HOUSTON – Beauty supply stores are a staple in Black communities around America and right here in Houston.
“There’s beauty supply stores on literally every corner,” said Aine Moye, of Houston.
But Moye said shopping in those stores is often unpleasant.
“I’m usually followed, I’m maybe asked once if I need any help,” she said.
Though they cater to the hair and cosmetic needs of Black women, very few of the beauty supply stores are Black-owned.
“Just on the street that we’re on, Cullen, we’re one of six beauty supplies and the rest being Asian,” Lloyd Ford said.
Ford and his business partner, Randy Shelby, opened The Black Store: Beauty Supply Experience in January 2020.
They are the latest in a trend of Black entrepreneurs trying to create a shift in ownership in the beauty supply industry. It’s something Ford said hasn’t been easy, especially when it comes to dealing with distributors.
“They will not allow you to start accounts just by being in proximity of other Asian stores. They don’t have to sell to you and when they don’t have to sell to you, that allows them to exclude you from the market that we 100% participate in,” he said.
The Black Store also features more than 70 Black-owned brands, giving shelf space to small business owners who can’t find it elsewhere.
“They can come here make money and get their brand’s exposure to take their business to the next level,” Ford said.
In an addition to an assortment of beauty products, you’ll also find beauty services at The Black Store, like Heiress Nail Spa.
“It’s important that we as Black women need to control our beauty services more and not only that but control the dollar that we spend because we do spend so much money in the beauty industry,” said owner Amber Wilson.
Customers said ownership matters and it’s a difference they can feel.
“To have it to where we can go to someone who knows more about our hair, more about our skin can assist us properly, can make sure we have fair pricing on those products in the neighborhood,” Antwan Moye said.
The Black Store is also establishing itself as a community hub, offering space for meetings and special events. They’re also growing a community garden.
Ford hopes to expand the brand in the future, including opening a store on Houston’s Northside.
You can learn more about The Black Store and Heiress Nail Spa here: