It's also a community and safe space where women can go for networking events, live product tutorials, and an overall enlightening retail experience. “I feel like there's a silent rule when you're in the beauty supply,” says Ashli Brown, Dias’s business partner and the company’s first franchisee, opening the Compton location in 2019. “You don't judge other Black women on how they look when they're in the store.
Although their livelihood depends on people buying hair care, Dias and Brown are adamant that Black women should not be characterized by our hair. “Hair is something that's just a piece of who we are,” Brown says. “Even though I sell products, I don't really buy into the idea or the thought that your hair makes or breaks you. “If you're feeling frustrated, chop it off,” says Dias. "If you feel like you want to go blond, dye blond.
According to the Black Owned Beauty Supply Association, only about 2,500 beauty supply stores out of more than 35,000 in the U. S. are Black-owned, and this imbalance has long created tension in a place that's supposed to be a refuge for Black women. “I felt like, How come it's always Black women in these stores, but there's never Black owners? ” says Lia Dias, the founder of The Girl Cave Los Angeles, a chain of beauty supply stores started in South Central L. A. “There's never really Black women that work in these stores.
From creating jobs in the community and inspiring other Black women to start businesses, to empowering Black women to wear their hair as they please—and feel comfortable shopping for what they need to do it—Dias and Brown represent precisely why beauty supply stores are a vital part of Black culture.
Her persistence paid off: In the four years since opening The Girl Cave Los Angeles, Dias, who says she makes sure her company hires workers who live in the stores' neighborhoods, has built a loyal customer base helping her create a lucrative business. “Part of the reason why I've been able to scale is that I had hundreds of people from the community that were like, ‘I don't care if your product costs more.
In 2018, Mintel valued the Black hair-care market at $2. 5 billion, a valuation experts believe is actually much higher, so it’s essential that a piece of that wealth goes into Black communities and entrepreneurs. “It’s not just for me to accumulate wealth and just run my stores,” Dias says of her burgeoning empire. “This is about other women getting into this industry.
Only about 2,500 beauty supply stores out of more than 35,000 in the U.S. are Black-owned. https://t.co/1yvYr2RkPp— Glamour (@glamourmag) September 2, 2020