One of the coolest things about being an OG in the natural hair and beauty space, is that I’ve had the opportunity to truly watch the space evolve. I’ve seen brands come and go, expand and shrink. I love watching the movers and shakers who approach this industry wisely. There are so many aspiring entrepreneurs who find themselves struggling in this rapidly shifting marketplace. One entrepreneur who makes savvy moves is Gwen Jimmere of Naturalicious Beauty, and her wisdom, grit and determination to just do the work until its done is truly inspiring.
If you read my previous articles about Gwen and Naturalicious – click here to read the first and the second – you already know that she is focused and determined. In a world where patents are hard to get and – according to The Fashion Law, women of color are less likely to get US patents in general – Gwen educated herself, created her products, and made history as the first black woman to own a patent for a natural hair care product. Gwen is goals. And she keeps setting her own goals higher and higher.
Now you can find Naturalicious products online and in store at Sally Beauty, where the brand is flying off the shelves. I got Gwen to share some of her perspective on growing and scaling her business, and tips for the next generation of aspiring entrepreneurs. Read on!
Afrobella — I have been in the fortunate position to watch your brand grow from a small independent brand into a beloved community brand that’s taken off into mainstream retail! Was this always your longterm goal?
I wanted to create a product that was natural, healthy, and time saving. I am proud at how far we have come and developed into the real deal that people love, which was ultimately my goal. My ambition was to not only help consumers love their beauty through our product but to show we are a brand dedicated to developing time-saving beauty solutions for busy women.
Afrobella — Can you share some of the steps that led you to Sally’s?
By taking the marketing skills I honed from my previous corporate career as the Global Digital Marketing Director for Ford Motor Company, I was able to get the word out there and let the product do the talking.
Over time, the buzz about Naturalicious grew and grew, until retailers came looking for us. I had a chance meeting with a buyer from Sally Beauty while attending a tradeshow, and the rest is history!
Afrobella — And your products are selling out fast, that’s so exciting! It speaks volumes to me, that your products are flying off the shelves amongst this kind of retail competition. What do you think sets Naturalicious apart to customers who are now discovering your brand?
It really boils down to the trust consumers have in me and my brand, as well as solving the issues they truly have. Customers don’t need more shampoo. They need more education. Here’s what I mean:
I wanted to create a product that would really solve an issue that consumers have. And that’s what we did with our Hello Gorgeous System, that literally cuts your wash day in half.
In addition, at this point in the natural hair care game, we – as a community – aren’t starving for products that work for our hair. That was 5-10 years ago, when we were excited to see something – anything almost – dedicated to our hair care needs. These days, we have entire aisles dedicated to us, yet most of us still don’t know what to do with our hair. They are frustrated, annoyed and fed up with trying everything, yet nothing is working for them.
So the issue is no longer needing just products. Nowadays, we are starving for education on how to care for our hair, regardless of the brand we choose to use. And I think that’s what really sets Naturalicious apart. I am very clear on that. Of course, I want everyone to buy Naturalicious. But the reality is that people are going to buy a variety of products. At the end of the day, I want you to love your hair, independently of the brand; because when you love your hair you love yourself. I want you to know how to care for it, and make it thrive and grow, no matter what you use. To that extent, I host a weekly hair care show called Real Hair Revelations in my private Facebook group – the Naturalicious Nation. This show is brand-agnostic, meaning no matter what you choose to use, the info is relevant to you. We also offer a crazy, unheard of money back guarantee where we will refund your money and then also buy you a competitor’s product to replace what you returned. That’s how confident we are in our products and how much we care that you fall in love with your hair.
Also, we are proud to partner with a nonprofit called Services to Enhance Potential (STEP), through which we create jobs with a real, livable wage for men and women with special needs to join our team. I am fully committed to not only helping your hair, but also our communities, thrive.
Afrobella — How have things changed in the natural hair space since you started Naturalicious?
This is a time where natural and healthy products are emerging daily. Since Naturalicious was started, there’s practically a new product on the market every day. And to be honest, a lot of them try to copy our moves. As with most industries, beauty can be a very “me too” industry, where lots of companies all do the same thing if they notice it working for a competitor. So that’s good for us, as we are always working to be innovators rather than imitators.
Afrobella — What advice do you have for up and coming entrepreneurs who look to your trajectory as goals, and want to walk in your footsteps?
Don’t wait around for the right time, there may never be a “right time.” When you have an idea, just go for it, and don’t hold back.
Congrats, Gwen! Check out her official site, Naturalicious.net.