Beauty Store Business

AUG 2018

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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76 August 2018 | section of stores, she believes that in that context, the word simply refers to avoiding lye or chemicals that alter the structure of hair–and her own company has never made "natural" claims. Instead, when creating products, the minds behind Mixed Chicks simply look closely at common ingredients used in the industry and try to find the safest ones possible. For example, Etheredge notes that parabens, which kill mold, yeast and bacteria, were never shown to cause cancer when used in hair products, though they had been linked with cancer as an ingredient in deodorants. "Years ago, no other preser- vative had been tested, but we looked for an alternative and became paraben-free," Etheredge says. "Our focus has always been a healthier lifestyle, so we use a lot of essential oils, for example. However, the industry always changes. Here in California, with Prop 65, you never know what will pop up, and of course we want to comply with regulations." Meanwhile, Davis points to other ingredi- ents that may raise red flags for consumers: Sodium laurel sulfate, commonly found in shampoo, can cause drying and strip the hair shaft of needed moisture. The petro- leum commonly found in pomades and hair grease does not absorb into the hair shaft, simply sitting on top of the hair where it attracts and collects dust. "When looking for better alternatives, consumers should look for products with natural oils such as olive oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil and argan oil," Davis suggests. "Shea butter is also a great alternative to petroleum-based pomades. We believe that in order for your hair to thrive and flourish, you must care for it with natural ingredients that do not cause buildup or suffocate the scalp–ingredients that mois- turize and strengthen the hair shaft. We stay away from ingredients that cause dry- ness and breakage through long-term use." Ultimately, manufacturers and watch- dog groups alike agree that education is paramount–for both consumers and beauty store owners. For example, Davis encourages consumers and retailers to read ingredient lists on the backs of products and counsels that consumers should pay attention to their hair and see what it responds favorably to. Etheredge agrees that education makes the difference, advising stores to take advantage of distributors' trade shows as well as in-store educational opportunities provided by manufacturers for staff members and salespeople. "It's impossible to know everything, but the more educated the sales staff is, the more they can have a sense of products in dif- ferent categories, which ultimately helps with sales," Etheredge explains. "And, because not all of us in the multicultural category have the same texture or hair woes, it's important to get educated so you can give customers good advice." Etheredge shares additional tips and tricks for ramping up in-store instruction– and establishing yourself as a must-visit location for increasingly discerning customers: Hold seminars, invite brands to hold in-store seminars, offer samples and make sure your staff is knowledgeable. Ultimately, you'll reap the benefits of fewer returns and more recurring customers. "The greatest benefit of beauty supply stores is that customers can talk to a person versus shopping online and wondering if the product is right for them," Etheredge says. "People love demos, and retail outlets have an advantage because they can give answers to questions on the spot. Everything is not for everybody, and that's the beauty. For women who do want to wear their hair natural, they now have many choices. The industry has paid attention, and as trends change, we have the opportunity to display those changes in the store through products, while consumers can stay on top of trends and find different choices for their different needs." ■ Tracy Morin is a freelance writer and editor based in Oxford, MS.

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