Christopher Simpson speaks on natural Black hair care and entrepreneurship. STL Black Biz had the pleasure of speaking with Christopher Simpson, the local and nationally recognized founder of The Original St. Louis Natural Hair and Black Cultural Expo.
Christopher was born and raised in St. Louis. At the early age of 22, he knew then that he wanted to be an entrepreneur. He went on to begin his entrepreneurial journey in the vending machine business. After a successful run, Chris moved on to his next business venture, ABC Bling.
Along with his business partner, Omar Perkins the duo created ABC Bling. ABC Bling created custom “Bling” prints, apparel, and designs for retail and wholesale. Since then Chris has gone on to start another business, Raw Blend Customs. As the independent proprietor of Raw Blend Customs, he creates custom “Bling” tees and apparel as well as billboards, signs, business cards, logos, and more.
How did The Original St. Louis Natural Hair and Black Cultural Expo LLC come about?
I realized a void existed giving small businesses the opportunity to present natural hair and healthy lifestyle choices for the African community. After exhibiting at several expos, I began to research other markets to better understand how expos and hair shows were produced,
Teaming up with a group of other like-minded entrepreneurs, the Natural Hair & Black Culture Expo was born in April of 2015.
The Expo reaches thousands of followers, which positions us to act as a platform for black businesses. The Original St. Louis Natural Hair and Black Cultural Expo has presented the opportunity for various Black businesses to gain exposure.
We have supported other black businesses such as Elizabeth DOINELLE PR and Marketing, E4C Video Production, Demi Blue Vegan Nail Polish, Fab Essentials, Purpose Patch, Afrodeziac Natural Hair Gallery, and Catering to The Culture W/Dr. G. Other businesses include Healthy Hair Solutions by Tendai the Hair Whisperer, Megalux Photo Booth, and more.
Have you always been a serial entrepreneur and when did you realize that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I have always been a serial entrepreneur. Since I was 22 years old and I partnered with a vending machine company. After a difficult start, the vending machine business machines started emptying out.
I then went on to partner with Omar Perkins to create “Bling” prints, which was an apparel and designs company. Today I am also the owner of Raw Blend Customs.
One would think only women are concerned with hair care. How did you enter the business of hair care and beauty?
I was inspired by the Bronner Bros. Proud Lady Hair Show and the Taliah Waajid World Natural Expo. Possessing a love for Black business I am working to bring the culture of natural Black hair care to the STL by giving businesses the opportunity of face-to-face exposure to share their products and services.
Why is it so important to shop with Black Businesses?
Christopher Simpson speaks on natural Black hair care and entrepreneurship and constantly shares that it’s vitally important to shop black so we can provide jobs and create an economic structure for our community.
Being in the business of black hair care I am sure that you have noticed the extraordinary numbers of Asian-owned beauty suppliers in the Black Community. Why do you think there are so many of them and fewer of us? Also, how can we change this?
Not only in St. Louis, but we also have the same problem in other Black communities. Asians stick together, and they build together. This is one of the biggest reasons Asians have taken over Black Beauty Supplies.
The only way we can change is to come together. We must shop black, buy together and build together just as the Asians. We must invest as a group and not as individuals. Group economics is key.