Black-owned relaxer manufacturer files for bankruptcy


I can’t believe I didn’t catch this last year. Did anyone else know about this? Please let me know your feelings.

Entrepreneur magazine has a feature on J.M Products, a black-owned manufacturer of Afro hair products which has gone into administration or as they say in the United States, filed for bankruptcy. This was in August 2009.

Here is an excerpt from the feature:

A June 2007 Mintel report said the trend in black hair care was toward a more natural style, resulting in less damage to hair from chemical processes. The trend has led to lower sales of relaxers, which is a significant portion of the black hair care market.

Sales of black hair care products are estimated at $147.6 million for this year at food, drug and mass merchandisers, not including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the Mintel report said.

Now, this is very illuminating. The natural hair movement is denting the business side of things and this is affecting manufacturers. I definitely don’t want to hear of any black companies suffering, but as mainly relaxer manufacturers, this was bound to happen.

What does this make you feel? Do you think black hair companies missed the boat? What are your thoughts? I’d love to get some perspective on this.

In my view, the natural hair industry is still very nascent, but I think what will happen is it will end up creating more black-owned business , as Kinky Curly Custard and Miss Jessie’s are proving.  That can only be a good thing, and I also think it means that more control of the black hair industry will become more localised and international as so many naturals are outside of the United States.

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