Curltalk Q & A: Are YouTube Gurus Replacing Salons?

By Ebony Clark-Bomani

Q: Hi Ebony. I know you're busy, so I hope this e-mail won't come as a bother to you. I wanted to, first, congratulate you on earning your cosmetology license. I've been a licensed stylist and business owner for over 20 years now, and it can be a very rewarding career. So, I realize that there are quite a few natural hair  "gurus" on YouTube that seem to have taken our community by storm. No offense to you, as I know that you've been doing YouTube videos sporadically for a while. My question to you, as a new stylist, and someone who's been immersed in the natural hair culture is, are you afraid that YouTube gurus have already replaced you before you even got started? Don't you think that vloggers have dismantled the black salon?  -PJ-

A: Thank you for the congratulatory wishes! Oh, and no offense taken! Your question made me think of an article that I read, here, a couple of weeks ago...It seems that you're assuming that I only do black hair. *LOL* As an artist, I don't think I could ever do that. I love to create on all canvasses. Personally, while I believe that creating a niche can be major bread and butter, I crave diversity.  As a business owner, I'm sure that you're aware that in EVERY industry, there are several career paths and it is highly imperative that you continue to reinvent yourself to stay current and...relavent. To answer your question, "No, I don't believe that vloggers have replaced or dismantled the black salon." There may have been a decline in business, BUT I do believe that part of the blame is due to the education that many stylists refuse to obtain, concerning natural hair, etc. Vloggers could never replace highly skilled, knowledgable professionals who continue to update themselves and offer quality services to those seeking them. Just my opinion. Even when I was more involved in the vlogosphere, I was merely sharing information based on MY experience with people who were willing to watch. Several people that I've spoken with have said that they stopped patronizing their salon because their stylist wasn't interested in caring for and delicately styling their highly textured hair. Instead, they would try to coerce them into texturizing, pressing, or relaxing their hair. On the business end, I get it. Trust me! It takes a lot more time, which means you won't be able to see as many clients in a day. However, I wholeheartedly believe that if more stylists would evolve with their clients, there wouldn't be such a huge decline in business. For those who are filling the business gap by catering to curly and highly textured hair, KUDOS!

Penny for your thoughts? Chime in below!

Ebony Clark-Bomani

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