In June, Chicago market research firm Mintel valued the black hair care products market at $1.8 billion.
That report named mainstream firms L’Oreal Deal USA, Alberto-Culver Co. and Procter & Gamble Co. the largest suppliers of hair products specifically made for blacks in the American food, drug and mass merchandising sector; brands include Just for Me, a line of products for children.
Blacks, meanwhile, have dominated the entrepreneurial side of the industry back to Madame C.J. Walker’s early 20th century hair treatments, explained Lafayette Jones, founder of the American Health and Beauty Aids Institute, a Chicago association of minority-owned hair care companies.
They’ve historically spotted street trends like the Jheri curl of the ’80s, he said, marketing them and selling out when business reached critical mass.
But Jones said modern black entrepreneurs have more formalized business training than previous generations, a key to holding onto the reins.
Black consumers, meanwhile, have more wealth — and potential investment capital — as well as a growing interest in keeping black dollars in the community.
Black buying power is projected to top $1.1 trillion by 2012, according to a July report by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia. It placed black buying power at roughly $845 billion last year.