In 2014, I was surprised to learn that a the United States 1965 decision to ban the import of any wig that contained hair from China contributed to the Koreans attempted domination of the US Black Hair Care Industry. Six months earlier in a successful attempt to aid their 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 acts by the two governments “almost providing a monopoly.” 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 held and still hold the key to monopolization.
I wrote this article for one reason. It was the beginning of my concern and ultimate involvement to promote the haircare storyline where ever I could in an attempt to wake up our people. Obviously, I am and was not the only ones concerned about the attempt by the Koreans. It got the immediate attention of people who were directly involved in the industry. Because…it affected their bottom line, the profit and loss in their salon, beauty shop, and even your neighborhood black barber shop. They’d been on the front lines of this competitive market long before the actions taken by the US or Koreans.
I was able to learn how industry manufacturers and beauty salons were prepared to cope with industry experts like Sam Ennon, Founder of BOBSA.org. As well as Regina “Regi” Kimbell, Co-producer and director of ‘My Nappy Roots: A Journey through Black Hari-itage Documentary.’ Regi, who I might add recently held their 3rd Annual Los Angeles Natural & Lifestyle Expo in August of this year. Most of you may know it as an extension of Regi’s Nappywood brand. Sam, who has become a friend and close associate, continues to take steps in not only countering the Korean domination plans but alerting industry players to each others products and services. The bottom line, they did not intend to take this takeover attempt as a foregone conclusion. Various processes were already in place as others were being perfected to bring to the forefront of the fight.
As stated in the 2014 article, I attempted to interview not only a few movers and shakers in the industry. I wanted to hear the thoughts of front line stylist. The mom and pop beauty shops along with the upscale beauty salons. I was stunned to find that most local Bay Area Beauty Shops I contacted did not want to comment to the media. The concern once again was their bottom line. The fact is, the Koreans had made great headway in their domination of the industry. Some black stylist and shop owners were forced to used Korean products or go out of business. At least that was their impression of the Beauty Supply landscape.
Most didn’t mind talking about their concerns but was reluctant to a point of flatly saying “thanks for the invite to your show, but no thank you. I have a business to run and don’t want any problems.” The result, was I got no takers, and those were the ones who returned my calls. There was dead silence from others. The subject of Korean products was a non-starter. I turned my attention back to the above industry experts, Regi Kimbell and Sam Ennon. There were others I know, but I felt comfortable with these two individuals.
As previously noted, Mr. Ennon is the founder of BOBSA, a black-owned organization whose members offer the same type service as any Korean Beauty Supply Product vendor in the world. The organization was formed to seek out members who are involved in the black hair care industry. The idea is to share information, open up communication and act as a proven effective and quality based alternative to the Korean attempted domination of the industry.
In fact, Mr. Ennon was a guest on my show. He offered a very involved interview by providing historical and current references to the industry. He was the first person who was willing to speak out in no uncertain terms about what happened, was happening and how he expected to change the course of the industry with the help of BOBSA Members. You can catch the March 18th HcofA BTR interview at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica/2015/03/18/bobsa-stands-for-black-own-beauty-supply-association-and-you. In short, BOBSA acts mainly as a Networking business association connecting Cosmetologist, Hair Care Manufactures, and associated products from over the world. Members and others quickly learn that the mere association opens up a world of innovative and constructive business minds from people who are bound and determined to make a difference in the industry on their own. The fact that these individuals are allowing their company and connections to come under one umbrella forms a formidable organization that benefits those Entrepreneurs. One thing is now certain, there is no reluctance from most beauty salons and others to provide an opinion on products they have invented or issues in the industry itself.
You may have noticed that I had not mentioned the most important individuals in the Black Hair Care Industry. That would be you, the consumer. What do you think or value as required by the industry to obtain and or retain your hard earn dollars? They know you want a quality product at a competitive price. A product has to make you look good and feel confident about whoever is contributing to that end. Frankly it’s also a business decision for you too. You love your people, but if they cannot deliver, oh well.
I’ve got good news for you. There have been major changes going on in the background while some have been in the forefront for you and them. Let me give you some examples. One great place to start is with a good book on the industry itself. Nicole Lee, Managing Cosmetologist, and inspiring author’s book appropriately entitled “Healing Cosmetologist.” I introduced her on that same March BTR show that included Sam Ennon’s interview. She is a writer who penned an open directory to the requirements needed to excel in the world of cosmetology.
On an advertisement for her book, she writes, “Did you know that your hair is an antenna that transmits and receives thoughts outside of your 5 senses? It carries energy of vibrations within each strand, holding information about an individual’s spirit and is often transferred through the power of touch. Because of its connection to the head or Crown Chakra (energy space between the spirit and physical body), it is sensitive and can hold vital links to spiritual wisdom, knowledge and even healing.” My first reaction upon reading these words were, “Say What?” That’s why I including Nicole in this article because she brings something new, innovative and a good vibe to your experience with your stylist. It’s the kind of “feel good experience” you want when you pay for a service that contributes to your appearance and outlook to all others in which are in your social circles. Do you feel me?
A glance at her Resume and you will find revealing words and learned capabilities such as Instructor, Spiritual Coach and Successful Experienced Business Owner with advanced knowledge of Metaphysics, Universal Law, and Napoleon Hill Philosophies, coupled with Business Success Strategies, Personal Growth and Spiritual Tools used for enhancing one’s life towards bliss. You may want to read that description of this lady’s capabilities again just for your complete edification. The point being, Cincinnati resident, and author Nicole Lee prepared herself for a leadership role in the areas above. That is the expertise she points out in her book and practices as a Consultant in the world of Cosmetology.
She is but one of the first industry innovators that look like you, therefore, know what appeals to you. I intend to introduce you to a few more in Part 2 of this article. Don’t get it twisted; I am not saying that todays Black Hair Care Entrepreneur need all be people of color. Meaning that they are the only ones who know what you need. But I am saying that is one body type and color that you know should be an expert on what you the black buying consumer need.
Come back for Part 2, in one week and meet more of the innovative game changers in the Black Hair Care Industry. People from around the world and, of course, stateside that understand your requirements and are reaching out to you and you alone. In other words, their products are designed for your practical, budgeted and quality requirement. For remember, they are your next door neighbor, even if they are from another country. Explain you say, they are like you, in mind, spirit, style, and body type.
Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,
Codis Hampton II
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