First Choice Sales and Marketing Group Inc. Celebrates 30 Years

Here at OTC Beauty Magazine we love to see companies flourish and celebrate noteworthy milestones. First Choice Sales and Marketing Group is celebrating their 30 year anniversary this month, and we sat down with a few representatives to learn more about its history. Please join with us in congratulating this establishment on their successes.


OTC Beauty Magazine (OTC): Please provide us with a brief overview of First Choice Sales and Marketing Group, Inc. What exactly does the company do?

Melanie Burroughs (MB): In a nutshell, First Choice Sales and Marketing Group serves its clients through the management and execution of their sales, planning, promotion and merchandising strategies at the retail and OTC levels. As a global consumer products management firm, we’ve been helping brands across the health and beauty industry prosper since 1987.


OTC:  How did the company get its start? Is it founded on a certain idea or vision?

Tyrone Burroughs (TB): I started First Choice with a simple principle—to be a catalyst in creating economic opportunities—for my employees, for our clients, and within our communities. Beauty seemed like a good platform—it was relatable to everyone, male or female, and was independent of stereotypes. Beauty could be defined by the beholder.


OTC:  Is there a certain portion of the beauty industry and geographic area the company serves?

Demar Roberts (DR): First Choice initially established a niche skill set servicing clients and customers in the multicultural industry whose primary audience was women of color. Our “reach” now extends across the {retail} aisles, into the hands of everyday women and men around the world.


OTC:  Please describe the services that the company offers.

MB: We’ve grown our platforms to be able to support brands from concept to consumer through sales, product planning and placement, merchandising, category management, marketing and public relations. With over 150+ years of combined experience, we believe we’ve assembled a talented team capable of servicing our clients and customers across a variety of disciplines.


OTC:  What distinguishing factor makes First Choice stand out among this industry?

TB: As a “bridge,” we believe our service model is based upon integrity. Everything we do is in the best interest of our clients and customers, the industry, and the end consumer.


OTC:  What is the biggest accomplishment this company has celebrated since it began?

TB: Sustainability! By far, we have accomplished much, yet we have so much more work to do in this business. We are grateful to have clients and customers who have been with us for decades, entrusting us to serve them and manage their businesses. Those relationships, without a doubt, are our blessing [for longevity].


OTC:  In what ways has time changed the way that business is conducted as a consumer products management firm?

DR: If we go back 30 years, before the technological advances, we would see the emphasis on a customer’s in-store experience. Today, we must also ensure that a customer has a pleasant online and social experience as well—websites must be informational and easy to navigate; influencers must become official brand ambassadors, and brands must have multiple touch points. When we think about how to best prepare and represent our brands for distribution, we take a 360 approach based upon consumer marketing practices to ensure a win-win for the brand, the retailer, and the consumer. We are no longer able to look at the business/industry as monolithic, as there are many layers to getting a product on shelf—and off (into the hands of a customer/consumer).


OTC:  Do you have a favorite memory you can share with us from your time at First Choice?

MB: I have a few, but one of my very first memories was trying to decide what I would call my father at the office. I wasn’t quite brave enough to say “Tyrone,” but I wanted to be validated and saying “Daddy” didn’t seem adult enough. I guess you can say I started the “Mr. Burroughs” movement.


OTC:  What or who would you attribute to the company’s success and longevity in the industry?

MB: Definitely, my father. He’s very well-known and respected—even among brands and businesses that are not in our client portfolio. I grew up in the business, but the appreciation for his talent and passion in this industry only became apparent when I began working in it after college. His vision and the talent he brings to First Choice are why our customers have remained with us for so long. People trust him. They respect him. They value him, which in turn makes our company valuable… and successful.


OTC:  What do you think is the best piece of advice for success in the multicultural beauty industry, for both manufacturers and beauty supply storeowners?

TB: Love what you do! If you really enjoy what you’re doing or building and the customers that you serve, it will never feel like work. Invest in yourself and your business—learn more, get the right tools, and find the resources to help you create a stronger team, a better store, a better business. Never become complacent. There’s always room for improvement.


OTC:  Now that First Choice has made it 30 years in this industry, what do you see the future holding for the company?

TB: Expansion. We will continue to add services to our portfolio such as distribution and logistics. A long-term strategy of mine has been to include global offerings for our clients. As a full-service agency, it’s important for us to continue to grow and to be {serve} where our clients and customers do business. These days, that quite possibly extends beyond North America.



Company Name: First Choice Sales and Marketing Group, Inc.

Address: 3380 Pearson Road, Memphis, TN 38118

Contact Number: 800-682-6617


Years in business: 30


Photos are from the 25th Anniversary Celebration of First Choice Sales and Marketing Group, held on January 27, 2012.

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