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Yaki. Mongolian. Chinese. Indian Remy. Once a hush-hush taboo, hair extensions have become the must-have accessory among women. From celebrities to everyday professionals to top CEOs, many proudly spend top bank on what they consider an investment—hair—with a price tag that can range from a couple hundred dollars to thousands per installment. The hot commodity is so coveted, it’s hit the black market, with thieves swiping thousands of dollars in inventory from supply stores across the nation.

In the multimillion-dollar beauty market, African American women account for a major portion of hair extension buyers and wearers, yet Asians and other ethnicities control much of the production and sale of the product.

Despite the odds, these two African American trailblazing entrepreneurs have been able to gain a strong foot-hood in the industry, taking their passion for beauty and turning it into high dividends. BlackEnterprise.com talked with Ericka Dotson, co-founder of Indique Virgin Indian Hair, and Karen Mitchell, founder of True Indian Hair–each boasting a client list that includes Ciara, Lady GaGa, Kelly Rowland and Jill Scott—on how they were able to find success in the industry, what it takes to remain viable, and why beauty is such a popular, and profitable, industry to invest in.

Videography and editing by Kahliah Laney