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In addition to appearing on Bethenny, you also have landed a distribution deal with Walgreens. How did that come about?
[Shea Gourmet] is in selected locations on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn. It’s been in stores for a little over a year now, and once again, me getting into that store was through a friend. People know about me from people who have used my product and that came about through one of my friends who I casually gave a bar of soap and some shea lotion to. She had another friend who was looking for vendors from Brooklyn, and at that time, I was in Brooklyn. She sent me the link and I contacted the district manager and I went in saying “Look, I don’t have much to say or much to offer but I believe in my product and I believe in my brand and I would like you to use this and tell me what you think.â€ In 24 hours she gave me a call and said she wanted to meet with me. I met with her the next day and she said she really liked the product and was doing a little segment on black owned businesses from Brooklyn and wanted me to be a part of that. So, that’s how that happened and I’ve been working really hard on [that deal].
With the knowledge you have now, what advice would you have given yourself when you first started your business?
I would have told myself to start sooner. There was a lot of fear in me. People don’t know, but I’ve been thinking about this since I was six years old. I went to school for skin care, but I also have business and marketing experience. I mostly use my skin care skills and I always got high paying jobs, which was my security. Every time I was about to start my business, I would have someone call me and say “Can you help me with my spa?â€ I’m always put in a position of helping people and I think all of my extending help for free is coming back to me. If you don’t put yourself out there and put aside your fear, you will never get anywhere.
To check out Bentley’s skin care products visit KimoBentley.com.
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