It's a great day if you're in the natural hair business and you're an outfit run by an African American woman. For Clutch Magazine this Wednesday The Snob penned a piece on how smaller, minority-run hair care firms have become the leaders, leaving established multinational corporations like L'Oreal and Proctor & Gamble scrambling to compete.
While companies like L’Oreal, Pantene, Revlon, and Proctor & Gamble rush to adapt themselves to this rapidly shifting market, they aren’t the ones able to dictate what’s hot and what’s not. They can’t afford to have the attitude former Revlon President Irving J. Bottner had back in 1986 when spoke on what it meant for companies like his to compete with black-owned firms: ”In the next couple of years, the black-owned businesses will disappear. They’ll all be sold to white companies.”
These companies are now followers – shifting formulas and marketing strategies to keep up with their African-American lead upstarts, who came out to dominate the market right from underneath them.
Going natural is now a big and growing part of the more than $165 million black hair care mass market. Companies that focused primarily on creating hair relaxers are scrambling to capitalize on what they initially thought would be just a “fad.”
But the fad talk has faded away to the realization that this might not simply be a trend, but a larger movement in hair maintenance for black women.
“Views of beauty have shifted,” said Winston Benons, brand manager for Miss Jessie’s, a hair care line catering to women with naturally curly hair. Benons emphasized that, with this new idea of beauty, black women have more choices in products and styling techniques than ever.