Black people residing in Oshkosh have a hard time finding beauty products.
Many travel to other parts of the state to places like Appleton, Green Bay, or Milwaukee. Others travel even farther to places like Chicago, and some have said that when traveling to metropolitan areas for work or to visit family, they take advantage of those opportunities to stock up on the products they need.
Enter Shes Bee Beauty Supply and owner, Bionca Wright.
On April 6, 2019, Wright opened Shes Bee Beauty Supply located at 581 North Main Street in Oshkosh. Close friends and family call Bionca “Bee” or “Queen Bee,” thus the name.
Shes Bee (which intentionally has no apostrophe) is a one-stop shop for hair extensions, hair and nail care, and shea butter products.
A first-time brick and mortar entrepreneur, Wright opened the shop after hearing from family members who live in Oshkosh that it has been difficult for them to find affordable everyday beauty products.
“My brother had come to Milwaukee, and he asked me to take him to the beauty supply store before returning home,” Wright recalls. He said that he could find the item he was looking for in Oshkosh for $5. In Milwaukee, that same item was only $2.
While Wright’s store is in a prime location in the Main Street shopping district and home of the summer farmers market, the location has been home to many short-lived business ventures including a convenience store and a t-shirt shop, but Wright is not discouraged by that.
Wright says that many customers love to talk about the location’s “colorful” past. Instead of taking that on, Wright reminds them that their financial support will ensure that she stays put.
Wright knew that opening a Black-owned and Black-oriented business in the heart of Main Street might prove a bit challenging, but as the third oldest of 15 children and the mother to five adult children, Wright has learned to excel despite adversity.
Her reasons for starting a business go beyond personal ambition. The first is that she wants to create a legacy for her kids.
“I can pass something along to my children besides a bill,” she says. “I know with that, having a job would not allow me to give them much.”
The second is because of the advice she has received from the seniors she has gotten to know during her more than 20 years of working in the healthcare industry.
“They have told me that, you work so hard all your life, to get the money that you have and by the time you retire, you are unable to spend it the way you want to spend it because you are paying medical bills, so you don’t really enjoy it. I have seen a lot of retired people have to back and work. That’s something that I don’t want to do,” she says.
Wright has also begun to incorporate shoes and clothing into her inventory, as well.
Shes Bee Beauty Supply is located at 581 N Main Street in Oshkosh and open Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. She’s also active on Facebook and Instagram.