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Natural Hair News: Is there a threat of generic brands?

Natural Hair News:  Is there a threat of generic brands?

It wasn’t too long ago when Natural hair products seemed scarce…out of reach or just plain too expensive.  Now we see them in Target, Wal-Mart, CVS, online at and in Sally’s Beauty Supply at reasonable prices for most.  I’ve been Natural for over seven years and I can attest to just how plentiful the Natural product lines have increased since I started this journey.  It’s a great thing and we see many black owned companies banking on this movement.  That’s great since I grew tired of seeing us only benefit from salons and not from the products or the beauty supply stores. 

With any new bandwagon that is prosperous the major players will take notice and jump with a fierce edge by cutting prices and using favorite words in marketing like “natural”, “organic”, “for Natural hair”.  Can those bigger companies push out the little guys we have fallen in love with?  Is this just a bigger prize for the Natural who wants the best product for the best price?  It really depends on who you ask.
I’ve only recently came across this issue and one article in particular caught my eye.  The Threat of Generic Brands:  Natural Hair-Care Companies, Black-Business Owners, and the Retail Boom, by Tamika Sayles.  

She writes,

The increase of natural
hair awareness is prompting a gradual increase in Black-owned companies
catering to natural hair. Black women are increasingly making efforts to manage
their natural hair textures, and by doing so, they are generating a huge market
for natural hair care products, which has attracted the attention of mainstream
companies looking to enter the natural hair-care arena. As a result, companies
that once marketed exclusively to relaxed hair (Proctor and Gamble, Revlon,
etc.) are creating new products to coincide with other independent companies
that cater exclusively to natural and curly hair textures.

 Yes, we in the Natural hair community want this attention but at what expense?  

But, what would happen if
distributors and manufacturers created a “generic band” in an attempt
to keep up with African-American companies. Will mainstream companies attempt
to swallow the market by incorporating similar products?

I want the little guy or gal!  I don’t mind paying a little more to help the black owned, black woman owned market that appears to be thriving finally. 

The practice of creating a
“generic brand” is fairly common in the retail industry, often frequenting
the market whenever a patent expires. Generally, companies hold exclusive
rights for a limited number of years before other companies can produce a
generic. In most cases, patents and pending patent applications are published
online, making it easily accessible to anyone looking to create a similar
product. Although generic brands may not pose a significant threat to
mainstream companies, it could very well be an issue for smaller more
independent business owners, who may not have the resources to sue.

I’m not going to lie.  This scares me and Tamika is not the only one who has taken notice or discussed this.  It’s a reality even when it seems that Target, CVS, Walgreen’s and a host of other stores have embraced these smaller companies.  Now, I understand there are even SMALLER companies that rely heavily on Facebook or their websites and they could be damaged even more than the ones who have made it to big stores.  

I’m putting all on notice of this trend.  I really want you just as aware as I am on how this will affect our favorite brands many of us feel we cannot do without.  Think before you pick up that new line from that old brand that you turned away from once you left the perm.  No, I am not being paranoid.  I’m being cautious and don’t want our dollars to be used like they have been in the past….outside of our community.  It’s your money….I get it, but it really looks good to see so many of us making some money off of us for a change.

Stay in the know Naturals,

*Photo courtesy of and I paid for the usage. 


Leave a Reply


  1. April 10, 2013 / 2:37 pm

    Showing some love on your blog, as I stated before in the Google+ post is that we don't trust each other enough to patronize our own business. Rather spend our money on a popular label than the folks that wear our hair and are selling their own out of the kitchen. Its messed up.

    • April 10, 2013 / 3:29 pm

      Thanks so much for the love DeAnna! I am so saddened by that problem that I feel you so rightly mention. I am so willing to try a small company head by a woman or man of color who knows exactly what I need because they need the same thing! Those big companies are making their money of our our hair. Shouldn't we be making that money? We should be cornering that market! You are right…it's messed up. Thanks for sharing.

  2. April 11, 2013 / 1:13 am

    Hello Sabrina
    I also did a similar blog. And I'm happy to see us making money off of us as well. It is very important that we fulfill our own needs and use our money to help our communities. I just wanted to show some love and great post.

    • April 11, 2013 / 7:40 pm

      Thanks for the kind words. I agree with you 100%. This is an area where we should be cornering the market and it upsets me greatly that we haven't until recently. As others try and make a few bucks off of us I hope many will take heed and stay true to the smaller companies that we've been buying from since we went Natural.

  3. July 7, 2013 / 12:52 pm


    Great Article. Yes those major brands are starting to recognize the natural hair movement, and their starting to market towards it. I don't think they will able to beat out the existing mom & pop brands. The natural hair movement is organic, whereas our 1st stop when going natural, is another natural. This is where the mom & pop smaller companies thrive. Word of mouth. Lets continue to support small women own business, like shea moisture, jessies, and out of the kitchen entrepreneurs. Wonderful Article!!