The African hair braiding market is consistently thriving amidst stiff state laws compelling sector actors to spend thousands of dollars and hours on beauty schools to obtain cosmetology license. Unlike Delaware, Maryland, Maine—among 25 other states—that allow African natural hair braiders to practice unlicensed braiding, Pennsylvania and New York require them to obtain a specialty license to work. Also, an October 2018 New Jersey bill requires braiders to register with the state, complete 40 to 50 hours of training and pay a fee that is yet to be determined by the state’s newly-established Hair Braiding Establishment Advisory Committee.
Amidst the ongoing politics, however, this industry has never ceased to boom. There are newcomers sprouting at nearly every street corner in all of America’s 50 states. In fact, it is impossible to turn a corner of Philadelphia’s Woodland Avenue, in Pennsylvania, or Newark’s Irvin Turner Boulevard, in New Jersey, without bumping into clustered, screamingly colorful braiding shops. The thing is: braiding is a handicraft that nearly every contemporary African woman has learned as a girl and remains the sole source of livelihood for many in Africa and the diaspora.
“Lots of people are braiding their hair…. just as they did in the early and mid 1990s when the box braids hairstyle made its grand entrance into the world of braiding. Approximately 80% of Newark’s black community does braids. Even Hispanic women are experimenting the beauty of braids,” Aissatou Kabba, founder and CEO of Sira African Hair Braiding, told Mousso d’Afrika in an exclusive interview.
Well, with this growth comes fierce competition for consumers’ attention and affection.
“There are too many braiding shops with some offering services at really cheaper prices. In fact, most of the newcomers are price spoilers and they don’t do a good job,” according to Aissatou.
Of course, the trade-off is usually low or reduced service quality in exchange for quantity. As the battle for market share intensifies, most braiding brands have shifted their business model to low-cost strategy to gain and retain customers. Sadly, with these low prices come cheap products or services. For instance, cheaply braided box braids will have a customer returning for repair services in a day or two because those haphazard braids don’t last. And guess what? Each repair service costs the customer additional money + time.
But why settle for such a hassle when there are better options to choose from? Remember, cheap is not always cheap. Cheap can be crazy expensive sometimes.
Premium Quality at Premium Prices
Fortunately, unlike the cost leaders, there are other braiding brands that are differentiating themselves through the provision of impeccable products and services. These braiding shops are committed to offering premium quality braiding services at premium prices—something customers are willing and eager to pay for. One such braiding establishments is the Newark-based Sira African Hair Braiding, owned and operated by Aissatou Kabba.
This natural hair braiding shop understands that customer will pay premium prices to receive unfiltered satisfaction in return—quality. Its goal has always been the need to deliver highest quality mix of products and services to the delight of its customers. This has earned Sira Hair an unimpeachable reputation.
The shop is focused on elevating consumers’ braiding experience through the provision of specialty braiding services, such as feed-in braids with top quality Xpression and Ponytail Curls. It also specializes in beaded fulani braids—their signature hairstyle. Also, unlike other shops, at Sira Hair, you don’t have to worry about commuting across town to buy your extensions. Extensions of all textures, as well as beads of all types and colors are provided in-store. This strategy aims to keep customers returning for the same experience.
Established in 2007, Sira Hair specializes in braids of all types: cornrows, box braids, Malley twist, Senegalese twist, kinky twist, micro braids, long lemonda braids, double cornrows, ombre box braids, among many other natural hair braiding styles. The shop serves a mixed clientele, including adults and children.
“I started braiding hair back in Africa. Upon my arrival in the United States, I found solace in braiding for a living. I first learned to master my craft and began providing solid braiding services. For me, customer satisfaction is critical. So, I have always focused on enhancing my customers’ experience, starting with the provision of top-quality hair extensions,” Aissatou explained.
For eleven unbroken years, Sira African Hair Braiding has remained committed to strengthening the effectiveness of its brand, thereby making it the ultimate, effortless choice for consumers in search of braiding services. The shop competes on the merits of its services, allowing these services to do the legwork of fostering brand loyalty. This raises the bar higher than ever on the need to offer greater value for enhanced customer experience.