A black-owned beauty supplies shop in Tampa has widespread support.
An women was employed by the federal government, launched a beauty supplies boutique and salon in Tampa. In early 2020, she left her previous position to focus solely on her company.
She acknowledged that her decision to leave a secure job could be seen as “crazy” by others. But I’ve always pictured myself as a business owner.
Because of its dedication to the community and the community’s dedication to its owner, My Shade and Texture, which specializes in hair products for women and men with textured hair, has survived and thrived despite a global pandemic and local protests following the death of George Floyd, Thompson said.
Please explain what makes your company unique.
It’s about connecting with and serving the local community rather than just selling cosmetics online. Products are donated to non-profits in the community. Whether they are just starting out or have been around for a while, we welcome small company owners to our store to set up their own pop-up shops.
Our primary focus is bridging the gap between our brands and the buying public. That’s what sets us apart, I guess. We place a premium on informing our clientele.
We use technology to help customers learn about things we sell who may not be familiar with them. So, we’ve included QR codes; scanning these will lead you straight to the relevant content, be it a tutorial or a list of ingredients. All we want is for our consumers to be well-informed before they buy from us.
Just what and why was the impetus behind your company’s inception?
As an African American woman, I feel that I don’t get the respect I should. You should realize that we are a major consumer in the cosmetics market. But when we shop elsewhere, whether at a chain or a mom-and-pop beauty supply store, we don’t get the individualized service we crave—no one to read the labels with us, no one to fully empathize.
I had a hard time finding the correct items because my company serves both women and men with textured hair, and we all have various textures. That’s always been my dream, and I’m thrilled to finally be able to make it a reality.
Tell me more about how you help other companies succeed.
Since November 2019, I have facilitated the opening of 20–25 pop-up shops in stores across the country.
Three or four of the major brands that we carry are ones with which I’ve collaborated. I invited them to a private event called “Get to Know the Brand.” This is analogous to having coffee with the company’s top executive. And then they show out the product.
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Therefore, we have more than one program designed to foster collaboration with proprietors of small businesses.
What effects has the global coronavirus outbreak had on your company?
For me, COVID has been both a boon and a bane. When we received the order from the city of Tampa to close our doors in March, (my business) had been open for less than five months. Research shows that the first year of business ownership is the most challenging for new and small business owners.
I didn’t want C. o. v. i. d. to end my life. I tried my hardest to make it such that people could always come in. So I had to rapidly adjust my strategy.
I spent the first three weeks after we closed the business working nonstop to get all of the merchandise online. It helped me attract new female customers in the states of California, Washington, New York, and New Jersey. I’ve been delivering and selling items to women outside of Tampa as recently as January 2021.
I never participated in any government programs or received a PPP (Paycheck Protection Plan loan). Thankfully, the city of Tampa compensated me for two months of rent in exchange for my service.
Then, in late May, perhaps following the George Floyd incident and much protesting, it happened right in our own backyard.
Looters were roaming the streets, so I spent the night inside my shop. Three blocks away from my shop, a petrol station was attacked and burned down.
But what did you find? People in the area gathered as a result.
Many of my clients wished to remain in the shop and chat with me. My patrons aided me in posting signs to deter looting of my store.
I couldn’t have asked for more, though, than to be able to keep running smoothly despite COVID and local protests.
People from all across the city and surrounding counties called to check if my company was indeed Black-owned. Of course, after making sure of everything, they came in to show their support, and we still have customers like that now.
How do you see this year shaping up?
For 2021, all I can see is getting ready for another COVID shutdown. That’s the case, in my opinion.
Pickup is available at the curb. When the COVID pandemic hit, one of the things we did was start hand-delivering orders to consumers who placed them online or over the phone.
As a result, I was unable to eradicate the problem, and there are still men and women in the area who avoid going out shopping out of fear. Since I have already made these preparations for 2021, I will just carry them out as usual.
And my primary goal is to do more one-on-one work with regionally focused, independent beauty firms to help them launch and stock our shelves.
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