Why Do Korean Beauty Supply Stores Outnumber Black Owned Ones?

Do you seek out black owned BSS stores

This is an issue that has been irritating me to the core. OK, let me refrain from being hostile. This is an issue that has been irritating me for years! Oh well, I tried, I tried but my heart isn’t in it because it’s a problem that needs to be fixed and I think that the Natural Hair Movement (NHM) is one of the ways to change that.

What do I mean? Well, let’s face it…black women, can you find a Beauty Supply Store in America that isn’t owned by Koreans?

By the time I was living in New Orleans and going to college, weaves were big business and you couldn’t pass a block without seeing an ultra-big Beauty Supply Store in the shopping center.

Now, am I equating the BSS with weaves? Yea, kinda, because I can’t remember that many stores being around until weaves got big. I also can’t remember being in a BSS without Koreans running and owning it either.

Now, I have nothing against Korean’s and their entrepreneurial spirit but I do have a problem with them selling every product known to black women for our hair when there are barely any black owned beauty stores.

IT’S OUR HAIR!!! I know we corner the market on the salons and hair stylists that do our hair but we have too many other areas of marketing that we fail to control.

There are the hair products, the added hair, the accessories and even hair trends. We have the numbers and the power but let me slow down before I have people riled up talking about a revolution. I’m just wondering why we don’t monopolize this market and have the majority of beauty supply stores that carry the products we use for our hair.

Now, I’ve heard a few reasons as to why Koreans are owning and running these shops where we find our hair products. One reason being Koreans can get loans from prominently white banks that will not often lend to blacks.

I have heard of banking or lending discrimination and I’m willing to believe at least some of that is true but for the vast majority I know there has to be a deeper explanation.

Sally’s Beauty Supply is the largest chain in America with over 2,300 stores but if you add all the Korean BSS’s together you get three times that many! Scary but true.

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About Sabrina Perkins

Hello all, I'm Sabrina. I'm a freelance writer and a full-time blogger at my site, http://www.seriouslynatural.org/ where the focus is on Natural hair, beauty and style. I became natural 8 years ago at the tender age of 35 and love sharing my ups and downs as I master this thing called natural hair. Married, with two kids (one being a natural herself) gives me a different perspective on our hair and why I love being natural. I want healthy hair, long hair and sexy hair! I'm an older natural---that's right---I'm grown and sexy, and I have much to share. I love fashion too and recently opened a clothing shop for beautiful black women at www.seriouslynatural.spreadshirt.com

About Sabrina Perkins

Hello all, I'm Sabrina. I'm a freelance writer and a full-time blogger at my site, http://www.seriouslynatural.org/ where the focus is on Natural hair, beauty and style. I became natural 8 years ago at the tender age of 35 and love sharing my ups and downs as I master this thing called natural hair. Married, with two kids (one being a natural herself) gives me a different perspective on our hair and why I love being natural. I want healthy hair, long hair and sexy hair! I'm an older natural---that's right---I'm grown and sexy, and I have much to share. I love fashion too and recently opened a clothing shop for beautiful black women at www.seriouslynatural.spreadshirt.com


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  1. Batrice Wriddley
    Batrice Wriddley

    The only black beauty supply where I live has limited stock and high prices! Sorry but I’m on a budget…

  2. BlackwVolume Blk Brandy
    BlackwVolume Blk Brandy

    lets be real here Asians have help over seas too they can get they products cheaper too. And they stick together key word stock together. I don’t wear weave so I don’t go to the Korean shop it’s rarely I do. When I do go which is not a lot I get flowers brush some hair product maybe a shampoo that’s it. Not they weaves. When I see a black owned I do try to help them.

  3. Terrie Mattox Lavender
    Terrie Mattox Lavender

    If I knew where one was I would go but we don’t have any in louisville , notice everyone is saying the same thing blacks charge more that’s because the korean took over with not having to pay taxes and having a connection they know nothing about black hair but you are steady giving then your money I rather talk to someone who had experience.every hair is human hair to them even id it is burning and melting in front of them.they won’t get my dollar no more

  4. Javonna Higgins
    Javonna Higgins

    Yes I do, I support black beauty business , however it’s harder the you think open a beauty supply store, they get their supply’s from other Asians they will not sell to you if you are not Asian I know I have tried.

  5. Tawanda Lock
    Tawanda Lock

    It all comes down to the cost of the products. The Koreans are able to get their products cheaper so they can sell them cheaper. It’s a recession. Money is tight.

  6. Liz Marie Maysonet Sostre
    Liz Marie Maysonet Sostre

    I very much disliked this article. She forgot to mention that black owned businesses were sold to bigger companies and that’s a big reason why there are few black owned BSS.

  7. Patricia Nicholson
    Patricia Nicholson

    The government denied most small business loans to black people. They have been giving the Asians loans since they arrive on the boats. Free housing, food, and education.

  8. Jennifer W

    I live in St. Louis, MO which is a fairly big city and I don’t know of any black owned beauty supply. We are flooded with foreign owned BSS, which I shop at very occasionally. I get all types of treatment when I go to some of them. I’ve had people there talk down to me, call me honey and sweety, not let my kids use their restroom, etc. There was a black owned BSS here several years ago and the customer service there was great! I mean the owner even remember what my favorite products were. However, he said he couldn’t get a good wholesale price on hair and ultimately ended up closing. I think we need to stop shopping there until we get better service. There are a few that have pretty good service and a few that have black employees, but they are the exception. Rarely when I come in do they ask, is there anything I can help you with? Rarely do they have any product knowledge beyond whether they carry it or not. So I get the majority of my hair products from the drugstore and health food stores. I could talk about this all day, but I won’t. I’m glad you addressed this topic though. We NEED to talk about it.

  9. Natasha Asendio
    Natasha Asendio

    I live in the suburbs of Chicago… I sought out a Black owned beauty supply and it was the worse experience ever!! Because it was a Black owned business…I went back again and endure the same terrible treatment. I will always support any Black owned business but not that place ever again! Truth be told..doesn’t matter who owns it, if you treat your customers in a bad, rude manner, don’t expect a recommendation or more visits!

  10. Jinida Doba
    Jinida Doba

    i’m convinced by most of these comments: we are a sick people. it’s over for most of us (maybe that’s a good thing). no more to say.

  11. Octavia Hutchinson

    I have been saying the same thing. I am a hair distributor for a black owned company. When I tell my friends and family that I sale a higher quality hair than the beauty supply they say that they will check it out and then they don’t because they feel that we are ripping our own people off. They then think well you not getting rich off of me. They also assume that their my color or my friend let me ask them for a texture of hair I never buy because I can’t afford it and see if they will give it to me discounted. It truly sucks that they will support those that truly do take you for advantage and try to use the ones who truly are there ro help.

  12. Denise Wright
    Denise Wright

    Dont seem to be many in Los Angeles. The Asians have it all. And the even know their products. Gotta love ’em for hooking me up.

  13. Octavia Hutchinson

    I’ve even advised people they could join the company and get the wholesale pricing and have a great product everytime and have the option to sell the hair to someone who says they like it. The only thing I hear is I can’t afford it right now. Which one is it you just asked me can you buy 2 bundles of 26′ Malaysian hair, but you can’t afford a one time charge of $34 to have access to this hair at wholesale prices for a lifetime and have it sent straight to you instead of wasting gas and dealing with the stores that have the ghetto girls in the back that act like they don’t see you at all. It’s pure laziness to me.

  14. Gershelle Cunningham
    Gershelle Cunningham

    Because they have access to more suppliers. They can also buy more inventory for much cheaper than we can. Dont forget about the exemptions and incentives that they get for moving here to open businesses. Many of their suppliers are right their in their native country….. They only pay a percentage of what you and I would pay for supplies.

  15. Gershelle Cunningham
    Gershelle Cunningham

    Louise Due Kjøller, you’re right! They are significantly cheaper because they buy their products at a fraction of what black stores pay.

  16. Marsha Denise Willis-Howard
    Marsha Denise Willis-Howard

    I love it when I hear concerns about prices. I’ve heard customers mention such and such is cheaper, then call the place and ask the price just too find that it’s actually higher. Folk see black and assume high…

    1. Sabrina Richmond Perkins
      Sabrina Richmond Perkins

      There are many sterotypes about black businesses within our own community!! A lot of that negative labeling needs to stop! Thanks for sharing.

  17. Taneia Collins
    Taneia Collins

    My old co-worker was part owner of a black beauty supply store upstate New York and she use to tell me the struggle her and her business partner went through I would give her tips on what ever info I learn it’s sad the Koreans got the hair game on lock we are the laughing stock of American because we continue to allow that to happen I feel like our ancestors fight for freedom is in vain sometimes

    1. Sabrina Richmond Perkins
      Sabrina Richmond Perkins

      Many are but a lot of the bigger manufacturers are jumping on the natural hair bandwagon and slashing prices to get back their customers. Many of us left after we stopped relaxing.

    2. Hellodiva Campbell
      Hellodiva Campbell

      As long as blacks keep producing that’s cool.. In england its asian indians, they follow u round like a bad smell. They don’t actually have a clue about the products.

  18. Queena LittlebitSweet Williams
    Queena LittlebitSweet Williams

    I do. But black owned are twice as high, because they have to pay twice as much. To me, the reality is I want to go where its the cheapest no matter who’s behind the counter. There is a black owned one in my city.. I was so excited.. He charges 7.99 for Ardel eyelashes.. And 8.99 for the kanekalon braiding hair… :0 at this point ill never go back!!

    1. Sabrina Richmond Perkins
      Sabrina Richmond Perkins

      That’s unfortunate but you already know the reasons. Maybe ask if they can have more sales or have coupons so they can properly compete with the lower priced BSS.

    2. Bettina

      8.99 for a 1.99 pack of braiding hair?!?! that is CRAZY!

  19. LaTonia Thagard
    LaTonia Thagard

    I don’t. I go where is closest and has what I want! The black owned I have been to charge way more, have smaller selections, and have attitude. Most of the Asian ones here also hire tons of black people! Who cares anyways. Everything has come to race!

    1. Sabrina Richmond Perkins
      Sabrina Richmond Perkins

      Well, I like keeping our dollars in our community because most of the Koreans do that and actually keeping dollars within your community helps to uplift all within it. It’s just another way to build black people up and become more economically sound. WE give so much of our money to other communities and it hurts us in the long run.

  20. Char

    I agree with this article! But for me it seems like Black people are greedy with their prices, they want to charge an arm and a leg for stuff you can get at a Korean store for a more reasonable price. In New Orleans, you can go and buy a pack of spongy rollers for $3 at a Korean owned store but at a Black store they want to sell you the same thing for $11.

  21. Sabrina Perkins Post author

    THat is sad. I hate that I have to shop at the closest store but like in your situation you really don’t have a choice. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Sabrina Richmond Perkins
    Sabrina Richmond Perkins

    I’m sorry you did not like the article. It’s hard to get everything into one piece because this is a bigger issue or problem and there are many reasons why we shop at the Korean owned stores and that there are fewer black owned stores. I appreciate you commenting.

  23. Tion Walker
    Tion Walker

    I don’t know about some of you but I need to shop at a black owned beauty shop because what do Asian people know about our hair??? Anyway i have gone to plenty of Asian owned beauty supply stores and have felt uneasy because its like they follow you around the store and watch you like a hawk, make you not want to shop and not all their prices are cheaper! Im done, im waay too tired to go on.

  24. Melanie

    It doesn’t matter who’s running the shop that I’m purchasing my products at as long as I’m treated like a valued customer just as everyone else. I’ve gone into a hair supply store in New York that had Guyanese, Korean, and Blacks working there. I got treated BETTER by the Korean worker than I did by the Black worker. As I was reading products, you could see him standing at the end of each aisle as I was determining what I needed, staring at me like I was going to steal something! The Korean helped me to find what it was I was looking for. I’d be all for supporting more Black owned businesses and ventures if I could find some that’s worth being supported in the first place because not all of them deserve our money just the same as some of these Korean owned stores don’t deserve our money either.

  25. Bettina

    I don’t know of any black owned stores in baton rouge, if you do let me know. But I don’t shop the Koreans either. I use Sally’s mostly, its walking distance to my house. I also use Walgreens, Walmart, and Amazon for most items. When I get my hair braided the braider provide the hair, she is African, don’t know where she gets it from though. I don’t wear weaves / wigs so I’ve never had a reason to shop the Korean stores. The couple of times I went in 2 or 3 I was treated poorly like you mentioned and never went back. I’m a professional career woman, I don’t want to be followed around like I just got out of prison for shoplifting.

  26. Hellodiva Campbell
    Hellodiva Campbell

    Black owners of beauty shops represent the true value of our products. But we so accustomed to bargins.. Dig deeper n support each other. Its the only way to claim back our products

  27. Gershelle Cunningham
    Gershelle Cunningham

    Blacks dont produce any of these materials. We can’t because their is no demand for “our” hair. HOWEVER, many blacks have learned the secret WHICH IS; purchase hair from an online distributor. Granted, its still a non-black vendor BUT you will save a heap of money. Furthermore, Korean hair products are CHEAP (NOT INEXPENSIVE BUT CHEAP)…Sally’s is the absolute best for great hair products like oils and moisturizers. Your natural supplement stores or drug stores are also good. I dont patronize Asian stores anymore because they DONT LIKE US. Plain and simple….that’s like handing over a loaded gun to your enemy. I’m a licensed Barber and weave tech, so I use mostly professional products anyways.

  28. Linda Burnett

    I totally agree with your article. I sent a letter to Walmart, Target, Dollar General, etc about black women majority purchase of hair care products for us – I asked them to have more affordable and attainable products. I have gotten positive feedback concerning this problem. I too have no problem with Korean businesses but not when they don’t know our hair and neither do they care to know. The big problem is distribution for black-owned BBS most hair etc comes from Korea or India and they ALWAYS give that business to Koreans or Indians period. (I have done the research) personally if I can’t find my products at Walmart, Target or Sally’s I order online.

  29. Caroline

    Believe me your article does not make sense I don’t think you actually critiqued the article because if you did – you would make sense. We and only we are the problem. An african American despises an african from Africa , a black carribean despises an african in the diaspora the list is endless. Unless we believe we begin to appreciate that we have something in common and move towards making a difference, the Korean in the US, the indian in Uk will use our weakness to their advantage. I am from Africa, you are of Africa lets move on and make a change.

  30. Janice

    I stopped patronizing Korean beauty supply stores about five years ago because of the disrespect shown to me as disrespect to me as a customer. I live in Las Vegas and there are several black owned businesses where I can purchase the products that I need. However, if I cannot find them I will order online or go to a white owned business before supporting the Koreans no matter how many black people they have working in their establishment

    1. antoinette

      I’m recently relocated to Las Vegas and would love to know the wearabouts of black-owned beauty supply stores. I’ve received very good treatment from the Korean owned ones in my neighborhood but would prefer to patronize black owned. I’m in the Central Las Vegas area by UNLV. Can you give me some locations that you’re already familiar with, or the cross streets so I can look them up? Thank you very much for your commenting.

  31. Denise L. Davis-Whitley
    Denise L. Davis-Whitley

    I try to support the Black owned business’, just because there trying and they want to make a statement! We have to support are own! The korean’s they move over here to the U.S. and they really dont have to pay any taxes or they come from a wealthly backround. So, when Black owned business do open a business, no black people support they keep on going to the other side (whatever that may be) and give them your money! If I can help it, my brotha’ or my sistah will get my ends! I feel you but do ou feel ME!

  32. Kisha Spencer
    Kisha Spencer

    I can’t find one in Saint Louis. I have attempted to buy products from salons that are black owned but the markups are too high.

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