You can’t mention wigs and weaves without eliciting a chorus of snickers from our readers, but the reality is black women wear them, love them and spend big money to own them. The business of hair extensions is a $9 billion (yes, billion) dollar industry with black women doing much of the spending and little of the selling.

The disparity is borne from the Korean monopoly on distribution. It’s not that black female sellers aren’t there, it’s that they’re systematically shut out from acquiring product to sell in their stores by Korean distributors, according to The Florida Courier.

“Getting hair is a huge hurdle, because the distributors are Korean and most times they will only sell to other Koreans. White said, “I have to buy hair through exchange. It is rough, but if I don’t increase my hair game, I won’t be in business next year. It is a cold business in terms of the hair game.

Johnson said that some Korean distributors say they will not sell to stores within so many miles from their other clients, but when she tried to have hair sent to her Aliquippa location, which has no other beauty supply stores, they still would not let her purchase it. She said one distributor also told her the hair she wanted was no longer being sold, but when she went to a local Korean beauty supply store, that same hair was there. When she inquired about it she was told that a local store had told the distributor that if he sold to her, he would no longer buy from him. She said she agrees with location rules, ‘but there needs to be regulations. One Korean store should not be able to dictate the entire industry in one area.”

Whether you personally choose to wear weaves or not, you can agree that every industry, especially a billion dollar one, should be regulated.

And it also makes sense that black women, who make up the majority of consumers, are represented on the other side of the counter.

White has a solution for the current state of the weave business, that reads as a call action to black business owners:

White said Koreans succeed in the industry because they support each other, but the Black community does not. “They (Koreans) have the relationships and work within, we laugh at them when they are living together, then they break through and have four stores in our community. But we won’t help each other out. It is a culture thing.” None of the other Black-owned beauty supply stores work together to pool their resources.

What are your thoughts, Clutchettes? Are Korean distributors unfairly shutting out black business owners? Is the solution for entrepreneurs of color to work together and pool their resources? Discuss.


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  • JustSaying

    o-o In the case of people saying Black people only wear weave… && ….

  • Fantastic blog. Your links in this are wonderful. I went via all this and I very many thanks for your advice.

  • Growing up I sold hair with my mom and stepdad. I know the buisness inside out. I always thought It would be my retirement job. It is almost impossible. I dont think anyone should be able to block others from an industry especially that there own race is the main consumer. This is America. Land of the free for everyone but native americans that where here first and black americans that where forced here.

  • Great White Snowking

    Would you be calling for regulation if blacks were making the majority of the money in the “black hair supply” business? Why should Koreans be “punished” for their ability to dominate a market? Blacks are always suspicious of the government , why would they trust it to help them now?

    Sounds like someone is jealous of somebody else’s money! Just because you buy a lot of a product, that doesn’t entitle you to a share in the sales of that product. Why don’t blacks get their act together and support rather than shoot each other? You’ll find that you will make a lot more money that way.

  • Lampoon the disorganized Black front nothing to explain what been merchants pass 45yrs America. Children business class non-family business why meager wig sales didn’t make Han system billions in revenue wigs. Sold internationally China is biggest consumers cartels in Korean making billions. “Hip hop” and narcotics trade of Blacks when mention this animosity never business of success i know generalizing what ever. Black enjoy refine hair what happen to Blacks products never sold reason entrenched hate. We the people is worthless hate success of merit!