Big businesses have been known to oppress small businesses, but diversity inclusion has also been a challenge for economic stability in the United States. Inclusivity even means supporting local Black-owned businesses. There are six reasons why everyone should support Black-owned businesses: closes the racial gap, strengthens local economies, fosters job creation, celebrates black culture and serves Communities, holds other companies accountable and prospers visibility and representation in the green economy.
The Albion Pleiad aims to spotlight local Black-owned businesses. Though a few articles in this series are dedicated towards Black History Month, like this one, it’s important to note that celebrating Black-owned businesses is just as necessary beyond BHM.
Alyssa Andrews, a sophomore from Detroit, is a psychology and theatre double major. Andrews began her hair business during the pandemic. Her services include wig installations, wig construction, feed-ins, box braids, half-up-half-down, versatile sew-ins and more.
Andrews’ personal experience and a friend’s interest sparked her interest in beginning her business, LonDaSlay.
“The idea came from the fact that I always do my own hair,” said Andrews. “Growing up, I always had a hair stylist. I was always paying either a close friend of the family or cousin to do my hair. One day, I had school the next day, and my hair wasn’t done, and I don’t like going anywhere without my hair done, so I was like, ‘Okay, I guess I’m gonna have to do it myself.’ And from that day forward, I just had learned how to do my own hair.”
From that point on, Andrews learned how to do her own hair and her sister’s hair. She said that she knows that there are people who do not know how to do their own hair and that makes her determined to share her talents.
Andrews said that her clientele began to grow when people began asking who did her hair.
“Everyone was like, ‘Oh, who does your hair? What shop do you go to?’ And I was like, ‘I do my own hair,’” said Andrews. “So, then, I started getting clients, and I started doing my mom’s hair, started doing my sister’s hair and showing off my talent.”
In June of 2020, during quarantine, Andrews began her business. The first step she took came from one of her pastimes: Drawing.
“I started, cause I like art too,” said Andrews. “I started drawing or whatever, and it was during quarantine, and I was like, ‘Hmm, why don’t I start a hair business so that when I get back to school in Albion, I can, you know, do this as a hustle, or whatever,’ and so I drew [out a slogan].”
After talking to a graphic designer, Andrews created her business card with the drawing she made. She then promoted her business through Snapchat and Instagram and is currently creating a website. She plans to invest her money into having her own nail salon.
“Since June of 2020, I’ve had, like, over 50 clients. That’s pretty much how it came to be,” said Andrews. “I have a little bit of merch. I have shirts and bags and hats and stuff like that.”
Andrews’ favorite experience thus far was her object of legitimacy: The cape.
“When I first got my cape for my clients, like the one that you put around their neck,” said Andrews. “It made me feel so legit, because a lot of times, when you’re doing hair, it would get on the clients clothes, especially if you’re doing dye. And the dye may get on them, and you don’t want to mess up your clients, especially for the picture afterwards.”
After graduation, Andrews plans working with teens affected by the foster care system or drug abuse. She also plans to use her major in theatre to continue her passion for music, acting and drawing.
Andrews’ business is active on Instagram, @londaslays. You can message her on her page to book an appointment.