How and Why Korean-Americans Dominate Ethnic Beauty Supply Store Ownership
By Dr. Edward Tony Lloneau
Some consumers are critical of how Korean-Americans dominate the African-American beauty supply
business. The Atlanta Post, an African-American online news media, recently published an article on
the issue. The response to this article was explosive, with over 150 reader comments. Dr. Edward
Tony Lloneau sent us the following article in his effort to correct misperceptions about the
Korean-American beauty supply store. <Editor’s Note>
In the early 1960’s, the ethnic owned professional hair care product business was in its infancy.
Johnson Products Company in Chicago was the largest at the time. There was little interest shown by
the majority owned firms in the Afro hair care and cosmetics market. However, by the late 60’s and
early 70’s, several majority owned cosmetics-manufacturing firms took a serious look at the ethnic
professional hair care market. Their research surprisingly revealed that although blacks were only
11% of the American population, they were responsible for over 30% of the sales of cosmetics and
professional hair services. At that time most of the beauty supply businesses were full service
stores, meaning that they provided regular in salon delivery services.