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Five Guyanese Sisters Dominate Kansas City Hair Scene with Unique “Bubble Braid” Technique

A family that braids together stays together!  The braiding technique developed by the talented Smith sisters has made them a household name in Kansas City, Missouri and earned them a well-deserved feature in the May issue of Allure Magazine.  Originally from Linden, the five sisters (Glynnis, Shelly, Rhonda, Alecia and Leslyn Smith) are the powerhouse stylists at “Braid Heaven” Hair Salon who have perfected the “bubble braiding” technique.  Here’s their story by Allure Magazine. They rock!

How Kansas City\'s Braid Heaven Perfected the \

Photographed by Fumi Nagasaka

Before the three-month waitlists and clients from both coasts, there were just the five Smith sisters, who moved from Guyana to Kansas City. That was over 25 years ago, and the oldest, Glynnis, was beginning to play with a new form of braiding hair. A bubble braid, she’d call it. Her brother’s girlfriend begged her to braid her hair in the same style, and demand zipped through the neighborhood. Glynnis soon found herself braiding for 10 to 12 hours a day, six days a week, and still had to turn away clients. In 2006, she opened Braid Heaven, a five-chair salon on Kansas City’s Lloyd Street.

How Kansas City\'s Braid Heaven Perfected the \

Glynnis Smith has only ever shared her bubble-braiding technique with her four sisters (one of whom sees clients out of her Dallas home) and one niece; they remain the salon’s only employees. So what exactly is this family secret?

How Kansas City\'s Braid Heaven Perfected the \
Photographed by Fumi Nagasaka

Instead of just pulling their clients’ natural hair into braids, the Smiths braid human or synthetic extensions into the hair in such a way that the natural hair rests, protected, underneath the braids. If you don’t totally follow, it’s OK — we don’t, either. But the secret wouldn’t be much of a secret if they gave us any more information. What we can totally grasp: The technique lets women toss their braided hair up into a ponytail or switch the part without revealing tracks or wefts. It also allows the bubble-braiders to work with hair that has different curl patterns.

How Kansas City\'s Braid Heaven Perfected the \

The first appointment can take four to six hours, but the technique lasts a month longer than a traditional weave.

“With natural black hair, there is no uniformity on a single head,” says Shelly Smith. “With our technique, we can add in several different textures of hair, and that inconsistency makes it look real.” Bubble-braiding, very simply, creates the illusion of a full, fluffy head of natural hair. It’s so dramatic that if you were this Allure editor, you’d have to stop a woman in a restaurant to find out where she got her hair done. (And during your two-minute conversation, another stranger would interrupt to ask the same thing.) There’s word of mouth, and then there’s full-on phenomenon.

Five Guyanese Sisters Dominate Kansas City Hair Scene with Unique \For more information visit – or call (913) 432-5099

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Comments (14)

Marcia Jones do u know them ?

Yes that’s my nephews mom and Sisters.

Marcia Jones o really wow ok

Thank you for sharing our story

I sure would like to get on the waiting list in the Dallas area, I live in the Dallas metroplex. Tina at geofoodie@aol. com. Does this sister have a web site or email that I can have.
Many thanks and blessings.

Hi Tina. For more information visit – or call (913) 432-5099.

Wow!! I LOVE IT!! They rock and now I want to add my name to that waitlist.

My 1st thought: I Love it ?? GY Girls Rock.

This is so Awesome!! I’m so proud of you ladies!! Sky’s the limit to some… But, you ladies blasted way past!! Keep going and GROWING!!

That’s dope. I never even heard of it.

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