Research has recently shown that big hair and beauty brands are losing money due to drops in relaxer sales. It’s clear that naturals are spending their money elsewhere. If you’re so inclined, here are some ways to responsibly cash in on the natural hair movement:
1. Sell Your Own Products
DIY hair products have been a big part of the natural hair movement, as women increasingly steer away from the chemical-laden store-bought products in favor of more natural ingredients. Many big name natural hair product brands began small such as Carol’s Daughter and EDEN BodyWorks. But anyone can get in on the product game since there will forever be product junkies who’ve got to try everything! The most successful small natural hair companies find a niche population (for example, kids or naturals with very coarse hair), have great scents and use rare and innovative ingredients. Naturals of all ages can make and sell their own products too! Start selling on Etsy until you’re ready for a website with e-commerce and send samples to bloggers to get the word out.
2. Become a Blogger
Setting up a blog these days can take as little as 10 minutes. All you need is a domain name and some personality! Whether you choose to use simple blog formats like Tumblr, Blogger or WordPress.com, host your own website using SquareSpace, Wix or WordPress.org or make videos on YouTube, blogging is the way to make money without any startup costs. Don’t expect the dollars to come flowing though; monetization is a slow process and true net flow requires a lot of time, dedication, high quality posts, and consistency. For tips on navigating all the scary tech things, having a visually pleasant blog, and getting your blog off the ground, check out Luvvie’sAwesomely Techie, The Native New Yawker, and my recent article about starting a natural hair blog.
3. Hook Someone’s Head Up
If your cousins and friends are always asking you to do their hair, consider charging! While naturals may seem like they are anti-hairdressers, they’re really just anti-ignorance and roughness around natural hair care. If you’re gentle and can put together fly styles, start taking pictures and put together a pricelist. StyleSeat is a great resource for both professional and at-home hairstylists, as it allows you to have your own stylist page without paying for a complete website. Be sure to check the licensing laws in your state so you don’t run into any legal woes.
4. Invent New Tools
From portable hair steamers to heat-free straightening devices, there are a myriad of inventions that have risen out of or been propelled forward by the natural hair movement. People need hair accessories that don’t pull at their strands (i.e. fashionable hair bonnets and turbans, detangling tools and countless other things we’ve yet to think of). If you’ve always had an idea of a technology that would make natural hair even more awesome than it already is, crowd-source some funding and get it out on the market! As with marketing hair products, get some bloggers or celebrities on board to co-sign your invention and you’ll be running to the bank in no time.
5. Plan and Host Natural Hair Events
I debated adding this one because it could go either way; but sometimes natural hair events can rake up a whole lot of cheddar. If you naturally find yourself planning big bashes for your four year old nephew’s pre-school graduation, you may be able to channel that organizing power and initiative towards hosting a meetup, fashion show, panel, or even an expo. Liaise with other naturals in your area for tips on venues, sponsors and pricing – or work with a hair company to promote their brand. Event planning for profit is an art though, since venues and food have to be paid for ahead of time, you could end up losing money if you overestimate ticket sales. The best events aren’t always the one who have the most famous bloggers or the biggest gift bag, but rather are the ones that offer the most unique experiences!
What other ways can we support each other financially within the natural hair movement? Do you have a problem with people making money off the movement?