Beauty Business Elevation Tribe

Looking for black-owned beauty brands to support? Beauty editor and developer Stephenetta (isis) Harmon created to be a one-stop-shop of more than 750 Black-owned beauty brands (including 300+ beauty supply stores). The digital media editor at Hype Hair, Harmon created the site in 2018 for readers to find beauty products, business resources, news and networking events. In recent months, the site has seen as high as a 700 percent jump in search traffic. Below, Harmon tells us how she’s grown and where she thinks the biggest business opportunities in the Black beauty industry are right now:

ELEVATION TRIBE: How long have you been compiling this directory, and how has the list grown? 

STEPHENETTA (isis) HARMON: I originally launched Sadiaa Black Beauty Guide as a directory in 2018. At the time, there weren’t any dedicated specifically to the beauty realm that were searchable or all-encompassing. The directory listings are a mix of submissions and lists I have compiled along the way as a Black beauty editor. I vet each listing — if I can’t easily find your brand or products, we don’t list.

ET: Does the site make money?

SH: Yes, the site does draw some revenue via paid listings and through an advertising partnership. We have also just begun to accept banner advertising which launches next month.

ET: How many states are represented on the list?
All states are represented as of right now (though not every state has businesses like Black beauty supply stores).

ET:  What are the most popular search terms on the site?

SH: Right now, Black-owned beauty supply stores have become our most popular search category because they are primarily brick and mortar and offer consumers immediate access. Other categories tend to trend after we produce content around them. For instance, we ran an article on Black-owned swimsuit brands. We then had a surge in searches (and submissions).

ET: What have you learned about Black-owned beauty brands by looking at what types of companies make up the directory? 

SH: Black women are the fastest-growing demographic of entrepreneurs, we outspend our counterparts nearly 9-to-1 in ethnic hair care, and we influence mainstream trends with our beauty buys. So, it would make sense that we see a high percentage of women-owned businesses. We are not officially tracking ages, but the demographics range from beauty bosses developing innovative solutions to common problems as young as grammar and high school to women who are mid-career (or higher).

ET: Are there business opportunities for various segments of beauty for black women?

SH: The categories with the least amount of listings are in education and medical services — and those are the areas of concern I tend to hear about the most when speaking on the overall business of Black beauty. The requirements to open up cosmetology schools are much more stringent than launching a hair butter or skincare mask.

ET: What are your big dreams for this directory?

SH: My top goal is to have every Black-owned beauty brand and business listed in our directory (I know, right?!). In addition, I want to be the go-to 360-degree platform for Black-owned beauty. That includes the directory, news and resources, a marketplace, and Black beauty wire release services. It’s more than just shopping Black, but also creating platforms to support and provide resources to brands, create opportunities for consumers to get to know these brands, and to have a consistent outlet for coverage that goes beyond social media hashtags and memes.