Author: Sonto Pooe | Date: 24 January 2019
If you have ever wondered whether you would survive as a business in the Beauty and Hair Industry without being as reputable as the likes of Rihanna, well this read is for you.
I do not doubt the possibility of failure within your first attempts but note that there isn’t much room for uniqueness. It's difficult to break into any industry when there are already so many options available for people, and they are set in their ways and used to their normal patterns of doing things. Particularly, when it comes to haircare, skincare and cosmetics, people will tend to gravitate towards what they know or have heard of. It’s like food; you tread carefully :) and explore at a moderate pace. Just think how long you’ve used some of the brands you have in your cosmetic cupboard? Some are even generational, right?
We tend to do what we know and that affects buying patterns and quite frankly your ability to convince retailers that your product will sell. They are not interest in your story, they are interested in the numbers. After all, we are in the business of numbers.
Don't lose hope just as yet. Some of the pros of the haircare industry is that it is HUGE, particularly within the ethnic haircare industry which takes approximately 70% of the market. There is so much opportunity to create products that are desperately needed. Women of color buy 3x times more products than their Caucasian counterparts. The other pro is that new segments of the market are growing i.e. natural hair care. There are also forms of structure that govern systems around production and selling of your products, such as the Cosmetic Society of South Africa which assists government with regulation, setting standards, etc.
The downside of entering this industry is that it’s hard to change people’s behaviors, and to get them to try new things as mentioned above. Particularly with hair, it has an emotional attachment to most and particularly black women; you don’t mess around with their hair ...haha. Trust me , you need to prove yourself as a worthy brand, first, before people even pay you any attention. So one must ensure, to do trials first but once proven, word of mouth is a wonderful thing. People will sell for you. Their hair will sell for you. That’s how we’ve grown. We receive daily compliments and that in turn has fed back to the growth of our company.
The personal care market in general is constantly evolving and we not only do haircare but body care as well. So it’s important to stay abreast and continue to educate or else you get left behind. Nothing is ever constant I think; not really, but that’s not unique to this industry. It’s difficult to break into any industry when there are already so many options available for people, and they are set in their ways and used to their normal patterns of doing things. Particularly, when it come to haircare and skincare cosmetics, people will tend to gravitate to what they know or, or have heard to have worked.
It’s like food, you tread carefully :) Just think how long you’ve used some of the brands you have in your cosmetic cupboard? Some are even generational, right? We tend to do what we know, and that affects buying patterns and quite frankly your ability to convince retailers that your product will sell. They are not interest in your story. They are interested in the numbers. After all we are in the business of numbers.
It’s easy to have an idea, it’s easy to have a vision, but doing the work required to ensure it materializes is the hard part. This is not to say that it’s not doable, because it is and we are here doing it. As long as you know you’ll need to sacrifice time, leisure, sleep and sometimes relationships to get there. We all have only 24 hours in a day and you can only split your time so much, so prioritizing becomes extremely important because your business becomes your baby.