Want a model for success trying to build a brand in the current retail environment? One does not have to look much further than The Mane Choice to see how a combination of savvy digital marketing and mainstream retailing can create a buzz in the overall beauty segment.
The Huntsville, Ala.-based company was formed six years ago after its founder and current CEO, Courtney Adeleye, decided to take matters into her own hands and develop a deep conditioner that could correct her hair damage issue caused by a hair color treatment. Adeleye wrote about the damage and her solution on the Internet, and demand for it quickly spread.
As more people asked, she had to choose between her career as a nurse and making the product to satisfy the growing legion of YouTubers begging for their own supply. “So many people wanted the product that it got to the point that she had no choice but to say yes,” said Ebony Bomani, the master cosmetologist and educator for the company. “The demand was so strong through social media that she really had no other option.”
Less than a decade later, Bomani said that The Mane Choice is humming on all cylinders. The company produces more than 100 products across 15 different collections in the hair, body, men’s care, babies and accessories segments. It also pays particularly close attention to its booming hair growth vitamin products.
As importantly, The Mane Choice assortment has caught the attention of consumers across the country with a combination of eye-popping packaging and a vibrant marketing campaign through traditional channels and especially through social media.
In fact, Bomani said that sales are exploding. She said the company registered about $25 million in sales in 2017 and nearly $50 million in 2018. That volume could reach $100 million this year and could double again in the next 3 to 5 years. “We are the fastest-growing hair care brand in the country,” she said.
The secret to the company’s success, she said, is the amount of care the executive leadership places in research, development and testing. Adeleye was a nurse before getting involved with The Mane Choice, and her husband is a physician. “They take this all very seriously,” Bomani said. “All of our products are backed by science and research, and are heavily tested. And, we are constantly looking to improve our assortment and make sure that we have the products that our customers want across all of our categories.”
Marketing is vital for the company. Calling the company and its more than 35 employees the “Purple Team,” Bomani said that the color is central to getting the word out to consumers about The Mane Choice. “Purple is symbolic of royalty,” she said. “Our job is to make consumers aware of what we offer. So we are painting the town purple and we are painting the store purple by constantly doing [road shows] that answer consumer questions, and hand out samples.”
The strategy is working, she said. The Mane Choice has product in a growing list of retailers, including CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart, Target, Publix, Kroger and Sally Beauty. “We need their help to help educate the consumer,” she said. “And, many are doing a great job with merchandising and allowing us to use in-store vehicles to build awareness of the category and our products. Some even allow us to create a “retail-tainment” setting, where we bring DJs and food, and reach out to people that way.”