As the CEO and founder of the NATURALICIOUS haircare product line, Gwen Jimmere is no stranger to the success stories we’ve profiled on Black Enterprise. However, at nearly five years to the date since she was laid off from her job, was going through a tough divorce, had a 2-year-old mouth to feed and $32 in the banks—she’s sharing a different story. Recently, she added Sally Beauty stores to her line-up of major retailers selling the simple three-step process that helps busy beauties rock fabulous hair in a fraction of the time. We caught up with her to learn how to get your products in big name retail stores.
How did you land an opportunity to meet with a buyer at Sally Beauty?
Currently, we’re in a number of other retailers so just like media coverage begets media coverage—retail begets retail. I had a meeting with the main buyer at Sally’s who loved the story of NATURALICIOUS, my energy, and the unique selling proposition of the brand.
The industry is very saturated with natural hair products but our brand is different because not only is it organic and works well, but it literally saves the customer a huge amount of time. For instance, customers can go from spending 2-3 hours on their hair to 30 or 20 minutes, and sometimes less than 10 minutes. So Sally’s was extremely intrigued by that.
Your products are also in Whole Foods. In your opinion, what were the top two deciding factors for a retail store to accept your products in the store?
First, they want to know how you’re going to move the product off the shelves. What’s so unique about you that their customer is going to choose your product over everything else (similar) that’s in the store? You have to be able to communicate that effectively not only to the person buying it but to the general public who’s going to come out and support you.
It’s also important that you understand who that retailer’s audience is. The Whole Foods audience is different than Walmart’s audience. So when you’re approaching these stores, you have to make sure you are speaking to them in a language that they understand.
I always say everyone subscribes to one radio station—that’s WIIFM (What In It For Me). So if you keep WIIFM in mind, it will help you tailor your presentation to the specific retailer. Plus, at the end of the day, you have to show them how you’re going to make them money. If you can’t tell them that then your story doesn’t even matter
How did you prove that there was a demand for your product?
Social media played a huge part. I pulled screenshots of women on different Facebook and Instagram hair groups as well as online forums. These women were complaining about not being able to find solutions to problems that my product solved. I gathered responses from other women who would say, “Hey have you tried NATURALICIOUS, they have a product that will get you done in no time.” I also pulled testimonials from women who said, “I used to spend 3 hours on me and my daughter’s hair, but now I’m done with both of us in 45 minutes.” I was able to prove that these conversations are already happening. Plus, people were asking where we can we find you in stores near me? These types of social proof demonstrate that you already have an awareness brewing about your brand and a tribe of customers that are evangelizing your products for you.