Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Future Impact Of Multiculturalism On The Hair Care Industry



A first of its kind on the international platform of Cosmoprof – a candid round-table with and about the multicultural players and the state of the industry. The multicultural market is very nuanced and segmented with many stereotypes being used as part of marketing campaigns but is this segmentation still relevant and / or necessary in today’s landscape where African-Americans make-up 14% and Latinos are 25% of the total US population. There is lots of attention put on the black hair industry; while the rest of the economy was sagging, black hair care achieved sales of $9 billion a year. This session is of particular interest to the retailers catering to this market segment especially the OTC community.


Lafayette Jones | Urban Call Communications | Publisher
Gerri Duncan Jones | AHBAI (American Health and Beauty Aids Institute) | Executive Director
Sam Ennon | BOBSA (Black Owned Beauty Supply Association) | President
Moderator: Manyesha Batist |Beauty Store Business Magazine| Associate Editor
Panel Discussion: The future impact of multiculturalism on the hair care industry
Q-1: What are some misconceptions about black hair to bring clarity to help the industry’s understanding of the African-American market?
A-1: There is a need to look at the whole industry. Hair care is only one aspect and the market is much broader in terms of the potential dollars. There is a need to include skin care and fragrances as well when talking about the African-American hair industry.

Q-2: How big is the African-American hair industry?
A-2:  The market is large and getting larger once all the other aspects of the African-American industry are taken into consideration.

Q-3: What does the term multicultural mean?
A-3: It means diversity of race, hair, textures, styles, etc. It also includes generational descriptional trends. We have differing aspects of the African-American hair industry that impact young to old customers as well as hair styles that project a wide range of needs and trends.

Q-4: What are some aspects of historical value that the beauty industry needs to understand about the African-American hair industry?
A-4: There needs to be clarity about how times change the market and the impact of politics on styles and trends. The start of our industry dates back to Madame C. J. Walker, who was the first African-American millionaire. That might have been a time you could categorize all African-Americans in the same way. That is not true anymore and our communities demand to be viewed in a more diverse way.

Q-5: Are there areas in the African-American hair industry that are stifled?
A-5: Yes. Some of the areas are thinning hair, baldness, older brand-loyal consumers, and skin care.

Q-6: How does technology encourage brand loyalty?
A-6: Social media has changed the face of marketing and the speed of distribution. No longer does a customer have to wonder how she will look with a different style or color. The technology exists that will allow customers to do a virtual change that shows how they would look with a different style or color. Social media gets the new trends and changes out there to a large audience of all sizes, shapes and consumer needs.

Q-7: How should businesses use technology to appeal to the younger generation?
A-7: Technology is not a replacement for common sense and must be used alongside traditional means. This is necessary because you don’t want to offend the large diverse customer base. As people are living longer there is a need for respect their loyalty to brand products. Social media only works if one is used to it. Otherwise, you need to maintain options for customers who are not usual users of technology.

Q-8: What are the characteristics of the current young culture and how should we appeal to this market?
A-8: Those in the business must be very flexible with the rate at which the young market customers change their appearance with hair, colors, styles, and textures. They are not loyal to brands that are manufactured by African-Americans. They will be loyal to a brand because it works for their texture of hair. Youth are not too concerned with who makes a product. They will buy and continue to buy a product that works for their particular hair texture. The trends followed by the youth are heavily influenced by celebrities and athletes.

Q-9: What are some generational differences among African-American consumers?
A-9: Some differences are that the older generation consumer is more brand loyal, today’s young consumer likes to be communicated with and to, and the younger generation switches brands more often.

Q-10: How should brands handle the market loyalty issue?
A-10: It’s all about hair texture! Some consumers want products by black manufacturers but these consumers are found in small pockets and it is not as widespread as it used to be. The AABAH lady used to symbolize that the product was made by a black manufacturer. Not necessarily true anymore because a lot of the large black manufacturers have sold their businesses to white manufacturers. The reason is that banks would not lend to the black manufacturers, creating cash flow problems for a lot of the black manufacturers who had been in business for a long time.


Q-1: What are you doing to help Blacks in the industry businesswise?
A-1: This is why BOBSA exists. We support every aspect of business development for African-Americans who want to open a business in the hair care industry. From providing support for finding locations, ordering products and inventory, development a business plan, to advertising and marketing---we are there for you!

 Q-2: How does one break into the African-American industry?
A-2: Join BOBSA! Also you must realize that we do not have black sales reps going to salons and beauty supply stores anymore. Those days are gone.  Blacks do not dominate the African-American hair industry as we once did. The business now is dominated by Koreans and other ethnic groups.

Q-3: Is saying black out of date because we need to include all shades of blackness?
A-3: Multicultural is preferred because it includes hair styles, hair textures, skin care, fragrances, etc.


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

I am so glad I seen someone else that feel the way I do. I have been trying to get the word out to our people for a long time and I think I finally found away. I have a video of how the
Koran culture works and I think I finally found away, but I need your help!