my supplier told me lace units are becoming a thing of the past

BaldBearded

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My background is in finance and economics (besides being co-owner of a hair system business. I will try and explain this in business terms. First of all, this was an event that has not happened on this scale in more than a hundred years.

I am in this business, and would be the last one to say that this is an "essential product" and I am surprised we did as well as we are doing, as opposed to companies making medical equipment, PPE, and food items.

I am not sure where you live or what your knowledge of business or economics is but from your comments, I can assume they are limited, not trying to insult you, but just trying to establish why would use terms like "unacceptable" in a situation where there is no control.

"most of the world we have managed to move on a while ago, at least retail wise" I don't know where you live, or where you get your information, but this is just not the case. Almost the entire world is reporting a shrinkage for 2020 and quite limited growth for 2021.

Understand that the countries that provide most of the world's industrial output are either not vaccinating yet, or have not started. Infection rates are still high and we and halfway through the 1st quarter of 2021.

Why did China rely on N. Korea for its labor? The same reason why most of the world's goods are made in China. MONEY! You can huff and puff all your want about things being "unacceptable" but I bet you won't pay $1,200 for a hair system like people did 20 or 30 years ago?

In a business such as hair goods where the profit margins are low, it doesn't pay the manufactures to have doomsday plans. Do you think they are losing money? As supply dwindled prices went up. As they saw that N. Korea wasn't reopening, they expanded capacity in China. Understand this all costs them money.

Higher-profit businesses take more precautions to protect their cash flow, they can afford to. These companies cannot.

And you should indeed count on something like this potentially happening again, and you should prepare yourself for it.
 

JMC

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I personally never want hairsystems to be produced in the US (US citizen myself) as I could only imagine the cost to me as a consumer. We (US) gripe and complain when something is stamped “Made in China), but moan and groan when it costs more. Listen, US is fighting for $15hr minimum wage in even the lowest of trades whilst these workers in China and Korea barely make that in a day (last I saw Chinese manufacturing workers make around $3.50hr).

Hair systems are so far from essential it’s laughable. I actually can’t even comment further on that.

At the end of the day companies must look after themselves or shareholders and if lace isn’t what is profitable to them then they would be stupid to produce it. If their resources make other bases more profitable then they must charge more for the products that are not as profitable.

I am a lace wearer and believe me, like anyone else, I want their to be an abundance and at a cheap rate, but I am ok if it’s not. I choose to wear, no one forces me and obviously if I couldn’t afford it then I wouldn’t wear.

More power to the Chinese workers for sticking up for themselves
 

BaldBearded

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I personally never want hairsystems to be produced in the US (US citizen myself) as I could only imagine the cost to me as a consumer. We (US) gripe and complain when something is stamped “Made in China), but moan and groan when it costs more. Listen, US is fighting for $15hr minimum wage in even the lowest of trades whilst these workers in China and Korea barely make that in a day (last I saw Chinese manufacturing workers make around $3.50hr).

Hair systems are so far from essential it’s laughable. I actually can’t even comment further on that.

At the end of the day companies must look after themselves or shareholders and if lace isn’t what is profitable to them then they would be stupid to produce it. If their resources make other bases more profitable then they must charge more for the products that are not as profitable.

I am a lace wearer and believe me, like anyone else, I want their to be an abundance and at a cheap rate, but I am ok if it’s not. I choose to wear, no one forces me and obviously if I couldn’t afford it then I wouldn’t wear.

More power to the Chinese workers for sticking up for themselves

I don't care what the unemployment rate will be in the US, it won't be low enough, in my opinion for someone to take a job as a knotter. And not for $15 an hour. I would LOVE to give my customers the option of buying something handmade in Europe (sorry, I would NEVER have goods manufactured in the US). The start-up costs are prohibitive, and who would do the training? I could pay someone €5 an hour in Bulgaria. I don't know it if is worth the investment... people want CHEAP!!!! Just look at many of the guys on this board who scream at paying $250 for a system.
 

matt0135

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Lace is definitely not a thing of the past lol, imo its the best option out there. Its breathable and you can actually feel the water or wind run through your hair and head. You can adequately (not always) relieve an itch. Its the feedback i like so much if that makes sense.
Me personally im diggin the lace system with poly sides and back.
 

Fanjeera

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Can't imagine wearing a film on my head. Glue is a film anyway already, so with a "skin" system you would have two films wrapped over your head. I hope I can always stay with lace.
 

ozadam

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Well point is hair systems are a pretty essential product in the grand scheme of things imo and to think that everything is reliant on one area inside one country (N. Korea) is in fact bizarre. After this there should be a reassessment of how things are done. I mean it has been nearly a year at this point of shortages. That is just plain unacceptable. Don't you agree? Sure Covid was unexpected and turned the world upside down but throughout most of the world we have managed to move on a while ago, at least retail wise.

Maybe shady wasn't the right word. It just makes me nervous that god forbid something ever happens again in the future they'll shut down at the drop of a hat and the industry will be disrupted again.
There is nowhere else in the world that they can pay so little, the wages in China have grown way past the level of paying someone to sit for a few days to make a hairpiece . I'm ~15 miles from NK haha, howse that for being so close yet so far.
 

jimlad

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When I first got my system, I actually pondered what would happen if some sort of catastrophe brought the global economy to a halt and I was stuck with a horseshoe dome and nothing to put on it! Less than a year later, Covid hit...

I know that it sounds laughable that someone might say that systems are essential items, but surely everyone on here can at least empathise with this point of view. It feels essential to those who wear them. Of course, to the rest of the world it's an absolute luxury!

The thing people have to realise is that this is not just any industry. One of the raw materials of this product is HUMAN HAIR. Not to mention the fact that these items are crafted by hand, and skilled hands at that!

I've never been comfortable with the set up we've got, where labour is exploited in places like China - as a regular consumer of the product, I guess I have no grounds for complaint. I hope that the prices don't go so high that I can't afford them, but I would definitely accept a fair hike if it meant that the people involved in producing them were paid a fair wage. Anyone complaining that they're paying too much for, again, HUMAN HAIR (!!!) need to ask themselves a few questions, and perhaps reconsider their definition of the word 'luxury'.

By the by, skin units are pretty good. I know some have an aversion based on how they feel but I like mine. They're easy to clean and, when properly styled and applied, are faultlessly realistic.
 

BaldBearded

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When I first got my system, I actually pondered what would happen if some sort of catastrophe brought the global economy to a halt and I was stuck with a horseshoe dome and nothing to put on it! Less than a year later, Covid hit...

I know that it sounds laughable that someone might say that systems are essential items, but surely everyone on here can at least empathise with this point of view. It feels essential to those who wear them. Of course, to the rest of the world it's an absolute luxury!

The thing people have to realise is that this is not just any industry. One of the raw materials of this product is HUMAN HAIR. Not to mention the fact that these items are crafted by hand, and skilled hands at that!

I've never been comfortable with the set up we've got, where labour is exploited in places like China - as a regular consumer of the product, I guess I have no grounds for complaint. I hope that the prices don't go so high that I can't afford them, but I would definitely accept a fair hike if it meant that the people involved in producing them were paid a fair wage. Anyone complaining that they're paying too much for, again, HUMAN HAIR (!!!) need to ask themselves a few questions, and perhaps reconsider their definition of the word 'luxury'.

By the by, skin units are pretty good. I know some have an aversion based on how they feel but I like mine. They're easy to clean and, when properly styled and applied, are faultlessly realistic.

Why are you under the impression that "labour is exploited"? Have you been reading the forum? The Chinese workers are the cause of the almost weekly price increases and the lack of lace or complex systems.

It's also relative to the rest of the market in the country they are living and working in. I would say that if you are buying on Amazon you are certainly contributing to labour exploitation (in the USA, at least). Or any product you buy that is NOT union-made.

Do you own a mobile phone? Do you have any idea of the conditions that some of those workers deal with?

Worse, where is your clothing made? Bangladesh? The Philippines? Do you have any idea of how little workes in this industry make?
 

cottonReville

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I think my next unit will be thick, non-UTS poly attached, daily, w/ Got2B - which works beautifully on thick plastic. I'll go medium density & get 2 yrs out of it!
 

albar05

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thankfully i have been able to stock pile systems every time i can afford to AND find them, so i have around 10 full lace systems now , sadly not all in my ideal colour of 22R but i think they can be workable with a little dyeing IF i need too... i would advise anyone who prefers lace to do the same if they can afford too or find them , until we know for a fact supply is back up and running as it was prior to covid :)
 

jimlad

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Why are you under the impression that "labour is exploited"? Have you been reading the forum? The Chinese workers are the cause of the almost weekly price increases and the lack of lace or complex systems.

It's also relative to the rest of the market in the country they are living and working in. I would say that if you are buying on Amazon you are certainly contributing to labour exploitation (in the USA, at least). Or any product you buy that is NOT union-made.

Do you own a mobile phone? Do you have any idea of the conditions that some of those workers deal with?

Worse, where is your clothing made? Bangladesh? The Philippines? Do you have any idea of how little workes in this industry make?
Yes I have been reading the forum, thanks. No need for the condescending tone.

When the workload is outsourced to countries like China, labour is being exploited. Fact. Listing other industries that do the same doesn't change a thing. Like I said, I regularly consume this product (in the same way that I purchase clothing and technology) and know that because of this I can't assume a moral high ground.
 

BaldBearded

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Yes I have been reading the forum, thanks. No need for the condescending tone.

When the workload is outsourced to countries like China, labour is being exploited. Fact. Listing other industries that do the same doesn't change a thing. Like I said, I regularly consume this product (in the same way that I purchase clothing and technology) and know that because of this I can't assume a moral high ground.

So what is your actual point?
 

Hair2019

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Yes I have been reading the forum, thanks. No need for the condescending tone.

When the workload is outsourced to countries like China, labour is being exploited. Fact. Listing other industries that do the same doesn't change a thing. Like I said, I regularly consume this product (in the same way that I purchase clothing and technology) and know that because of this I can't assume a moral high ground.

I don't think workers in China are being 'exploited'. Their wages might be low compared with Western countries, but the cost of living is also much lower for them too, so it evens out. They also choose to do the job out of their own free choice I would presume.
 

jimlad

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So what is your actual point?
Why are you being so rude and defensive? I haven't set out to upset you.

I used to work in the ethical trade department for a massive global corporation - I've seen the insidious nature of outsourced labour up close and personal. There is, of course, a chance that I got this wrong, but I doubt that I have considering one of the areas of global trade that has been consistently called into question in recent years is the trade of human hair (granted, in the context of things like weaves/hair extensions).

With regards to the post above, the word 'exploited' is actually far more subjective than some might think. Definitively, it means to pay someone less than their labour is worth. By this metric, everyone is being exploited to some degree. But of course there is a level that we accept - any time a company outsources to another country there is exploitation. You can argue that the people there are paid well according to relative standards, but actually the presence of big corporations encourages economies to rely on low-paid, high-output workforces, which exacerbates a whole host of other problems (so far off topic now that I won't go into detail but if anyone is interested then feel free to PM!).

Back to the question, my 'actual point' - my actual point is that people APPEAR to be getting rather upset about prices going up. My point is that, having seen what I've seen, and having known what I've known, this is acceptable to me if it means the workers are paid more.

I would rather not have gone into this much detail, but I appear to have touched a nerve with a certain somebody and I felt the need to explain my position.

DISCLAIMER: Don't see this as a jab at the industry, or as a reason to feel guilty for purchasing systems. Like Bald Bearded accurately pointed out, this is the nature of production in the 21st century. The consumer is just as helpless as those working the production line.

Again, sorry for going off topic. I will happily read any replies to this, but I won't respond as I don't think it serves this conversation to go into anymore detail.
 

BaldBearded

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I was neither rude nor defensive, just direct.

OK, so let's separate the hair industry from the "Hair System" industry because they are indeed not one and the same.

I totally agree that there is probably much exploitation in that realm, especially since very few hair wholesalers provide the "provenance" of their hair. And the buyers need to trust where the hair comes from, and I believe they are more interested in the quality than if it is ethically sourced.

I did see something on TV about someone in Vietnam who is trying to change the hair sourcing industry by paying women fair prices for their hair. I know that Indian hair is mostly "Temple Hair" and this is ethically obtained. But I would not be surprised that some of it, is not.

Let's talk about the Hair System Industry. Outsourcing, so that was, North Korea, which for now is non-existent. Given the definition of outsourcing, this is now NOT happening in China since they are working with local workers, who are demanding and getting higher wages.

I do indeed appreciate that you are one of the few that does understand why the prices are going up and the reasons for it.
 

SD1984

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I do indeed appreciate that you are one of the few that does understand why the prices are going up and the reasons for it.
Here's my question - There's no other place in the world that can make these things at the same rate of pay that North Korea does? I ask because god forbid there is ever a crazy thing like this again, maybe then it wouldn't create such a catastrophic disruption in the industry for so long since everything is dependent on one and only country in the world (N. Korea)
 

jimlad

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I was neither rude nor defensive, just direct.

OK, so let's separate the hair industry from the "Hair System" industry because they are indeed not one and the same.

I totally agree that there is probably much exploitation in that realm, especially since very few hair wholesalers provide the "provenance" of their hair. And the buyers need to trust where the hair comes from, and I believe they are more interested in the quality than if it is ethically sourced.

I did see something on TV about someone in Vietnam who is trying to change the hair sourcing industry by paying women fair prices for their hair. I know that Indian hair is mostly "Temple Hair" and this is ethically obtained. But I would not be surprised that some of it, is not.

Let's talk about the Hair System Industry. Outsourcing, so that was, North Korea, which for now is non-existent. Given the definition of outsourcing, this is now NOT happening in China since they are working with local workers, who are demanding and getting higher wages.

I do indeed appreciate that you are one of the few that does understand why the prices are going up and the reasons for it.
Apologies - sometimes things get read a certain way...

One thing I'm not clear on: are the companies that produce systems actually based in China? As in, are they Chinese companies?
 

BaldBearded

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Apologies - sometimes things get read a certain way...

One thing I'm not clear on: are the companies that produce systems actually based in China? As in, are they Chinese companies?
Yes, most of them are Chinese companies, based in China. There are other companies in Thailand and Vietnam.

There is only one company that I am aware of that makes some of their systems in Italy and that is Cesar Regazzi.

Everyone else, HCFM, Norwood Lace, UK Hair Systems, and even Mr. fancypants (Cochrane & Co), Hair Direct, etc etc etc... buy from them.

Steve
 
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