Black-owned business in the Bay Area
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Obanke Beauty Supply and Braiding Shop opened its doors in 2006 by its owners Sarah and Obasi Obasi and family. But this Black-owned family business got its start way before this. Sarah had been braiding hair in Richmond since 1991 out of her home in a dedicated room called “The Shop.” Back then, many clients knew her as “Kim” which is short for her Nigerian name “Nkem.” Her first client was in Richmond back on Barrett Avenue, when a little girl she used to babysit one day returned to her mother with a brand new hairstyle. “Who did her hair?” her mother asked, shocked and impressed with the work. Sarah humbly answered and did not charge her, and eventually did her hair again and again. From there she realized the gift she could give, and eventually built her clientele. She loved what she did and making people beautiful. Clients come from all over the Bay Area and beyond. There are women who have faithful clients since the 1990s--many of which became her best friends and are like family.
Later she opened Obanke Beauty Supply & Braiding Shop in San Pablo, which remains one of the few Black-owned beauty supply stores in the Bay Area. She had much integrity and was kind to customers; in a business that had its challenges, she persevered. She went on to hire braiders, expand product lines, and create an ambience where many felt welcome and transformed. “Beautiful again!” she would exclaim with a smile on her face. In 2014, she won San Pablo’s Small Business of the Year Award Honorable Mention as the People’s Choice. When asked what she loves most about her business, she responded, “I have fun doing it, and I like for the fact when I finish people, you see the smile on their face. They’re so happy, so that kind of encouraged me more to get into the business.”
Many who have known to love and cherish Sarah as their braider and friend have been saddened to hear that she passed away due to cancer on August 8, 2018. Obanke is part of her legacy which she has left behind for her family to continue with the help of her trusted and talented braiders.
13501 SAN PABLO AVE STE D, SAN PABLO, CA, 94806, US