Some may believe that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder', but on Saturday, a group of six long-time East Orange residents and their parents celebrated their grand opening of a beauty supply store to aid the community in the concept.
The Thomas family joined the Honorable Mayor Ted Green, Councilwoman Brittany D. Claybrooks, Councilman Vernon Pullins, Jr., a host of other city officials, family, friends, and the community in the opening 'Dazzle Dash' beauty supply store in the city's downtown district.
The business, located at 400 Central Avenue, is one of the city's few African American owned and operated businesses that retail beauty supply items in East Orange.
The daughters of John and Natalie Thomas of Carnegie Avenue, who has been a part of the city’s history for well over 30 years, Dreamy Thomas, Kristy Hayes, Natasha Byrd, Ursula Thomas, Jasmine Thomas and Bianca Thomas have partnered in this endeavor.
Mayor Green praised the family for choosing East Orange as their place to do business while he saluted their 'bravery' in charging ahead to open a business during a worldwide pandemic such as COVID-19.
"It's a beautiful thing to see mom, dad, and all sisters come together and have the grit, courage and tenacity to not only open a business in our city during a time where we see a lot of small businesses -including African American establishments- do what it takes to keep all types of essential products ready for sales to our residents in East Orange," Mayor Green said.
According **[to a May 2020 published report in McKinsey and Company](https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/consumer-packaged-goods/our-insights/how-covid-19-is-changing-the-world-of-beauty#)**, just like every business in the world, COVID-19 most certainly change the beauty supply industry.
"The industry’s leaders have a responsibility to do their best to ensure that their companies survive. The global beauty industry generates $500 billion in sales a year and accounts for millions of jobs, directly and indirectly".
Jasmine Thomas expressed her excitement and hoped to persevere in an industry where billions of dollars of products are sold, but less than 1% of African Americans own any parts of the market.
African Americans spend an estimated 2.54 billion on black hair care in the beauty supply business, but much of the ownership of small beauty supply businesses are Korean and Asian Americans.
According to the Business of Fashion online journal, for generations, Black entrepreneurs have struggled to gain a foothold in the multi-billion-dollar business of selling hair and cosmetics products to Black women.
But some see an opportunity for change. "Just like pretty much anything else in business, I'm well aware of the racial barriers within the industry," Jasmine Thomas said.
"As sisters/partners, we are focused on using this business and influence to keep the black beauty supply dollar in our community."