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East Elmhurst store caters to niche market

Janice Fredericks noticed there were no beauty supply shops catering specifically to black women in East Elmhurst and saw the opportunity to carve out a niche in the neighborhood.

Fabulous Freddy’s Beauty Supply Boutique, at 94-09 Astoria Blvd., opened Sept. 18 to provide black women in western Queens with an alternative to find wigs and African-American beauty supply products instead of trekking to downtown Jamaica or Brooklyn, Fredericks said.

“One of the reasons why my family and I decided to open a beauty supply was to fill a few voids,” said Fredericks, the chief executive officer of the company. “One, in our community there wasn’t a beauty supply. The beauty supply industry only has less than 1 percent ownership by African Americans. So we definitely wanted to open a store with African-American products that African Americans use, which is very important to us.”

Fredericks, a third-generation East Elmhurst resident, said she and her family also decided to open up the business “to give back to the community.”

“Every customer that’s ever come in here said, ‘We’re so happy that you’re here,’” she said.

Even though the business is still new, Fredericks said her family already has dreams to expand.

“I want to branch out to more parts of Queens and on a larger scale,” she said. “It would be great to go international.”

Fredericks, a graduate of St. John’s University’s business school, where she majored in finance, said she always wanted to be a business owner.

She said she and her sisters huddled together and brainstormed on what type of business they would create.

“It was an ‘ah-ha’ moment,” Fredericks said. “One day, my sisters and I thought of a beauty supply. Beauty supply would be perfect. One thing we’re passionate about is beauty and looking fabulous.”

She said the business was based on “personal experience” of the family having a hard time finding black beauty supplies in East Elmhurst.

“We did a lot of research about East Elmhurst and the demographics [are] changing,” Fredericks said.

The most popular items are natural beauty products — which do not contain alcohol — as well as hair supply and skin care, hair extensions, nail care and flat and curling items, she said.

Fabulous Freddy’s also sells products for men, including aftershave, pomade, Just for Men hair color and clippers.

“We definitely wanted to have something for everybody in this store,” Fredericks said.

She said prices at Fabulous Freddy’s are “very reasonable,” noting wigs range from $20 to $100.

“We have different styles for everybody,” Fredericks said.

Hair extensions, which range from $20 to $500, are a large portion of the business, she said, because “women really care about their hair. It’s a really big thing. The one thing we cannot make sacrifices for is our hair.”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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