Beauty Zone, where customers come to happily spend
Mike & Nancy Lee from Plymouth Meeting, PA
Mike & Nancy Lee from Plymouth Meeting, PA
Plymouth Meeting region is a city in Pennsylvania that was once a settlement area for the Quakers in 1686. Mike and Nancy Lee has been managing the beauty supply business inside a shopping mall for 12 years and they casually carry out conversation with the customers with a gentle smile.
“Our store used to located at an area with higher crime rate. My heart starts to race even from the thought of that place. After two robbery cases, we had a family meeting and everyone felt the need to relocate to a safer region. The rent would be much higher but we found the mall to be a secure place to reopen our business. There are restaurants, Whole Foods, clothing stores, and hair salon inside the mall, which means much more diverse group of visitors will run by the store, not just limited to African American customers.”
Beauty Zone can be found right when you come up the stairs to the second floor. The interior stretches deep inside, with the register on the right side near the front with hair-related items neatly organized alongside. Wig section is located past the aisles filled with cosmetics, hair chemicals, and accessories. Hair extensions and ponytail items are displayed by category for customers of various nationalities and tastes can easily locate what they are searching for.
Beauty Zone is opened as long as the shopping mall is. Normal business hours are from 10am to 9pm, and days prior to national holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas run a little longer, starting early from 7am in the morning until 11pm at night.
Mr. and Mrs. Lee always prepare seasonal promotions prior to the holidays. Keeping up with the festivity and discount deals of the mall can become quite burdensome, but the couple do their best to consult with suppliers to prepare stock for discount and attract customers. They are currently getting ready for upcoming Thanksgiving deals.
Beauty Zone proudly offers
Kind and welcoming staff
A large collection of wigs and hairpieces targeted for Caucasian customers. Professional styling is also available.
Organized display of products. Items are kept at eye level, within customer’s reach
Good relationship with local beauticians who refer customers
Small interior but has all you need
Learning from early experiences
“Without much knowledge about the demographics of the region, we first started the business as a wig store catered to Caucasian customers. We eventually had to pay for our indifference and lack of insight. Because the store was located inside a mall, many of our early customers misunderstood that any items can be refunded with a receipt, even the hair chemicals and wigs. It was no use emphasizing the store policies multiple times to them. There are other clothing stores within the vicinity, so it was nearly impossible to sell sunglasses and other accessories. Doing business inside a mall comes with certain limitation.”
Mr. Lee shared some of the difficulties that taught him invaluable lessons when he first opened up the store.
Keeping up with the trend
“Aside from Philadelphia, this region does not miss a beat when it comes to staying current with the latest fashion trend. Customers come in and ask questions about a wide range of products everyday. It’s why our staff needs to continuously study the media and ask for visiting salesman’s help in learning about the trends.”
Because Plymouth is geographically close to New York, the hub of fashion trend, and a large portion of the customers are from the younger generation who are familiar with the dynamics of online market, Mr. and Mrs. Lee always keep an eye out for trends on social media and try not to fall behind.
Customers gladly spending at store
“The rental contract renews every 2 years and because this was a significant change in our budget, I could not afford breaks and had been working hard everyday. In the end, the amount of effort you’ve invested makes you feel a sense of accomplishment.” Mr. Lee was able to assist a male customer who was looking for a hair clipper and advertise a newly released du-rag to the customer in store.
“Beauty supply is a go-to place for many women with an interest in personal beauty. The power that wig holds when it instantly restore youthful look when installed, is unbelievable!“ Mr. Lee smiled as he explained. “My goal is to do my best to cater to the needs of the customers and provide personalized service. Customers satisfaction is our ultimate business goal.”
Companies with Unchanging Quality
Beauty Zone’s priority is in selling wigs. There are hair weaves and clip, ponytail for Caucasian customers as well. “We like working with companies that doesn’t change over time. Quality is . Customers are even more sensitive to the differences. There was an incident where a customer came back to repurchase the same product but raised concern in change in quality of the product. At first I thought she was just being unreasonably stubborn, but I later realized that the customer was right. Now I always carefully examine the item when we place a second order.
Quality Product at Reasonable Price
“I’m not fond of the excessively reduced pricing of the wig items. It leaves the impression on the customers that they are at a loss when they purchase other regular-priced items, without taking into consideration the difference in product quality. Overdone price reduction inflict more damage to the business. I believe more in building trust with my customers than desperate to earn a few more bucks.” Mr. Lee is persistent on his opinion, and remains humble “I only have one goal for the future and that is continuing this business with small but steady increase in sales. Things are slower at retails, but we know everyone is giving their best to fight through.”
Mr. and Mrs. Lee takes a break only 3 times a year, on Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas. They always work hard, with a believe that better customer service and quality of product is the solution to surviving in a slower economy. Beauty Zone was a store filled with genuine smile and lively spirit of the visitors, as well as the sincerity of Mr. and Mrs. Lee.
Beauty Supply Interview Sunny Kim
BNB Magazine October 2019 ©bnbmag.com