By Yvonne Sam
As the rapid spread of COVID-19 — the novel virus that has affected hundreds of thousands globally — continues to upend lives and livelihoods, it seems hair care would be the least of any person’s concern.
While the world is reeling from the ever-increasing death toll, the Black hair care industry is feeling the effects of the virus in a different way — the importers cannot meet the orders, due to restrictions meant to contain the virus. www.blackenterprise.com/black-haircare-vendors-say-they-their-business-is-being-affected-by-the-coronavirus-outbreak/
Strangely, but, hopefully not surprisingly, China — the epicenter of the disease – is the hub, from where many companies import their goods. In the USA, these restrictions have incapacitated the Black hair care business, as they struggle to meet all their orders from customers, particularly on order for weaves, wigs and hair extensions from factories that are primarily based in China. www.refinery29.com/en-ca/coronavirus-black-hair-business-salons
Hair importer, Shannle Wallace, owner of District Cheveux in Bowie, Maryland, told the television station, WUSA 9, that an order, made from her supplier in China, dating back to January, is hanging in the balance. The order has still not arrived, and she says it is due to the virus.
“I just never imagined coronavirus would affect me, being in the States,” Wallace told the station. “Not directly as far as being sick, but my business.”
For her, the fear of the virus is not affecting her new orders, except customers are worried the hair they buy might be contaminated with the virus.
“When they get their hair, (they ask), ‘Is it going to be contaminated?’” she added. www.wusa9.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/coronavirus-affecting-hair-care-industry-supply/65-.
A beauty entrepreneur and owner of XOXO Virgin Hair, based in Maryland, Stephanie Nolan, also expressed concerns about the toll the virus is taking on her business.
Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread, most often by respiratory droplets.
The Centers for Disease Control did not release any information that directly addressed the impact Chinese hair extension material may have on the coronavirus’ spread. However, CDC experts have said that the virus usually struggles to survive on surfaces. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Vendors, outside China, are also taking advantage of the temporary ban on importation from China to drive up their prices. Although the hair care products from these other vendors are of the same quality as those from China, they fail when it comes to the quantity they can supply.
Some may not see how this affects the bigger picture, in terms of the world markets, but the Black hair care business fetches the United States huge sums of money, as the hair industry is worth over $1.5 billion. www.essence.com/news/money-career/business-black-beauty/
Yvonne Sam, a retired Head Nurse and Secondary School Teacher, is the Chair of the Rights and Freedom Committee at the Black Community Resource Centre. A regular columnist for over two decades with the Montreal Community Contact, her insightful and incursive articles on topics ranging from politics, human rights and immigration, to education and parenting have also appeared in the Huffington Post, Montreal Gazette, XPressbogg and Guyanese OnLine. She is also the recipient of the Governor General of Canada Caring Canadian Citizen Award.