On getting Alikay naturals in retail stores:
A year after she launched her product line, the retail applications started rolling in without solicitation. They were very selective when choosing retailers, and made sure that they were aligned with the Alikay Naturals brand. “When you create something amazing and stick to your truth, you will be aligned with the retailers for you,” Miss Graham. Alikay Naturals is currently sold in 70 individual retail locations and in Target stores across the nation.
“My heart skips a beat every time I see my products on the shelf. I get teary eyed, it’s a touching and humbling experience.”
It took nearly five years for Alikay Naturals products to obtain a mass distribution deal with Target stores. Graham has this advice for other product makers seeking major retail distribution, “ You don’t want to rush the process. If you do business solely for money and your heart is not in it, it won’t work. Focus on you truth and why you created your products. What is for you shall be yours!” Alikay Naturals now operates in a 7000 sq. ft. facility, where they produce and manufacture their own products.
On balancing career with family:
Graham strongly believes that as a woman you can have both a career and a family, but it takes sacrifice. Her “day to day” consists of her balancing her work life with her husband, son, and family. She often sacrifices sleep by flying round trip from Florida to California in one day to minimize the time spent away from her family. After leaving her family to handle business, Graham would hurry home so that by the time her son wakes up, she would be home and he would’ve only spent one night without her.
“Although I am a beast when it comes to work, but when I am home, I’m mommy, I am a wife, I take care of my house. It’s all about balancing what is important to you.”
Her advice to other entrepreneurs:
“Surround yourself with great people, do it for the right reasons, and be committed! A dream without a goal is just going to float. Start with what you have now, and be committed. If you are working a full-time job now, dedicate four hours or a set amount of time that you are going to commit. You need to hold yourself responsible and don’t give up. When people say no, take it as a not yet.”
Author Chanel Martin (@ChanelEbone) is a co-founder and chief science officer of Techturized (@Techturized) Inc. She is also a wife, new mom, and lover of all things hair! She works full-time on her Techturized’s first product, Myavana (@Myavanahair) providing hair care personalization for female consumers around the world.