Shout out to the wig and weave brigade – please get behind your industry!
If you are a black girl or woman who:-
loves and uses hair extensions, has any ideas for new hair extension and hair care products, or is really creative when it comes to hair styling;
hates the idea and sight of weaves, wigs, lace fronts, etc., etc.;
is really into keeping the hair natural; and / or,
has a graveyard of useless or unsuitable hair care products, hair extensions, wigs, shampoos, conditioners, etc., typically in a shoe box under the bed;
then please consider getting into the black (or ‘ethnic’) hair industry! ‘FOR US, BY US’ is desperately needed if we want to ensure that the products available are actually what we want and need; and, errrrrr, actually work!
Basically, if we continue to be absent in the senior, decision-making, product and brand ownership positions behind the scenes, then we will continue to have no say in what is made, marketed and sold to us. Even if we are the ones buying the stuff! Which we do, in our millions……apparently black women spend four times as much on their hair than their white counterparts, and the black hair extensions industry is worth billions, comparable to the travel industry!
But we complain about the products even more than we buy them! We wish the wet products contain fewer chemicals, cause less damage and are more suitable for the structure of our hair. We wish the hair was less shiny, less tar-like, not so full, and so on. This is precisely why I invented the SimiWeave™, the patented original U part wig in 2003! For decades I had been screaming out for hair that matched mine, for example texturised finishes, in realistic volumes and lengths!
Do not think that because we are prominent at the point of delivery and application of the products, (for instance, in the salons) black women are prominently represented at the source and point of production, where all the crucial decisions are made! When I joined the industry back in 2003, out of the hundreds of people I spoke to and liaised with across the globe, only two were also black women. Thankfully, it is getting better, but we still have an incredibly long way to go.
So now that you are all excited, ready to quit your day job and join the industry, where do you sign up? Alas, if only it was that easy! Regardless of which aspect of black hair you are interested in and what you’d like to do; what your area of expertise is and what you’d like to change, you’ll have to (i) research your intended area thoroughly because there is no central institute you can go to for careers advice, networking or recruitment; and (ii) be prepared to become an entrepreneur / run your own business / set up something yourself in order to ensure that you are a decision maker. Do feel free to contact me to discuss your options (Simi at SimiWeave dot com), and I’ll provide you with as much insight as I can, as well as point you to others who have made the journey.
Simi Belo, inventor of the multiple award winning SimiWeave™ U-part wig, 29 June 2015