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haircare

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Scotch Porter CEO Discusses Keys to Creating A Multi Million Dollar Personal Grooming Brand

New Jersey based Scotch Porter is one of the most popular and successful brands in the world of men’s grooming.  Founder and CEO, Calvin Quallis started the company in 2015 and named the line after his favorite drink (scotch) and his favorite musician (Gregory Porter).

Within the first 12 months of operation, Scotch Porter generated more than a million dollars in sales and has been growing rapidly ever since with distribution in major retailers such as Target and Walmart.

We caught up with Calvin to find out more about the company and his keys to success.

Scotch Porter
Scotch Porter founder, Calvin Quallis

What inspired you to start your business?

I’ve always been passionate about solving problems. My passion for helping men to feel their best was born out of observation and my firsthand experience as a barbershop owner and a kid in my mom’s beauty/barbershop.

There I watched my mom and the other stylists transform the customers that walked into the shop. The customers would walk out as a different person. The barbers and stylists had this unique ability to help people feel better about themselves. That experience really stuck with me.

Also, when I owned my own barbershop, a lot of men would complain about grooming issues like dry, brittle and thin hair. So, I went home and began experimenting from the kitchen of my home, with natural ingredients, to alleviate their concerns and Scotch Porter was born.

Scotch Porter

What particular growth strategies have you implemented (or still implement) that have been most effective?

We operate in many of the traditional digital marketing channels that everyone plays in: PPC, Paid Social, Email, Influencer, Affiliate, etc. We have found email or retention marketing to be the most profitable and lucrative channel for us.

We see about an 83x return on every dollar that we invest in our email marketing efforts. Also, the channel is a great way to build customer loyalty and launch new products.


Where do you see the business in the next 5 years?

Our mission is to promote internal and external wellness while arming men with the tools needed to live their best, most fulfilled lives. In recent years, men have become much more interested in wellness and personal care.

We feed that interest by educating and providing experiences that showcase how health, wellness, and taking care of oneself shifts how one feels and performs in their personal and professional lives.

Scotch Porter is in a unique position to continue to educate and arm our customers with information and products that are aligned with internal and external wellness. Just like beauty isn’t just lipstick and makeup, grooming isn’t just a haircut and shave. You can expect a diverse product assortment from us in the near future.

What advice do you have for the entrepreneur who would like to see his/her products on the shelves of major retailers?

I have three key pieces of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.

1) Do your research. 

If you are thinking of entering a market where there are no competitors, you better have a lot of money, as it will take boat loads of it to open up a new market. Thinking that you can create a new market with very little capital and resources is an uphill battle that most new entrepreneurs will lose. Competition is a sign that you are entering a healthy market and that customers are buying your offering.

2) Identify and/or cultivate a USP (Unique Selling Point) or Niche Market.

Being able to clearly communicate to a customer why they should buy from you instead of the competition is the only way to survive in a marketplace where there are hundreds, sometimes tens of thousands of companies that are technically offering the same product or service.

Even better is identifying a niche market. Find a market that is big enough and has enough potential customers but is being underserved or ignored. Study that customer and identify the best ways to serve them. You can grow a very substantial business, by identifying and properly serving a niche market.

3) Investigate the real costs of doing business with a major retailer and ask yourself if you’re truly ready. 

First, having a tight grip on the business’ finances and having the appropriate product margin to sell to a mass retailer is crucial to the sustainability of your business. Does your current product margins support giving 50% or more of your retail costs to a retailer, plus another 10-15% to support marketing/sales efforts?

Second, getting on a retailer’s shelf is no easy feat, but it’s much easier than moving product off that retailer’s shelf. You must have customer loyalty and/or the marketing/sales capability to sell through. Landing on a retailer’s shelf, but not being able to move product off the shelf can be devastating to a small business, as you can accumulate massive fees from the retailer, have your products removed from shelves, and mar your reputation with the retailer.

 

Tony O. Lawson


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Black Owned Sunscreen Brand Receives $1 Million Investment

Black Girl Sunscreen (BGS) is a Black owned sunscreen brand based in Van Nuys, CA. The company produces a fragrance-free, melanin reinforcing SPF 30 sunscreen moisturizer using natural ingredients. This month, BGS secured a $1 million dollar investment from a private female funding source.

black owned sunscreen
Shontay Lundy, owner of Black Girl Sunscreen

Despite Black owned businesses typically having the most challenging time raising capital, BGS achieved this milestone with one single anchor product.

Currently, BGS is the only indie Black owned sunscreen brand carried full time in Target’s sun care section. This came after a successful sales and marketing campaign, which focused on the importance of all complexions needing sunscreen. Now over 200 Target stores across the country sell the BGS SPF 30 and BGS Kids SPF 50.

black owned sunscreen

After months of vetting potential partners, owner Shontay partnered with an investor who embodies many of her traits, namely integrity, and business savvy. Black Girl Sunscreen is valued at $5 million, after recently receiving their newest investment.

In the throes of COVID-19, the five-person BGS staff implemented an “all hands-on deck” mentality to ensure the company thrived. Lundy, refused to let the pandemic slow down her progress, stating that, “I told the team we need to change the narrative and be very nimble to survive this.”

The team immediately enhanced their social media strategy, started working longer hours, and increased their marketing efforts. Since the onset of COVD-19, the brand has seen a tremendous uptick in e-commerce orders and will be launching a new product later this year.

Traditionally, businesses with women of color CEOs at the helm, receive less than 1 percent of all VC funding every year. Black women startups and entrepreneurs are leading the pack when it comes to being marginalized, only receiving 0.2% of all funding.

Despite the large funding gap, women of color, especially black women aren’t slowing up anytime with funding new businesses and diving into entrepreneurship, as minority women account for 89% of new businesses opened every day. We sat down with Lundy to speak about her new private investment in Black Girl Sunscreen and where she sees Black Girl Sunscreen going next.

Source: Dominique Fluker for FORBES

 


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Black Owned Natural Hair Care Brand to receive $1 Million Investment from Shea Moisture Founder

Last summer, Shea Moisture founder Richelieu Dennis announced a $100 million fund for women entrepreneurs of color. The $100 Million New Voices Fund was  created to empower women of color entrepreneurs to reach their full potential.

Now, it seems the fund has made its first investment. Black owned natural hair care line NaturAll Club recently announced that they will be the recipients of a $1 Million dollar investment from Mr. Dennis.

Black Owned Natural Hair

A week ago, NaturaAll Club founder and CEO, Muhga Eltigani, made the announcement on her Instagram page.

“What’s cooler than having Rich Dennis, founder of one of the largest beauty brands, Shea Moisture, say that @naturallclub will become the next big thing in beauty?……

Having him invest $1M to help you do it….

Welcome to the team, Rich! I’m humbled that you selected us as your first haircare product investment.”

NaturaAll Club CEO, Muhga Eltigani and Rich Dennis

Congrats to the NaturAll Club team and salute to Richelieu Dennis for investing in Black business owners!

Click here to learn more about the New Voices Fund.

 

-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG@thebusyafrican)

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Wade The Barber is “Installing” Confidence, One Man Weave At a Time

By now, most of us have seen online images of guys in barber chairs getting what’s now commonly called a man weave. This hair procedure is the latest addition to the already booming Black haircare market.

One of the most well known experts in this area is Maryland based Master barber and certified hair loss specialist, Wade Menendez aka Wade the Barber. We chatted with him to find out more about his business and this rapidly growing segment of the hair industry.

Wade The Barber

How did you get started cutting hair and how did you decide to turn it into a profession?

I started cutting my hair at the age of 7 yrs old. After jacking myself up many times I started getting good and the same people that used to tease me about my haircuts started asking me to cut their  hair. I tried working many jobs but nothing gave me the same fulfilling feeling as barbering.

Photo credit:NPR

I ended up going to barber school after a while, got my license and started working at a barbershop and the rest was history. I think barbering is also in my blood. My dad would cut us sometimes, my uncle was a barber, and my great grand father was a shop owner.

man weave

How did you raise capital to start you first shop?

I got denied from the bank when I first went to open my own shop. After getting denied I started saving my money even more in preparation to branch out on my own. Before a man builds a house he must first count the cost and prepare. While I was preparing and saving money, I had a few clients that randomly approached me about helping me get a shop.
I feel that God sent them as angels to push me faster than I had planned. They funded the difference of what I needed to get started. They were a true blessing and just wanted to see me win!

What is the most challenging and the most rewarding thing about running your business?

The most challenging for me is dealing with unprofessional barbers and finding barbers that have great skill, great hearts and integrity. Most times its either or you’ll have a person with skill but a terrible personality, or a person with a great personality but haven’t mastered the skill yet.
I’ve been blessed with a good team, but sometimes you will have some barbers that challenge you in many ways and I hate micro managing and baby sitting grown people.
Another challenge is helping barbers grow their business and then they leave wrong or with out proper notice after you’ve helped them get to where they are.
On the other hand, having a business is rewarding. I love helping people and being able to create a certain good atmosphere where people can come and feel at peace while getting their hair cut.
We help the community a lot as well. I have a non profit that I started a year ago that’s been going well. I love when people tell me I have one of the best shops in the area. It really makes me feel like I’m on the right track and making an impact.

Why did you decide to start offering male hair units or “man weaves” and what has the response been so far?

I started doing the hair units after seeing an amazing natural hair technician add hair to dreadlocs at my shop. Until then, I had never seen an afro hair weave, only the Brazilian hair the ladies wear. LOL!

She told me where she got the hair and I started experimenting. I told myself that there has to be a way we can do this for balding men and women.

With trial and error and a few hair stylists showing what they knew, the rest was history. It’s a great feeling to now be able to help men from all over the world.

People now travel to my little city in Maryland from all over the world to get the service done. There have been some people that weren’t for it at first but it’s been four years now and it has become more and more accepted. I saw a need and just tried to fill it!

Guys lives have literally changed, just from having hair again. When I hear the stories of how their confidence has shot up after getting a hair unit it lets me know I’m walking in my purpose.

You have branded yourself as more than just a barber. Do you feel its important for other barbers or hairstylists to do the same?

Your brand is everything. How do you want people to perceive you. I have marketed myself to be more than just a barber that cuts in a barbershop.
I’ve always tried to branch out because I never wanted to be the average. Nothing wrong with being average but thats not what I wanted out of life. I’ve been blessed to be talented in a lot of areas so I’m just trying to use the gifts God has given me while I’m here on earth!

Where do you see your business in 5 years?

In the next 5 years i’ll have barber schools and salons located in multiple cities so be on the look out. I’ve been doing more and more education.
I have had the pleasure to train over 300 barbers and stylist so far on how to do this service so I believe thats the route I’m going in. We have some big things planned for the near future.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

I would say to aspiring entrepreneurs to figure out what your passionate about and follow that. Be professional, Brand and market yourself.  Be your best you at all times. It will take you farther than you think. Make sure you have integrity and stay positive no one likes the negative energy, it will have you missing out on many opportunities.
Make sure you look the part, people see you before they hear you and how you present yourself in many cases will determine how people respect you as well.
Last thing would be, be a good stewart over your money and what you get. Learn to save and invest for your future and not be so caught up in immediate gratification such as expensive clothes, always hanging out, cars and flossing for your friends.
You can reach Wade at 

 

-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG @thebusyafrican)
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Black Owned Skincare Brands You Should Know

A few years ago, Dove released a skincare ad that quickly received backlash for being racist and offensive. They have since pulled the ad but not in time to stop calls for a boycott of their products. More recently, the CEO of LUSH has also stepped in it.

Since SHOPPE BLACK is all about highlighting Black businesses, we created a list of Black owned skincare brands that would love to have your business.

Black Owned Skincare Brands

ITADI

black owned skincare

Naked Bar Soap Co

black owned skincare

Pooka Pure & Simple

Temple Zen

black owned skincare

Jade & Fox Co.

black owned skincare

Cream & Coco Skincare

black owned skincare

Skinfolk

Kyra’s Shea Medleys

Butter Me Up Goods

Ayele & Co.

black owned skincare

Best Life Organics

Nyah Beauty

M by LW

Josephine’s Creme

Sixela Skincare

Sogona Sacko

ReLiv Organics

Shea Radiance

Urembo Asili

Angie Watts

black owned skincare

Emollient

black owned skincare

 

dermHa

black owned skincare

Jacq’s Organics

Chanvere Naturals

DreamStar Cosmetics

IYOBA

Brosily Bath and Body

Oyin Handmade

black owned skincare

 

 

Tony O. Lawson

If you would like to add your business to this list (or another) SUBMIT HERE.


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