How a Small Shop Survives in Tough Time

How a Small Shop Survives in Tough Time




There are tons of beauty supply stores in the U.S., in a wide range of sizes. Bigger stores have their own challenges, but they undoubtedly have a lot of advantages. You can get better pricing for large quantities, and you have the financial resources to do aggressive marketing. Smaller shops are at a disadvantage in many ways. However, there are plenty of beauty supply stores that are small but thriving. In this issue, we interviewed small shops – beauty supply stores with about 3,000 sq ft – and learned their survival strategies.

First up is a 3,000 sqft beauty supply store run by Business Owner Mitchell in the small town of Ardmore, Oklahoma. First impression: the store was clean and well organized.

Business Owner Mitchell, who ran the business here since 2021, says, “Being in a small town, we have very strong relationships with our regular customers. Above all, I always try to keep up the basics. We always maintain our store clean and provide friendly service to all the customers who visit our store.” In addition to the beauty supply store, Business Owner Mitchell also runs a barber shop nearby. The secret is diligence and hard work. He knows it’s hard to find good employees, so he tries to be as accommodating as possible.

“We have the advantage of not having a big store around us, but we’re not complacent. We strive to keep our customers happy by always stocking new products and ordering what they’re looking for right away.


Inside Mitchell’s beauty supply store



This time, we’re stopping at Ms. Tola’s 2,000 sq ft operation in the South. She says that she enjoys being a black-owned business which gives the advantage of being able to communicate with her customers well.

When it comes to the secret to successfully running a small shop, Ms. Tola says, “I try to make small talk with customers who come in and build a bond with them, and I try to make them feel comfortable and try my best to make them a regular customer. I’m also trying to up the game with my services, like directing customers to what they’re looking for and helping them when they’re trying on wigs. Cleaning and organizing the store is a must,” she says, adding that she is pretty confident about her customer service. It’s a small shop, but the way they organize their products and try to respond to each customer’s feedback immediately left a strong impression. She also promotes the store to the local community as a black-owned business, and builds close relationships with the neighbors around the store.


Inside Ms. Tola’s beauty supply store



Lastly, we met Business Owner Lee, who runs a little over 3,000 sq ft shop near Dallas, Texas. He owns both a small and a large store, and he runs each store differently to take different advantages of being small and large.

“Even for the small stores, we stock as much inventory as the big beauty supply stores. I tend to be greedy about the inventory even if it means sacrificing profit margin. Because I think that’s what makes customers happy. Above all, I try not to turn away customers who visit my store. We offer free samples all the time and order new products constantly. I’m also always interested in the new products that salespeople introduce.”

He’s outwardly nonchalant, but he has a great reputation among salespeople for his warmth and willingness to take care of them. There’s no doubt his personality is a big plus to his business. Salespeople are human, too, and they want to take care of clients who are good to them.


The interior of Business Owner Lee’s beauty supply store



After visiting three small shops, we found five commonalities.

The first on the list is outstanding customer service. They have friendly service that takes advantage of being a small shop, like helping you try on wigs, handing out samples, and being quick to respond to customers.

Second, they all communicate with your customers frequently and stay connected with them to promote repeat business. Beauty supplies are considered local business. Customer satisfaction is indisputably important to the survival of a local business.

Third, they have extensive inventory despite the size. Because of space limitations, they can’t have every product, but they fully stock the essentials. It’s an effort to avoid sending customers away empty-handed.

Fourth, they always try new products though in small quantities. This makes the customers feel fresh about the store, avoiding the store looking stagnant.

Fifth, the store is very clean and well organized. It’s a very basic thing to do, but it’s also a hard thing to do. Some shops are clean when they first open, but as time goes by, they become gradually unorganized. The fact that small but successful shops are always well organized proves that organization is a key factor to a success.

In conclusion, if you want your small shop to survive in the age of endless competition, you need to start thinking about what products and services you want to bring to your customers. Both big and small shops have their own advantages. If you’re running a small shop, instead of envying the big shop next door, look for ways to maximize your strengths and improve them. You sure can build a small but successful shop.


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