STUDIES HAVE PROJECTED STEADY GROWTH FOR THE $1.8 billion men's grooming market, but until recently the specific needs of black and Latino men had been overlooked. Now, entrepreneurs are bringing top-quality grooming to the African American and Latino male and carving out a niche.
"It's a growing market," says Cheick Dukuly, president and CEO of Primetime Media, one of New York's leading independent media buying agencies. "It's been untapped and overlooked for years. Whoever comes up with a good product is going to lead the market."
Brenda Braxton and Anthony Van Putten are two such market leaders. The husband-and-wife team own BBraxton (www.bbraxton.com), a Harlem-based salon that provides first-class grooming in a luxury setting for men of color. Providing services from maintaining dreadlocks to manicures, pedicures, and straight- razor shaves, BBraxton has attracted customers from as far as Washington, D.C.,who indulge in salon extras that include networking and an open bar.
"You only have one chance to make a good first impression," says Chris Hayes, founder and CEO of Barc (www.getbarc.com), a company that develops skincare products. Barc products are formulated with glycolic acid to exfoliate and include ingredients such as chamomile extract to calm and moisturize while reducing irritation, ingrown hairs, and razor bumps--a painful and disfiguring problem, particularly for black men. "I don't think black men are...