Ethnic Haircare in mainstream stores, is it a good thing?

There is an ethnic haircare section in Boots and Superdrug.

Pop bottles..lets dance..celebration

Well...I'm going to be the party pooper!

I'm not excited...

I have been in two minds about the launch of an ethnic section in Boots and Superdrug since I heard about it through the grapevine earlier this year. Tescos, Sainsburys and Morrisons have slowly been building theirs over the past couple of years..mostly stocking  L'oreal owned brands.

It isn't all doom and gloom.
Yes, it is long overdue
Yes, it means more access and availability to black hair consumers
But...who is benefiting?

Don't get me wrong this is a huge deal and yes it means progress and profit, for the brand and the stores...but does it benefit the community?

These brands and products have been available to the UK natural hair community via small independent online boutique stores such as Antidote Street, British Curlies and others for years, so why are so excited about it being available in the bigger stores?  The amount of excitement I have seen online for popular US brands being stocked in Boots this week alone has been crazy.. and I'm sitting here like...but they were always in the UK...a simple google search would have told you that.

Why do people run to the big stores rather than support the small businesses, who show the most love and care? I hear you..I want to be able to pick up your hair product when you pick up your toothpaste or lipstick. It saves the hassle of having to wait or pay for postage or go to a shop that isn't in your area. I completely understand.

But will the smaller online stores be able to stand up, or will they crumble because of this? I am thinking long-term and bigger than consumer availability...

I can't help it!

I then had to think with my business and money head. Why is this happening all of a sudden? Where was this interest 5years ago. Black people didn't suddenly need hair products? Why wasn't there a section before? Are they jumping on the natural hair wagon? Who shops at Boots and Superdrugs? Who is their main demographic and consumer?


Then it came to me...White women..because the black population in the UK is about 3-5%...but black women spend twice as much on cosmetic products than any that can't be right?
Well, there is a huge demand for white women with mixed raced children of black enthnicity who are seeking products for their children's ''unruly'' hair. They predict in the next 10years the generation of children will be mixed raced (B&W..because mixed-raced doesn't mean just black&white..FYI)

Where do white women shop? Well it sure isn't the Asian hair shops and they don't go to black hair shops for products...and since ''mixed-hair'' is a thing now... ta-dah... put the products where they shop already.

Makes sense.
You may not agree with me..and that is ok.

Its such a hard one for me, because I understand from a business view, a consumer view, but also from a black economical view.

I'm all about growth and building power in a community that was created by black women and should be profited by them, but it seems like that isn't going to happen anytime soon. With the black hair care market dominated by Asians and white people, will Black people ever really profit from an industry that is targeted at them? Will we ever really come on top in the natural hair and black hair care industry?

You may think I am over-thinking. You may think, what is she on about? But I'm just sharing my always...hehe!

Guess we will have to wait and see what happens.....

1 comment :

  1. Great post. I was very surprised to see ORS in my local Superdrug, particularly as I live in an area renowned as a hair mecca in London. However, I am going to appreciate the move forward and hope that we can use this shelf presence to push for the introduction of UK brands who may have been struggling to secure backing, who can now demonstrate that their products will fit 'mainstream' stores.