Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I'm coming to join you, Elizabeth...

So my TV is not quite dead. It unpredictably will come on for around 45 minutes to an hour, then fade out. I don't have a remote so I don't know if I inadvertently set off a sleep feature--or if it even has a sleep feature...

Anyway...I've decided to ask Santa for a new set. This weekend if I can figure out a game plan, I will try to take this behemoth to a repair shop. Maybe it just needs a swift kick. It says it was manufactured in 1998, so I am prepared for the worse.

Why didn't the set die last week when I was off from work and could have caught one of those Black Friday sales?

I will not be defeated though. Even though it's absolutely wretched, I am watching America's Next Top Model on my emergency TV...

I can hear you asking...What is an emergency TV?? It was gift from my mother who picked it up probably from Rite Aid or a 99-cent store. It has a five-inch B/W screen, an am-fm radio, and an antenna. It runs on D-batteries or with an AC adapter. It's no joke. Whenever I leave my house for a drive of more than forty miles from where I live, the emergency TV is in the trunk. When New York had that big blackout, I was sitting in my car watching the news. Reporters saying over and over how dark it was... Anyhow, I brought the emergency TV to work but I feel weird listening to Wendy Williams in my office. And I can't watch Maury either. So I figured what use is it there anyway and brought it home.

I am sincerely hoping I can stick it out for a month at least if I can't get this set repaired. Then I could catch an after-Xmas sale or a pre-Superbowl Blow-out sale. I am an optimist.

Why am I blogging about my TV? Well, these mundane things are manageable. And small. It's just a TV. But my TV is my alarm system, my cat-sitter, my entertainment center, my time I care about it. Stay tuned...haha.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I'm really scared...

ok...not scared but concerned and perhaps prematurely concerned. I have a potential situation...

There is something wrong with my television. This all kinds of wrong for all kinds of reasons. Not the least of which is timing. This is the absolute worst time or year for my television to blow. I have to buy gifts for other people, I have charities appealing, all on top of my my usual expenses. I have not budgeted for a new television set.

The first thing I did was plug it into a different outlet. It worked for about 45 minutes then faded out again. Sigh. I have no idea how old this set is or what could be its problem. I suppose if its really fading, I'll take it to the repair place around the corner. But that's going to require lots of orchestration. This thing is huge. I can't carry it. So now what? Find some kid in the building to help me I guess. Sigh. i really am slipping into spinsterhood. I can see it now. "Come here sweetheart. I need you to help me with something." It even sounds like an old lady appeal. It worked when I needed my car shoveled out of the snow though...

In the meantime...what will I do about my favorite shows? Actually I think they are still OK. They'll just get backed up on the DVR.

But a new TV....

A new TV would mean I don't have to carry the TV anywhere. I could put it out next to the incinerator chute, where I'm sure it would be immediately rescued. Or I could put it in the kitchen and turn it into a place to sit my plants on a stick post-it notes to until I did find a mover. And...I would be ready for the switch from analog to digital which happens in 2009. And...I'd probably end up with something lightweight and stylish. Hmm.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What can I say...

I'm curious to have a discussion about this, so I figured I'd post this and get some of your reactions.

Andre J is on the cover of French Vogue with model Carolyn Murphy. Of course, there is a flurry of discussion about this. As you read this, I am doing a little more internet research on Andre J. I have seen his picture for months, but I don't really have a clear idea of what he's about yet.
Perhaps some of you know more about him and can leave some comments.

Of course, there is the obvious, the 'problem' of black-man-in-drag has been on my mind since I was in graduate school. I'm sleepy now, but the earliest example that comes to my mind is Flip Wilson as Geraldine all the way to Jamie Foxx and Martin Lawrence, and the embarrassment of Eddie Murphy. I've always been deeply offended by these 'characterizations.' Not because I can't take a joke, but because I find something deeply problematic about black male performers mocking black women to get laughs. I find it grotesque and vicious. It is the literal emasculation of black male comedians by way of a misogynist assault on black women. Dave Chappelle offered a blistering critique of Hollywood's fascination with this type of spectacle when he appeared on the Actor's Studio. He refuses, he says to 'put on the dress.' Chappelle describes this critical moment when black male comedians are goaded to clown in drag and how he absolutely refused to participate. I love Dave Chappelle. Anyhow, to me it's like a reformulation of blackface.

But on the other hand, there is a very subversive tradition of black gay men in drag that is NOT about misogyny, but about subversion. RuPaul's MAC campaign, the Paris is Burning documentary exploring ball culture in the late 80s...that is undeniably about fascination and exaltation and exploration of black female representation. With absolutely no misogyny against black women. These acts are about aspiration and celebration. Black female representation--and to a lesser extent black women themselves--represents a challenge to the restrictions imposed by society based on class, race, sex, and gender. It is an upset where black female representation instead of occupying a role of degradation, is set up as subversive and superior. The ultimate reversal.

Andre J is not aspiring to 'realness' like the kids in Paris is Burning. He is obviously a man in a wig and a dress. He wears a beard. And while he summons some of the 'fabulousness' of RuPaul, he is not 'performing' or in character. RuPaul often appears and acts in roles out of drag--so "RuPaul" has become a character that he assumes.

No, it's not Andre J that bugs me. It is trying to figure out what cultural work Vogue is trying to put his image to that bugs me. Is it similar to that of the comedian in drag or is it something else? And is Andre J controlling his representation or being taken up into something different than his own intent? And what does it mean that Andre J is positioned next to a white woman on a magazine franchise that is legendarily stingy about using black WOMEN models? And what does it mean that a black man is editor in chief of American Vogue at the same moment? Hmm.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Outlast, outwit, outplay...

These were taken on Day 23- Tuesday.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

So much has happened in the past two years. Some days it feels like another lifetime and others it like a blur. Tuesday at Thanksgiving Mass-- our pastor joked that he was not going to stand in church alone on Thursday, so service would be two days before --we were challenged to be grateful for our lives and the people around us. There is no way I can say that some days are not difficult. But I know, if someone rewound time and gave me the opportunity not to have been in New Orleans--not to have lost what I had or to have seen some of the saddest days, memories that can still make me cry-- I wouldn't change anything. Because I was there, I have my family. And they have each other. This year has been a bit more abstract, but in time I will be confident that the choices I made were also worth whatever disappointment I have experienced.

This morning on the Today show there was a rabbi who said it is possible to be both disappointed AND grateful--and I understood exactly what he meant. There is so much more to do, but I am so grateful for where things are right now. My parents are back in their home, my grandmother is with them--not always happy about it--and she has their support. Their house is rebuilt and it is home again. I even got my scalawag cats back! Everyone on my parents' block is on a first-name basis with Sam, and he comes and goes as he pleases. Nairobi is here everyday when I get home from work. And as, ahem, eventful as my job has been, I am so grateful that I have been able to start the work of re-establishing myself professionally and financially; that I have INSURANCE and I have been able to deal with the post-traumatic stress symptoms that made last year so very challenging. I am grateful for my friends. They have been so supportive and each in their own way has helped me get through these days. And I include anyone who has read this blog and left a comment.

When I started doing this, it was just a way for me get writing again. To express myself and figure out if I could reconnect with writing. But it literally became a lifeline. This blog was literally how my friends found out I was even alive. How I stayed in touch with the outside world when my family and I were living in a motel room, my parents and I sleeping on the floor for three weeks so my grandmother could have the bed. It was how I stayed sane during so much this year.

But the greatest gift was being able to NOT write about what was happening. Of all things, writing about my hair gave me something else to do and think about for awhile. There were familiar faces--Brunsli and RDP--that I got to reconnect with and so many new friends--some I've met or talked to offline, others I just ''know" virtually. Chatting with you all about hair and the other silliness I write about here, has gotten me through a lot of days. THANK YOU SO MUCH. I have been inspired, annoyed, enlightened, and amused by the people I have 'met' through this blog. So I want you to know that. Reading the comments you all leave, following the links to the maze of blogs I like to follow, commenting on the mundane and amazing things you all write about has been wonderful!

So...I have washed and re-set my I am off to express my thanks to some other folks. To scam some turkey and finally wash my daggone dishes and wash my daggone clothes. Yes, I plan to do laundry today--I'm out of clean

ENJOY your Thanksgiving. Laugh at your crazy relatives and the overcooked turkey. Eat the mystery casserole. I'm still on culinary strike...but maybe next year I'll be back in the kitchen making oyster dressing, turkey AND ham, stuffed peppers, okra gumbo, pumpkin pie, rum cake and eggnog. Makes me tired and hungry just thinking about it. But I am going to stick some Glad-loc containers and Zip-loc bags in my purse and have a great time eating someone else's cooking this year! Yes, I'm the guest who brings her own containers. It's polite, I don't want to take *I'm kidding, I was told in advance I should take leftovers! I'm not that nutty.*

Monday, November 19, 2007


How do you know it's time to do laundry?
Renea: You run out of underwear.

How do you know it's time to wash dishes?
Renea: When you open the cabinet to get a bowl, it's completely empty.

How do you know when it's time to make groceries?
Renea: Hey, cher, you must be from New Orleans too--making groceries and all....You make groceries when you open the refrigerator door and see the bare bulb.

So, last question, how do you know when it's time to wash your hair?
Renea: I used to know. When my hair goes flat. But now I'm having a terrible problem...I set my hair on those Wrap-A-Locs 22 days ago. It's still curly. So I haven't washed my hair...I haven't thought about it at all.

So now I have to set an arbitrary day to wash my hair...even if it looks good?! Frown. I looked in the mirror this morning and realized my head needed a good scrubbing, fluffed my ponytail curls and headed out.

What next? Doing laundry every week and washing dishes everyday?! These Wrap-A-Locs are going to completely upset my chi.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Truth, opinion, fact, libel

NewlyLocd said...

Hello Renea

Just wanting you to know that I assumed that the soft spikes product wasn't seen by Carole. She never told me that she hadn't seen the product. I feel that this has really received a lot of attention (both harsh words & good discussion) over something that was merely something that I wanted to do to get the name out.

Well get the name out I did, but I never wanted anyone (or felt that anyone in our community) would start harrassing or saying negative statements (even libel I believe) towards another community member.

However, just wanted to clarify that I never discussed if it was original or not but what I personally felt (because that's all I can respond too).

6:29 PM

I guess you'll have to clarify about the harassment and libel. Nothing I have written is libelous. I am posting your comment rather than leaving it where it can't be seen because you are relaying that your comment about an exchange you posted on LockItUp (Message #51084) is inaccurate. In that message you said specifically that you had a conversation with her and that she said it was an "original" idea and that it was made for "non-european hair."

If that anyone has relied upon that as true, then I wanted them to see that you are correcting that. Just like I wanted them to see the entirety of my messages to Carole and the entirety of her response. So everyone can form their own opinion of what I said and what she said and of her product. It was not libelous for me to say what you posted before, it WAS said. Everything that I said took place, did. And truth is not libel. I was very careful to preface that someone posted to the list that she had not seen the product. I concluded that she hadn't after seeing the order confirmation.

But even if you hadn't posted that and I hadn't seen the order information, I would have thought she saw the other product because they look the same and I don't believe that is coincidental. A lot of people reacted the same way and their comments weren't libelous either. I published my own writing which I have the right to do and I gave Carole fair warning that I would convey whatever she wrote to me.

If you are implying that anything *I* have done is harassment, I would respectfully disagree. I wrote my opinions on LockItUp and my blog, and posted copies of messages I sent to Carole expressing my views and asking for her reply. The content of these messages was that I was not going to buy her product because of the price, that I had questions about the representation of her product as unique, that I thought she had a poor business plan and a weak basis for a patent. I also wrote that she had changed the content of her blog and posted a link to an earlier iteration to verify that. None of that harms her business in anyway.

When representatives of the beef industry claimed Oprah Winfrey had libeled their enterprise by saying SHE was not going to eat it anymore and claimed that her comments had harmed their industry, they lost. If Oprah can express her negative opinion to millions of broadcast viewers who hang on her every word, I can certainly say what I don't like or won't be buying on my little blog. Since everyone who read my comments knows that I have not purchased or used LocLoops, they can decide for themselves how useful my comments are. I said the price was high, because I think DOUBLE the price of a competitor's product is high. I reacted to the black-owned marketing strategy and I stand by what I said. I do not appreciate any black owned business coming half-ass into the marketplace. If people think that describes this business based on what I presented, ok. But they could just as easily decide that they disagree with everything that I wrote and totally dismiss me and my opinions.

I posted a copy of my message to the list because the conversation started there and I wanted people who were participating in the discussion to see what I wrote to the owner of the business. I also wanted to wind down the conversation on the list. I did not post anything else about the product on LockItUp. I waited five days before sending a second message and I did not call attention to my posting on LockItUp. Two contact attempts does not constitute harassment. And I posted the content of our messages because I thought it was only fair for everyone to see not only the response, but what I asked and how I asked.

As I said to Carole, there is a difference between someone saying things that another doesn't like or care to hear and being attacked. I have every right to say what my opinion is of a product or a business or a marketing strategy. I can say what I don't like and I can say why.

Businesses are not entitled to only having positive comments written about them or their services. What I posted is no different than sites like Yelp, where people share their opinions about restaurants. I could write here that I believe Wal-Mart is a blood-sucking parasite that has systematically crippled every community it has moved into...if that is my opinion, that is my opinion.

So now I am even more annoyed by the topic of LocLoops. EVERYTHING I wrote is going to stay on my blog. My opinion of the product, price and marketing strategy remain the same. I am not going to buy them. And if anyone asks me, I will tell them why.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Longest post ever...the case of LocLoops

This post will be a long one. I hope--if you are interested-- you will slog through it. I have spent the past week getting more information for this post. Why? Because I was bothered about LocLoops. So if you read this entire post, I will relay everything I found out. And I will post the reply of Carole Pearson--owner of LocLoops--to my second email to her as well as my last message to her.

I tell you about all the hair and beauty products I try. This was the first time I had something critical to say so I wanted to make sure I had all the information I could get. Honestly, I hoped I would learn something that would change my initial reaction. But I didn't. You can think what you want about all this...I was going to do a price analysis like I did about the expense of SLs...but y'all can add and subtract...sigh...

Some of you know that last Wednesday a new group member posted on LockItUp about the 'new' product their stylist had 'created,' called LocLoops. Being curious, I followed the link. When I got there I was surprised because they looked exactly like a product I bought over two years ago called SoftSpikes. The product looked the same, heck, the style photos looked the same. Then I saw this and my face scrunched because I was accustomed to this.

So I went back to LockItUp and wrote that I thought these products were the same except that these 'new' ones were more expensive. And I asked for clarification...Did you say the person selling LocLoops created them? Doesn't she know there is a product exactly like that called SoftSpikes? And the customer came back to the list and wrote that the stylist said, 1) she had never heard of SoftSpikes and, 2) she created LocLoops herself and developed them for over a year by testing them on her clients. Really?

Well, that was all the customer knew. So it became clear I would have to check this out on my own...

I went back to the site. And I read this. And I grew increasingly annoyed. Why was I annoyed? Well, let's read together. In the first sentence of the first paragraph, we are told that this is a black-owned business...ok. And then we are told this product is a "new" way to style locs. Really?

Onto the next paragraph..."LocLoops are made from a special material specifically designed for the heavier requirements of locs. Using a material that is 'closed cell' to prevent absorption of any liquids or hair products..." Really?

You all know I used to teach black feminist theory, literary and visual analysis? Didn't I tell you that? Anyway...I spent many, many years learning, and then teaching others, to look very closely at all kinds of texts for what is really being conveyed to them through what is specifically denoted and implicitly connoted. Fancy words for what is said and what isn't. And these two paragraphs were something to chew on...

From MY reading, by my interpretation, the most emphasized points on this page are 1) this is a black owned business, 2) this is a NEW product, and 3) it is made of something UNIQUE for locked hair. But there is a is not a new product and it appears to be made of the very same material as its predecessor. In fact, there are three things different about LocLoops compared to SoftSpikes-- 1) it is a black owned business, 2) it has notches in it that are supposed to lock them closed, and 3) they cost more.

Last week, the website also said that LocLoops was a trademarked product with a patent-pending. It no longer says that. But it has been evasions like this that have bothered me about this whole situation. I'm sure Ms. Pearson is aware that every iteration of a website remains accessible thanks to the marvels of Google. So you can read what the page used to say for yourself here.

I am giving you all these links and encouraging you to look at them yourself. Ms. Pearson suggests --in her message reprinted below-- that I will not be fair to her. I am a lot of things. Unfair is not one of them. So I feel it necessary to give you these links to illustrate the path that brought me to my opinions. And that makes this very long...But I digress...

I said everything I wanted to say about the black-owned marketing strategy on LockItUp. In sum, I think in this case it as an appeal to sell a product. I was disappointed by that. Growing up, I was taught that minorities have always had to achieve a higher standard to compete. I not only internalized that, I embraced it. So when I patronize a black-owned enterprise, I have high expectations that I will have a positive experience based upon the owner's desire to offer a superior product. When I get that, I tell everybody--EVERYBODY--about that business and that product. I patronize them. I do all I can to support their success. But it's a two-way street. If you want my business, I expect that you are offering a superior product and a superior experience. Based on price alone, LocLoops was not offering that. When I heard this story about the owner having no prior knowledge of Soft Spikes, I thought either it wasn't true or that if it were true, the business owner was in way over her head--manufacturing and attempting to patent a product that she then had to retail at a significantly higher price than her competition... not good. I was leaning toward it not being true. But I wanted to be wrong. So I reached out to Ms. Pearson by posting my questions about her product development and writing her through her website. I also wrote to the owner of Soft Spikes because I wanted their perspective about all this and because she had been so responsive to the locked community's interest in her product...

That's when things got more interesting. I was sent the shipping confirmation number and order information that showed Soft Spikes were purchased and delivered to the same address as Ms. Pearson's business on November 12, 2006. Though she told her customer last week, that she never heard of SoftSpikes. Now Ms. Pearson is certainly free to say whatever she likes. But it seemed odd to me that she would go to such lengths to deny knowledge of a competing product and that she would say such a thing to her own customers.

Maybe it was because Ms. Pearson claims to be seeking a patent on her product. Brunsli is far more capable of giving an expert explanation of patents. All I did was a little internet researching. What I quickly found was that in order to patent a product, it had to be original or modified in a way that is not obvious. So which was the basis for Ms. Pearson's patent application? I asked her. And she won't say...So, here's my opinion. If your SoftSpikes slip open--and mine don't--it wouldn't be a leap to cut a notch in them to stop that from happening. Of course, it would also make it more likely your roller would break at the weak I don't know if that's necessarily an improvement either. Oh well, you can still get a patent on a new product, right? Maybe that's why Ms. Pearson emphasizes that her product is new. But she knew about a similar product since at least last year. Hmm. But they are made of a special material, right? Maybe. But it's not a material Ms. Pearson developed. So she can't be patenting that either. In fact, her competitor's product is also made of a 'closed cell' material. Sigh.

Patent applications aren't cheap. I know Brunsli could give more specific information about that too. But I imagine that's the impetus behind the price of LocLoops. Someone has to pay the lawyers. I guess it as well be whoever buys the product.

So how do you sell a product that is twice that of its competition? Marketing...I've addressed everything else and that brings back to the black-owned bit. But I don't think I need to elaborate on that. I think I've described exactly how I got here.

All that's left is to let Ms. Pearson respond. So here you go...

Received Thursday, November 14, 2007

Renea Henry,
I was happy to give more information about my product to you, but the
more I read of your note, including the blatant attacks and empty
conclusions, the more I thought otherwise. My heart was warmed that a
customer took it upon themselves to share my product with the
audience at LockItUp. But I have never made claims on my product
outside of my website. Based on your notes, it is clear to me you
have made up your mind about my product, and I do not feel that any
information I provide will be presented fairly on your blog. Your
conclusions are based on assumptions, they are false and your claims
are clearly biased. However, for the sake of closure, I will supply
some information below.
Here are my responses:

1) "Similarity in Design & No prior knowledge of other products"
I made no such claims. You're trying to make this about Loc Loops and
one other product, but this should be about creating rollers that
work. Loc Loops is a product that I created because other products on
the market did not work for my hair. I then shared that creation with
my clients around the country.

2) "High" unit price
This is relative. The price of this product reflects the durability
and lifetime of the product based on other rollers/curlers on the

3) Patent Questions
I am not willing to discuss patents with you. Our lawyers are
handling our position as it relates to the market.

This should bring our discussions to a close.
Carole Pearson

There were no attacks in my message toward you and I was candid about
my response to your product because I was being honest. Based on the
representations of your product on your website, I do not think its
design is original. That isn't an attack. That's my opinion. There is
no bias either. There is a difference between someone giving their
opinion and having a bias or launching an attack.

Your customer reported you told her that you were unaware of the
SoftSpikes product as of last Friday, and that when asked, you said
you came up with the idea for the product 'yourself.' The posting of
your customer was the source of the information, not your website.
When I contacted SoftSpikes, I was provided a copy of the shipping
confirmation you received when you ordered their product last year. So
that is the source of that information. There is nothing baseless or
assumptive about me saying that you had prior knowledge of the
product. Your own customer reported that information to LockItUp and
subsequently, I saw your shipping confirmation which clearly lists the
address of your business and the date of your purchase.

As far as denying there is a similarity between your product and the
other, that strains credibility. After the posting with your website,
every person who went to your site reported on the similarity. If you
are saying that you can't see it, you are alone in that assessment.
Since in your response you acknowledge that you are aware there are
similar products on the market and the photographs of your product
reveal no difference in composition, you should see how I would
reasonably seek out an explanation. I asked you what it is about your
product that is unique for locked hair--as you describe on your site.
If you had responded to that question, I would have printed exactly
what you said. That would have been the only source of a description
available to me. As I said, I think your product is priced too high
and I'm not going to buy it. That is a statement, not an attack. I
also asked if anyone could provide me a first-hand comparison of the
two materials. It was not directed at your product maliciously. I buy
all kinds of hair and beauty products. Many have similar
functions...but in every case I have patronized these businesses and
bought these products because I felt good about the exchange and I
cannot say that here.

Which leaves your patent...It only took me thirty seconds to find out
that patents are based upon the claim of an originally designed
product or process or a non-obvious improvement to a product or
process. I was honestly curious what the basis of your patent could
be. Acquiring patents are very expensive, so I hope you are getting
excellent counsel about the viability of your application. Especially
since in order to offer your product on the market, you have decided
to price it significantly higher than competing and almost identical,
pre-existing products.

My negative reaction has been to the situation of a black-owned
business coming into the market place with such a precarious basis for
existence. Your marketing is misleading and your price is not
competitive. As someone who does support minority-owned businesses and
entrepreneurs frequently, I was very frustrated and disappointed with
your strategy. I would be falling short as a potential customer not to
give you my reaction. That gives you the opportunity to respond to the
market you have targeted. If I went to a restaurant and disliked the
experience or was served poorly, I would let management know. If I was
looking for a product, I would comparison shop and choose the best
value. You may not like what I have to say, but it is honest and
unbiased...and I SINCERELY hope that before you go further with plans
to expand your business, you think about your pricing and marketing.
You could do a lot better. In order for minority-owned businesses to
succeed they have to be MUCH better than their competition, better
with service, better with product, better with price. All that on top
of having a sound business plan and knowledge base.

I was also reacting to the fact that your endeavor is undercutting
another. I don't believe you didn't know about SoftSpikes and I
haven't seen anything to change that reaction. Your representation is
that you are going to all this effort because you have inadvertently
developed the same product someone else's family-owned business has
been selling for eleven years...I guess that's your story and you're
sticking to it. But since you are so isolated, I hope that finding out
all this has been helpful. As a small business owner yourself, I hope
no one ever does to you what you appear to be positioning yourself to
do to someone else. After you have invested time, resources and
capital into developing and manufacturing a product; establishing a
market presence and building a clientele, I hope no one comes along
and tries to set up shop in front of your endeavor and reap the
spoils...That's the view from over here. But I hope, at least, when
CuteCurlers or whatever they might be called is asked, they give you
credit for whatever you contributed to their enterprise.

While you 'fear' you won't be fairly presented on my blog, I assure
you I will deliver exactly what you presented to me. You have record
of our exchanges and access to any of the postings that were made on
LockItUp. If you decide in the future you would like to comment, you
are certainly welcome to do so.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My second unanswered email to Carol Pearson of LocLoops

Last week, after participating in a discussion about a product called LocLoops that generated provocative questions about how black-owned businesses interact with their customers, I decided I would post a commentary about the subject on my blog. I thought it would be valuable and fair to give you, as owner of this business, the opportunity to comment about your product and company, the LockItUp discussion, and my own commentary. Especially since, according to your website, Ms. Pearson is marketing the LocLoops product directly to Sisterlock wearers. To date Ms. Pearson, you have not responded to me, so today I am writing you a second email message which I am reposting here:

Dear Ms. Pearson and Curls and Coils, LLC,
I wrote you a few days ago to let you know I will be posting about your product on my blog Friday. By now, I am sure you are aware that last Wednesday, one of your customers posted information about your product and website on the Yahoo discussion group LockItUp. After following up to see the site and product, I was struck 1) by the similarity in design and function of your product to another that is very widely known in the LockItUp group and amongst the blog community called Soft Spikes, and 2) by the disproportionately high unit price of your product in comparison.

By way of the list discussion, it was conveyed that you have claimed no prior knowledge of the SoftSpikes product and that your product was made of a materially specially designed for 'locked' hair. According to the account given to the group, you have reported that you designed this product sui generis and that you have been testing it on your customers for a year. This intrigued me, to say the least. I contacted the owner of the SoftSpikes company to get her reaction to your product and website and from there the situation has become even more intriguing.

I have seen the proof of shipping information that shows you purchased, and obviously was aware of the SoftSpikes product since at least last year. That company has been selling their product for 11 years. Since your site claims that you have a patent pending for your product, I asked you what type of patent you were seeking and why you were telling your customers that you had never heard of SoftSpikes. Surely, since you were indeed familiar with the SoftSpikes product, you realize that neither the design nor (from the pictures and description you posted on your site) the material of your product are original or significantly improved.

While I usually purchase all of the products I review on my blog, I am not willing to purchase yours because of the price. However, I was interested to find out from you the nature of the special design and composition of your product and what about it that is unique for locked hair. I also inquired about the price difference.

I would really like to give you the opportunity to comment on your product and the chronology of your research and development. So I am writing you again in hopes that you will respond. I would be willing to quote you directly if you respond to my questions as posed. Please respond by tomorrow evening if you want your comments to be included in my posting. As you may be aware the Yahoo discussion group and blogging community is very interested in information about new products useful for Sisterlocks grooming and styling. I also have Sisterlocks and try to find out as much as I can about the products I use and businesses I patronize. I hope you will take the opportunity to share your comments with us all.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Wrap-A-Loc Results...II

Ok...You all wanted a review and a comparison. Friday I had somewhere to go and I didn't think the whole "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" look was what I wanted to go with...So I separated the coils. It is now Sunday and they are still quite nice. I have been wearing a sleep cap at night.

As I said before, I really like the Wrap-A-Loc results. It did take longer than soft spikes. Which makes sense because they are much, much, much smaller. On the website, there are people wearing the tool itself as a style. I would only do this over the weekend, not to work or anything. But that's just me...I slept with them in and they weren't terribly uncomfortable. If you don't like sleeping with anything bothering your head, it might be annoying.

The most obvious difference between soft spike rollers and the wrap-a-loc tool is the size of the curl. As the pictures can get a very good set on either product. It been awhile since I used the soft spikes but if I remember correctly the curls gently fell over the course of a few days. If you separated the coils or as they relaxed, you be left with a very wavy, loose curl.

As the pictures show, the wrap-locs left me with coils about the diameter of a pencil. When I separated them, I was left with distinct spirals. They were so tight I wanted to sing Donna Summer songs for a minute. I tied them back for awhile. Yesterday-Saturday- they were very pretty. That's when I took the pictures above. I remembered my five-head and pulled a few forward.

The option of wearing wrap-a-locs as a style may be appealing to some. You can't go anywhere with a head full of soft spikes.

I was able to teach myself how to properly use the wrap-a-loc tool. Even though I had the wrong size--see earlier post--they were very forgiving and I got an excellent set. The size description on the site helps you choose the right size. Don't be like me and second guess it. The only thing that confused me was the wording...that it would take up half the length of my hair. I interpreted that to mean that the tool should be half the length of my hair. If I would have gone solely with the length suggestion, I would have been less confused.

As I said before, I think using a hair dryer had a LOT to do with my good outcome. I never used a dryer with the soft spikes...I didn't have one...and it took forever to dry. I couldn't guess how long it would have taken my hair to airdry on the wrap-a-locs.

Not for nothing, I have been setting my hair on some kind of rollers since I was 12. And because I'm type A, it always looked like someone else had done it for me. I am an excellent hair setter! I say that not just to brag, but as a disclaimer. Both soft spikes and wrap-a-locs can be time-consuming, but the wrap-a-locs didn't take an unreasonable amount of time to use. It would have gone much quicker if I wasn't forcing my hair onto 'too small' rollers. If I could go back I would have gotten one set of medium--for the front-- and three or four long. The instructions for traditional locks are to use one tool per lock, for Sisterlocks I used about four each but I wasn't obsessive about it...some may have had more.

For hold, with both products, I would use a maximum hold mousse or diluted Lottabody in a spray bottle.