A Natural Progression

Realizing its niche, an ethnic haircare company curls its focus to include others

Today, CURLS is comprised of seven employees with products available online, in salons, and in retail stores in the U.S., the UK, and Canada.

Now, Dellinger has expanded her products’ reach and marketing initiatives, inviting anyone with curly hairdos—regardless of ethnicity—to use CURLS. Niche marketers like Dellinger have helped broaden the term “ethnic” within the hair, beauty, and cosmetics industry to include people of multicultural backgrounds.

And ethnic haircare products will reach $1.7 billion by 2012. Of course, Dellinger is looking to snip a piece of the action. She expects a distribution deal with retailers in Brazil to help bring revenues to $7 million by year’s end. “We have an extremely loyal client base,” says Dellinger. “But we’re still a very young company and it’s a male-dominated industry, so paving my way and getting respect is something I still have to work very hard at.”

This story originally appeared in the July 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.

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