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‘Will You Do My Hair?’ Women Entrepreneurs Collaborate On One-Stop Hair Shop in Tallmadge

Krista S. Kano Akron Beacon Journal

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Tierra Brown asked Denise Watkins were both making and selling wigs out of their homes. Now they have joined forces to support and learn from one another.  "The Diamond District Meets the Wig Hive" will be a merger of their respective businesses that will serve as a one-stop shop for all things hair.

Akron

Nine months ago, Tierra Brown asked Denise Watkins a question that women have been posing to each other for centuries.

"Will you do my hair?"

From that simple request, the two women realized they both made and sold wigs out of their homes and had similar business goals.

But instead of becoming competitors, Watkins and Brown decided to support and learn from one another, and on Sunday the two women made their partnership official with the grand opening of the Diamond District Meets the Wig Hive, a merger of their respective businesses that will serve as a one-stop shop for all things hair.

"We both have great clientele, and they're really excited that two African American women are taking two businesses together and are really prospering," Brown said.

The store, located at 71 West Ave. in Tallmadge behind Delanie's Gastro Bar, sells custom wigs and wigs off the shelf in a variety of styles, colors and textures, all made in-house by Watkins and Brown.

Watkins, who started the Diamond District in January 2020, makes wigs by hand, while Brown, who started the Wig Hive in February 2020, makes hers on a sewing machine.

"Ms. Tierra is also teaching me how to make mine on a machine. There is a difference between both and some customers prefer handmade, some prefer sewing machine made," Watkins said. "You can tell the difference, so it depends on your preference and what you like, or how quickly you want your product." The store will also sell hair extensions, bonnets, lashes and combs, and will eventually sell private label shampoos, edge control and other products.

The women also install wigs in the salon at the back of the store. By the end of October, Watkins will offer lash extension installations, brow tinting and brow arching when she receives her certifications.

There is a large floral wall at the front of the shop for post-service selfies.

The shop and salon is the first brick-and-mortar location for both women, who have been working with hair since they were children. Each started making their own wigs about four years ago.

The women started by making wigs for themselves and then for friends and family only, before expanding their client base just before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

"Businesses were struggling, but people were still wearing wigs," Brown said. "It was stressful, but I motivated myself and people were still asking for them for the next time they were going to be traveling or for future events, starting new jobs, anything."

Watkins and Brown said they recognized how fortunate they were to continue their businesses in the last year and how lucky they were find a storefront. They are now planning to give back to other Black entrepreneurs who have not yet had that same opportunity.

"We're going to feature a Black business wall for Black-owned businesses who just don't have the resources yet, but they need exposure," Watkins said. "They'll have a spot in our store and their profits are totally for them. We won't be collecting anything from them."

"We're so excited and I'm just ecstatic," Brown said. "For us just to have met each other, I believe when you meet someone it's for a reason. This is big for me. I'm a business owner dealing with personal issues, a pandemic, being a single mom, life period. It really shows you can do whatever you want to do."

At a glance Business: Diamond District meets the Wig Hive Owner: Denise Watkins and Tierra Brown Founded: 2021 Where: 71 West Ave., Tallmadge (behind Delanie's Gastro Bar) Social media: https://www.facebook.com/DiamondDistrictHairEssentials, https://www.facebook.com/The-Wig-Hive-102504771374095

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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