Michael James Gives Tips For Small Businesses To Expand Their Brands
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Owner Of Black Men’s Haircare Brand Explains His Three Winning Strategies

Michael James is the founder of Frederick Benjamin. Michael James

Michael James, the founder of Frederick Benjamin, a Black men’s haircare brand, previously worked at L’Oreal and noticed most barbershops don’t have a range of products for men.

That led James to create a line of haircare products for Black men. He entered the Target Accelerator Program and worked with the retailer to define how and where Frederick Benjamin fits into its portfolio.

“Who else better to tackle this aggressive market other than myself? – One, with the experience, but two and most importantly, first-hand experience as a man of color,” James told Business Insider.

Frederick Benjamin’s products are now available in 500 Target stores across the country. Now, James is sharing tips for small businesses working on getting national chains to notice them.

James’ first step for small businesses looking to get more eyes on them is to start small and test your product for feedback. James also suggested collecting data and information about what is missing from the market a small business is involved in and how your product can help fill the gap.

The second step is that even after your product hits shelves and gathers a following, don’t stop working on ways to upgrade and re-develop the product, collect feedback on your product, and don’t be afraid of criticism.

The final step is simple, don’t give up. Hear the advice and feedback from your customers, determine what’s relevant for your business, and ensure you have a strong circle you can rely on.

James knew the haircare of Black men was largely ignored by hair and beauty companies that advertise and market products to women. Additionally, James, who previously worked for Revlon, said he took note of several high-profile stories involving young Black men and racial discrimination surrounding their hair.

In 2019,  the Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act was introduced to combat racial discrimination in Black hair, including braids, dreadlocks, afros, and curls. The act has been passed in 12 states, including New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and Colorado, and the legislation was recently passed in the House.