When we hear weaves, we readily associate them with women but now that is not the narrative anymore.
Wade Menendez, popularly known as “Wade the Barber” has disrupted the industry with his weaves for men also known as ‘man weaves.’
From his barbershop, The W Hair Loft in Maryland, the 35-year-old barber with 13 years of experience in the industry is restoring confidence back into bald men.
A couple of years ago this would not have been possible or even a thing to discuss. Men were completely blotted out of the black hair industry.
There are surgical procedures that help bald men grow back their hair but Wade’s ‘man weave’ installations are non-surgical procedures.
The young African American entrepreneur and another stylist developed the cranial prosthesis about four years ago which now gives balding men fuller luscious hair.
Menendez is said to be a pioneer in this field and his installation process requires glue, steady hands and a few other techniques that he teaches to other people who want to learn. Both natural and synthetic hair are used during the filling process and he can make it blend seamlessly with the client’s hair.
His ‘man weave’ has earned him almost half a million dollars in 2018 and there is so much room for him to earn more because one installation can cost between $200 to $650 and maintenance can cost between $100 to $200. He has held masterclasses for over 500 hair professionals with some flying in from London to learn, a session costs around $650.
“There’s a big demand for [hair units] in the U.K.,” Steve Diligence, a participant from London who flew across continents to tap into Menendez’s knowledge of the craft, told Vice News. “People have seen videos from the states, and they say it’s impossible or magic.”
This is not so surprising as the black hair industry is valued at over $2.54 billion, according to researchers Mintel. This figure doesn’t factor in the weaves, wigs and hair care services provided in salons and barbershops.
Black women are the biggest contributors to the industry as research shows, that “nearly six out of 10 black consumers wear a wig, weave or extensions, which enables them to switch up their look.”
Before the ‘man weaves’ Menendez was a well-established barber with a big client base known for his stellar haircuts. His barbershop opened in 2011 and since then his growth rate has been impressive.
In addition to man weaves, Menendez is also fixing complementary beards for men who for one reason or the other cannot grow and maintain their own beard for $700.
Though the money is a good incentive to expand his hair rejuvenation for bald men, Menendez said there is more to it for him.
“I’m doing this to help other people — and that’s not just with that confidence but helping other people even make money,” Menendez told VICE News.
“I’m always here to do whatever I can, and I feel like that’s what I’m called on to do, so I’m operating in my purpose and my destiny.”
He also told NPR that he’s ready to offer his services to cancer patients who have become bald as a result of their treatments through their support groups and other community organizations whose members may require his service.
“When you try to hold on to something, you limit yourself to God blessing you,” he stated. “I live a blessed life and I’m going to continue to do so because I help to bless those [people].”