By Nyame-kye Kondo, Special to the AFRO
In the last decade the Black beauty industry has expanded expeditiously. Statistics show that in 2017, the African-American community contributed 85 percent of the sales to the beauty industry while making up only 14 percent of the population.
The age of social media is enabling the Black beauty industry to expand digitally and in ways that were impossible prior to the technological boom. At the forefront of this movement are a number of Black millennials who are committed to bringing quality beauty products to the Black community and beyond. One such pioneer is a press-on nail company owner, and newly-minted D.C. resident, Nakira Glasgow.
Launching her business, Nailgyptian, in 2017, Glasgow’s homegrown business is one of the few Black owned press-on nail companies in the world. Recently moving to the D.M.V. area so that she can complete her post-secondary studies at the Howard University School of Africana studies, Glasgow is excited about the possibilities to also expand her business in the area. The AFRO got a chance to catch up with her doing her biannual trip to Ghana.
“I’ve been coming to Ghana for the last six years. I came as a student originally, but as my life focus evolves so does my relationship with this country.”
Taking a much-needed break at her vacation flat in Accra, Glasgow, separates her time between selling her products to vendors and creating new designs for the fall season. Attributing her colourful nail polish and abstract designs to her global experiences and urban appeal Glasgow is excited about the expansion of the Black beauty industry.
“I’m really excited and supportive of the expansion of the Black beauty industry as we continue to innovate new products and include our audience and the process of developing them,” Glasgow told the AFRO. “Because it is a world market, its reach can be wide and it’s products vast.”
Already having a global audience, that includes clients in California, the D.M.V. and now Ghana, Glasgow’s designs are inspired by her travels. The patterns and colors she uses on her products are reminiscent of those found in the countries she explores. Ghana is at the center of this exchange.
A colourful country with a rich history, Ghana has been at the forefront of global art exchanges for centuries. Ghana’s rich color palette, and it’s textures are reflected in Glasgows workmanship through her color combinations and the different mediums she uses to convey her messages.
Pseudo art expressionistic, Glasgow’s designs include quick colorful sweeps, crystals, metal pieces and meticulous splashes of gold and silver. This unique mixture of natural elements and crafts is heightened by the fact that she creates her nails using Japanese Gel.
A more common technique on the West Coast, Glasgow utilized this technique while still a nail tech.
“All of my nails are not only custom made, but they are made from Japanese Gel, which has been proven to be a healthier alternative to other nail products,” she said. “It is my intention for woman to not only have quality press-on-nails, but also a healthier option.”
Glasgow is looking forward to gaining inspiration from Ghana’s distinctive culture and urban appeal, an aesthetic that Glasgow is not foreign to.
“Being from Compton, I’ve always had a first hand glimpse at communal trends, it is my purpose as a creator and beauty industry innovator to honor where I come from by sharing it with the world.”