Wigging out? This store has you covered (w/video)
Jennifer Lee Preyss
Feb. 18, 2014 at 10:04 p.m.
Updated Feb. 18, 2014 at 8:19 p.m.
When Jay Choi learned there was an ethnic hair care deficit in Victoria, he and his wife, Clara, decided to relocate.
In Katy, Choi's former wig and ethnic beauty supply store was one among many of its kind. But the Chois agreed a similar store in the Crossroads could meet the needs of a growing city and the needs of increasing cultural diversity market in need of quality wigs, hair extensions and other professional-grade hair products.
The Advocate sat down with the Chois to talk about why area residents are abuzz about their store, Victoria Beauty Supply.
What makes your beauty supply store different?
We have a total of 6,500 square feet of space with supplies. There are hundreds of wigs, extensions, clip-ons, braiding hair, eyelashes for a good price, ranging from human hair, mixed, to synthetic. You can go to another store, but no one else will have the variety we have here.
Do you sell only hair?
No. We sell many things for hair care, including professional products to style and cut. Everything you buy here is salon quality. There is also makeup, hair dye and product for hair styling, bows, jewelry, nail polish and styling machines.
Why are so many ethnic stores run by Asian owners?
We are Korean. About 30 years ago, Korean-Americans got started in the business, opening stores, so right now, most of the big wig companies - like the one we use, Shake-N-Go, which is one of the largest in the country - are run by Koreans.
How long have you been in the United States?
We moved to Houston 15 years ago and opened our first wig store in Katy in the mall. We also opened a portrait studio that we still have. But we moved to Victoria in 2012, and it's good. It's just so expensive.
So then, are Asian women a big part of your clientele?
No, very few. There are not that many in this area. Most of the women we sell to are black, Hispanic and some white women. Most of the black women buy wigs and hair because they change their hair so much and want different styles. Most of the Hispanic and white women buy extensions. But we also sell wigs to many cancer patients who may have lost their hair. And that always makes us feel good to be able to sell a nice, quality wig to a woman who lost her hair. And we have wigs that are specially made for cancer patients.
How long can you wear one of your wigs?
If you're wearing it every day and you take care of it, you can keep it for one or two months. But if you wear it not very often, maybe one or two years. Some women like to sleep in their wigs, and some like to take them off at night and put them on a mannequin head, so it depends on how you take care of it. But they're all good, quality hair, so they will last.
Do people ever come in to buy a wig for Halloween?
All the time, and for comic con. People come in with a specific idea and want a nice wig. They can go to the costume store, but the hair is really cheap looking. Here, the hair looks and feels natural, and you can pick your look, style and color.
How long does it take to sell all these wigs?
It depends. We are always getting new wigs in every week. And we have to be up-to-date all the time with styles because they change all the time. We bought some wigs that did well in Houston, but they didn't sell here.
What's the difference in human hair and synthetic?
Human hair lasts longer, and it's a little more expensive. But now, there are so many great synthetic hair products that look and feel so natural. It's almost as good as human hair for a lower cost.
What's your favorite part of your job?
We like selling to sick patients. They come in, and they don't have hair, and they get to look around and try on a hairstyle they like that makes them feel good. We let everyone try on wigs with a clean hair net, but these women get to walk out with their new hair. That makes us feel good.