Dominican and African American Hair Salons Fight for Business

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October 5, 2015

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For years black women have walked into black hair salons with great confidence in allowing other black women to style their hair. Later, without giving any regards to the quality of service they may have received, they would continue to return for more because black salons were all they knew.

The fact that many of the salons are filled with friends and family members that a lot of new clients are referred by only adds to the repeat business that a number of stylists may not even deserve.

The WSJ recently ran an article about Dominican salons taking business away from African American salons because they provide better service. They claim to provide healthier hair, less time in the chair, and even offer lower prices.

It’s mentioned in the article how Delshawn Rollins once trusted only fellow African Americans with the delicate task of styling and straightening her tightly curled brown hair, and because so, that meant enduring hours of salon gossip, ordered-in lunch (and sometimes dinner, too) and occasional mishaps, like the time the ends of her hair snapped off after she had it dyed.

Something about that intro is disturbing, because if you walk into a salon and rely solely on the idea that just because the stylist is African American they know what they are doing, or just because a friend or family member praises them they must be good, who’s fault really is it when your hair falls out?

In most cases it’s a chance clients take when choosing a new stylist, but it’s true that most new clients never ask any questions. For instance, a simple question like how long have you been licensed would be a good start. Not that it matters much how long a stylist has been licensed, but it’s a respectable way to ask and find out if they even are. You’d be surprised at the number of stylist who work in salons who are not.

Case in point, if more clients would ask reasonable questions and get to know a little about their potential new stylist they may learn before it’s too late if that particular stylist is the right choice.


Photo Credit: Babak www. babak. ca

As far as the long hours waiting and ordering-in for food, a simple visit to the salon before making a commitment would be the most sensible thing to do. Most people know the type of environment they would want to frequent and spend their money on a regular basis.

In regards to immigrants from the Dominican Republic snipping away market share from African American stylists, that’s actually been going on for a while now in certain demographics.

Should African American stylists be worried about it? Yes and No.

Yes, because competition is just that and everybody should at-least be aware of their competition. No, because if you’re a good stylist people will recognize you for the good you provide.

The Dominican’s making promises of providing healthier hair is just a marketing tactic, and psychological in the minds of anybody who believes it. The truth of the matter is, even a student cosmetologist can shampoo and roller set hair, and if they don’t already know, with practice they can even blow dry using a brush.

All a client have to do is ask for and actually know what they want. (read more)

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