Beauty business booming in Bayou City

When you think of our thriving economy, you may think oil and gas, the medical center. But another industry is taking center stage
November 6, 2013 8:24:30 PM PST
When you think of Houston's thriving economy, you may think oil and gas, the medical center, or maybe even real estate. But there's another industry taking center stage, the beauty business.

Farouk Shami is a global hair guru. He built the empire of CHI hair products.

"When we started, we used to mix in these barrels, 52 gallons. Now we mix in 5,000-10,000 gallons at a time," he said.

"When you walk through here now, what goes through your mind?" we asked him

"How can we get bigger?" he said.

From designers Chloe Dao and Elaine Turner, to NovaLash and makeup maven Laura Mercier, it's more and more common to see Houston-based names in the national and international spotlight.

Take Colorescience, for example. The upscale mineral makeup company is tucked away in the northwest part of the city. They started here and intend to grow here.

"It's nice being centrally located because you're not on one coast or the other," said Patricia Bolan, director of product development at Colorescience. "You're not as distracted by all the other competitors. We're really focused on our own business and not so much on what everyone else is doing."

Houston Chronicle fashion & beauty editor Joy Sewing says we are not New York or LA, but Houston's beauty and fashion scene is reflective of the world, and that makes us unique.

"Houston is, to me, the model of what beauty should be," Sewing said. "We have our own look and feel, and we're emerging in the market."

And there are other big pluses: no state tax, a good skilled-labor force and two international airports. All of it is making Houston even more beautiful.

"Houston is the future of the United States of America," Shami said.

Shami tells us he's opening new factories in Palestine and Turkey. He's also starting a joint program with Lone Star Community College to train future professional hair dressers for Houston.

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