Drybars have popped up all over the country. The quick service salons allow women to pop in for a quick appointment over a lunch break, get a quick blowout and style, and be on their way. Now, Folake Oguntebi's Drybar concept for natural hair is giving women of color the ability to access those quick salon services. The stylist gathered partners from various backgrounds and with years of experience in the industry, passions for hair care, and wonderful perspectives on natural hair, Oguntebi and her partners Angela Stevens and Kim Kimble surely have a bright future ahead of them.
The Cut sat down with Oguntebi and partner Angela Stevens to discuss the salon as well as common perceptions of black hair. Goodhair Salon is the name of Oguntebi's business, and with that name, comes question of why. When the phrase "good hair" comes with such loaded meaning in the black community, why name your salon after that phrase? Oguntebi says, "I had a lot of hesitation around it for that very reason. But I have a good friend who was part of the crowdfunding campaign; I told her I just liked the name, I think it’s cool — but she convinced me that we could make this more about changing the way people define good hair. There is so much enthusiasm around embracing your hair's natural texture is, whether it's toward the right of the chart or somewhere in the middle or not. It just felt like an awesome opportunity to be provocative, but in a way that hopefully is encouraging."
Oguntebi's provocative salon name attracts attention, but it's her business model and commitment that truly separate GoodHair from other salons. When asked about what a customer can expect from the store, Stevens replies:
We're reaching the girl who cares about her hair, but she doesn't want to spend a crazy amount of time or money on it, because she's busy doing all these awesome things. She's a businesswoman. A lot of ladies think they can only get their hair straightened or worn curly; so we have updo options and braided styles, and truly focus on teaching the client how to maintain their hair at home. One of the main complaints about natural-hair salons is that you have a beautiful hairstyle for that day or the next day and then after that, no clue how to achieve the look and you can’t afford to go every week.
The pair are one dynamic duo, and they're not shy about discussing the challenges of hair care for black women and how it relates to their business. When asked whether getting ready in the mornings is more difficult for women of color, Stevens says:
Absolutely, that’s part of the reason why we exist — to make it easier. As black women, so many things are harder for us, right? It’s not just getting ready in the morning, but it’s going into a meeting in front of a bunch of people who may have some stereotypical idea about you, finding a salon is harder, getting a routine to take care of your hair, et cetera, so this is a big part of what our brand is about. We know that there are some people who just aren’t going to come to the salon on a regular basis, which is why we’ve worked the education portion in and the infrastructure is around what people can do at home.
Both Oguntebi and Stevens are committed to the best service for natural haired ladies. Their business model, passion, and knowledge make them a force to be reckoned with in the beauty business. I love their thoughtful outlook on black hair and commitment to the ladies who frequent their salon.
Images: GoodHair/Instagram (2)