In celebration of Black History Month, We're Open Indy is highlighting Black-owned businesses in the Indianapolis-area. Throughout February, WRTV will feature the story of a different local Black businesses. Check out all of the stories at wrtv.com/blackhistorymonth.
INDIANAPOLIS — The day Brittani Buford signed the lease for a space in Lawrence to open her beauty supply boutique, her mother and business partner had a heart attack. Just like that, her exciting business venture became her last priority.
Buford's mother had to get a double bypass surgery and, according to Buford, doctors say had she went to sleep that night, she wouldn't have woken up.
Despite this, there was no going back on the lease.
"I get so emotional just thinking about it, you know?" Buford said.
With the help of her resilient community base from near and far, The Maxx Beauty Supply & Co. still opened by November as originally planned.
As her mother started on a long road to recovery, Buford and her family did everything they could to open the boutique named after her grandmother, Maxine Moore, with the vision Buford and her mother conceived together.
"I hope everybody sees the love we put in here," Buford said.
Walking into The Maxx is an experience of Black culture within itself.
Upon entrance to The Maxx, you can hear Nina Simone's voice flow through and see Black hair care products perfectly aligned on the shelves of a single wall with a bright aesthetic.
Buford, a catalyst of all-things Black, wore a bright yellow suit made by an African fashion designer during her interview with WRTV. She also told us about her Black loctitian, an expert in dreadlocking, and a Black woman-owned day spa she recently took classes from. Both are local to Indy.
"I think us supporting each other is the best way to lift each other up," Buford said.
The boutique-style beauty supply has all products — wigs, makeup, hair care, body care, and even clothes, accessories, and nail care — well-spaced out in the layout.
"We're not your typical set-up, I would say. Our shelves, you can see straight through them," Buford said. "Our idea was not for it to be an overcrowded or overwhelming experience. I'm the type of person that if I go in somewhere and it's a little too crowded, I can't deal. So, I'll just kind of walk out of there without getting anything."
Comfort and an inviting style were top of mind for Buford when thinking of opening The Maxx. This mindset instantly sets it apart from other beauty supplies dominated by Korean-American entrepreneurs who took over the market of hair weaves and curl creams retailed to Black women since the 1970s.
"I think it's very important that we kind of take this industry back, in a sense," Buford said. "We have different races selling (Black) products and telling us what's good for our hair, and I feel like we know what's good for our hair!"
Generational wealth and uplifting those around her is the binding core of Buford's entrepreneurial spirit. For example, her 16-year-old daughter has her own hair care line that continuously is sold out at The Maxx. Her husband founded the nonprofit "Youth Development Center," which provides central Indiana's youth with support and learning activities.
"I feel like our culture has kind of missed the ball on (generational wealth). You know, not purposefully. I think that was just how it was set up for us from the past," Buford said. "I'm just excited to set this path for my children and family to come."
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The mother and daughter duo are both still working in the corporate world while running the boutique. But perhaps, not much longer.
Buford, also a licensed esthetician, is soon opening a day spa in the back of the boutique — a career move she was in the process of making when she decided to take a slight left into the beauty supply world with her mom.
"My mom called me at like 11 p.m. one night and said, 'we need to start a beauty supply store.' So, the next day I called her, and I said, 'Are you sure? Do you remember what you told me last night?'" Buford recalled, laughing. "And she goes 'yes!'"
During her research phase of building The Maxx, Buford realized there are many Black-owned beauty supplies that are up and coming throughout the nation. It's something she wants the entire Black community to know.
"It's amazing to even be part of this industry," Buford said.
"I just want to be able to support and be a role model to little girls like me. We didn't see a lot of that growing up. The outlook I have is to do more work in the community and just make people aware that hey, we are out here. You have Black business owners out here, and we're trying to tear this beauty supply world down."
The Maxx Beauty Supply & Co.
11915 Pendleton Pike
Tuesday - Thursday: 10 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Friday - Saturday: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m
All of The Maxx Beauty Supply & Co.'s products are available for local delivery and nationwide shipping.
The boutique beauty supply's best-selling products are:
- Softee Natural Pure Shea Tress Growth Oil — has sold out five times since The Maxx opened.
- The Meille Organics hairline — owned and operated by Hoosier Monique Rodriguez.
- Favor Care Organic Tumeric Soap — locally-owned and sourced.
- Bel Lumière & Co.'s Peppermint Scrub — Buford's 16-year-old's product line.