Ferguson, MO — Local black entrepreneurs emerge as owners of the newest black-owned beauty supply store in Ferguson, MO following the protests over the killing of unarmed black teen, Michael Brown, by a white police officer, Darren Wilson. Officer Wilson was twice exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing, once in November by local prosecutor, and again in March by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Over the past 16 months, the city has been in unrest and locals, largely black, has been angered by the killing and acquittals. Several businesses have been looted and burned in response to this tragic killing and acquittals, including two Korean-owned beauty supply stores that have been a part of the community for many years.
Local budding entrepreneurs, Mr. & Mrs. Gathungu, have been interested in beauty supply ownership for several years and felt now was as good a time as any. When asked, they said, “We know there is great opportunity in owning one of these stores. However, we didn’t quite know how to get into the business. We decided to do some internet research and found that there was a conference in Atlanta coming up, hosted by Beauty Supply Institute. So we chose to make the long drive there and attend the 2-day conference. After that, we learned how to safely get into the business, so we did it.”
Their store opened after about 10 months of planning and preparation. They signed their lease days apart from the verdict of Darren Wilson, the protests, negative media coverage and politic upheaval. They went on to say, “At no time did we fear failure because of what was taking place in Ferguson. We actually felt that our city could use some positive momentum. Once we saw the other stores destroyed, we knew that those looters of the other stores would eventually realize they needed somewhere to buy their beauty supplies. We felt that we would now become their trusted source.”
The Gathungus enlisted the help of Beauty Supply Institute to come in and do the groundwork for them. They assisted with finding the location, lease negotiation, store design, procurement of products, store setup and much more. They worked with the Gathungus from the time they attended the conference in Atlanta in August 2014 until they were ready for business in June 2015.
The company was founded in 2008 by Professor Devin Robinson, a 3-time store owner who was once criminally profiled while shopping at a Korean-owned store himself.
You can visit the Gathungus’s store at KZK Beauty Supply, 10865 W Florissant Ave, Ferguson, MO 63136
For the beauty supply conference information, go to www.BeautySupplyConference.com or call 404-551-4398.