Wendi Levy and Kim Etheredge turned their struggle to find haircare products that suited biracial hair textures into MIXED CHICKS, a multimillion-dollar personal care business. One reason for their success: Their ability to get customers to relate to their challenges as biracial women. “We are our product, so people identify with that,” says Etheredge. Here’s how other businesses can do the same.
Highlight experiences first, product second. Rather than filling their marketing materials with ingredient lists and other product information, Levy and Etheredge told stories about how difficult it had been for them to take care of their hair. Once potential customers bought into the fact that Levy and Etheredge shared their problem, they were willing to trust that the duo would give them the solution.
Laugh at yourself. In a video on the MIXED CHICKS Website, Etheredge talks about growing up with a white mother who didn’t know how to handle her hair. “I had my dad’s [black] sisters constantly saying, ‘Bring that child over here. You don’t know how to do her hair,’” she chuckles. Not only does her story resonate with other white mothers who have biracial children, but by making light of her own upbringing, she makes herself likable to potential customers.
Create a movement. Levy and Etheredge make no bones about showing their pride as biracial women, which attracts other biracial customers who desire acceptance. Levy says, “We’re among the first mixed chicks that actually created a product.” As a result, high-profile biracial women such as Halle Berry and Tracee Ellis Ross touted the products, and customers related to the company’s brand and responded–to the tune of $3.5 million in gross revenues in 2009.
Tamara E. Holmes is a regular contributor to BlackEnterprise.com.