Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The cost of Sisterlocks...


Apparently there is an ongoing discussion about how "expensive" Sisterlocks are. I have been doing my own hair for the past five years and really don't understand how this has even become an issue.

In my opinion, there are Sisterlocks to be had at any price range...some consultants are expensive, some are not. In different parts of the country, consultants are hard to find and in others there are more to choose from...But in every scenario, I don't think Sisterlocks are expensive.

Even if you go with a very high-end price for installation---I've heard $700 tossed around--and factor in the cost of retightenings for six months to a year every six weeks--let's say at $150...even then the cost of Sisterlocks works itself out--in the long run.

If you are willing to pay from $150-200 every six weeks to get braids--that's what I was doing before I got Sisterlocks-- in a year's time you would have gotten your hair redone 8.67 times...let's say 8 times. That's $1,200- $1600 for the braids plus the cost of whatever kind of extensions you use-- from Kanekalon at about $20 more per session to human hair which might add say another $100 per session...

Over that same year if you got Sisterlocks installed January 1st for $700, then got 8 retightenings over the course of a year, that's $1900 for the year. A difference of as much as $500....

But what happens after a year?

If you continue to get braids done at the same interval by year 2, you have spent $2,400 -$3,200 on braiding. But if you had Sisterlocks, you would probably be able to take the re-tightening class...which is now $250. After that, you could do your own maintenance. So year by year 2 with Sisterlocks, your expense is $2,150...you've saved at least $350...

Beyond year two, if you had braids, you would continue to spend the same amount each year while your Sisterlocks would cost you nothing...I occasionally go to a salon for conditioning treatments, but I could do them myself...

And I'm not even going to touch the cost of chemical services over the same time...

The point is...however you choose to wear your hair, if you need a stylist, there will be an expense. Even 'traditional' locticians charge. If cost is an issue for you, and I think it is for just about everyone, do the math. You will probably have Sisterlocks for several years. Consider not just the initial cost, but the real cost of how you choose to style your hair. You may find that Sisterlocks are not as 'expensive' as you think.

I did these calculations using the highest figures I've heard. If you are willing to use a trainee consultant or live where there are more consultants available, you may spend less than my calculations.

16 comments:

brunsli said...

I think there's definitely an initial sticker shock to the up-front cost. I know it shocked me! But, I didn't know it would be as much work for my hairdresser as it was (about 30 hours).

In addition to the rationale you set forth, I think the price is also understandable when you calculate the hourly rate. While I wish my installation had only cost $90, it's not as though my hairdresser only deserved $3 an hour!

Renea said...

Installing Sisterlocks is labor-intensive. If it's your livelihood, a lot of elements have to be factored into your rate.
That's why I haven't pursued doing Sisterlocks. I couldn't charge enough for the time I'd lose. If I decided to get a chair, products, and being me...insurance...advertising...
But I focused on the out-of-pocket this time because most people are talking about cost rather than compensation.

Maryee said...

I did the math too, seeings how that's what I'm teaching this year! LOL Thanks for sharing. You took the typed words right off my keyboard.

Naturally Sophia said...

You are so right Renea and Brunsli! My consultant worked for almost 40 hours on my head. That is one week of work. We have to consider how much we would want to be fairly paid doing that type of labor intensive work. Great Post!!!

Meikmeika said...

Great Post!!! I too was shocked initially about the price but most hairdresser's charge an hourly rate. I think mine took about 22 hours to install and even at $20 an hour that's not bad at all. When I did get braid extensions traditional braids would be $125 and micros would be $300...

By the time I was thinking about Sisterlocks I was no longer getting braid extensions and I did my own hair which was costing me too much time since I had to do it every other week.

Not having to take a half a day to do my own hair or worry about the rain or being able to go somewhere without fretting about my hair or having to wash and set my hair, etc was the selling factor for me with Sisterlocks..

I can't say this enough... Sisterlocks To The Rescue!!!!

Goodnapps said...

Well, cost is always a hot issue for folks and forever will be. In my opinion, the Year 1 cost of sisterlocks is pretty equivalent to other routine salon hairstyles such as braids, relaxers, weaves, coloring, etc. If you are going to
get sisterlocks, you are pretty much going to be out of an average of $1500 that first year. If you were already paying this amount for braids, relaxers, weaves, color, etc....the cost of Sisterlocks is not that much of a big deal and all you are doing is transfering whose pockets the money is going into.

BUT.........


For the sisters who have been wearing their hair natural for 2, 3, 5 years etc. and don't go to the salon anymore except maybe once a year, Sisterlocks IS a significant cost adjustment. They are looking at a cost comparison
of $100 vs $1500 for that first year of Sisterlocks.

This is where the cries of Sisterlocks are so expensive, Sisterlocks are so expensive, Sisterlocks are so expensive
are coming from.

But as your example shows, Sisterlocks are not any more expensive than any other form of regular, routine, salon services. They are expensive when you are not use to spending that kind of money on hair services anymore.

But so is everything else in life. Clothes, food, cars, homes, etc.

muslimahlocs said...

i had my sisterlocks installed back in the good old days when the avg. cost was @ $375. but even that was a lot for me since i was a law student at the time.
back then most consultants worked out of their homes and had minimal overhead. i think that the prices skyrocketed when consultants began to move out of their homes and into shops where the overhead costs can be significant.
your example illustrates how affordable sisterlocks CAN BE over time, especially for those who choose to do their own hair.
although, i have to admit that i would pay much more than the going rate to have certain consultants do my hair b/c of the quality of their work.

blackrussian said...

9/16 - The other day you mentioned our posts being harmonic...but THIS is just FREAKY!!!

I haven't been over here at your blog for about a week. I wrote my post about SL expense because it was on my mind after talking to a few people who were interested in them. I had referred them to my blog and to my consultant.

I wanted to put some advice out there in case they visit my blog before I have an opportunity to speak to them again about price.

I decided to write a post about the 'expense' because so many people love the look and concept of Sls, but then shy away because of the cost.

I started composing my post in my head on Wednesday, but didn't get to type it out until yesterday! You published yours first and everybody's gonna think I'm a total copy cat!!!

I didn't even know you had written this until I checked my e-mail this morning and Muslimahlocs told me that you had done a similar post!

I came right over to read it and was floored at how similar our sentiments are!...Too weird!!!

I did a lot of research on my own before I ever talked to any consultants. As soon as I understood the method of installation, I immediately knew SLs would not be cheap - especially with my shoulder-length hair.

I didn't even expect to be able to get them for less than $700 right off the bat. Simply because the process is so labor-intensive. As someone who has done crafts and design work and consulting, I completely understood that an SL consultant needs to be compensated for her time and attention to detail.

Personally, I never thought twice about the cost of Sisterlocks as a determining factor for whether or not I would get them, but like a car or appliance or any other big ticket item you intend to keep, I do think it is wise to 'shop around' if you have the option, all the while keeping in mind that you DO get what you pay for.

A bargain is only a good deal if you get the SAME item or service at a lower price. It is not worth the savings if you get an inferior product at a cheaper price point.

I'm curious, what inspired you to write this post at this particular time? (Other than BEING INSIDE MY HEAD???)

(I'm totally going to look you up the next time I'm in NYC...there is NO way we won't hit it off!...Unless we're TOO much alike...lol ;-)

Locksuluv Hair Affair said...

Thanks for doing the math and sharing this..When I got my sisterlocks done now 27 months ago, I paid $425.00 for my install..I had researched and know this is what I wanted.. I only know one other person with locs at the time and his were traditional, which he had for about 3 years. I had some savings at the time and that is what I used for the initial install money. Now looking back, I paid about 50 every 2 weeks for my hair when I had a perm and for a year that cost me $1200 now that I have sisterlocks, lets say I pay $70.00 a month for a retightening over the course of a year that is $840. I did take the class and still go to my consultant..I am lazy and busy with a 2nd job and being apart of two social service organizations but will retighten the front and sometimes the back to keep it neat...If I took on the retightenings I would save some money but I figure like this...Each one of us works a job and deserves something as a treat...so why not choose your hair....

Carmen In NC said...

Renea, I apologize for saying $125 was too much for retightenings. I have been working on the same pattern for 1 1/2 hours and still have to look at my little guide and say the steps outloud. The locks look good but my speed is snail's pace. I didn't know how intensive these SLs were.

SistaLocd said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing.

Lauren said...

You broke it down. This is sooo true. wonderful post

Carrie said...

Price Price is all I hear that is why black business fails so much if they just focused on giving excellent customer service and not getting rich quick they would have booming service in this economy everything needs to come at a cheaper price and that is what lures customers you are stupid to pay 10 for a apple that clearly could be 2 dollars so why not just give incentives to make people come. Discounts and stuff like that not everyone is a "baller" or has a job ever heard of a student who wants to be natural, But the cost is ridiculous, hummm...braids are cheaper no matter what the long run is that is why people rent not everyone has the money to but straight out so if these so called "black people" would lower there prices you would see more of these businesses.

Katrina French said...

Hi my Sister! I agree totally w/ ur post. I personally think SLs aren't any more expensive than other services. Ppl need to understand the labor the consultant does. Bottom line if u are thinking about the initial price; its better to spend that than to be go a cheap imitator route & end up disgusted like me a year ago! ( & I used to do natural hair) lol; I am totally happy now w/ my Authentic SLs born 8/20/10. You get what u pay for.....I paid $550 for mine; happily did

Anonymous said...

I have sisterlocks. I have gotten my hair done every 6 weeks before and I don't think my hair needs retightening so soon. I also hate the way it looks flat.

What I don't like abiut the salon service is that the technicians are paid directly through you, so you could be getting your hair done by one person and the other tech is sitting there chillin. I prefer the way braiding salons run their business, with multiple people working on your head to get you out faster and just paying the business as a whole.

I have had one on one consultative service (that was how my locs were started) and I delt with one person because of location and she was talented and fast. My head is big, she told me. For someone who has a lot of surface area and thick hair, I would like more than one person working on me... Especially when they probably aren't as fast.
So yes, the price is too expensive for the type of service. When I first became a client, I expected the sisterlock experience to at least to some degree conducted like a regular hair salon.

MoButterfly said...

I know this is a way old post... I found it by looking up the cost of Sisterlocks. My mom has them and they are beautiful. But...I don't have my mom's money, nor do I have that much to start up. So I agree with a previous poster that it is expensive when you are going from natural--meaning no salon trips--to getting sisterlocks. I am going from paying nothing to rock my fro to paying almost $1000...geesh. I could pay some bills and continue with the fro. :-) I do want locks, but I can't afford to get Sisterlocks right now.