Professor’s movement tops $10 million for urban communities

by Akua Boachie

In 2005, Devin Robinson was threatened with a golf club by a store owner while shopping in the owner’s beauty supply store. Out of anger, two months later Robinson had his own store. Eighteen months later he had two additional locations.

Black-owned beauty supply storeIn 2007, he self-published “Taking it Back: How to Become a Successful Beauty Supply Store Owner” and launched Taking it Back University to train others how to be successful in beauty supply ownership too. In 2008 he was featured in Ebony magazine and appeared in the documentary, “Black Hair.” In 2009 Devin Robinson led a national boycott against non-Black-owned beauty supply stores. Since then, he has rebranded Taking it Back University into Beauty Supply Institute.

Beauty Supply Institute staffs 11 people working in two divisions: Training Operations and Field Operations. The company is in its sixth year of business, in its fourth year of two annual conferences and recently partnered with Herzing University to offer a nine-month beauty supply ownership program. The company also has online courses, materials, on-site consulting and full store opening services.

By the end of 2012, the revenues of stores Beauty Supply Institute is responsible for opening topped $10 million. When asked about this accomplishment, Robinson said: “Putting these revenues back into the hands of Blacks and in urban communities is severely important to me. For the past six years when aspiring entrepreneurs ask how to open a beauty supply store or how to become a beauty supply store owner, I wanted us to have every single answer for them. I am very pleased with my team. In this industry, we have more answers now than any question a client can ask us. I view the problems in this industry as an economic hate crime against Blacks, thus making entrepreneurship the 21st century civil rights issue.”

Beauty supply retailing is a $15 billion sector with 96 percent of its revenues coming from Black people, but only approximately 3 percent of the stores are Black owned. Robinson, a business and economics professor, has college-level experience in creating curriculums, lesson plans and writing books. This has contributed to the success and effectiveness of Beauty Supply Institute’s training effort.

Robinson recently released his eighth book, “Power M.O.V.E.: How to Transition from Employee to Employer.” “Over time, helping aspirers become achievers, I noticed that transitioning into full-time entrepreneurship also requires the transitioning of the mind and how you manage resources,” he notes. “This book hones in on principles and traits I’ve used for many years that are useful to any aspiring entrepreneur. Hopefully my work can continue to bless the masses.”

Akua Boachie can be reached at For information on Professor Robinson’s book, visit For information on Beauty Supply Institute, visit To learn more about Devin Robinson, go to