Breaking barriers in New York’s beauty supply industry: The inspirational story of Havilah Beauty Supply

Dollita Okine September 09, 2023
From Queensly’s passion and unwavering determination to supply Black consumers with beauty products specially manufactured to cater to their hair textures and skin tones, Havilah Beauty Supply was born. Photo credit: Havilah Beauty Supply via Amona Media

When Founder of Havilah Beauty Supply, Queensly Ajibola, left her native country, Nigeria, to resettle in the heart of the bustling and ever-vibrant city of New York, she never imagined she would later break barriers in the beauty supply industry several years later. Havilah Beauty Supply is one of the first Black-owned successful beauty supply stores in Jamaica, Queens, and has thrived for a decade.

With the American Dream in mind and lots of love in her heart, Queensly came to New York City in her mid-20s with the love of her life and their 10-month-old daughter, Princess Adenike. Even though they didn’t have much, they had each other. However, making their dream a reality was far from smooth sailing.

As Queensly’s husband, Tunde Ajibola, ventured into the world of entrepreneurship, their family grappled with the familiar ebb and flow of success and setbacks. Like other immigrant families striving to stay economically afloat, their journey was not without challenges, including mounting debts and periods of financial strain, while raising their four children – Princess, William, Israel, and Elizabeth.

In 2009, she graduated from nursing school with a heart full of hope for the future. Sadly, in a sore twist of fate, tragedy struck when her husband unexpectedly passed away just six months later. Struggling to come to terms with her loss and her new status as a widow, Queensly was left not only with her grief but also with the responsibility of caring for her four young children and managing the family’s finances. 

Despite these hurdles and difficulties, the mother of four remained determined and soon came to a profound realization. Sharing her story with Face2Face Africa, she said, “I knew my nursing salary wouldn’t be enough to cover everything ahead. There was tons of debt, our home was on the brink of foreclosure, and I knew my kids would soon go to college, and they were all back-to-back in age. I knew I needed to do more.”

This realization was the spark that ignited a bold idea within her – the idea to start a beauty supply store that would break ground in the beauty industry. Her daughter, Princess, then a 14-year-old with her own aspirations, played a pivotal role in motivating her mother to realize this vision. The teenager envisioned a Black-owned beauty supply store in their neighborhood – one that would celebrate both black women and men. 

Acutely aware of the formidable challenges posed by the beauty supply industry – which was predominantly controlled by Korean wholesalers, Queensly was undeterred and remained resolute in her commitment to this vision; grounded in a deep-seated desire to empower her community and provide much-needed representation in an industry that often overlooked their specific needs.

According to McKinsey and Company, Black consumers in the U.S. are three times more likely to be dissatisfied with their options for hair care, skincare, and makeup, than non-Black consumers, though they are responsible for 11.1 percent of total beauty spending. Depicting the stress and frustration most melanated consumers experience when searching for suitable products within the beauty category.

Breaking barriers in New York's beauty supply industry: The inspirational story of Havilah Beauty Supply

Therefore, from Queensly’s passion and unwavering determination to supply Black consumers with beauty products specially manufactured to cater to their hair textures and skin tones, Havilah Beauty Supply was born—a testament to her unshakable faith in the face of adversity. 

It encapsulates not just the essence of a store but a thriving hub of empowerment and community, offering a wide range of Black beauty products from accross the globe, including Africa and the Caribbean. 

Beyond offering a thoughtfully curated selection of beauty products tailored to the unique needs of Black individuals, Havilah Beauty Supply has evolved into a cherished community treasure – providing a platform for Black entrepreneurs and artisans to showcase their talents. 

This commitment not only bolsters the local economy but also fosters a sense of unity and support among Black business owners.

As Havilah Beauty Supply marks a decade of success, Queensly Ajibola’s story remains a shining beacon of hope and inspiration. Her journey stands as a testament to the power of resilience and faith, illustrating that one can achieve greatness and leave an enduring impact on a community and the world at large, despite all odds.

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: September 8, 2023

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