Dominican Salons Taking Over

Photo: Tim Hussin

Reader Terea submitted this article found on the Wall Street Journal's website debating the rise of the Dominican salon and it's takeover of the black salon market. The article is right on it!

Delshawn Rollins once trusted only fellow African-Americans with the delicate task of styling and straightening her tightly curled brown hair.

But that meant enduring hours of salon gossip, ordered-in lunch (and
sometimes dinner, too) and occasional mishaps, like the time the ends of her
hair snapped off after she had it dyed.

Fed up, the 35-year-old respiratory therapist last fall pulled out a flier she had for a new salon that promised to "work magic" using "Dominican styling." She was in and out of The Hair Co. USA, which displays the Dominican flag in the front window, within two hours, sporting a straight, feathery "do" for $20 less than she had been paying her old stylist.

"My hair has this flow," she says. People ask where she has it done.

Armed with a blow dryer and brush, deft wrist action and shrewd promotional tactics, immigrants from the Dominican Republic are snipping away market share from African-American stylists whose mastery of black women's hair ensured for generations that their customers wouldn't, or couldn't, leave them. Promises of seemingly healthier hair, swifter service and far lower prices are wooing away a growing number of black women.

Read the rest of the article here.
11 Responses:

If we dominate anything in America, it should be our own industry. It's sad that others can appeal to our own interest better than we can ourselves.

With that said, I wonder if this is going to fly. From what I've seen Dominicans use intense heat, which causes breakage. Of course, breakage has never stopped us before. We are willing to pay the price for straight hair. I forecast an increase in weave/wig purchases to cover up the damage.

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Well, as my beloved boyfriend says "variety is the spice of life". If you decide to wear your hair curly one day and bone straight the next, I applaud you for embracing diversity and having the stamina to keep up with changing fashion trends. Now, historically speaking, the Dominican Republic was usurped and colonized by Europeans, and thus a new genetic pool of people were created, mixed of African, Native-Islander, and European bloodlines. Unfortunately, Dominican people also endured a caste system that placed Africans at the bottom rung of the social ladder... So, if you're giving Dominicans credit for knowing how to "un-do" the African-ness of your hair, then you truly owe it to their inherited teachings of how to "mejorar la raza" (better the race) and get the black out. Obviously, if the only way to climb the social ladder in your country was by getting the kink out of your family tree, then after a few hundred generations, you'd be an expert at "doing" black hair too! Point is, African hair is beautiful without having to weigh it down with potions & lotions to the point that it breaks off and then you're left with no other option than to rock a weave. HEALTHY hair is GOOD hair. If you have healthy hair, then it won't matter what salon you go to, your hair will always be radiant and beautiful like the sensual, earthy, sun-kissed tone of our skin. *cheers*

Honestly, I used to get up in arms reading about how every one but black folk had their hands in the pot. However, at this point you gotta stop knocking someone else's hustle. It sucks but it is what it is. Dominicans don't have any special economic advantage over black folk in America. So if we want to corner the market we need to get busy and make it happen.

Plus, dominicans actually know what to do with a sista that has natural hair when she walks through the door. Most black-owned salons will tell you that they "don't know what to do with this hair." And yes dominican salons use a lot of heat but black salons use just as much heat. They also don't get their rollersets to look as nice. I can ask for a rollerset and my roots blown out and walk out looking fresh! I cant ask for that at a black owned salon.

I think its important to note that many Dominican people ARE black, thus they know how to deal with black hair. SO I think its unfair to say that "others" are taking over our industry when its just as much their's as ours. If you mean to say that they are taking over the industry for African American people, you'd be right on track.

seems like people are putting the dominicans and koreans against blacks. I think that people should get their hair done wherever they want to. Both have their pros and cons

Anonymous said...

I think its important to note that many Dominican people ARE black, thus they know how to deal with black hair. SO I think its unfair to say that "others" are taking over our industry when its just as much their's as ours. If you mean to say that they are taking over the industry for African American people, you'd be right on track.

I agree!!!

Black owned/operated salons need to take a lesson from this. How long have people been complaining (jokingly and not so much) about the wait and nature of Black Salons? If you want to compete then do better. Obviously the Dominican Salons are offering clients what they are looking for...shorter waiting time and less money for the same style.

You can only complain so much about other folk before it's time to look in the mirror.

I used to go to the Dominican Salons before I went natural. African American stylist need to get with the program. Quit charging 75.00-100.00 for a perm and a cut. Quit over booking, which lead to long waits in the salons. The owner just did a few things in her shop and it paid off. BTW, Dominican are black people too, grow up, make a change or get moved out. Its just that simple

I went to a Dominican salon one time and I found no benefit as opposed to going to my regular African American salon. The total time spent there was less than in African American salons but the price was nearly the same, the service was okay and the heat... Lord the heat was worse than my normal salon and with that darned brush it was a torture session for me! My finished hair looked okay - not great, not bad. I'm not knocking the dominican salons, I'm just saying my experience with the one I went to wasn't all that.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A ROCKET SCIENTIST TO FIGURE THIS OUT!!!! The answer to the Dominican competition is to provide a better salon experiece! Sisters will come home if you improve your services. If the traditional Af.Am salons hope to be competitive they must learn from their competition. Visit the Dominican salons, learn from them, and recreate a new and improved service. Its as simple as that!

Its time out for same ol', same ol'. Personally, I hate most Af. Am. salons! I resent the fact that many of them have no respect for my time, they treat our hair like we're just another head of hair, probably because they haven't had much competition in the past. I salon shopped long and hard to find someone who respected my time, was ethical, and a skilled stylist. He was not a Dominican, but a smart business man!

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