Beauty Boss talks Business Strategy
Years past, going “natural” in the turn of the 21st century was a daunting task. Strolling up and down isles in search of hair products was not beneficial either. Twenty years ago, there were not many products designed to promote and maintain healthy natural hair for women of color. At best, African Americans were offered perms, relaxers and Jheri curl juice (remember that?). Ethnic women in corporate America felt pressured to keep their hair in a relaxed state despite the inevitable damage.
Mahisha Dellinger, owner of CURLS, was fighting her own battles during that time. In 2002, Mahisha decided to go natural during her pregnancy to avoid passing harmful chemicals to her daughter. Finding organic products designed for women like her was nearly impossible. At work, her supervisor was giving her a hard time, putting her on a corrective action plan that could've ultimately left her unemployed in 6 months. As a young single mother, Mahisha would not allow her life to be controlled in such a way. She decided it was time for a change. Mahisha quit her corporate job and developed a product line for natural curly hair; CURLS.
Today CURLS is one of the leading brands for African American women with natural hair. Mahisha is not only ingenious with product development using clinical data to empower her decisions; however, she is also business savvy watching attentively to the spike in competition. With over 15 years in the business, CURLS now has to compete with the saturation of the emerging market. Around 2010, when the natural hair movement really took shape, many saw the opportunity that Mahisha identified years prior. Not only did authentic minority small businesses begin producing home grown products to fill a need, established beauty brands got in the game as well.
With the rising competition, Mahisha noticed her company’s growth had flatlined. While sales were not decreasing, she knew it was time to take action. CURLS then introduced the Blueberry Bliss Collection. The Blueberry Bliss Collection became an instant hit by popular demand. The key ingredient is the pure blueberry abstract that is clinically proven to repair damage, prevent breakage and promote hair growth. CURLS began to outperform many of its rival products with double digit sales growth. Mahisha shares with budding entrepreneurs that you have to stand apart from the pack and be unique in order to sustain longevity.
“You have to provide something that is actually different and bring game changing ingredients to survive in this thriving market that is exploding with competition.”
Mahisha has done just that with CURLS and beyond. In May 2018 the company will release the “Cashmere and Caviar Collection”. This new collection will focus on strengthening, repairing and protecting hair. Moving into the vitamin and supplement space, Mahisha learned that vitamins are absorbed better in liquid form. While your body may absorb 25% of vitamins in a pill or capsule, research shows that your body absorbs 98% of liquid vitamins. She also acquired 50% of the health food line, Vitapop popcorn. Vitapop comes in a variety of flavors offering over 15 vitamins each. One serving of popcorn has the equivalence of taking 2 vitamin pills.
Mahisha is moving on to teach others how to follow in her path pf success. She is currently filming a television show to do just that. Stay tuned for updates.