black Holland, Powerful Woman

Sisters sharing knowledge – The Dark Side – part 1

Lori van Echtelt from the Netherlands

Let’s go there ( behind the scenes of the hair industry).

A couple of years ago I walked into a hair store here in Holland with the products I sell. It was suggested to me to try a particular store. I looked around the store. I saw all the old dusty products from the States on their shelves. I watched as they followed customers around the store like thieves. I was turned off. Following a customer around a store as if they are going to steal is unacceptable. I have experienced this in the past and have confronted the person following me before leaving the store. Storeowners: If you do not feel comfortable with me being in your store then you do not get my money.

This practice will stop when people make a decision that it is not okay to follow certain groups/persons around in a store.

Anyway, the owner of the store was less than polite. I could tell that he was shocked that I was the business owner. He asked the price immediately. He did not want to know what the product did. He was totally uninterested. He said to me “allochtonen hebben veel kinderen, geen man en geen geld!”. Translation: Black women have lots of children, no man and no money. He said it so matter of fact. I was absolutely disgusted by his racist attitude. This darker brown-skinned man with straight hair had very deep seated racial stereotypes. He was purely into the business for the money and not for the customers. He had zero respect. I have to say, I appreciate his honesty. My feeling is that you do not have to like what the person is saying but you can appreciate their honesty. He was honest about his disdain for his customer base; black women. I got up, took the products and left. If that is how you feel, then I go to someone who 1) really knows hair 2) treats the customers with respect.

Things are the way they are because we accept less than. I grew up never to accept less than. Some have called me a “snob” because I will not accept inadequate treatment. Nobody should.

Where I give my money to matters. I can not do business with those who do not play fair. I have walked off of jobs in the past because I was asked to do something unethical. I did not have a job lined up. I just made a decision in myself that I just could not do certain things. I can not do fake. If I do not like something, I will not do it. It just does not feel right.

This day I am so pleased with my decision. I have been called every name in the book by those who I refuse to do business with, harassed, threatened with physical harm. That is their choice. They showed me exactly how they feel.

I can sleep well at night.

Please feel free to visit the updated website of www.mariposaimport.com

Lori van Echtelt
Director/Owner
Mariposa Import

Lori van Echtelt

Lori van Echtelt is the owner and founder of Mariposa Imports (MI), based in the Netherlands. She was on the Black Women in Europe™ 2010 Power List. Mariposa Import started in February 2004. It is the first and original shop focused on curly and frizzy hair in Western Europe. MI specializes in unique, high quality, hair and skin products from America and Afrika. We only sell products we ourselves use. The products we sell do not contain mineral oil or petrolatum, ingredients which block moisture absorption by the hair. We select products is based on our personal experience and that of our friends.

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