DON'T HAVE the money to get your hair done but you're overdue?
What if you could take out a hair-weave loan?
A hair-weave loan.
When I first read about the Weave Loan Store, it seemed completely unbeweavable.
I love hair, too, but who would go to a lender to get their hair done? Then, I logged onto the website (weaveloans.com) and saw this: "Tired of scrapping to get enough money to get the luxurious weave you want?
Tired of only buying half bundles or BAD quality hair because it is all you can afford?
Tired of waiting to get your must-have look?
Wait No More . . . Get Luxurious Hair Now
APPLY & GET APPROVED."
Girl, grab the flat iron.
You can't make this stuff up.
I wanted to turn away and write off the entire enterprise as purely ratchet consumerism. Then, I remembered that this is prom and graduation season. Teens who may have worn their hair short and natural throughout the academic year suddenly are walking around with flowing manes like Beyonce's. Weaves, hair extensions or whatever you call them are big business these days.
"I wish I would have started it first," said Kijafa Vick, wife of former Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and owner of My Hair Closet. "I know it sounds stupid and foolish but so many girls out here are, like, 'This hair costs too much.'
"And I carry some of the more affordable hair," added Kijafa, who sells hair online and also at her PNK Elephant boutique at 828 N. Broad St.
She charges roughly $75 for a bundle, but that price can easily jump to as much as $170 depending on length. Indique, a hair boutique at 1607 South St., sells Indian hair that costs $300 a bundle. Most weave wearers need at least two but possibly three bundles to get their entire head done, which is why some stores have layaway plans for hair buyers.
But there's also an additional cost to have it professionally sewn in or otherwise attached with clips or glue. In Philadelphia, most salons charge about $200 to do that but the price can be substantially higher depending on where you go.
It's fairly common for weave wearers to hop on SEPTA wearing $500 hairdos. Just walk through the Gallery and you'll see women with hair you know had to cost an entire paycheck. And it's not just African-American women who are willing to pay big bucks for added length. Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears also have been known to add in extra hair.
"Everyone is wearing extensions now," Carmena Ayo Davies, a Philly-based public relations guru who sports long, curly extensions, told me yesterday. "Some white women I know don't leave the house without their clips-ins."
All of this glamour doesn't come cheap. Enter the husband-wife team from Detroit who came up with the idea to create the Detroit-based Weave Loan Store. The store only has been in business since May, but transactions have been brisk, thanks to a recent mention on the celebrity news site MediaTakeout.com.
The co-owner, Fred, who declined to give his last name, said the Weave Loan Store has had loan requests from customers in major cities around the country. Calls have been coming in at 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. He declined to say how many transactions he's had so far, citing proprietary reasons. His wife, Dominique, got the idea for the business from her cash-strapped customers unable to buy the hair she sells.
"A lot of women wanted to afford quality hair extensions," Fred told me. "They would have to go to the neighborhood stores . . . The hair was poor quality. They wanted better quality extensions."
He declined to specify the Weave Loan Store's interest rates. He claims that what he's doing isn't predatory lending.
"It's harmless. There's no ill intent," Fred said yesterday. "We are very sensitive to our customers."
Yeah, but how much is that going to cost some poor, cash-strapped single mother? Fred declined to talk specifics.
"The variable is the individual," he said. "We'll help anyone on all levels regardless of their credit history."
I hope this won't catch on. La Salle University's Charles Gallagher, who chairs the sociology department, said, "This is a case where a bit of financial literacy would go a long way but is trumped by the fetish of fashion."
My advice: Don't go into debt over your hair. You don't need a Nicki Minaj-style hairdo if you don't have Nicki Minaj money.
And remember that one of the Weave Loan Store's tag lines is, "Look fabulous now . . . pay later!!!" They're not kidding about the paying later part. Buyer beware.
On Twitter: @JeniceArmstrong