Identify and Conquer

I am a 22-year-old entrepreneur and want to expand my business. I sell body oil and other beauty and skincare products wholesale. I’d like to create a more professional display for my products and distribute them to stores along the East Coast, but I’ve been unable to identify distributors. How can I find the information I need?
—J. Vaughan-Bey, Newark, NJ

One of your challenges involves keeping up with your competitors, who are more experienced and capable of tapping into an established network. Learn everything you can about the beauty and skincare industry. Subscribe to trade magazines and join organizations that can provide information on networking conferences, distributors, and consultants.

The Black Owned Beauty Supply Association (www.bobsa.us) and the National Minority Supplier Development Council (www.nmsdc.org) are two organizations you should contact. Also, the American Health and Beauty Aids Institute (www.ahbai.org), represents black-owned companies and manufacturers as well as businesses allied with the ethnic health and beauty care industry. All can help identify distributors around the country.

The goal is to find distributors in your area who can help you implement techniques and operating strategies to handle your materials as well as warehouse distribution and fulfillment services. Read Warehouse Distribution and Operations Handbook (McGraw-Hill Professional; $89.50) by David E. Mulcahy.

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