Untapped potential: Q&A with Jinny Beauty’s Eddie Jhin

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Untapped potential: Q&A with Jinny Beauty’s Eddie Jhin


With so many changes occurring in the ethnic beauty category, Drug Store News spoke with Eddie Jhin, president of Jinny Beauty, about the category's potential and the latest trends.

DSN: Discuss the potential in the multicultural and ethnic business, and why retailers need to do more to reach these shoppers.

Eddie Jhin: There is tremendous potential in the multicultural and ethnic segment that remains untapped by retailers. Right now, these consumers are spending their money at boutiques and specialty stores that especially cater to them. The ratio of their beauty product spending to their income level is much higher than the general market consumer.

DSN: Why is it important to align with an expert for product needs, merchandising resources and other advice?

Jhin: As in any industry, it’s always the people who make or break a company. If you have someone who truly understands your business and industry, your chance of success will be much higher [because of] the person’s knowledge and experience. This expert will make the best decisions for your company, and because Jinny is the leading multicultural beauty supply distributor in the world, our customers use our expertise to guide them in growing their business.

DSN: Why is time to market so crucial?

Jhin: Timing is everything in determining whether you’ll be the leader or the follower. But being a follower isn’t always a bad thing — they can make adjustments and avoid mistakes the leaders made.

Generally speaking, retail chains are not trend makers because they’re too massive and bureaucratic — they’re slow but very solid. Nowadays, with the Internet readily available on phones, tablets and computers, virtual information and trends can be dispersed at an alarming speed. In order to take advantage of these trends, it is recommended that the retail chains should change their planogram sets at least twice a year instead of the usual once a year.

Retailers must align with a vendor who can make these changes for them and give them the necessary information on brands, products and trends to cater to their market.

DSN: What can retailers do to create more compelling departments? Should there still be separate ethnic areas? Or, since more Caucasian women have textured hair, should the departments be inclusive?

Jhin: I am a firm believer that multicultural/ethnic products need to be in their own segment. Retail chain stores currently provide this convenience to their multicultural shoppers by placing the products in one location, which saves the consumer time from searching for their items in a sea of general market products. Also, the advertising dollars the big vendors like P&G, L’Oréal and Unilever spend on their general market brands will make the ethnic/multicultural products invisible if they were placed together with the general market products.

For Caucasian women with textured hair, there’s an option for them to purchase from two different sets of planograms in the retail chain stores. Or better yet, the multicultural vendors should come out with new brands that are specifically formulated for these women and advertised for only these women, and it will be the retail chain merchandiser who will determine where these niche products will be set at their stores.

DSN: What are the five biggest trends that will emerge in the next six months [for] 2017?

Jhin: The five biggest trends in the beauty category for 2017 will be (in no particular order):

  1. Synthetic hair braids;

  2. Natural hair care products that cure damaged, processed hair and/or promotes growth;

  3. Hair care products that can simplify the transition of hair from natural to relaxed, and vice versa;

  4. Men’s beard products; and

  5. Hair care products made specifically for women who wear braids (tighten the curls or cleanse the braids with good fragrance).

DSN: Should departments be cultivated on a store-by-store basis? And, is it sometimes not enough to look at each store’s trade area since people might shop before or after work?

Jhin: Yes, absolutely! Even if it’s for a 4-ft. set planogram, the multicultural consumers in Los Angeles shop differently than those in Milwaukee. The more progressive retailers should have at least five different 4-ft. sets from the East Coast, Midwest, Southeast, Southwest and West Coast. The variance in product selection will be anywhere between 8% to 20% for each different set.

DSN: Do you have any final parting words?

Jhin: I’m very passionate about my industry and being in the same business for over 35 years. This year is especially exciting because [it] is the first time my company will venture into the retail world, something [for] which we have been preparing for five years now. My company and its people truly understand this industry — it’s what we live and breathe.

We wish to service the progressive retail chains because we want to make a difference in this market segment, and we can assure you that your sales will increase with us.

(To view the full Category Review, click here.)