Ann Arbor resident Susan Baskett wants people to know that Black Hair Matters. Baskett won first place in the "Start" category at Washtenaw Community College
's 2021 Pitch @ WCC
competition for her business plan for Black Hair Matters, a professional, family-friendly salon for Black children with textured hair.
The Entrepreneurship Center
at WCC has hosted Pitch @ WCC since 2016. This year’s event was held in a virtual format after the event was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The competition offers prizes in three categories: Grow (for established businesses), Build (for new businesses), and Start (for business concepts). As the Start category's top winner, Baskett received a $750 prize.
“I only had 2 minutes to discuss my plan. It was stressful, almost like being in school again,” Baskett says.
Baskett's business idea came out of a conversation with her business partner, Jeff Copeland. He asked her what beauty shop she took her child to, and her amused response was, “Your child is only two years old. Are you taking her to a salon already?”
Baskett acknowledges that there are several Black hair care salons, but not many family-friendly ones for smaller children.
“You do not want your young children listening to adult conversations and waiting for hours until they are serviced," she says.
Baskett says winning the competition "validated that this concept has legs." She plans to open salons both locally and in other areas outside of Michigan.
“It is a culture center, not just a hair salon," she says. "Our business is to enrich the community through our children's heads, both internally and externally."
The $1,500 grand prize winner in the “Grow”
category was Celeste Green, whose company Spanish For Kids opens doors to learning a new language and culture for children ages 4-11 years old.
The $1,250 grand prize winner in the “Build” category was Jacqueline Sun, whose company Brassi produces healthy, convenient, and sustainable breakfasts.
Monica Hickson is a freelance writer currently based in Ypsilanti.
Photo courtesy of Susan Baskett.