Changing How Consumers See Their Own Hair
One of the enduring problems that black kids had growing up was dealing with their hair. You could get numerous stories from black women about how their hair would be so hard to tame. The products that they had available for “regular” hair didn’t work for them.
All the products dedicated to their particular hair type were usually shoved and forgotten in the hairdresser’s store’s back corner. Ellis Ross noted that starting up a brand that celebrated black women’s hair was a personal triumph. She also pointed out that many women felt alone because they weren’t aware of how many others struggled with the same problems.
An Industry Problem Highlighted
What’s the issue with haircare products? In recent decades, black women’s hair only started getting proper attention around the 80s, when black culture started to show up more often as part of the popular trends. Yet many of the brands that invested in these hair products for black people didn’t understand their consumers’ hair. More often than not, they’d simply rebrand products from one line and hoped it worked for black hair. Most times, they were wrong, and the product died before it could make an impact.
The industry is changing, however. Recently, thanks to more widespread support for black entrepreneurs and an understanding that not all beauty is the same, many entrepreneurs have made inroads into this industry. Ellis Ross’s brand, Pattern, demonstrates her own formulated product for something that she needs.
Yet, she isn’t concerned about her own needs. Instead, her goal is to offer black women something that they can use on their hair specially formulated for them. She also stated that the most significant problem that brands dealing with this subset of beauty had was communication.
Not a Box-Checking Exercise
The popularity of terms like “diversity” and “inclusion” has led to many businesses and industries taking up the mantle, or at least seeming to. With every large company boasting about their initiatives to ensure an equal playing field for all, it’s easy to forget that many of the measures taken equate to ticking the right boxes and having the correct numbers.
It’s more than just finding a place that does eyelash extensions specifically for black people. If the industry is to change, it needs to understand that diversity and inclusion measures need to account for its customer base. With consumers now “voting with their wallets,” it’s likely that we’ll see more businesses paying attention to them.