Ranen’s film points this out and provides in debt insight into the industry as of 2009.
You should note that the two acts by the governments “almost providing a monopoly.” In order for a monopoly to work, competition must be halted by regulation or lack of availability of the monopolized service or goods for sale. In this case, the consumers hold the key to monopolization.
Later on in the year, I picked what I thought was a fair representative number of local Beauty Shop owners. I called, spoke to the owners and explained my reasoning for asking if they were willing to be on my show. Those that did not want to be a guest, I asked about the Korean takeover of the American Black Hair Industry. Some were reluctant, others were willing but cautious of the possible blow-back from their Korean or Korean associated suppliers. When it came time to call them back, no one was answering the phone. At least no one was taking my calls.
As luck would have it, I was interviewing Regi Kim (of Black Hair Heritage and Roots film documentary, Nappy Roots) on a show last December. She brought on Sam Ennon as an associate and call-in during the show. Afterward, I called him and he agreed to be a guest in March of 2015.
Mr. Ennon is the founder of BOBSA, a black-owned organization that offers the same type service as any Korean Beauty Supply Product vendor in this country. The organization was formed and also shown as an alternative to the Korean domination of the industry. Thus, they are still as of today, dispelling the idea that the Koreans have a monopoly on the Black Hair Care Industry.
On the show, Sam provides a clear history of the black hair care industry from the freer open market era through the Korean dominance to the present. We learned that events, and in some cases a change in black consumer hair styles, are successful challenging the Korean semi-monopoly. You have got to hear this because you may never hear anyone describe the events and the playbook used by a couple of Korean Entrepreneurs to dominate the black hair care industry. If you have not heard the show, check out my interview with Sam Ennon on the HCofA BTR March 18th Show, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica/2015/03/18/bobsa-stands-for-black-own-beauty-supply-association-and-you.
BOBSA acts mainly as a Networking business association that is available to Cosmetologist across this country. Whatever items you need for your beauty shop is available either through them or one of their associates. But that is just a small task associated with BOBSA.
Ask Mr. Ennon and he will tell you he is about the black hair care industry with no apologies for his preference for the industry. Therefore, the products he is marketing either through BOBSA or associative organizations are black owned products. Given that scenario one should be able to determine from that statement, black dollars are being circulated back into the black communities. And that my friends equate to real black power. To put it another way, black power equals green power and green power translates into real power.
We see some evidence of that in various areas in local neighborhoods and none in others. One of the areas that are helping to level the playing field is our social networks. There is no doubt that currently the internet and email has allowed any and everybody to post items, articles, and opinions. Not to be overlooked is a major change in how large to small retail companies changed their marketing plans, budget and direction to include the advent of the internet. That is why you hear Mr. Ennon state that social networking on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and other websites are allowing black entrepreneurs to reach individual consumers. Often, it’s more of a one on one with a customer who may be interested in their product or service.
In fact, there is a new product called The Black Box Barber Caddy for barber shops and salons servicing male and female clients. It’s a vending machine that dispenses (you name it) black hair products. As much as forty percent of the products are produced by black entrepreneurs.
You may have seen advertisement ads on social media for a Meet the Faces of B.O.B.S.A. event that Mr. Ennon is hosting in Detroit. They will be at the Greater Grace Temple, 23500 W. 7 Mail, Detroit, MI 48219 on April 25 through the 27th. They will also provide information and product display at the event. And…entrepreneurs can get the full details on how to become an Investor, Distributor, Salesperson or Wholesaler of the Black Box Caddy trio of machines. Specifically, the Black Box Barber Caddy with men’s hair care products. There is the Black Box Beauty Supply with woman’s hair care products, and the Black Box Natural Products which addresses the natural black hair styles which are becoming more popular today.
Locally, we are going to highlight the Blitz Barbershop at 4156 MacArthur Blvd in Oakland, CA. They have agreed to set up a Black Box Barber Caddy in his shop. The owner, entrepreneur Quincy Scott will be on our May 20th Blog Talk Radio Show to give you his story and expectations for his business.
But that is not the entire story or even the beginning of another story. This story is about human nature and consumer behavior toward what is best for themselves and their community. The question that stills begs for an answer and immediate action. It is one that is asked time and time again in our community, normally generating non-responses or all kinds of stereotypical answers. Why can’t we as a people, work together for our overall common good?
As Sam Ennon previously stated, we are finding that attitudes are changing. Maybe one day we will finally put the “crabs in a barrel” syndrome to rest. Meanwhile, here is a warning for Black Americans. If we don’t take control of our communities via economical means, we will go out of style like a short-lived fashion craze. And that includes political influence in our state capitals and Washington DC.
We have got to take ownership of our neighborhood retail and residential property. We need to cooperate with the local police department by setting up Neighborhood Watch groups. I don’t care what some people think about the local police. I am a firm believer in getting our local officials, and that includes the police, their superiors and as far up the chain as necessary, to facilitate change in unsatisfactory behavior in the office and on the ground. Bottom line; enable ways to make those in positions of authority responsible for their actions.
Meanwhile, it is up to us to facilitate the change we are seeking. For the first time in our history, we have the means and abilities to improve our living standard. The computer is the primary means. Another is cooperating with organizations and business that are specifically circulating black consumer dollars back into our communities. You want to know more about current or future plans of B.O.B.S.A., give Sam Ennon a call at 650-863-3491 or go to the website at www.bobsa.org. Get involved in your own economic survival in any way you can.
Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,
Codis Hampton II
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