TYLER, Texas — Often when Black women shop for products inside beauty supply stores, they feel watched or unwelcome. It's the reality Tara Cooper, owner of It's 'Bout Time has seen in her lifetime.
Beauty supply stores like Sally or Ulta don't always carry the products needed to manage ethnic hair. For those products, Black women turn to local beauty supply stores like It's 'Bout Time in Tyler to get educated on the best most effective products for their hair.
"I saw a need for a Black beauty supply store, one of the reasons being is that we are the ones that predominantly purchase the hair and why wouldn't you want to see someone of your color when you walk into the store to be able to educate you and do a consultation with you," Cooper said. "Being African American, of course, I wear the bundles and the extensions so I know how it feels to walk in somewhere and not be spoken to and to be followed around like you want to steal."
Beauty supply stores are a staple in the Black community. Women roam the aisles in search of braids, weaves, wigs, lashes, and the best products to manage their hair.
According to the Black-Owned Beauty Supply Association, the community isn't benefiting from the success of the products they sell.
Out of more than 35,000 beauty supply stores in the United States, 2,500 are owned by Black business owners.
Cooper wanted to change that so she came up with a plan to open up a store in Tyler where everyone could feel welcome.
"I went to school to learn the business of beauty supply, that was a very important factor to learn the business, I wanted to learn the ins and the outs," Cooper said.
She's inspired by women like Madam C.J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire in American known for her line of hair products in the early 1900s.
Cooper said that having experience and knowledge of the products she sells along with having a diverse staff are the most important facets in her business.
"Everybody can come in and enjoy the experience of shopping, everybody can find something that enhances their beauty," she said.