Black hair care is a $500 billion dollar industry, yet black-owned businesses have been largely excluded from the largely Korean-American dominated industry. Despite barriers, two Brooklyn based entrepreneurs have pushed beyond these limitations. With last week's opening of Jeffrey Beauty Supply, Jeffrey and Sade became owners of the first black-owned beauty supply store in Brownsville. “There’s a lot of money being spent by African Americans in this industry, especially women, and there’s just not as much representation in ownership,” Sade told the BK Reader. “We wanted to take that challenge head on and start the tidal wave.” Located on the corner of Eastern Parkway and Saint Marks Avenue, Jeffrey Beauty Supply caters to the full beauty spectrum, selling weaves, braids, wigs, hair color and other accessories.
Just last year Jeffrey and Sade connected for the first time through the Brownsville Partnership, a local program that invests in local economic development through entrepreneurship. The two discovered their common interest in business ownership within the beauty industry. After discovering a market niche in Brownsville, where sparsely placed pharmacies like Rite Aid were the only businesses carrying black haircare and skincare products, they decided to go for it.
Inspired by a documentary on the 2014 opening of the Flatbush-based Black Girls Divine Beauty Supply and Salon, Jeffrey was inspired by the story of African-American sisters Judian and Kadeian Brown. “I researched them and researched the obstacles that they had to go through,” he said. “And it was all very discouraging. But I decided that this was what I wanted to do.” The store opened with limited inventory as shipments continue to come in. "If you walk into a traditional beauty supply its ceiling to floor. It’s inundated with products,” Sade said. “We explained it to our customers and they’ve been very receptive to the fact that we’ll get there one day soon.”
Clap for Jeffrey and Sade putting on for the culture.