Opening a New Chapter in Beauty Supply
Beauty World, NC
Beauty World, NC
A shop on a rise. A beauty supply store newly opened in High Point, North Carolina is called Beauty World, dubbed “As if ULTA and an ethnic shop got married and gave a birth” according to a customer who visited the store for the first time. I met John Kim, the owner of Beauty World, who opened a new kind of beauty supply retail place by bringing a customized shopping experience for customers of all ages and gender. He kindly showed me around the new displays that show-cased his experience and know-hows.
High Point, the locale of Beauty World?
Driving south from Piedmont Triad International Airport serving Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem in North Carolina, in about thirty minutes you will see Beauty World in the middle of High Point’s Main Street. Diverse ethnic groups reside in this area, among which the African American population takes up more than 45% of the total. There are six or seven beauty sup-plies in this area.
The Collaboration between Shop Design & Mr. & Mrs. Kim’s Idea
Mr. Kim spent a while to think about how to fill this retail space, which used to be occupied by a Tuesday Morning and a Salva-tion Army before that. One day, his wife, a longtime resident in the area, told him, “this is our town, so why don’t we create a beauty store that our neighbors, friends, and our kids’ teach-ers would love to shop?” She had a friend who once told her that visiting a beauty supply store was somehow an unpleasant experience, and she felt they ought to do something to change how they are viewed. That conversation had a huge impact on our goals to create a newer kind of retail place. Along with this, the aha moment that I had about five years ago in a beauty show exhibition in Georgia came back to me, and it reminded me of James Ko of Shop Design, I acquainted at the time. Since then, I drew up various store display ideas for custom-ers based on my extensive experience and placed customized orders for LED banners and newer kinds of shelves, with which I completed a ground-breaking retail interior within just a week. The LED signs totaling over 30 in numbers cost more than I anticipated, and the customized fixtures were also heavy on the budget, but I had a belief that they would last longer and save energy, which would consequently lower the electric bills in a long term. Most importantly, I loved the fact that it would only take a week to install and get ready for a grand opening.
1. Three unique wig rooms | Wig section is in the very back of the store. There exist three rooms in total: (1) a first room for premium products, (2) a second room for mid-range products, and (3) a third room for low-end products. Based on their needs, customers can quickly and easily find a product.
2. The manufacturer’s original product label is hidden from the plain sight, and only Beauty World’s price tag is visible. | You cannot force customers to skip comparing prices online, but you can at least make it harder! The price tag in-cludes size, design, and price information.
3. 10% OFF sign on the mirror for wig fitting | Policy No. 1. If you buy without a try-on, you will get 10% discount on wigs. No. 2. If you purchase display items or stock items older than 60 days, you will get 10% discount on wigs. Customers some-how flock in during the busiest hours. When the wig section is crowded, people often get frustrated. CEO Kim had an idea. Discounts for a mutual benefit. You can get rid of old stocks and display items easily, and the customers are always happy with a discount. This is a great discount policy especially when there is shortage of hands.
Beauty World’s Secret Weapon: Customer Reaction that Brings Confidence
“After the grand opening, a customer came in and silently looked around the store. I asked her if she was okay. I found a tear falling down her face. She said she was very emo-tional and grateful.” CEO Kim shares a story about a customer. There were the tight budget issue and tough economic cir-cumstance, but this warm anecdote regarding a customer is one of the reasons he is planning to open more Beauty World’s innovative retail stores. Still being a beauty supply, stocks tend to pile up due to the bulk of braid hairs, the flood of similar products, myriad types of wigs, among other things. He had to make a criti-cal decision. To maintain low-height display and wide aisles, you cannot possibly display everything. Every day, CEO Kim faces a dilemma between the product variety and the ground-breaking display layout.
Manpower and Marketing
Kim immigrated to the U.S. at his age of three, and he started working as a cashier for his dad’s beauty supply store at the age of 11. That experience made him interested in the busi-ness world ever since, and he majored in a business-related study at college. After 25 years of immersive experience in the beauty industry, he confidently speaks of his beliefs. “Managing people is the utmost important thing. Running a business, I always feel that way. Fortunately, everyone who works with me is working hard in their field of strength. Of course, a marketing knowhow to stand out is also important.” CEO Kim is on top of the marketing. He shares product in-formation with employees and frequently holds group meet-ings via KaKaoTalk, a mobile messenger app. Though not expecting a short-term effect, he is running radio and TV advertisements as well, and he runs product and discount promotions quite often to constantly remind customers of Beauty World’s name through emails and text messages.
Point-based Rewards Program
When customers visit the store for the first time, they learn about rewards point and provide their names and contact information to be stored in the POS system. Like Walgreens and CVS who assigns unique numbers to customers, a store card is issued to each customer exclusively for shop-ping at Beauty World. It has a distinctive point system where those who purchase more would receive more points per purchase dollar, ranging from 1% to 5% of total purchase. We interviewed a few customers who visited Beauty World in a weekday morning. From an African American customer saying all products are well organized and easy to find and bring joy to shoppers; to a Caucasian customer who are happy to find desired products at a closer place than an ULTA place where it would take more than 30 minutes to go; and to a Hispanic customer who is happy to find stuff not available at Walmart, various shoppers had their own reasons to enjoy shopping at Beauty World.
Beauty supply is customer’s girlfriend!
CEO Kim says with confidence. Customers come to find products meeting their personal preference, so he believes the place should be a fun place to shop. Slashing many stereotypes of beauty supply retail store, he built today’s Beauty World through substantial investment and after a hard decision limiting the range of carried goods. You reap what you sow. As the saying goes, we anticipate the sec-ond and the third establishment of Beauty World that would bring a new sensation to the beauty supply industry. “Seeing a green light, there is no reason to be afraid” says CEO Kim, to whose confident and courageous steps, BNB wishes the best of luck in the New Year and years