Tag Archives: Black Hair Care

“Paying to Take Care Of Self”

Black women play a critical and influential role in driving consumer spending.

In many instances, Black women are the Chief Executive Officer of their household, with the responsibility for managing financial risks, planning, and record keeping.  Her children and family are the core of daily life, though she sometimes feels tired, frustrated and overwhelmed.

She is confident, strong and accomplished.  As the CEO and “money manager,” Black women have much to juggle between family, career and life’s daily demands.  These demands leave her limited time and resources.  This makes it challenging for Black women to have personal celebratory indulgent moments. Perhaps it is a workplace requirement, but Black women have figured out how to turn grooming into affordable indulgences — little luxuries.  These “little luxuries” are not selfish indulgences; instead they are moments of relaxation that make her feel good. 

Chief among these “little luxuries” are hair and nails.

According to the market research specialists at Mintel, Black women spend approximately $500 billion, (yes, BILLION!!) on hair care annually. To put that figure into perspective, that’s about 5 times larger than the gross domestic product of Puerto Rico. In fact, Black women spend more money on hair care than any other group.

These indulgences are not just about making herself beautiful.

She, perhaps more importantly, is paying someone to perform a service — an empowering indulgent reward whose end product is making her look and feel better. 

She pays someone to “do her hair.”

She pays someone to “do her nails.”  

When you see her, you recognize that she “paid to take care of self.”  I love that term.  My friend and colleague, Carol Sagers coined it.  “Getting your hair or nails done in a salon or spa is a luxury;  doing them yourself is grooming.”

Sagers is a dynamic leader with a track record of creating innovative marketing strategies that grow brands and businesses.

In my professional career, I have consistently made having a conversation with Black women integral to every strategy targeting the Black Consumer Market.  It is a guiding principle, one that all markets should pay attention to.

Links to some of my other blog posts about Black women and what motivates their consumer behavior are listed below.

Miss Recessionsita


African-American Women Offer Unparalleled Opportunities for Brands


The Role of Lipstick in a Depressed Economy


The Black Mom and The Barber Shop





Community Empowerment – "Bringing good food to long-ignored neighborhoods"

My “neighborhood” supermarket is less than one mile from my house.

I routinely go there, primarily for convenience…and for “staples” – newspaper, bread, eggs, milk, meat and vegetables.

Admittedly, not as often, and a bit out of the way, I also patronize the Shoprite at Cheltenham Square Mall.

To those of you unfamiliar with Philadelphia, Cheltenham is an integrated neighborhood/community that has a predominantly Black residential base.

The Cheltenham Shoprite is an anchor for the “urban” Cheltenham Square Mall, along with a Burlington Coat Factory, a Home Depot and a brand new Target.

To its credit, the Cheltenham Shoprite has long been a beacon in the community and paved the way for other businesses to prosper.

I shop there for multiple reasons –

The primary motivation is what I term “cultural choices.”

The Shoprite carries what my (more upscale) neighborhood market does and does not

Greens(collard, turnip, mustard), Sweet Potato Cheesecake (Stop and ponder that one for a moment), Smoked Turkey Parts (How else would one ‘season’ their greens?), Black Hair Care Products (Did somebody say Pro Line?) and Sweet Mixed Pickles (not to be confused with relish, sweet mixed pickles add just the right ‘flavor’ to potato salad).

The other reason(s) that I choose to patronize this particular Shoprite are articulated in the attached article -“A Man of Smiling Success”

The store’s owner, Jeff Brown, has dedicated himself and his business to “bringing good food to long-ignored neighborhoods.”

He has not only invested in the community, but the supermarket has been a conduit for employment in the community.

Brown says, “I would rather hire someone who hasn’t worked in eight years but loves people than someone who is more qualified.”

There is a phenomenon spreading across a great number of inner cities today.
“The flight of the urban supermarket.”

In inner-cities like Detroit and Baltimore, supermarkets are leaving.

Abandoning the neighborhoods and communities that for so many years sustained them, forcing consumers to either rely on alternatives (Convenience Stores, Drug Stores or Mom and Pops) where selection and cost-savings are increasingly absent.

This understandably is having a devastating impact on communities and the spirit and well-being of the people who live there.

The model implemented by individuals like Jeff Brown is encouraging.

This is true, not just in terms of addressing the “flight of the urban supermarket.” It fuels an even more compelling goal, reversing the erosion of urban America.

The health of these communities and their ability to prosper has a direct impact on all of us – regardless of where we live.

When urban communities and neighborhoods experience growth and prosperity, all communities benefit from the residual.

The conversation is about jobs, economics, people, pride and, once again, empowerment.

In this instance, the empowerment conversation shifts from the individual to the community.
Healthy communities produce healthy and productive citizens and this is a model for success.
One that, when implemented, will pay dividends for years to come.