Please Take My Money
Do Black Salons Make It Hard to Do Business With Them?
The aura of the black female hair salon may not be as documented as the male bonding that occurs in the barber shop, but it definitely exists. Camaraderie and entertainment mixed in with a little vanity make the “beauty shop” a place women, generally, love to go. That’s if you can get in. My experiences with black hair salons have, mostly, been disappointing and frustrating. I’ve mainly patronized black-owned salons so I fully claim ignorance on salons with stylists and clientele of other ethnicities. I’m not sure if it’s apathy, staffing issues, or general ineptitude when dealing with patrons but the black salons I’ve visited were heavy on wait time and low on reliability.
There are three recent experiences that brought this to a head for me. The first occurred after I went natural. I was simply looking to get my hair straightened. No big deal, right? I called a seemingly qualified salon and was advised to arrive that Saturday. To my dismay, after arriving on Saturday, I found out that although I called and asked for an appointment, I did not actually have an appointment but was “fit in”; all this was news to me. So four hours later, my hair was gorgeous but my nerves were shot. I gave this salon another chance and this time I made sure I clarified that I expected to have an appointment. To my surprise, after arriving I was advised that the stylist was running behind and if I had some errands to run I should go run them…(insert long sigh here). Luckily I did have some errands but when I came back, nothing had changed- another long day sitting in the hair salon. I did get a chance to catch up on my Jet magazine weddings.
Months later I decided I had to go somewhere else and this time I thought I had it right. The stylist was waiting for me at my appointment time. She was courteous, helpful, and the salon was well-staffed. I had a wonderful visit and knew I had finally found my spot. So when the time for a relaxer came, imagine my dismay when I called the salon right when they opened that morning to make an appointment and received no answer. I left a message; I know sometimes people run late- cool. I called a few more times that morning and still- no answer. Fast forward five hours later I get a message asking if we could schedule an appointment for the next day. I had taken the day off and an appointment for the next day wasn’t possible. (Insert second long sigh here.)
These incidents are only a few of many in my quest to simply find a regular hairdresser. Now I can’t honestly end this mini-rant on a bad note. Although my experiences have been more bad than good, I actually found a great black-owned hair salon where my appointments were on time and the service was very professional. Unfortunately the prices are about 20% higher than everywhere else but that’s the price I will pay for reliability and good service. I’m not sure if stylists and salon owners realize how many women are out there like me: standing and waiting, money in hand, for a business to simply do what it says it will do- be open when it says it’s open, schedule services efficiently, and indicate they appreciate my business.