Customer loyalty, global recognition, resilience, and quality products are just a few reasons why Luster Products Inc. is an iconic brand. Great products and excellent service has made Luster’s the world’s leading African-American-owned manufacturer of premium personal care products. We got a chance to chat with the Brand Manager at Large, Resa B. Luster-Mac to find out about the brilliance behind the brand.
OTC: What is the mission of Luster Products Inc.?
Resa B. Luster-Mac (RLM): At Luster Products, it is our mission to super serve and effectively satisfy the special needs of the African American and multicultural consumer.
OTC: If you had to pick a phrase or word to represent your brand, what would it be?
RLM: “It works every time.” – This is what we hope our customers say about our products each time they use them.
OTC: How did the company get its start?
RLM: My grandfather, the late Fred Luster, Sr., while working as a successful barber in Chicago, Illinois, was motivated to personally develop hair care products for the health and maintenance of clients’ hair. At the outset, the formulas were sold exclusively in his barbershop. As word spread about his products’ effectiveness, demand increased. He then began selling the products to other barbers and hairstylists. Propelled by early success, my grandfather established Luster Products Inc. in 1957. With family support and inspiration, he led the company from a modest storefront operation to an international multimillion-dollar enterprise. Due to his vision, business savvy and commitment, Luster Products flourished and has remained an industry leader for the last 65 years.
OTC: What brands fall under the Luster umbrella?
RLM: We have Luster’s Pink, Luster’s Pink Kids, S Curl, Smooth Touch, PCF, Renutrients and Shortlooks.
OTC: What sets your brands apart from the rest of the industry?
RLM: From the very beginning of our business, our founder Fred Luster, Sr. chose to super serve the multicultural customer and that is a legacy that we’ve never abandoned and that we attribute to our longevity and success. When options were few, Luster Products’ was there for them and even with more options in the market, we’ve established a deeply rooted connection with this community so they trust us.
OTC: I know you launched a new look for your Classic Pink Lotion. How have customers responded?
RLM: So far our consumers have been loving the new look of our Pink Lotion and Glosser. They love the metallic effect when you move the bottle in your hands and they also love that the updates are subtle enough that they can still recognize and find two of their favorite products when shopping at shelf.
OTC: What are some of the key ingredients in your Natural Oil blends collection and how is the feedback from your customers?
RLM: Some of the key ingredients across our Natural Oil Blends collection are Castor, Tea Tree,Clary Sage, Rosemary, Coconut and Lavender oils and Aloe Vera. However, the full formulation blends differ across products based on the results we are looking to achieve. For instance, our new Comfort Oil scalp serum has peppermint oil in it which provides the soothing tingly sensation.
OTC: What trends do you feel are most prevalent in the multicultural beauty industry right now? Is there anything that you would like to see change/shift?
RLM: Right now, what’s interesting is that the trend we are seeing is that consumers aren’t following the path of ‘trends’ anymore so much as they’re all about finding the right product routines and rituals that work best for them. Trial and error is still important, but once they find something that works, they are typically sticking with that product longer instead of looking for the next best thing.
OTC: How do you share product knowledge with your customers and retailers?
RLM: We are wherever our consumers are, so we’re sharing info with them online via social media, at shelf, through our customer service team and we reach more than 50,000 consumers via our newsletter. We rely heavily on our merchandisers in key markets to disseminate information sheets provided by our marketing team. If there are opportunities to meet in-person or via zoom with the retailer store personnel, we take full advantage to share the consumer and market research that supports the product(s) we are launching.
OTC: Can you tell us about The Luster Foundation and your most recent initiative?
RLM: Luster Products has a long legacy of community giving support through our Luster Foundation. It is one of my grandfather Fred Luster Sr.’s original requirements for the company “that we support and give back to the community that has so graciously supported us.” The primary focus of our support has been to organizations that benefit African American youth; however, here are some of the organizations that we have supported over the years: The Joseph Assignment (building fresh water drinking wells in Ghana), Mam/ Wow youth guidance organizations, American Cancer Society, La Rabida Children’s Hospital, The Faith Community of Saint Sabina, Jackie Robinson West Scholarship Foundation, just to name a few.
OTC: What have you found is the best way to connect with the Luster customer?
RLM: The best way to connect with our customer is to truly meet them where they are. That could be online on social media, walking the aisles of an OTC store, out and about in the community or even at the local hair salon or barber shop.
OTC: How can OTC stores benefit from having your product lines in their stores?
RLM: We believe that OTC stores typically have the best product assortments and are where hair care or ingredient trends can really originate and where a lot of consumer education can happen at shelf. So having Luster Products’ brands in OTC stores allows us as a brand and our OTC partners to be part of that trendsetting and educational conversation.
OTC: What suggestions do you have about store placement of your items and also talking points for OTC store employees?
RLM: Having been in business for 65 years our product portfolio is very large covering the entire gamut of consumers’ hair care needs. We have collections for women, men and children. We prefer for our items to be placed by brand, to create a brand block, within the appropriate category. Also, we absolutely love an opportunity for dual placement, especially for our faster moving items like Pink Glosser and Lush Growth Oil. Oftentimes we will request placement within our brand block and also in the usage category, ie Pink Lush Growth Oil with the Pink brand products as well as with the competing oils set. Luster Products touts that we are the “original” moisturizing company with our iconic Pink Oil Moisturizer Hair Lotion. We would love for OTC store employees to reiterate that fact and also publicize that we have been in business for 65 years, still family owned and operated. We want to relay to consumers that we are experts of the industry with products that are still relevant to date, while also offering items that are relevant to today’s hair care needs with natural based formulas good for the entire family.
OTC: Do you have any upcoming shows or events?
RLM: Our next event will be participating in the annual SistaStrut Walk in Chicago in October for Breast Cancer Awareness month.
OTC: Are there any new projects or products you’re working on?
RLM: Under our Luster’s Pink brand we recently launched our 100% natural Comfort Oil scalp serum and updated the packaging for our classic Oil Moisturizer Lotion and Glosser. So our main focus right now is getting the word out to consumers about these changes and gearing up for the holiday season.