Beauty Store Business

OCT 2017

Beauty Store Business provides solutions for better retailing! New products, industry news, savvy business moves and important trends affecting both brick-and-mortar and online retailers are included in each issue.

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Page 35 of 75

34 October 2017 | literally every item we sell, except for the actual plastic or cardboard packaging— everything in the product is made by us," Osman says. As of 2017, the company manufactures only OKAY's brand of products, which boasts "tons of collections," Osman explains, most labeled according to the main ingredient featured. For example, coconut (the star ingredient in a top- selling collection for OKAY Pure Natu- rals) infuses formulas such as shampoo, oil, conditioner, facial scrub, body but- ter, lip balm and foot scrub, all helping add moisture to dehydrated skin and hair. Meanwhile, the Black Jamaican Castor Oil collection promotes healthy hair growth and conditioning in products from hair gel to a hot oil treatment. "We try to maximize those natural ingredients' benefits to combat certain conditions, and when developing prod- ucts we always try to find the next best category to add to our current offerings," Osman says. "We want to remain close to our core without going too far off-path, so stores that already carry our line can easily add extras, from body butters to soaps." Most products from the brand are all natural; even those that aren't remain a healthy choice for consumers, sans silicones, parabens and sulfates. Hap- pily, consumers' increasing knowledge of and demand for natural products has certainly helped fuel the company's suc- cess. "When I was a kid, you didn't hear 'natural' in beauty, and most thought that 'natural' meant bad results," Osman says. "For example, some African-Amer- ican consumers would use relaxers years ago, which caused breakage; 10 years later, that same customer can get great results with natural products, instead growing and maintaining healthy hair." And, because there are fewer natural products on the market than traditional ones, Ali and Osman believe this category presents the biggest opportunity for future development. "We started as a multicultural brand, but as we grew, we expanded into all demographics—Latin, men, teenagers, babies, international customers," Ali says. "Everyone loves using natural products … We want to keep growing the business and perhaps get a big investor to grow further, but right now we have zero debt. That's a miracle in itself. Our goal is to bring the business to $500 million or even $1 billion per year, within 10 years." FORGING CONNECTIONS Unsurprisingly, the brand's hands-on approach extends beyond its inner work- ings, all the way to its customer connec- tions. OKAY Pure Naturals ensures its presence in events and trade shows, but the majority of the company's outreach takes place on social media. In only a few years, the brand's fans and follow- ers have grown to more than 2.3 million on Facebook alone. OKAY also connects directly with consumers through its own website with a rewards program that allows buyers to rack up points, coupons and discounts. (Though the website may charge higher prices, fans have access to all 500 SKUs.) The family also understands the importance of intimately working with stores to ensure retail success. Ali and Osman believe beauty stores must fos- ter trust with customers, which can be aided by working with a manufacturer that offers help and support in selling products. "The main thing I learned in my earlier beauty businesses is that honesty—with yourself, your employees and your customers—pays off," Ali says. When a brand brings confidence and trust, Osman believes, customers who might have bought one or two products often purchase several. He says, "Work with companies that invest their time— we go out to a store, help set up banners or pro- vide anything the owner needs, even something "Our goal is to bring the business to $500 million or even $1 billion per year, within 10 years." –Ali Mithavayani PAINSTAKING PRODUCTION From dreaming up to unveiling new products for consumers, the Mithavayanis have the production process down to a science. Here, Osman Mithavayani explains the process. • Step 1. First, we ask a few questions: Where is there a void in the market? What's the next best category for the brand? Three in-house chemists, who research and perform new product testing every day, meet with our four-person design team, plus some production staff, and either my father or myself; one of us is always there. • Step 2. Then the question becomes: How does the product fit into our production line? When it comes to collections, most are packaged differently. If we need new machinery, we go to our in-house engineers. My father often sparks ideas, and my team and I will implement them; but with my father's experience, he's also able to help our engineers if needed. We make sure we map out a product from beginning to end, including where it'll fit into our current production. • Step 3. Once those pieces come together, we'll design the packaging and order the component parts, such as labels, caps, jars and bottles. We can launch products within weeks or years; our baby range took two years from start to finish! Design may trigger an initial purchase, but reorders come from the product quality—and that's why we concentrate on all aspects. That brings us repeat sales. Images courtesy of OKAY Naturals

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