Black Owned Beauty Supply Store Reveals the Struggles to Stay in Business

Monday, February 14th, 2011

After posting the documentary about the struggles black owned beauty supply stores are experiencing because of their Korean counterparts, I thought about the number of African American owned beauty supply stores that cater to black hair within my parameter, and after thinking about it, I realized the answer was zero. I normally purchase hair care products throughout Brooklyn and Harlem and every shop I go to is owned by Koreans. Once realizing I couldn’t find a black owned beauty supply store, I researched the issue and found the film by Aron Raven.

Because of Raven’s project I became very curious about the topic, almost obsessed, and went online in search of black owned beauty supply stores. Ultimately, I found BeeTee Beauty Supply Store in East Orange, New Jersey. I called the store and spoke to the owner, Tim. He was very gracious and openly filled me in on the politics regarding the beauty supply store business. After our conversation I had to feature him on Permed to Natural. There was no way I could keep all of that information to myself. I went to East Orange to meet Tim in person and to visit his store. BeeTee Beauty is a large space that is magnificently stocked with products for your every hair care need. I felt extremely proud when I entered his store.

Check out what Tim has to say about the beauty supply store business.


PTN: What inspired you to start your own beauty supply store?

BT: We came from families of entrepreneurs. Our families ran their own businesses from retail, corporations to professional practices. So naturally we gravitated towards owning our own business. Beauty supply was an attraction because despite what you do and who you are, you will always take care of your beauty needs.

PTN: How long has BeeTee Beauty Supply been in business and where are you located?

BT: BeeTee Beauty opened officially in August of 2002. Our information is 516B Main Street; East Orange, New Jersey 07018; 973-678-0046; Website:; Email:

PTN: Your competition are the Koreans who also own beauty supply stores geared towards African American hair care. Have you lost customers to Korean owned beauty supply stores in your area?

BT: Well you loose some and you gain some! Koreans have always dominated the industry and our people have come to think that the beauty supply business is the domain of the Koreans only. I think that we as a people should support one another and together we can get our business back. Currently, the Koreans control the market, they have the financial stability, and they have locked down the supplies, the suppliers and the manufacturers, which pose entry barriers into the beauty supply business for the minority black person.

PTN: Have you noticed a change in the way business is done over the years? If so, please tell us about it.

BT: The market is dominated by the Koreans; if you don’t speak the Korean language, they wouldn’t sell to you, when they do sell; the price is higher than for their Korean counterpart. You are often compelled to pay cash, certified check or money order for everything you buy. No return, no terms. In New Jersey where we are located there is an organization called Korean Beauty Supply Association (KBSA). They have threatened to boycott any distributor that will sell to any non Korean beauty supply store. Consequently, these distributors become scared to sell to the non Koreans because of the threat of boycott from KBSA. Have you ever wondered why most stores owned by blacks or minorities are poorly stocked? It’s not because they don’t have the capital. No. Far from it! Majority of them have the money but they can’t find a supplier that is willing to take the wrath of the KBSA.

Secondly, if you do find a supplier or distributor willing to sell, they will suddenly either stop selling or demand their products back.  Then follows the excuses; either the factory in China or Korea has gone on strike or they have burnt down or they are out of stock, and so on…. Or they give you the “proximity” excuse. The proximity excuse is usually used when Korean distributors don’t want to sell to you because you are not Korean. They tell you that you are too close to a customer of theirs and will violate their unwritten code by selling to you. They would say it promotes unhealthy competition. But it’s okay when the store is Korean owned. These stories are real! They actually happened to us and are still happening eight and a half years later.

In November 2002, a few months after our official grand opening in East Orange, New Jersey, our main distributor Jingu (Harlem21) hair company came back to our store and demanded to take their products back. They came with a refund money order (issued from a Korean bank in China Town, New York) and advised that they have been instructed by their CEO in China to refund us our money and return their products. They indicated that their company had received numerous calls and threats from KBSA that they were doing business with us. The KBSA had called their president in China and logged complaints. When Jingu came to our store to collect their products, they came in company with KBSA members to ensure that the products were actually retrieved. Another supplier in California, Jazz Wave, stopped selling to us three months later. Reason? Their factory burnt down and they are getting a lot of calls from the New Jersey chapter of KBSA to stop selling to us, they would eventually confess. Ben’s Beauty (in Philadelphia), Milky Way Hair Collections, Janet Hair Collections (Beauty Plus), Beverly Johnson Hair Collections, Outre, Motions Hair Collections, Sensationnel Hair, just to name a few, had one excuse after another.

PTN: All of the hair collections you just mentioned are Korean owned?

BT: Yes all of them are Korean owned including Beverly Johnson’s Hair Collection. Also Korean owned are Sally Beauty Supply stores.

PTN: How are Koreans able to obtain black hair care products to distribute? Can you go to the same place to purchase products for your store as well?

BT: Korean distributors go to the manufacturers, and some are black owned, to buy products by the trailer load. Manufacturers don’t normally sell to retail stores because the distributors are able to purchase a lot more items and that is how they make their money. There are a few black distributors I am able to purchase from but sometimes they buy products from the Korean distributors because they can not afford to purchase a large amount from the manufacturers.  

PTN: Do black owned manufacturers know what the Koreans are doing to black owned beauty supply stores?

BT: I am sure they do.

PTN: How many black owned beauty supply stores are there in East Orange, New Jersey?

BT: I know of only three including mine. The fourth one was forced out of business by the Koreans due to lack of suppliers and products. So her customers dwindled and migrated to her Korean competition. 

PTN: How many Korean owned beauty supply stores that cater to black hair are there in East Orange, New Jersey?

BT: At the top of my head I can count more than eight in the vicinity where I operate. I am sure there is a slew more of Korean owned black beauty supply shops in East Orange since East Orange accounts for over 75 percent of blacks in the Oranges.

PTN: How do you feel about those numbers?

BT: Discouraging and disproportionately balanced. It is unfair that black people are prevented from entering a market that caters to their needs. But then again, who says life is fair?

PTN: Do you purchase products from Koreans who distribute most of the black hair care supplies? If yes, is it hard working with them? If not, how to do stock your store?

BT: Yes, I do but it’s not easy at all.  Cash up front no credit. There are a few willing to do business with us under the radar. These suppliers very frequently do not want our Korean counterparts to know that they are selling to us.

PTN: How do you think African Americans lost ownership of beauty supply stores for black hair? What can we do to gain back control? Do you think we are willing to do that?

BT: I don’t know but knowing what I know now, I think we sold out! We need to stop selling ourselves short, cheap and gain back our self esteem. I believe in my people and I still think that we can gain back control if we stick together and support those that dare to enter the market. We will gain back control when we start working together, start spending our money within our people and in our businesses and give black businesses a chance. Financial institutions in the black communities need to open up and lend money to grow the community.

PTN: What do you want Permed to Natural readers to take with them after reading your story?

BT: The beauty supply industry is like the mafia. No one tells you until you get there to find out that everything is locked down. It’s a dog eat dog world out there. The Koreans do not want black people in the business that caters to blacks, previously owned by blacks and used by blacks. Where black owned beauty supplies exist, the Koreans are bent at eliminating and wiping them out for good.

I want all your readers to ‘try and support black beauty supply stores out there’ wherever and whenever they can because they are the ones that will create the wealth in the black community and invest the money back in the black community. Ever wonder where your Korean beauty supply store owner lives? Certainly not in your community where they make their money! 


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78 Responses to “Black Owned Beauty Supply Store Reveals the Struggles to Stay in Business”

  1. Naomi says:
    February 14th, 2011 at 8:45 AM

    Great article. I usually avoid buying from Bss in general, but if I find a Black Owned Bss, I will support. I had no idea how hard it is for these owners!

    Sad that Black Folks don’t seem to have any pride in our communities and culture.

  2. Dee says:
    February 14th, 2011 at 10:35 AM

    Sally Beauty Supply is Not owned by Koreans. It is a US based and US traded company on the NYSE. I’m all for supporting Black owned businesses but when one of the owners is spreading incorrect information that discredits the overall message.

  3. Tina says:
    March 30th, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    I take my hat off to you Tim (BeeTee Beauty) for refusing to give in to the Koreans and to Perm to Natural for bringing his story to us. After looking at Good Hair by Chris Rock, I started to pay attention to the beauty stores in my area. It’s appalling to see how the Koreans treat us, yet they are making billions from selling us over priced products. I can’t find one black owned store in my area.
    I would like to eventually open my own store, but before I take on this venture, I want to make sure my distribution points are in place and the funds are available to sustain my company. I am keeping a running log on Korean own distributors passing under the radar by using “black” names like Beverly Johnson. Thank you for point them out, and maybe black owners show start a discrimination class action lawsuit against them including KBSA.
    5 mega “Korean” stores popped up in my area within 1 year. All the small stores around them went out of business. We really need to stick together and fight this fight; that’s the only way we will gain control on this growing industry.

  4. Renee says:
    April 5th, 2011 at 12:29 AM

    This just the article I was looking for. I recently thought it would be good to be an entrepreneur but, opening up my own Beauty Supply store (after doing some research and business classes). I am very into my hair and I am currently transitioning to natural. After watching “Good Hair” , the point about blacks not owning their own hair care struck a cord with me. After expressing my idea to several of my friends they said the same thing to me as your article states. I find this to be a little discouraging and wonder is it even worth the struggle with the Koreans and would that struggle be a successful one

  5. dennis says:
    April 5th, 2011 at 4:06 AM

    I am the son of a korean who owns a beauty supply store. I am american born and have been working at the store for years. Its hard for an immigrant to get employed by a company so the best solution is self-employment. I have the utmost respect for my parents, but I do not respect the suppliers. They raise prices so they can make billions but they don’t hear the complaints from customers on daily basis or deal with theft or have guns pointed in their face. They come in with their designer clothes and pull out their ipad and drive away in their bmw. I would love to start my own beauty supply company and open dozens of retail stores and hire only non koreans.

  6. Tracy says:
    July 2nd, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    I was thinking of opening a beauty supply store in my area but it seems the need is to be a distributor to our people rather than just another store. A local beauty supply store called 3 Sisters is having the same issue. So the problem isn’t the manufacturers is the distributors. Wish me luck because I think I’m on the path to distribution!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Permed to Natural says:
    July 5th, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    I wish you lots of luck!!!

  8. Kathy says:
    July 18th, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    Tracy, I’m with you. Distribution is the way to go. I believe we can take this market back. The Koreans feel they can block our success with boycotting the distrubors. Boycotting also works in our favor, if we boycott their stores. Changes can be made if we come together.

  9. emily says:
    August 10th, 2011 at 11:02 PM

    Thank you so much for this article. I am one of the few black owned and operated online wig sites and I can tell you first hand the suppliers make it very difficult to compete. I have had several brands not sell to me stating it would affect local retailers in my area. BS! I have customers all over the world who buy because their local BSS does not stock wigs catered to them, so they go online. This really ticks me off.

  10. Aisha The Diva says:
    August 15th, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    We do need to boycott! I am from NJ but I live in SC now.This is a billion dollar industry, and we as AA spend the majority of the money! But we don’t get any respect I think its time for us to take our place!!!

  11. Permed to Natural says:
    August 16th, 2011 at 10:36 AM

    Aisha The Diva – I agree! But will we ever do that???

  12. Ctndeewi says:
    August 25th, 2011 at 10:38 AM

    There is a way to stop the Koreans, Go natural and make your own supplies. The a koreans do nothng in our communities. Send them to the other side of the track!

  13. BlackPeopleBoycott says:
    September 5th, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    IN ADDITION TO BOYCOTTING…Online forums such as these need to publish and share those manufacturers and distributors that will do business with Africa Americans. The Koreans must be stopped as they only TAKE from our community and give absolutely nothing in return. They insult us everyday as we insult ourselves by continuing to do business with them.

  14. Don Contargena says:
    September 24th, 2011 at 8:50 AM

    as the previous commenter stated. there needs to be a list for companies that do business with black people. i have been searching on the net for a while it is very challenging to say the least to find supplier let alone ones that deal with black. all these sites complain about the koreans but don’t offer any solutions. so please publish a known list and maybe more black owned stores could open up. information (or lack there of)is always a barrier to entry also.

  15. Permed to Natural says:
    September 26th, 2011 at 8:48 AM

    I posted resource information before I interviewed the beauty supply owner. The resource is the 4 part documentary about the black hair care business. Here is the link

  16. Cindy Brooks says:
    October 27th, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    What is Tim’s last name. I called the store to do business w/him and a korean told me I could not do business w/them because it would be too expensive.

  17. Permed to Natural says:
    October 27th, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    Try again. He answers the phone number listed in the article.

  18. Cindy Brooks says:
    October 28th, 2011 at 6:58 AM

    Ok. Thank you. Will keep you posted.

  19. OwnerHopeful says:
    November 25th, 2011 at 7:50 AM

    Thank you for this article. I have been researching heavily on opening a BSS and I continue to run across articles like these. People are always commenting that black people need to boycott and stand up for our community, etc. etc. BUT what are we actually doing to make this change. I am natural therefore I really dont have a need to go to a BSS except for my daughters hair care needs. But if all the BSS in my area are Korean owned where do I go? This is the problem. We dont have any options at this time. If the Koreans have the industry locked down, how do we break into the industry? How do we get the word out to everyone to not shop at the Korean stores? There has to be some kind of lawsuit that Black owners can file against the KBSA!! I am very passionate about becoming an entrepreneur and catering to my people but it is tough getting into the industry. If anyone can assist me and offer some guidance I am all ears!!

  20. Permed to Natural says:
    November 25th, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    Thank you for your comment. First, I would suggest contacting Tim (featured in my article) because he is knowledgeable on the subject. From that hopefully an alliance can be formed. Second, there are other places to buy hair care products. After interviewing Tim in February 2011, I have not stepped foot in a Korean BSS. For products and accessories I shop at Whole Foods, Target, Walmart, Walgreens and online. That method has been working for me. To sum everything up, I just wish we supported each other more as a people. Good luck with your business venture!

  21. Informer says:
    December 1st, 2011 at 11:24 PM

    Great interview and so true. However, there is one piece of misinformation in the interview. The Koreans DO NOT own Sally Beauty Supply stores. It’s a publicly traded company and there are no Koreans on the board or on the senior management team.

  22. Permed to Natural says:
    December 2nd, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    Tim said that not me. I questioned him but he said it was true.

  23. Olika Stephany says:
    December 6th, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    I am researching to open a beauty supply and I am African American. I am all for an alliance to protect our own. Lets not think, lets just do. Who’s with me? Lets get the word out. I believe that our people will support us.

  24. Rosalyn Ward says:
    December 16th, 2011 at 8:33 AM

    I am also trying to open up my own beauty supply store. I must admit that I am a little skeptical after reading all of the articles about the Koreans. If anyone has any advice for me, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks:)

  25. sharon Barbee says:
    December 27th, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    I am a Beauty Supply Owner in Detroit mi and this Article is all true i am going thu the same thing i have been trying to get and account with Outre, bobbie boss and all the companys that was mention in this article and i think that this is so sad.

  26. Connie James says:
    January 23rd, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    I am also doing research to open a Store in Sumter SC. I will be in competition with at least 7 Korean owned beauty supply stores and Im looking for a way to have an Ace in the hole for my store. Im not sure what it is yet but any guidance in this passion of mine is greatly appreciated.

  27. kensome says:
    January 28th, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    I think we should start going to other retailers for hair products (Walmart, Duane Reade, Rite
    Aid etc)as the woman known as “permed to natural” said. Koreans sell products that cater to us and do nothing for our community. I know for a fact they do NOT shop black owned business. I also blame black people for this. We need to focus more on success and start opening our own business. I own my own business, I’ve actually started a few of my own companies. I’m 43 and the last time I ever worked for someone was when I was 22 years old. With that being said I cannot at this point open my own beauty supply store, I have two other successful companies I’m running. But for all of the black people commenting, do something about it!!! STOP frequenting their stores and open YOUR own store. Learn how to think BIG. Black people never support each other we are the only race who doesn’t…so SAD. It’s NOT difficult to be successful. It all starts with a vision, goals and action.

  28. Deejaitaylor says:
    March 9th, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    Retiring Veteran adnvery interested in opening my own BSS. Has anyone looked into Devin Robinson’s Websites. He has some very good information. Not sure about the validity of it all, but it ultimately leads to researching the info for self-awareness. Be Blessed, Embrace Success!

  29. mary says:
    March 13th, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    I am in the market to open a beauty supply store this article was very informative. Im on board to do something about this. “There is more than one way to skin a cat”.

  30. Jade Lee says:
    March 14th, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    As a Korean BS owner for 20+ years I’m compelled to inform you some of what you experience (though not all) is experienced by Koreans too! In order to maintain prices and reputation, weave distributors must restrict the number of stores allow to sell the product within a certain radius (generally defined by each sales person’s territory). Customers all too often fall through the cracks and receive orders before the sales person realizes what has happened. At that point, the company chooses the store with the highest average order. I am Korean and I have been refused the opportunity to order/sell brands.

    Also…MANY MANY MANY if not all distributors have a no refund, no return policy! This is all too familiar to me, the Korean! And the cash or money order thing…yeah, happens all the time!

    Bottom line…I know it’s hard to have a Black owned beauty supply but don’t assume ALL of the events ONLY happen to you because you’re not Korean. It happens to all Beauty Supply Owners the difference is we don’t care enough to argue we just get someone else to order it for us**

  31. OD says:
    March 23rd, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    Jade Lee:
    I am sure you have problems overall as a business owner. However, this is about extreme restrictions being levied against Black owners. I have heard this for a long time.

    On one street in my town there are BSS every other block. In fact, there are two owned by the same family–all are owned by Koreans or Chinese. The fact that you cannot find one store owned by an African American says there is something onimous and underhanded going on.

    Yes, they could get someone else to order for them, but we are tired of going through the back door for everything we do. It is the “though not all” part that we are talking about. It would be nice if all that was experienced was the day to day problems and restrictions, but it is the “though not all” that is wrong.

    Now that I know this, I will be purchasing from the Mexican owned BSS in my area. I will also be posting this article in my FB.

  32. Jasmine hucks says:
    April 2nd, 2012 at 12:36 AM

    Why do we have to only open black hair supply stores? I thought that we all are equal and should support all races? I am looking into a beauty supply store that sells products to all people of color. Only natural products. We as people should stanf by one another and support all business ventures

  33. Danielle says:
    April 15th, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    @Jasmine: Because this is not a kum-by-yah issue. An industry that profits billions annually, that markets and sells to a specific demographic of people, and TAKES STEPS TO COMPLETELY BLOCK that demographic from participating in ownership is called a MONOPOLY! A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the ONLY SUPPLIER of a particular commodity. While you can purchase products geared toward black hair, at drugstores and walmarts, the majority of the other carriers are BSS. THE MAJORITY OF THEM ASIAN OWNED. And while that may not entirely consist of a monopoly, the fact that the KBSA, can intimidate manufacturer’s into re-possessing items off the shelves of vendors, sounds NOTHING short of a mafioso-mentality.

    You have to consider the VAST amounts of money, that black people spend on haircare. You also have to consider, into whose hands that money goes, and what they do with it! You also have to consider, the products, quality, and ingredients that go into “black hair care”. Do we really know if this stuff is good for our hair? Just because it makes it manageable, doesn’t mean it’s quality. What do Koreans know about black hair? About the same as most black people, know about Korean hair: 0. They slap a brown skin model on the cover, and automatically it’s considered ethnic. That however, is an entirely different issue, in and of itself.

    The fact that a black entrepreneur, wanting to sell black-aimed products to black people, IN THEIR OWN NEIGHBORHOOD be met with such upfront hostility is not acceptable. It’s a covert form of discrimination. It needs to be squashed. And the only way this will happen, is if we stop pouring out or pockets, to a system that won’t even permit us to sustain our own. IT’S ALL IN OUR HANDS!

    I ask that you kindly re-read the article, the interview, and watch the documentary PermedToNatural went through the trouble of posting. Its not about not supporting good business. It’s about supporting ourselves, when covert/bad/monopolistic business decides to profit off of us.

  34. nells says:
    May 1st, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    thank you for writing this article, for i am one who desires to not only own my own bss, but selling hair by the ounce that many hispanics have that in their hands as well. i have tried to do research on how to get started and i cannot seem to find any. I frequent beauty supply stores, i made the switch from being permed to natural 3 years ago and i am a product junkie , i am one who frequents these korean stores because i do put weaves in at times. i would love to be able to give back to my community and have resources to help others to start their business too. koreans and hispanics look out for one another. koreans share and help each other own business, families help each other pay for college tuition and they make sure their children go to school and get an education. African americans just do not support one another and it is really sad. since slavery we have always been apart, we need to wake up and get it together.
    i live in the bronx and i actually found one black owned beauty supply store and you are absolutely right that the shelves are poorly stocked. i never knew why until i read this article. i feel for my people because we are going down the wrong path with the exception of a few that have see what we should be doing. what can we do?

  35. Kesha Rollins says:
    May 15th, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Can everyone please brush up on their history lessons! The beauty supply business was founded and run for many many years by Jews. It was this way until the mid 1960′s that Korean’s (who were tired of being rejected by the Jews when trying to purchase products that their and surrounding countries were manufacturing) decided to take matters in their own hands and open distribution centers as well as retail stores. Reading is knowledge and learning is power!

  36. OD says:
    June 18th, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Thank you for the history. After reading your post, it seems to me that the Koreans, should know how it feels to be locked out. They have just become their oppressors. Hopefully, when we pull it together and start to gain control (and we will) we will not do the same thing.

  37. Loretta Little says:
    July 2nd, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    There is a God!! After leaving a Korean owned store today 7/1/12 in the Mid-West, I was furious!! I bought 2 bags of the human hair $18.99 each for my granddaughter she’s only 14 years old with a small head that I thought was quite a lot for her. The clerk insisted it will take 2 bags. Before I paid for the product I asked her if she doesn’t use both of these bags is it o.k. to bring the unopened one back she said yes, so I was comfortable enough to purchase both bags. She end up using only one bag, so I took the other one back. The nightmare started! I’m one that’s very particular about receipt’s, somehow I couldn’t locate the receipt(not sure it was given to me), but I thought, she didn’t put a lot of emphasis on you must have your receipt to return an item and knowing that she would remember my face. To make a long story short, all they would do is let me find something else, although I didn’t need nothing at the time. Maybe if they had a snack bar, lunch would have been fine. I got to thinking I’m never gonna patronize another Korean hair joint! Whoa! back up then you just have nappy hair. In the Peoria, Illinois area not another or surrounding vincinities do a black own any such thing that caters to our culture. Years ago one black business women tried to remedy this problem, but her merchandise was extremely expensive no one could continue to afford her. Thanks so much for making me understand why it was so extreamely expensive. We need to stick together and take this red-lining all the way to the White House if necessary!!! This is a form of slavery in an organized mob action!!!

  38. crystal meyers says:
    July 9th, 2012 at 10:22 PM

    This makes my blood boil. I honestly thought there wasn’t any african americans willing to open a beauty supply store. I did not realize Koreans were purposely making it difficult for us to do so. Someone needs to put this on youtube and we (african americans) should boycott Korean owned beauty supply stores. The Koreans have been getting away with this mess for too long. African american are putting billions of dollars into Koreans pockets that should be going into our pockets. This has got to stop. Period.

  39. crystal meyers says:
    July 9th, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    To Nells: The answer is to put this info on youtube and BOYCOTT THEM!! BOYCOTT THEM!! First of all, let other african americans know what is going (the best way is youtube) and choose a certain day to boycott the Korean beauty supply stores all over the country for that day. Let them know that until they change their policies we WILL NOT PURCHASE PRODUCTS FROM THEM. If one day doesn’t work then we should boycott for a week, then 2 weeks. However long it takes for them to get the message. I honestly did not know the real reason why there weren’t very many afican american owned beauty supply stores. Now that I know I will tell everyone I know and I mean EVERYONE!

  40. marquisa says:
    July 26th, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    I’m from Dallas TX and I’m trying to open a beauty supply now

  41. Angela says:
    July 30th, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    I have been a customer of BeeTee since they opened their first store in South Orange, NJ. I set out one day to buy supplies from the Korean-owned supplier. But when I walked into the store it looked different. I walked out thinking I was in the wrong store. While standing on the sildwalk, I did a double-take when I noticed there were two beauty supply stores just doors from each other. When I walked back in, most noticeable was the black guy behind the counter! He was almost chuckling as he noticed my perplexed look. I questioned if he worked in the store; he responded that he owned it. Then, Tim told me the story of how he and his wife had recently opened the store. I was agasp to learn about their experience with the Korean store owner, just doors away, and the suppliers. I have been a BeeTee customer ever since, and I tell others to patronize BeeTee. The store is well stocked; the staff is friendly and knowledgable.

  42. Bro Al Malik says:
    August 22nd, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    I’ve been trying to located Kemi Oyl Shea Butter Pomade, would you happen to carry the product

  43. Koreans tops industry in sale of Black beauty supply products - CurlyNikki Forums says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    [...] that the Korean owned stores carry: The Ugly Side Of the Beauty Supply Market – Cascade, GA Patch Black Owned Beauty Supply Stores | Permed to Natural Why Do Koreans Own The Black Beauty Supply Business? | Madame Noire | Black Women's Lifestyle [...]

  44. Jewish Women Wigs says:
    October 4th, 2012 at 7:17 AM

    I love how your store looks like,very nice and warm looking!

  45. says:
    November 1st, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    Starting my own site/supply store….I would love to talk with you…

  46. Permed to Natural says:
    November 2nd, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Sure, but I don’t own a beauty supply store.

  47. SCDC says:
    November 9th, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    Makes me wonder if those who CAN do something about this actually KNOW that this is even going on! There’s an online movement called “MoveOn.Org.” This organization is hundreds of thousands strong and is the righter of all wrongs, especially when it comes to people being disenfranchised. They’re indeed results-oriented. FoxNews, Walmart, Target, Nike — all were compelled to make undesired changes because of MoveOn.Org. TIM: PLEASE CONTACT MoveOn.Org. They will help. EVERYONE ELSE, SIGN UP FOR MOVEON AND LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD THROUGH THEM.

  48. jess says:
    December 1st, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    So happy to see this. Something has to be done. I am looking to start a business and i keep hearing of the same struggles. Good luck to all and thanks for all the insight

  49. Bill says:
    January 10th, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    Very happy to read this. Starting a Store and needed to know this information

  50. NeroKandy says:
    January 11th, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    The information is a tad false. Us black people tend to be very LAZY when it comes to researching and finding alternatives for purchasing beauty wholesale. If any research was done: the Indian distributors and Koreans are the biggest competitors against each other, and to be honest the Indian’s are wiping Korea up. Now, from my research Indian’s have no problem selling product to American purchasers. If you know Koreans are your biggest competition, then research! Work super hard to make sure your doing better then they are. They are the NOT the only ones that manufacturer hair that blacks use. Actually the majority of Koreans get’s their hair from India. It comes down to getting off your behind and finding things, the internet is the best tool.

    Another upper hand you have is that most Korean owned beauty supply store owners did not write a business plan or research, it was simply handed to them from their own kind and that is their biggest weakness. With everything handed to them, they are lazy to even go and research even better and cheaper product. We are Americans, we were born here, and we should know how to advertise to our own people. Use your minds, and nothing, and I mean nothing can bring you down.

  51. blessed says:
    January 18th, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    We began searching the internet trying to obtain more information about what it is that we needed to do in order to open a beauty store in our area. Only to be flustrated by the doors that continue to close concerning supplies and products in order to stock our store. After constantly running into walls, we contacted a family member that informed us that the Korens basically had the market locked, which influenced us to do some research over the issue and came across this article. Reading this article helped me to open my eyes to alot of different things, but has driven us to work even harder to be successful. Where we live their isnt a hair store within 25 miles and after you drive the 25 miles there are several hair stores but NONE black owned. but yet sitting in the middle of neighbor hoods that are mainly all black. I find it sad that we are trying to bring a hair store to our neighborhood, to our people and the worldly are trying to keep us down. But like I stated before we are not giving up. According to the word of God, God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us concerning the purposes, plans, and destiny that God has prepared for our life. Thru christ I can do all things. Be blessed, THANK YOU FOR THE INFORMATION AND TO TIM AND THE BEETEE, THANK YOU FOR BEING STRONG ENOUGH TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE WITHIN OUR BLACK COMMUNITY, YOUR TESTIMONY GIVES OTHERS COURAGE TO DO THE SAME.ONCE AGAIN BE BLESSED

  52. Veronica E. Roberts says:
    March 12th, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    Thank you for the informed article, this is about self- preservation when I went natural in 1997 I forgot about BSS and went online buying all natural or organic products for my hair, (if black owner’s sold out I’m not a chemist I’d just mix the stuff myself) I feel for the black owners and black consumers that are not aware of the issues which are even larger facing the black “somewhat communities”. I live in Willingboro NJ and if you visit look where you can find retail locations to buy local; there is BSS called JFK beauty, not black owned, that sells more of the Kinky-Curly line than even Target stores, How do I know because I drifted in there wanting to patronize a black owned store that use to be located there. Do I begrudge the non-black owners of the store no, because they are taking care of self as a group- teams, win so just look at your future and make plans and research Harvest we can’t afford to look at are self as just a bunch of individuals anymore.

  53. tony says:
    April 14th, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    Graet article. I know its true that the koreans hace the corner on lock down but, where there’s a front door there”s a back door.
    I feel if a black business has to sell at a higher price than the koreans;so be it. Just bundle what you are selling to your customer’s to profit on one and loose on the other to make the same profit percentage you want to meet you profits/goal. Just be creative until you get stronger enough to gain purchasimg power.
    Its wrong and its tough but , it can be dont.
    God bless.

  54. Alicia says:
    June 5th, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    I am pleased to have read this article, although two years later. I realize that this is an ongoing problem that the black community has not fully comes to grips with as yet. I am interested in starting my own BSS so I have decided to do some research about my market and the industry as a whole. I must say for a long time I have been, infuriated by just watching the way we are treated in the BSS stores and the fact that we have very little access to the products our own people purchase. We are making the Koreans wealthy without realizing that they care absolutely nothing about the black community and will make absolutely no contribution to a worthy cause. I have always questioned in my head, why are we buying continuously from the people in this industry who are very content to sell us at high prices? Yet we are not finding ways to fight against the discriminatory actions met in business relations. We need to come together, use our people power of unity and all the social networking sites to call for a boycott until the Koreans treat us with equality as they treat their own counterparts- providing the prices, products and credit allowances as they would their own people.
    We also need to educate our people bout the real value of owning and operating a business and what are the dynamics involved in building a sustainable business entity.

  55. Here says:
    July 13th, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Hello, There’s no doubt that your blog could possibly be having internet browser compatibility problems. When I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Apart from that, fantastic website!

  56. Permed to Natural says:
    July 13th, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Thank you so very much for the heads up and your wonderful compliment. I will look into what you mentioned and pray everything is okay!

  57. Fabulousfreddys says:
    September 5th, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    I just a google search to find others like me and wow this made my day. I myself own a black beauty supply in Queens, NY and his story is so true. I am in a transition stage of what to do with my boutique and this article definitely helped me! Thanks!

  58. Mocha says:
    September 11th, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    I have been doing a lot of searching into owning a beauty supply store. I found this blog to be very helpful. We as a community have to be vigilante.

    September 12th, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    I am sorry you had a bad experience. We have to stick together and bu from our own. What you have describe is trade violations and should be reported immediately. I have found a wonderful black male who is assisting me with opening up my beauty supply store and I have not had any of the issues you mentioned so far. Its all who you know sweety, please go check out Professor Devin Robinson he is a very successful black beauty supply owner hwere in Georgia and he has help other people get in business and stay in business. Check out

  60. Hair Bow Beauty Supply says:
    October 4th, 2013 at 2:08 AM

    Please call me 203 3241227. 20 years in the struggle. I will tell my story!!!

  61. Kathleen Boston says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    Hello Everyone,

    There are other options for black hair that doesn’t sell in the hair care stores that market to black/African American consumers. I have recently joined Arbonne. Its a health and wellness company that sells a minimal amount of hair care products but like my company for products like make up and skin care. Products that are much healthier because of the ingredients use in the product line. Selling those products are not the only option. Consider being a distributor, educate the black community and black hair salons and let them know what is going on. This may just make a difference for you. Yes for our community in large. My Arbonne #1366 6121 and my phone number 954 793-9296. You can also visit me on facebook.

  62. C. Spivey says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 9:44 PM

    All – I say let’s TAKE ACTION!!
    My partner and I will form a facebook account and draft letters to send to the following: local and state elected officials, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, Chamber of Commerce, and last but not least, President Obama.

    We must send letters weekly and we must BOYCOTT. I think if we BOYCOTT for one weekend, this will shut them down or at least put a dent in their pockets. This communication will represent all beauty entities to include nail salons as well.

    Once we take this industry back, WE MUST DO RIGHT and take ownership of what we don’t do right!! No Mismanagement, No Overcharging, No Attitude…we must be professional and band together. I will keep everyone informed.

    Please call me on 404.398.8289

  63. C. Spivey says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 9:52 PM

    …and what’s really sad is they don’t hire us to work in there nail salon; they only hire us to work in their beauty supply store as if we don’t know why…ugh!! It’s very difficult to even find store front because they are located on every corner in every city and state. Hopefully we can capture the attention of someone who will lend assistance and help us raise awareness and find a friendly and reasonable distributor for all.
    We’re ready – how about you?


  64. C. Spivey says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 10:08 PM

    Also – please send us ideas for the facebook account name.


  65. East ny take down says:
    February 26th, 2014 at 6:11 PM


  66. Gail says:
    March 16th, 2014 at 9:46 PM

    As an African American woman on her way out of South Korea, can’t leave fast enough, I know that Koreans are in no way fascinated by black hair, black skin or anything else. Most were repulsed by the very sight of me and I’m not that dark. In many areas, it was like walking into 1920 USA. See, most Koreans consider colored skin to be dirty. They disrespect and laugh at there own farmers, the very people who feed them, because their skin is a beautiful brown color, close to mine. I have been spat at, constantly frowned at, shoved and disrespected. If you learn a little Korean, you will here black monkey and yes, inside the so ‘very kind’ Korean hair supply stores. They detest us and very much worship white Western society. While here, having looked into becoming a black hair supplier myself, I discovered that Koreans won’t allow non-Koreans to purchase the products that we spend billions on at wholesale price. An African American supplier is forced to purchase goods at twice, or more, the price as Koreans, which forces the American retailer to sell products at higher margins, thus making the Korean retailer look more appealing.
    This is off topic but it makes a point; walk into the Korean Consulate office and see how well you are greeted if you’re asking for a visa into their country. I was ignored and made to wait while white and Korean applicants were taken care of, although I was there first. Did I report it? Of course I did.
    It is not you whom the Korean retailers respect. It is your money, so please don’t romanticize Asians until you’ve lived amongst them. I have lived in Japan, Korea, Thailand, and a short while in India for job reasons. Travel to these places and let’s see if black people want to give their money to people who loathe them.

  67. Rose says:
    April 1st, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    Great article! I am from East Orange, NJ and WOW I never knew! My husband and I wanted to open a Beauty Supply Store and just this year we partnered with a Black Owned Company out of Connecticut that gave us a start! Now we have an Online Virgin Remy Celebrity Quality Hair Discount Store so our people can buy from our people and empower them financially! Call 512-827-0038 #1111 to hear how you can get yours!

  68. Amber says:
    April 7th, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    I’ve tried going to BeeTee’s website and it’s no longer up and the number has been disconnected. What happened?
    I’m trying so hard to talk with someone who has a store and can give me some info. I really want to open a store!

  69. Permed to Natural says:
    April 7th, 2014 at 9:30 PM

    WOW this is news to me. I didn’t keep in touch with Tim after our interview so I am not sure what happened to him or the store. I know they had a Facebook page. But after this news I am not solid it is still there. I wish you all the luck in your new business venture.

  70. Lavishchic says:
    March 7th, 2015 at 6:05 PM

    Whenever I call the number listed, I get a special notification directing me to nearby beauty supply businesses. What’s up with that? Is it still open?

  71. Permed to Natural says:
    March 8th, 2015 at 8:28 AM

    I have no idea. I haven’t heard from Tim in years.

  72. OUR Hair Store says:
    May 16th, 2015 at 4:12 PM

    I have also been researching this and getting more and more frustrated with the fact that they own all of these hair stores right in our hoods never to invest back into those communities. They don’t Eat,Shop or live with us but continue to make huge profits off of us! I am going to do something about it. I am in the process of raising money to open up a black owned natural hair store. Please check out our Go-Fund Me Page and share.

  73. Permed to Natural says:
    May 17th, 2015 at 10:11 AM

    Well keep in mind they own most of the warehouses where you’ll have to purchase products.

  74. Chloe says:
    December 30th, 2015 at 2:11 PM

    I am in this industry and sell directly, not through distributors, to many black owned beauty supply stores. Tim’s article contains a lot of misinformation. There’s a difference between a black hair care brand and a black owned black hair care brand, he seems to be conflating the two. Most large and mainstream black hair care brands are white owned. Koreans do not own black hair care brands, whites do. It’s also false that Sally Beauty is Korean owned, they’ve always been white owned. Yes, there are Korean distributors but there are also white distributors. There’s no need to rely on Korean distributors to get black hair care products. Softsheen/Carson, Loreal, etc., the owners of most black hair care brands, use white distributors. So I’m confused about what brands these black owners can’t get because Koreans won’t sell to them? Are they referring to hair care products or weave hair? Purchasing black hair care products from white distributors or directly from the white or black manufacturers is not difficult. I sell to several black beauty supply owners who are thriving in this industry and are not having the problems that Tim spoke about. To the Korean owners who posted, you cannot make a profit from the black community and then insult that black community. Based on factual crime data, young white women are the most likely to shoplift, not blacks. If you don’t like doing business in poor, urban communities then leave…you won’t leave though because you’re turning a profit so doing business with blacks isn’t all bad huh? Never insult your customer base. If your stores were in poor white neighborhoods where meth addiction prevails, you’d get robbed too. You don’t have stores in white neighborhoods because whites don’t want you in their areas, yet whites are who you worship. Thank you Gail for your input about living in Korea while black, very revealing.

  75. Sonya says:
    March 13th, 2016 at 7:56 PM

    Chloe, can you please send info for direct sell?I am starting research.I have been in contact with BOBSA and Beauty Supply Institute. I am impressed with both.

  76. Wigs and Beauty Supply Denver says:
    November 28th, 2016 at 9:27 PM

    Just about to open our first store. It’s been going well so far but that’s expected. Wish us luck!

  77. Permed to Natural says:
    December 4th, 2016 at 10:29 PM

    I wish you lots of luck and continued blessings.

  78. Teressa says:
    June 26th, 2017 at 5:01 PM

    Chloe,what is your information? I would love to talk to you. Thanks

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