In an industry dominated by men, Sandra Brown-Pinnock and her company, Xsandy’s Hair & Beauty – the only black-owned shop in SE London has recently been announced as a finalist at the 10th annual Precious Awards – the UK’s biggest celebration of women of colour in business and leadership, endorsed by the Prime Minister as a “vital” awards ceremony.
Following the announcement of being selected as a finalist in the Business Start-Up category, Brown-Pinnock featured in a report released by Channel 4 News . The report highlights the dominance of South Asian men serving the Afro hair community – an industry estimated to be worth approximately (£475 million) by 2017. According to official research statistics, black women spend 6 times more than any other ethnic group on hair care products.
Following a stressful period during her life running two businesses and losing her brother, the former forensic psychiatric nurse-turned entrepreneur (and aunt of BBC’s The Apprentice star Bianca Miller), suffered a severe case of alopecia which meant she had to wear wigs full time.
Having initially entered the hair market as a distributor (she also owns a factory in Cambodia) Brown-Pinnock entered the lucrative industry as a retailer after countless transactions which brought about further frustration whilst shopping for a remedy for her hair loss. Today she reflects on her award nomination and journey thus far:
I’m so honoured to be nominated for such a prestigious award just one year into my retail business venture. I have followed several nominees from the Precious Awards, my niece being one and am pleased to be among such progressive company. My plans are just at the beginning and I hope to go as far as I can, with the support of the community – black and white women who remain loyal customers of quality service and products. (Sandra Brown-Pinnock, owner of Xsandy’s Hair & Beauty).
Sandra identified a gap in the market for a retail outlet that could provide quality service with trained staff member who could efficiently serve a community which spends millions a year on their hair. Last year June she opened her first store, Xsandy’s (pronounced ‘Zhan-dees’) in Lewisham Shopping Centre. Customers came out in their thousands and within a year Brown-Pinnock opened a second store in Peckham.
“I decided to share my vision of empowering the Black community by urging them to help to reclaim control of an industry that we dominate…I released a home recorded video, which went viral. Since then customers have been coming far and wide to support Xsandy’s – something I’m so grateful for.
Committed to empowering others entrepreneurs, Xsandy’s stores stock an expanding range of natural products manufactured in the UK by independent brands with women at the helm, including Mahogany Curls, Shea Decadence and was one of the first to stock Shea and Shine – UK’s first grooming range for black men long before it attracted the likes of mainstream media outlets including The Telegraph and BBC Radio.
Precious Awards winners will be announced on 27th October 2016 at a gala dinner ceremony at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBC) in London.