You can’t mention wigs and weaves without eliciting a chorus of snickers from our readers, but the reality is black women wear them, love them and spend big money to own them. The business of hair extensions is a $9 billion (yes, billion) dollar industry with black women doing much of the spending and little of the selling.

The disparity is borne from the Korean monopoly on distribution. It’s not that black female sellers aren’t there, it’s that they’re systematically shut out from acquiring product to sell in their stores by Korean distributors, according to The Florida Courier.

“Getting hair is a huge hurdle, because the distributors are Korean and most times they will only sell to other Koreans. White said, “I have to buy hair through exchange. It is rough, but if I don’t increase my hair game, I won’t be in business next year. It is a cold business in terms of the hair game.

Johnson said that some Korean distributors say they will not sell to stores within so many miles from their other clients, but when she tried to have hair sent to her Aliquippa location, which has no other beauty supply stores, they still would not let her purchase it. She said one distributor also told her the hair she wanted was no longer being sold, but when she went to a local Korean beauty supply store, that same hair was there. When she inquired about it she was told that a local store had told the distributor that if he sold to her, he would no longer buy from him. She said she agrees with location rules, ‘but there needs to be regulations. One Korean store should not be able to dictate the entire industry in one area.”

Whether you personally choose to wear weaves or not, you can agree that every industry, especially a billion dollar one, should be regulated.

And it also makes sense that black women, who make up the majority of consumers, are represented on the other side of the counter.

White has a solution for the current state of the weave business, that reads as a call action to black business owners:

White said Koreans succeed in the industry because they support each other, but the Black community does not. “They (Koreans) have the relationships and work within, we laugh at them when they are living together, then they break through and have four stores in our community. But we won’t help each other out. It is a culture thing.” None of the other Black-owned beauty supply stores work together to pool their resources.

What are your thoughts, Clutchettes? Are Korean distributors unfairly shutting out black business owners? Is the solution for entrepreneurs of color to work together and pool their resources? Discuss.

Source

  • JC

    Messages about black people sticking together aside (though that is an important conversation), I wonder if this is legal? Are they breaking any anti-trust laws? You need to collect evidence and talk to a lawyer that specializes in this issue.

  • omfg

    ha ha…the joke’s on you black women…

    koreans are smart and they also believe a great deal in national/racial pride; they believe in working together and trusting only each other and in enriching one another.

    they know they’ve got you by the ovaries and they know you can’t stand your hair and don’t want to have any relationship with it whatsoever.

    they know somebody else’s hair is like crack to you and you’ll do anything and spend anything to get it.

    so, they’ve circled the wagons.

    asians own the resources (the hair), the means of production and all of the distribution chains. why in the world should they let black people in this game when it’s their product you want? duh.

    they can do all of this knowing that black people will bitch and complain but still give them money. they know a lot of black people are ignorant, self-hating and just plain dense.

    funny, they would NEVER allow something like this to happen.

    yep, the joke’s on black people (and i’m sure they laugh among themselves.) sorry to say, we deserve this.

    nurture and grow your own hair and you’ll put them right out of business. otherwise, it’s a dumb discussion.

  • danielle brom

    Gigi Young thanks for tell people the truth

  • JC

    I did quick research. I have a strong feeling that this breaks the “refusal to deal” section of antitrust laws. See

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refusal_to_deal
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-competitive_practices
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_antitrust_law#Prohibited_anti-competitive_behavior

    You should collect evidence, talk to a lawyer, and if I am right, sue them until they are bankrupted. If possible, turn it to a class action suit and let every non-Korean owner jump in. Make it national news so that every ethnic community will be afraid of squeezing another ethnic community out of a market.

  • omfg

    that would be so embarrassing. i could see the headline now:

    black women suing to get asian hair

    trust me, one of the first words out of a reporter’s mouth would be, ‘why don’t black women just grow their own hair and put them out of business?’

    or

    ‘i don’t see anybody else complaining about this, why is this such an issue for black women?’

    see how silly all of that sounds?

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