Get your weave on! Tips from an expert!

Latonya SaundersonLatonya Saunderson is the face, founder, and owner of The Weave Shop, a chain that caters to the growing popularity of weaves. Women like Tyra Banks and Bethenny Frankel are talking about their weaves. A weave can refer to a sew-in weave like the ones offered at The Weave Shop, or the clip-in extensions Bethenny wore for her PETA photo shoot. Whatever we are talking about, women love their weaves! Our own Anne Gravel, who has piles of her own long blond hair, has tried a few types of add-ons for fun. Anne feels you can never be too glam to have too much hair!

Latonya explains all you need to know to get your weave on. She also shares valuable tips with future entrepreneurs. Don’t miss a word of this informative interview.
DD:  For those who don’t know, what is a weave?
LS: A weave is the process by which hair extensions are added onto one’s own hair –or the completed effect –a weave.

DD: Who gets a weave and why?
LS: Weaves are used by nationalities everywhere. There are various reasons why weave is worn which include, but are not limited to convenience, hair length, fullness, and versatility. Some individuals also prefer to wear a weave to give their own hair a break from overexposure of heat to the hair.

Lisa Wu Hartwell of The Real Housewives of Atlanta with LaTonya uses weaves to save her own long heallthy hair on photo shotsDD:  Does a weave ruin your own hair?
LS: Weaves can cause hair damage if they are put in incorrectly. In my experience the healthiest way to promote hair growth while wearing a weave is to braid the hair and sew the weave track to the braid. A weave can ruin the hair if the wrong techniques are used, such as fusions. I do not recommend fusions for African-American hair.
DD Can a weave help with  camouflage hair loss?
LS: A weave can help camouflage hair loss. Of course, each situation is different and would have to be determined by the stylist. The platinum weave we offer is ideal for thinning hair. The technique that’s used is to place a net cap on the clients scalp and the extensions are then attached to the net, as opposed to directly onto the scalp.

DD:  What type of hair is used for a weave? Where does it come from?
LS:  Clients prefer to wear various types of hair. I recommend 100 percent human hair. Virgin Indian remy and Malaysian hair is a higher grade of hair. It can last up to at least two years, if taken care of properly.  It is more expensive, but it lasts much longer. The Weave Shop sells virgin Indian hair.  Hair for weaves is primarily manufactured in China and India.

DD: How long does a weave last? How long does it take to do?
LS:  A sew-in weave could last anywhere from 6-12 weeks, depending on how it’s cared for. On average it takes two hours to complete a sew-in weave.
DD: You are so young, how did you get started in this business?
LS:  I worked in a hair salon primarily doing weaves some time ago. I fell in love with the concept. One of my mentors encouraged me to open my own shop. I took the leap of faith and opened one.  My first salon was very small, only 400 square feet in a nearby office park. I saved up enough money to invest in a billboard to further market the services we offer, and customers have been overflowing ever since. 
DD: Why did you decide to franchise, The Weave Shop?
LS: I decided to franchise The Weave Shop because people would periodically comment on how unique the concept was, and loved how our salons were designed. Once our Facebook fan page was created, we would receive comments from individuals all across the
United States inquiring about when we were going to open salons in their cities. So, my business partners and I thought it was a great business decision.
DD: How many Weave Shops do you have and what is the concept?
LS: There are three locations in
Georgia, three in Michigan and two in New Jersey. The concept is quite simple. The Weave Shop is an express weave salon that offers sew-in weaves starting at $50. The charge is normally a $200 minimum. We offer our client’s quality services at the most affordable rates.

DD:  What advice do you have for other young women entrepreneurs?
LS:  I have always put God first to help lead me. My additional advice to young entrepreneurs is to do their research and homework on whatever business they decide to start. It is extremely important to put a proper business plan together. They cannot be afraid to do the hard work and must put their emotions to the side. Last but not least, never mix business with pleasure.