On Day 3 of the Entrepreneurs Summit, the hair and beauty mavens spoke. Not in the beauty business? You can still learn from these successes in specialized markets.
The panel, “Navigating Your Niche: Making Big Bucks in Specialized Markets,” hosted by Walmart, comprised three successful product developers and one e-commerce entrepreneur who sells hair products directly to the consumer: Miko Branch, co-founder and CEO of Miss Jessie’s L.L.C.; Richelieu Dennis, CEO of Sundial Brands; Jane Carter, founder, CEO, and sole formulator of Jane Carter Solution; and Diishan Imira, CEO and founder of Mayvenn Inc.
Deftly moderated by Executive Managing Editor Alisa Gumbs, the panel of hair and beauty mavens shared expert advice.
Branch has been riding the wave of natural haircare probably since it started. Launching the business with her late sister, Titi Branch, they “specialize in all things curls, kinks, and waves,” says Branch. They showed women with so-called kinky hair that it naturally curls and coils—which at the time few women knew.
Dennis, who hails from Liberia, came to the U.S. to study. When civil war broke out at home, he was stuck in the U.S. and soon started his business, whose mission is “inclusive beauty and making sure your beauty is represented.”
Carter says she saw the enormous hole in the beauty industry, partially because her own haircare needs were unmet. After developing an allergy, she started scrutinizing labels and noticed the prevalence of petroleum and silicone. Her products are all-natural and work on all hair types.
Imira noted that $9 billion in hair products are sold annually—but 90% of black-owned hair salons aren’t retailing—missing out on a huge opportunity. Imira has developed a Web-based portal through which hair stylists and salon owners can sell their products. They get a commission, don’t have to manage inventory, and more importantly, get their products out to a wider consumer base.
Helpful advice from the panel:
- If you see a hole that you can fill, do it.
- Before filling that void, make sure you have a unique advantage that will propel you and provide staying power. It’s as much about you as it is about the need in the market.
- Growing slowly can be a key to success.
- As your business grows, institute structure, process, and discipline to support your success.
- “All big things are made up of small things,” Imira says. Seek out mentors. Make use of business coaches to help minimize mistakes.
- Recognize and own your failures. Failure is an inherent part of success.
For more information, go to the Entrepreneurs Summit website.