By Megan Sayles,
AFRO Business Writer,

Baltimore-bred spouses Megan and Quintin Lathan will hold the grand opening of their second Beauty Plus location on Feb. 11 at 10 a.m. in the newly redeveloped Northwood Commons shopping center. 

The pair, both products of Baltimore City public schools and local historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), opened their first Beauty Plus in 2016 in the Charles Village neighborhood. 

The owners of the Northwood Commons Beauty Plus held a soft opening on Dec. 26 and it is currently open for business.  

“When [new customers] come in, they don’t expect to see a Black family running the place, a nice Black family, a Black family that’s been in the community,” said Quintin Lathan.

The Lathans, who reside in Northwood, decided to open Beauty Plus after Quintin attended the Power Networking Conference, one of the leading conferences for Black entrepreneurs. There, he participated in seminars focused on various business opportunities, and one highlighted beauty supply stores. 

He said he instantly gravitated toward the industry because it could make a positive impact on people’s lives. When customers come in, they should leave feeling more confident in themselves because they’re investing in themselves and their natural beauty, believes Quintin. 

Beauty Plus offers a range of products, including wigs, jewelry, hair and beard oil, edge control and hair glue. 

According to McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, Black consumers comprise 11.1 percent of total beauty spending, yet, African Americans make up only 4 to 5 percent of the country’ beauty industry from entry-level to C-suite positions in retail stores and beauty houses. 

“It’s a serious thing when you have no representation. You have some people that are on the ground just trying to fight their way into having some inclusion in a space where, historically, we haven’t had it,” said Quintin Lathan. “In the 60s, when we were just fighting for human civil rights, other groups and cultures were financially progressing. They weren’t under the same pressure that we were under. We were the target so everybody else was building up stores and opening places all in our environments to where we’re behind the curve now and trying to catch up. We just have to keep fighting.” 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Beauty Plus’ Charles Street location pivoted to delivering beauty products to its customers. The small store transformed into a warehouse filled with inventory and delivery drivers. 

The couple said that though beauty stores are overlooked at times, in March 2020 there were essential workers who needed access to beauty supply products necessary to maintain their daily routines– including arriving presentable at work. 

In the new Northwood location, the Lathans intend to hire students from Morgan State University, Quintin’s alma mater, and Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School (MERVO), Megan’s alma mater.  

The store now sits in the same area where area college students fought for the right to enjoy a movie or buy an ice cream sundae. The Lathans are just one of several Black owned businesses and institutions that now call the shopping center, in its latest iteration, “home.” 

One day, the Lathans intend to pass the business off to one of their daughters. 

“Having a business in a neighborhood that I live in helps me take that much more pride into it. We’ve always put 110 percent effort into Beauty Plus, but knowing that it’s in our neighborhood, it garners a different level of responsibility,” said Megan Lathan. 

“I have a responsibility to my community at large just by being a member, but having a business in my community lets me know that not only do I have a place in the community to contribute to but also a standard to uphold. It makes us community leaders in a way because having a business is serving the community and being patronized by the community, so it really adds a different level of respect.” 

Megan Sayles is a Report for America corps member. 

Related articles: