Dedication. This is what makes businesses like Taliah Waajid Natural Hair Care Products continue to be successful, and OTC Beauty Magazine spoke with their founder, Taliah Waajid, to learn more about the company. In the beginning, simply getting people interested in what was healthy for them instead of what was on-trend proved challenging. Overcoming that hurdle, they now strive to gain and keep customer loyalty to their tried-and-true products. Working together as a team, the staff is doing something right!
OTC Beauty Magazine (OTC): What is your background with both this company and the beauty business? What initially drew you to the industry and what has kept you here?
Taliah Waajid (TW): I am the founder of Taliah Waajid Natural Hair Care Products. However, I have been in the business for, dare I say, over 30 years. Initially, I was drawn to the industry because I have always loved everything about hair and beauty since I was a little girl. It has been my God-given talent and as I grew older I wanted to know all aspects of beauty and the beauty business.
OTC: Please briefly describe the history of the Taliah Waajid Natural Hair Care Products. How did this company get started and what is it founded on?
TW: Taliah Waajid Natural Hair Care Products was started in 1996. Before ‘96, I was a salon owner and I retailed other products out of my salon. However, there were not many products that catered to hair with curls, kinks and waves, so “client needs” were the basis of what the company was founded on! I also was concerned for my clients and their hair. My experience as a Master Cosmetologist helped me to formulate a product system that would nourish, moisturize and totally benefit their hair. Our customers loved having products that worked on their hair and I loved seeing that I could make a positive, groundbreaking change in the beauty world.
OTC: What is the structure of the company like? Are there multiple product types manufactured under this label? Please explain.
TW: Yes, the products are manufactured here in Atlanta and under this label. The structure of the company is like an umbrella. We have Taliah Waajid Healthy Hair, Healthy Body which is the umbrella that all the other lines and products fall under. The oldest, professional and most successful line is “Taliah Waajid Black Earth Products.” Next, we have the line called “Curls, Waves and Naturals” for people with curly, wavy, coily and kinky hair types. The third line is for children and that is called “Kinky, Wavy, Natural for Kids.” The newest line is the “Taliah Waajid Essential Oils” line, which consists of three castor oils in different fragrances. Since the beginning, all lines have welcomed successful product additions.
OTC: What makes the Taliah Waajid Natural Hair Care Products different than other companies of its kind in the industry?
TW: We are different because we are the first, complete line of natural hair care products. Again, my products were birthed from consumer needs with my concern and experience. I know what my consumers need for their hair and I feel confident that Taliah Waajid Natural Hair Care Products has consistently provided that.
OTC: Who is the main audience for your products and what steps are you taking to ensure you meet their needs?
TW: When the product was first created years ago, we targeted the African-American market because that is who my clients were. Since then, our target audience has broadened over the years and I am very grateful that so many different people receive the products so well. The products we offer now are for people with any type of curl pattern to their hair, whether African-American, Caucasian-American, Bi-racial, Hispanic, etc.
To meet their needs as much as possible, the Taliah Waajid Natural Hair Care Products team gets out in the streets, participates in events, communicates via social media and most importantly, listens to what people are asking for.
OTC: What is the newest product you have placed on the market? What sparked initial interest in creating this product?
TW: We actually have a few new products, but the “babies” of the Taliah Waajid Healthy Hair, Healthy Body family are the Essential Oils. We created this product to give our consumers a choice. People prefer castor oil, as opposed to some of the other body/hair oils for a number of reasons. We want to make sure that our customers can come to us and get everything they need.
OTC: How does the company ensure it stays up-to-date with the latest trends in the beauty industry?
TW: We listen to our consumers! We also participate in professional and consumer industry events. This gives us an idea of what our business partners and competitors are doing as well as what our consumers are talking about. Social media has also been a great avenue for this. It takes a few things to stay updated as trends come and go so quickly!
OTC: Please explain how your OTC store partners and our readers can benefit from carrying Taliah Waajid products and having a business relationship with the company.
TW: OTC store partners and readers can benefit from carrying Taliah Waajid Natural Hair Care Products because this line is in high demand, affordable and it actually works. We appreciate our business partners and are willing to provide them with help to further ensure consistent sales.
OTC: What types of POP material does the company offer to OTC retailers and what makes them work?
TW: The POP material we provide is: sample packets, flyers/brochures/posters, sample bags and sales sheets. We also allow our OTC retailers to request in-store promotions. During these in-store promotions, we send out a rep to speak to your customers about our products and push sales. All of this material guarantees sales because we are showing our retailers that we care about their success and we are directly reaching out to customers showing them we care about their hair health.
OTC: How do you educate consumers and retailers on product knowledge?
TW: We educate our consumers by holding in-store promotions, participating in events that share the same audience with us, sending out product brochures and sample bags, holding our World Natural Hair, Health & Beauty Shows, Taliah Waajid Natural Hair, Braiding and Weaving Seminars and so much more! We are a HUGE source of information! Our retailers can call or email us any time they want. Our warehouse team makes themselves available should our business partners need more information or samples…it doesn’t matter. We are here to help!
OTC: This year the company held its first ever trade show in New York City—what prompted this? Do you see it becoming a regular occurrence in addition to your Atlanta shows, and are other locations possible?
TW: Originally, I am from New York City. I moved to Atlanta to build my business and raise my family. Over the years, I have always visited home and each time I would go the demand for a Natural Hair, Health & Beauty Expo grew and grew and grew. I felt like it was up to me to meet that demand. The NYC expo will most definitely be an annual event and once we are sailing smoothly, perhaps we will do other satellite shows. Stay tuned!
OTC: What do you foresee 2015 holding for the company? Are there big plans you can talk about?
TW: I plan to release some new products to add to the Essential Oils line and perhaps the CWN line too. Also, we are going to focus on perfecting our 3 World Natural Hair, Health & Beauty Shows. If anything else comes up, OTC will be the first to know!
OTC: What is the best business advice you can give store owners, especially as they head into the New Year?
TW: Plan ahead, stay focused and stay informed. When you know where you’re going and why, you can think more freely and put your plans into action better. Also knowing what your customers want and need is vital to any business, but especially in the beauty industry. So make sure that you are always on top of that!