'Today's Beauty Supply' Gets Touch Up | Small Business Revolution - Main Street: S3E3
We, were about to go in and surprise Benjamin. From today's beer supply he gives. So much the community he, deserves for someone to come in and give back to him this is gonna be awesome he doesn't know we're here, I'm. Hoping for extensions. Small. Towns across the country are fighting for their survival with the odds stacked against, them but what happens if we join that fight if we dedicate, a little money a lot of experience, and thousands, of hours of work in the one small town focusing. On the businesses, that are the heart of their Main Street what started as an idea became, a national, movement with over 30,000, towns nominated. For the $500,000, makeover, and more than a million votes cast for. Now. In our third season the team is taking on its biggest challenge ever, the town is three times bigger than any we've helped before and the hurdles home faces, will put to the test the very idea of Main Street America, so Amanda brakeman, and her team of marketing experts at deluxe our going door for the people of Alton Illinois and, they're, not alone, new season three co-host ty pennington will be working with the team to rehabilitate. The town's buildings, while a whole cast of experts helps rehabilitate its, businesses every, episode, we'll be working, with a new small business, to see if we can change the odds if together, we, can start a revolution. In. A community where you have low incomes, and when. You're in poverty. That's tough enough and, so. When, you look into the mirror you have to like what you see that's, looking back at you, that. Image gives you the ability to maybe even do better. The. Things that we offer here today's Beauty Supply gives you that look of success. Even. Though maybe it's not there yet a. Lot. Of the places around here have some of the same products, but the customer service here is so. Much better people, love being. Other. Store next time what, kind of product is a different, place mine I know that well being there being this black theater, he's used it are his wife used in or somebody's clients use the song I love it here. Your. Day to day and my, wife is available. Anytime that we need her great. Place to shop and being friendly when you come in there's not a short conversation you're. Gonna be here for a while talking. To being about whatever is happening in our schools see. Him at community, events you see him at school events see, him putting in time with the kids so these. Are best seen in the community. After, about six, seven years in business we thought that making a profit wasn't, just enough you know how, can we make a difference. People. Equate this neighborhood, with drugs. With. Crime. With, gangs I was, born here and there's, great, people in this, community so. We decided to develop the other side of the store because this is a dual storefront, and we. Created a space called today's place. Young. People in the community will have a place that's safe that, they can come and maybe if they need to do some extra school work and they need access to Wi-Fi we. Have a space that's comfortable that's nice we, always make sure we got peanut butter and jelly and sandwich, knead and chips and things like that because. You can't study and you can't concentrate if you're hungry do. You know who that is. The. Queen right that's me but. What about this person. Steph. Curry so, how, about this lady you know she is, never. Seen her before in your life have you, she. Is Allison, Williams and she, is probably one of the most powerful architects, in the country these are people that look just like you right they're African Americans, and, because. They didn't give up they, were able to make great, strides and great achievements, today's. Place, it's, really his passion, and that's. The, part that I really, am, extremely. Proud of him, for, today's. Beauty Supply has supported, today's place but, just here in the last three years we, saw ourselves to, dip we, had a competitor. Open up on us and now, there's four Beauty. Supply stores here in Alton, this. Town could, handle three. It's. Just a matter of how. Long and who's, gonna survive, the battle and hopefully. We bring that business back because, we, know that here, in this neighborhood that, we're, needed.
Deluxe. Coming in and choosing, today's. I don't take that as a coincidence. I think, it's divine and, I. Believe, that, divine. Things happen, for purpose. I'm. Excited, for the, community, that has wrapped around today's, beauty, because. Maybe there's a message, that need, to be heard and need to be shared, most. People who are judgmental just because they haven't had a relationship with. Somebody who's a different culture. Sometimes. Conversations. Like this make people uncomfortable I think is important, because if we stay comfortable, we won't grow, it's. Always an honor to help small business owners build, their dreams, but. Working with someone like Benjamin, who, shows us all what it looks like to truly love thy neighbor it, means that every improvement we make will ripple throughout the Central Avenue community, with, an impact, we might never fully know it. Also means the stakes are that much higher if. One of Alton's four Beauty Supply stores is destined to closed it, can't be this one. Luckily. We've, got some world-class, help Lyn Robertson's, company fame has designed retail, experiences, for stores across the country she's. Here to make sure Benjamin shop stands out amongst the competition. Well lots of opportunity, for making this more inviting absolutely. We. Gotta give her the tour of the whole today. Okay how many square feet you have on. This side I believe this right around 1800. Or something like that we. Try to make, the best of the space okay yeah beauty, is all about inspiration, right so how do you inspire your customer I see you have some through, like vendor oysters, well, from a visual aspect probably, not as much as a personal. Aspect, right like when people walk through this door a lot of times I know their family I know their children and so the. Engagement is. More than just come by something sometimes. It's a hug sometimes. It's a word of encouragement I, mean that's like one of the primary, retail, experience is engagement right here in your relationship. To your customers, so that's great. Some, beauty supply stores they actually have a wig section, we're, not in that position but so I just kind of late, do you wanna be Benjamin, I think, it would be great yeah you know you, got dry oh please yeah.
Okay. I love that you allow, people to roam to the store but shrinkage is a huge problem in retail oftentimes, there's cameras, everywhere and. Here's, this level, of suspicion. I. Personally, don't have that problem here in and I tell people all the time if you really need to take anything just talk to me we can work something out you know so the fact that you're just, welcoming, people to wander, and navigate, the store and try things on their own I think, is such a huge, point, of difference absolutely and, I'm part of this neighborhood I'm I'm part. Of this culture, so, I, want. To treat people the way I want to be treated when I walk into a space right, and so I give, that well I know I would love to shop, so, you, ever put one of these on before no but I'm gonna try hey, there's a first time all right. That's. Good and for you. They. Do it right no. Seriously. Oh, let. Me get you a mirror yeah. I need a mirror you need a mirror a mirror I'm sorry now you will demo. Station, right here this is our anyone function, with this here nah I can't. What. Are you doing. Well, I've never worn a wig. Your. Heart is just so big it's it's, unbelievable so does, that ever get. In the way of kind of you. Know your profitability, as a business, in. This business it has an effect of so much until just, here in the last year, and a half or so when the other store opened and we. Felt about, a 30% decrease. In an, income. And we, removed ourselves off of payroll, to where we, no longer take, a salary so right, now you and, your sister hands are not taking, a salary from, the business no we're not you worked here a lot and hard and so we have to get you back to a place for your paying yourself, let's. Talk about your merchandising, mix you know there. Are some feelers. That I have in this store that's just filling space, what. Do you think the percentage of the down product, versus, the moving product, is. Maybe. 20% okay so. 20% from, a real estate perspective could. Help us out a lot if we want to add some of the demo areas yep I want people to just be you. Know really inspired, to try. Your products, retail is about you, know the seduction, right so from the outside in bringing them in and luring, him through the store so we're gonna work a lot on flow let's, talk about the exterior of the building a little bit yes like what's with the gates like what are the gate what are the gamer here they're, here we just they were here when I bought the legacy, yeah, their legacy gates, do, you mind if I take them down no okay when.
We First started this business we. Didn't know anything you know we kind of learned as we went and I, don't have any formal schooling and marketing, or anything like that it's sort of like let's. Get in here and do the best we can but don't discount that granular, knowledge that you have because that is gonna inform, every, family do we, just got to get them in here so. They can get that experience. When. I hear that 20%, of a stock is static, it's, scary, because. That alone. Is stagnating, profitability. Huge. Number when. We, were first opening we went the least expensive, route to, get. A space open if I could give the place a modern. Feel. And a. Modern, look I think that customers. Would feel, like they're in a upscale, place even. Within the neighborhood, I'd be excited, lensman, is exactly, what a good role model looks like you stand out on the front porch and every, three seconds somebody drives by honks, and waves this. Guy knows, the entire, community. Central. Avenue is largely a residential, area but, it's got a handful of small businesses like mentions, and their vital to the neighborhood they. Create jobs keep, money in the community and national, studies have even shown a direct, correlation, between increases. And black-owned of businesses and drops, and juvenile violence but. The area also presents its challenges, Benjamin's. Current customers don't typically have the disposable, income to spend much more than they are now and because, housing and central is often transitional, he's, constantly, having to attract new customers which, is a heavier lift than bringing back old ones, we've. Really got two levers to pull to increase sales store. Experience and online presence and they, both hinge on our ability to understand, and communicate, Benjamin's, brand so. I actually have a mood board for you to take a look at it just to get your reaction, on a few things. The. Image that grabs me as a lady, in the hair piece it's a true image you. Know and I think that's important, for little girls that come into the store that they see an, image. Of beauty, that, looks. Familiar right. And that's just so important, right I love it and it's definitely what we want to come through on your website, and social media you're not just selling things you're you're selling a feeling, okay. So let's talk a little about kind of like the physical, store improvement. We've, secret shops the competitors, we completely, recognize, that the way your store looks is how Beauty Supply stores look, so. I don't we don't feel like you're doing anything wrong by industry, standards we just feel like this could help you stand out from your competitors because, we, don't want you to look just like they do here and I'm excited about that, - and.
And, Don't get me wrong there is an aspect, of the treasure hunt through your store that we don't want to lose like that's what makes it fun yeah and I think one of the things - in the store design we're gonna need to focus on is lighting because, especially. In the Beauty category. You gotta see yourself right it's kind of funny because I have some customers there in the back and they're trying to match hair and then, they walk out on the front porch yeah well I think actually clearly not your windows would help yeah that as well yeah windows are an invitation to come in you just want it no, spark some intrigue and have people want. To step across the threshold and, see what's going on in my mind I was thinking maybe a drop ceiling or. Drywall. Ceiling with can lighting, and that, way it would make the space brighter, and it'll give it more of a modern. Look so. Let's talk a little bit on inventory. Every, retailer needs to inspire, engage. And, entertain so. We. Want to look at how that product, mix helps, us do all those three things that would definitely be a piece of homework for you is to go through the store to work on reducing. Your inventory, moving, the things out of the store that are stagnant, cuz Lynn her team will need kind, of to understand, what, they're making room, for from, the inventory perspective. Let's. Talk a little bit about how you're showing up online so. Build. Your website because you don't have one today but one of the main things that shows up is this. Facebook. Page and. When we go to it this is your I think this is an abandoned, page I think my son. Had started, one and forgot the password maybe. He. Created. Another one okay, so, we, can work with you on contacting, Facebook and getting this one removed if your showing up that great in in the search ranking people are and then they go here they're gonna think have they closed they haven't posted since, 2012. It, rate is communicating, the, wrong message, yep so, this is what it's called your google listing right away one of the questions that it that asks do you own this business so that means that you haven't claimed, this listing, yet and. The same thing on Yelp so we. Want to make sure that you are able to own it and you can add your hours your photos respond, to reviews. Yelp and Google are, very important, for customers and we want to make sure that you're showing up the, way you want to show up on those two I'm.
Trusting. In everything. You say because this is not my strong. Suit if you haven't noticed, well. Marketing. Doesn't come naturally to many business owners right you started your business because, you love providing, this service to the community but we've truly believe that this ongoing, marketing is gonna be what makes a difference to get into that revenue goal so for sure it's okay that it's not a natural skill set that's why we're here, the. Beauty industry is by, nature, aspirational. People, walk in a Benjamin shop looking for the best version of themselves, and that, desire is what we need to reflect in its brand my. Customers drive past the store or look at his website they need to see themselves looking. Back and looking, their best, the deluxe team will go to work building today's friend while. Lyn collaborates, with Benjamin under store design that improves his customer, experience, and hopefully his sales, we've, hired local, contractors, and we're working with try to execute those building plans we've. Got a lot of balls in the air and not a lot of time because in a few short ones we're, trying to make today's Beauty Supply feel like a brand new store he'll. Be the only one out of the four Beauty Supply places, in Alton that will have a website so that is a differentiator, right there do what we need to come through is this, customer service we don't want to look to beauty, blog II so. With photography, I think it's really important, that we, showcase the, everyday person not necessarily someone that's made up all the time once. The ball started, rolling as. Far as marketing. He was enjoying, it and then. When, it came to okay, we're gonna need to have the store closed on this day. We're. Gonna need to move things out it became a little bit stressful, at. That point like a lot of small business owners he kind, of bought. The building moved in there and it, needed work, way back when now it really needs work so we're. Gonna fix the floor for one thing we're gonna give him new shelves, because he bought a lot of that stuff and a second hand just to make it work here it is a beauty supply store and the lighting was just really harsh so, I think lighting and reworking. That space will be helpful and he's, so beloved in the community that not only at the construction, team feeding us a great deal they're also donating, a lot more time to, him so, this, is just gonna be you know a great makeover, in, order to make all of these renovations we basically, had to take Benjamin store apart now. It's up to men and her team mcfame to put it back together again and doing, it right means a lot of long distance collaboration. I know. You were a little worried about us going to boutique, you with, this table idea. Yeah. Totally get it do you feel like this kind of look, and feel will resonate with, your customer base, I. Know. I, know. What. I love about working with Benjamin is well he's very open-minded to, new ideas and new thinking he still has his own strong point of view about the kinds, of things that he wants to accomplish with the store so it's been very gratifying to, try and maintain that, with him but. Still bring, him new inspiration, I think this whole process has, helped. Benjamin to kind of take a step back and say what do I want that first impression to be in he's not just like giving, input on the renovations, we're doing he's actually putting his own dollars into building. Well. I gotta say it. Already looks better we, said like we're gonna come in and help you with the interior, and then he thought okay, well if we're gonna do that let's invest in the outside like the scares, are crumbling. You ever have those chain-link, fences up yeah we ask them why it's like I don't know they're, always here chain. League just really never sent it's never inviting, no people, are driving by even as we're working on this saying this is a huge, uplift, for this community one person, starts really working on their place and also people like wolf they're doing their house you better make cars look better too and that literally starts to make the entire area look good he's, leading the charge I. Got. Your door you ready let's do this come on. All. Right don't come back with.
The Interior, exterior, and website all under construction, we, need to make sure everyone's, point in the same direction in terms of design and that. Means creating something today's Beauty Supply has never really had before a strong, visual identity, I think, it's really interesting that they can be in business wait what 14, years 18. Years you, know a lot of businesses, would, never have lasted, this long without. Some sort of visual identity, for sure and we explored a lot of very, simple rectangular, shapes but, were we ended up was a strong circular, shape that connected, the Seraph, T&B from today's beauty that. Polished, professional branding, is designed, to tackle another one of our primary goals, extending. Benjamins reached beyond just the central neighborhood so, we can find new customer faces and bring money into his business from surrounding, areas back. In Alton Benjamin, is already, putting that plan in motion. I think. That what will be a 15 sport cervezas, having my classes, here for like someone a stylist, in town and then after the class offer a discount on, some, of the potters that. Unique. Deal another avenue, of customer, acquisition. Very. Good social content, but it also be important when we're building the website to also show the partnerships, for stylists, and their audiences. Bring. In professionals, to train the professionals, allows us to expand, our market talk, to your clients about color we're not pulling the cat pound and pulling the hair through the holes no more you, know we have to make recommendations, to them oh your ticket it's nothing wrong with that as long as you're doing it healthy and you're taking care of their hair there's nothing wrong with that there. Are certain, professional, lines that, they won't sell to the general public so I've had a great meeting with the local distributor, for this area and we, can now actually, have the professional, product, that they use on. A day to day basis, with so much happening at once from rebuilding to rebranding, I'm headed, back to Alton to sit down with management and see how he's feeling about the entire process.
There. Are people in my store right now and my stuff is all covered up and this full throttle, and it's only gonna get worse and if I don't. Do. Some patience, there are places right there's just logistical. And business realities, as well as just how. Do you you know stop your business for a few days to do some of the things that would make it very difficult you, know but we're. Fortunate that you. Know we're part of this process but. It's, a lot of work yeah my, fact that day is my 25th wedding anniversary, should the cancel your anniversary, trip right to meet with us. Well. Not just to meet just. This whole there's no way I could get away and dentistry you were in them yeah, I'm in a medical office, have. You also had your restage in the store made some decisions, about what inventory. Your. Go and, I donated, about 20%, of the product to the local, women's Oasis oh that's so you. We. Always try to warn these business owners going in but it's impossible, to communicate just, how taxing, the small business revolution whirlwind. Can be we're. Asking them to completely, rethink their business while, continuing to run it and no. Amount of outside help makes that easy but. In the case of today's Beauty Supply I think we really have the opportunity to create something unique and special. What. We found is less than 10% of, all African, American Beauty Supply, stores are owned by African. Americans a lot of the the merchandising. And how products, are laid. Out and displayed comes from a totally different culture so, we try to explore a new way that feels more like Benjamin. Man. If this is the outside you get to see the inside. We're. Getting so many compliments, like. Customers. Are like are we in the wrong place it, looks really. Great oh and then my logo the, logo looks pretty. Amazing. I want. To see what's going on inside can't wait to show you. My gosh. Wow. I am. Speechless. But, this is incredible. I've. Had customers say it's like a breath of fresh air oh you did such a good job, and. You. Were. Suspect. About the table, I was in, it and it turned out and it's a space-saving, that's, what's great about it we, consolidated, our our wigs our ladies look, at how great that was what, was the hardest part for you mentally. It was trying to figure out okay. How do we reorganize. Where does everything go what am I gonna get rid of but, sometimes, less is more, so, I Hotel. Right almost always yeah, I know it was really important for you to maintain your own sense, of place here, do you feel like, you were able to do that well. Of course because I, got a chance to utilize.
Everything. That you guys gave me and just kind of make. It into, something. That worked for. Us for today's good you guys really took the direction, and brought, it to life in such a beautiful way couldn't. Happen without you guys well. Would you like to see how all of this kind of branding, translates, online can't, wait okay. When. We first started working together we loved kind of the vibe over at today's place you, know what we wanted to try and reflect that a little bit with the rest of your brand so the new logo brings in kind of that perfect color it's both warm, and bright and it just feels like a well-established retail. Brand look great on sir. We've. Got t-shirts, that, your. Staff can wear that you can sell that you can give away and, you have a lot of great relationships around town. And so we. Have created postcards for you to leave to encourage people to come in and try the store this is really great and then, one, of the most important, things the retail environment can be your, packaging. Your competitors, aren't doing this this is an elevated, experience. So, another thing is your Brandon, this is hurt that. Makes. Me want to just go and hand out a bunch of cards everywhere. So. You're ready to your website yes I am okay here, we go this is. Your new website, so. Front and center we have real customers, we have you we have Angela, we want to see the people that are in this space and the people that are your that you, serve every date doesn't shoot beautiful yes we. Want to show that this is a different kind of beauty supply store that you offer a different experience to your customers awesome. The main call to action on the entire site is you know come in and visit everything. We do every other language, we use is all about your coming in and experience, what today's Beauty Supply is like I know, Angela's been working really hard and the social media she's doing a really great job we're really impressed so. We want to make sure that we're leveraging that so instead of having to continually. Be adding inspirational. Photos to your website as well as posting on social media we're just gonna have it feed right into your website you know do that automatically, I like. That. For. Instagram so, we just bought this at a home improvement store just a piece of linoleum that looks like tile restyle. Your product. Like. This. And. We just take a picture see. And look how great, that looks that's great look great on Instagram, you, can even use your floors it's gorgeous, yes and then we also want to give people the opportunity to keep in touch we're gonna try and build your email list, through. The website but we encourage you especially now that the cash wrap is nice and clear we, encourage, you to you know put the signup sheet right, here, I would transition those email address on online, yes okay so jewel X has an email marketing troll which we will get you all set up with and it's. A very simple process for adding their emails to your database I like something. Let's. Go into the products page hair care nails. Lashes. Cosmetics. And skin care we wanted to make sure that we were using your product categories, in those headers um, so, that as the search engines are crawling your site you're, popping up more regularly, then we get into the about page and I think this is the most important, part, go, great you guys look we, want to talk about the fact that this is a black-owned beauty supply store that this is uncommon.
In This industry and you're offering something to this community, that. Your competitors, aren't when. I look at the website, it, just. Instantly makes me smile you, know it feels. Welcoming. You guys have done an amazing job and, I can't. Wait to sit down and just look. Through every inch of it myself. When. You look through the web page it, shows today's, I got, the opportunity to kind. Of just tell, my story and just kind of share. How I felt, and they, listened well, I have one more thing to show you you. Men carried out Saturday. Oh. So, we, had some secret helpers tell us that we remember your wishlist items for today's place would be patio, furniture so people could sit here and enjoy this beautiful new. Porch so, we also seen us on the table got, three you have tops for, today's place. This, are gonna love that, feel, a little bad though because throughout. This process you. And your wife had to cancel your anniversary, trip because we were pretty, neat is such hard work cleaning out the store and everything else so we want to make that up to you and, so you would love to pay for, your flights and hotel for you to come to Minneapolis is your original plan. Our, goal from the beginning was to help Benjamin's, business thrive but throughout this whole process he made sure we all kept her eyes on an even bigger picture, that. Businesses like his and communities. Like this one our, full of stories that deserve to be told a too. Often art you. Know I think of myself as, a successful, individual. Who, has done well, but. I have to consistently, be mindful, every, day all. Day. Everywhere. I go how, I'm viewed by. The world that don't know me and if. I don't it, could cost me my life and I'm a good guy with. Alton, winning, we, get opportunity, to share a message that, you all want, the same thing, we all just want to enjoy life to the fullest and contribute. And help, those around us that we can and I, think that's important. For people to know. You. Shampoo. Cheese is a neighborhood, girl with a deep love for her canine, clients, I feel like it takes a special kind of person to know what a dog think Alicia. Weeks give birth then, she greets us but the stress of moving to a new building and, doubling her expenses, has pushed the owner to her limits we put everything we have in Michigan futures can the small business revolution team, give her the tools to untangle, her troubles she, won't survive if, she doesn't get her numbers, under control on, the next episode of small business, revolution Main, Street like. Many retailers pricey and pressure from big-box and online competitors, was, slashing Benjamin's profits, visit, deluxe comm backslash, today's beauty to, learn more about how the deluxe team leverage, marketing to, create an enticing boutique, experience at, today's, Beauty Supply.