How Gold Fever Started
Exploitation is a story as old as time – but one that we are working collaboratively to end at Gold Fever. In an industry as vibrant as hair extensions there are choices in terms of the way that businesses opt to move forward – taking the route of exploitation or making constructive choices that have positive motives at heart. If you’ve never thought much about how sourcing for hair extensions is handled then this blog is for you. We share all the information you need to make a positive and informed choice about how to ensure you’re buying ethically.
Where did it start for us?
Thomas Gold and Mayoor Balsara are the founders and creators of Gold Fever. We are committed to an ethically-driven approach and choose to focus on honouring women, cultural values and delivering quality in a world where these pillars are so often compromised for profit. We work with local communities to source the hair for our hair extensions, providing opportunities for people in regions of India and creating relationships based on trust and respect. So, how does it work?
Hair extensions is a fast-expanding industry
In fact, it has ballooned over the past decade as more and more people have been interested in buying these products for themselves. In the capitalist-driven world that we all live in this has, inevitably, meant that many businesses have begun to look for opportunities to drive up profit. Cheaper sourcing often seems like the answer to this – the cheaper the hair that is used in hair extensions, the larger the profit margin will be. At Gold Fever we feel this bypasses the positive impact that fair pricing and treatment has on the communities from which the hair is sourced. But there are
so many companies out there that don’t think like us.
80% of the total global production of hair extensions can be traced to China today. However, much of the hair that Chinese hair extensions factories use for their products often comes from India. When it does, this is sourced from India’s ‘brushed hair’ market. Brushed hair is actually as simple as it sounds – the hair comes from women in India who brush their hair every day. The hair that is used for hair extensions is the strands that have fallen out during brushing and been collected to be sold on.
How does exploitation happen?
It begins with efforts to avoid paying taxes on hair that is being sold from India to China. Often, this is achieved by smuggling the brushed hair across borders in large hair trucks. One recent media report identified 120 bags of human hair being smuggled across the border from India to Myanmar. Another showed that this trade costs India Rs 150 Crore (over £16 million) a year in lost taxes. Unfortunately, that’s not where it ends. These giant hair trucks often use children to achieve the process of packing and unpacking the hair. Children travel at night in the hair trucks and it’s their job to open the bags of hair on arrival in China and then separate the strands into groups of different lengths so that they can then be passed to Chinese hair factories. This is not a job for children and the conditions they work in are unpleasant. A recent Times of India article reported on steps that have been taken to try and stop the smuggling – restrictions on human hair export in raw form – but many feel that stronger measures are required, in particular a complete ban on exports.
What happens to these women?
Exploitative hair extensions supply chains place little value on ensuring that the women who sell their hair are being fairly compensated. Hair collectors in locations across China, for example, go from village to village offering poverty-stricken people a low fee for their hair, which is then turned into hair extensions and sold on at a vastly inflated price. The sourcing of hair for hair extensions has also widened to include Russia in recent years. You don’t have to look far today to find websites that are selling ‘Russian hair extensions’. However, you do have to look far to find any guarantees about how ethical the production of Russian hair is and how sustainable the practices involved really are. There is no transparency at all when it comes to Russian hair and if this matters to you – as it does to us – then it’s a troubling development.
What can consumers do?
When it comes to the exploitation around sourcing hair for hair extensions there are sanctions and export bans being considered for countries like China and Russia. However, the biggest impact here often comes from consumer choice – making an informed decision to buy from a hair extensions company that is transparent when it comes to ethical and sustainable choices.
At Gold Fever, the entirety of hair we use for our hair extensions comes from India – the only country where the practice of hair donation currently exists. It is donated willingly under a long-standing tradition where women, men and children of all ages donate their hair to temples. It is the very same temples that then sell the hair, using the profit to feed back into the local community, investing in hospitals, schools and charities. We employ women in our Indian facilities to turn the hair into hair extensions, working on fair terms and being paid a fair wage. It is a totally different story from the exploitative practices that have come to dominate the hair extensions industry elsewhere.
Gold Fever is a genuinely ethical choice
Gold Fever is a preferred choice for salons. We provide natural hair extensions that are high quality, aesthetically gorgeous – and made to high ethical standards. We use only the finest Indian hair, obtained in ethical ways, and with this, we have created a confidence-boosting product that is beautiful inside and out. Gold Fever is what we call a happy business because it benefits everyone involved. From the donors and their communities through to the final customer who sustains these ethical and charitable practices.
When it comes to hair extensions that are not just your crowning glory but also a shining example of how an ethical and inspiring business model works, Gold Fever is the obvious choice.