Because the African-American beauty industry is diverse, when opening an African-American beauty supply store, it would be beneficial to specialize in certain types of beauty products. For example, if you want to reach primarily customers who wear braids and natural hairstyles which don't require the use of relaxers, you can open a store that specializes in products for these types of customers. Also, research your community's needs. If there is a lack of African-American beauty stores in a nearby town, consider opening a store there.
Research the African-American beauty industry. Read magazines such as Essence, Ebony, Sophisticates Black Hair Magazine and Hype Hair. These publications give you detailed and up-to-date information on the latest trends and challenges facing African-American hair businesses. Also, attend professional trade shows which focus on black haircare and speak with hair stylists and salon owners about the industry.
Create a well-researched business plan. In the plan, you should discuss the nature of your business, target customer base and why you're focusing on this group, recent research on the African-American hair industry, the amount of funding you'll need for the business, your future goals for the business and what experiences you have which would qualify you to own a black beauty supply business. If you were a beauty salon owner for fifteen years, discuss how those experiences prepared you for this new venture.
Find suppliers who can give you products for the business. Read hair industry trade magazines such as Professional Hair Salon to see what leading experts are saying about different suppliers, then contact these suppliers and arrange to meet with them in person. Ask how long they've been in business, what their best-selling products are and why and the prices of their products. Also, talk to salon owners in your city and ask them who they would recommend as suppliers for a beauty supply business.
Look for a good location. Find a commercial building that's not only within your budget, but also where you can get the most customers. Search for a place in high-traffic areas near community centers, churches, schools, shopping malls, supermarkets and restaurants. Be sure to look for a building that will be big enough to store your incoming inventory and possibly where you can have an office to work from as well.
Market your business. Create flyers which state the nature of your business, contact information and address of your new store. Take them to local radio stations and inquire about having an advertisement on some of the stations to generate interest in your business. Place advertisements in local African-American newspapers and lifestyle magazines, and attend local hair industry shows, so you can give out flyers to attendants and network with possible suppliers for the business.