Sunday, November 18, 2007

On Sisterlocks Status

Questions and debates about cost and brand-identity and the associated status continue to be a recurring theme with Sisterlocks. Before I got mine, I never knew this would be so. And if I were not such an avid reader of blogs, I would still be blissfully ignorant. Today I read this post and comments on Mel's blog.

I have recopied my own comments here:

Personally, I'm not overly concerned with the brand and status that is associated with Sisterlocks (as in: I want people to know that I cared enough to pay the big bucks for the installation) because the opinions go both ways on that. Some people applaud my choice and understand it. Others think it was a ridiculous waste when I could have used some other tool and done it myself or gone to the lady around the corner with a latch hook.

But I always tell people that I have SLs because I want to educate them about the method. I think they are unique and I am grateful to Dr. Cornwell for coming up with them and I think it is an amazing story!

I loved reading about her trial and error and how she developed the method. I mean, the whole 'backwards braid'/root-to-tip thing in and of itself is quite a concept! And so are the smaller more stylable locks. Whether they admit it or not, a lot of other methods out there HAVE borrowed from her genius. People can ACT like everyone was doing this all along and she didn't come up with anything new.

But she did. She really, really did! And she shared it with others. Ok, she did it for a price, but can we blame her for that? I don't think so. That's how we do things in America.

I get frequent compliments on my dreads or twists and twice as many questions about them, at which point I briefly explain the Sisterlocks difference. I ALWAYS encourage people to go online and do research. I direct people to the official site and my blog and the LHBE, so they can see how SLs are different from other types of locks and make an informed decision for themselves.

For a lot of people it does come down to cost and that is the reason they choose other methods. Others are die-hard DIYers and can't imagine paying someone else to do something they know they CAN do themselves. Some people decide that they want larger traditionals.

Even though I recently learned to retighten myself using the nappylocs tool, I will continue to go to my consultant (who uses nothing but the SL tool) for the foreseeable future. And if we should ever part ways, I intend to search out another consultant so that I will not be stuck with always having to do it myself.

So mine are still trademarked SLs, but yes, I agree that they still would be even if I never used the tool again or saw an approved consultant because that's what I got at installation. I paid for the parts and got the approved sizing and I have the pattern.

I got locked with about 10 inches of hair and have had exclusive SL maintenance done on at least another 4. There's no WAY anyone can tell me these aren't REAL SLs on my head.

Here's my question: why should it matter to anyone else how I maintain my locks?

If they look nice and neat it doesn't take anything away from the brand or the image. If I paid for an SL installation, it isn't a lie. It's not like passing off moissonite or CZ for diamonds.

I CAN understand the concerns about someone who wasn't officially trained and didn't pay for the class (or who never uses the tool and super-secret method and patterns) selling their services under the SL name like Muslimahlocs mentioned. That smacks of dishonesty and false advertising.

But on the self-maintenance front, I don't think it should matter at all!

I also visited Maryee's blog today and enjoyed her insightful post on the cost of Sisterlocks.


Renea said...

I always specify Sisterlocks because I want people to understand what I'm talking about...I'm referring to a particular method/tool/result. That said, people should do what pleases them. I do think that a loctician who is varying in anyway from the method taught, should tell their customer exactly what that deviation is...different tool, different technique, different parts.

I know a very, very excellent braider who has a very distinct parting technique that she has used for many years. When she started doing Sisterlocks, she started using her own parting technique. Now it looked very beautiful, but it meant that whoever got their hair parted that way wouldn't have straight parts (down the center, on each side, etc). As long as she said upfront--I use a different parting method...or offered to part it the SL way if the customer preferred it, that would be great.

But I'm not sure if she did that. The only reason I found out about her variation is that I moved and had to find someone else to do my SLs. But if I would have gone with the braider, I would have gotten a different package. And that would be fine as long as I'm provided the information to make that choice. But say I went to her and found out much later that my styling options were different because of the choices she made? That's why I think locticians should be accurate about what they are selling. But once you are doing your own hair. Who cares?

blackrussian said...

I agree 100% Renea.

I think it is of utmost importance to know what you're getting and get what you asked for!

THAT has been a recurring theme in ALL of my posts concerning variations from the standard - like my parts and sizing, for instance.

I know my consultant thought I was going to be one of her most difficult clients EVER because I asked so many questions and was SO SPECIFIC about what I wanted and didn't want. But I believe that has EVERYTHING to do with my levels of satisfaction - both current and initial.

I am not the type to just sit in the chair and 'trust' that it's all gonna be ok. And it was a little awkward at first because she thought I didn't trust her skill and training and expertise.

And it wasn't that. I just knew I had a different vision for my own locks. And I knew from my research what would complement my hair texture. I wanted to communicate that and make sure we were on the same page before she started.

I knew I was ignorant of the patterns and which one to use or how any of them were applied. And I knew I didn't have the patience to do my own parts.

My twists were always - let's say, very organic and honeycomb-like. Because I would grab what felt like the right amount of hair and go!

It didn't matter because there was always going to be a takedown and they weren't permanent.

As much as I say that perfect parts aren't important to me, I would have felt cheated if some other type of parting was done without my consent.

If I had seen this other parting and liked it, I might have preferred and chosen it, but, yes, I would want the option.

And those who have followed my blog know that I felt the same way about my lock sizing - because the two are SO intertwined.

I like to specify Sisterlocks because as a rule they are smaller than other locks and do mature differently. I think all of us have seen other types of locks that seem to be 'inspired by sisterlocks' although started and maintained by different methods.

Other forms of micro-locks are gaining popularity, but I think SLs are still in the majority because of the brand and standards and the fact that they have been around longer.

Jena Evans said...

Very insightful post~ Thanks! I appreciate your perspective and your integrity.


muslimahlocs said...

pardon me if i just paste one of my favorite parts of your post right here:

"Whether they admit it or not, a lot of other methods out there HAVE borrowed from her genius. People can ACT like everyone was doing this all along and she didn't come up with anything new.

But she did."

and add an "amin" to that.

Anonymous said...

Great Post!

Anonymous said...

Interesting post: I do not have SL, yet I like/admire them a whole lot. I bought Dr. J.C.'s book "That Hair Thing" 10 yrs. ago, and I even called her and thanked her for the SL Creation.
{I was on my way to getting locks when I came across her book in a bookstore}. I simply couldn't believe that I was looking at locks, Not Micro-Braids! :)
I am one who used another route for my locks, but never am I against those who want SL. I just personally can't afford them.
You are right! Dr. J.C. method has produced many others.

Take Care~
Speaking of methods, I just updated my blog with my 2 cents.

Naturally Sophia said...

Ditto Renea! Good Post!