The title and the true meaning of this article is somewhat similar to President Ronald Reagan’s most famous statement to the Russian General Secretary Mr. Gorbachev on June 1987 in Berlin, when he stated “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” referring to the wall that divided the Germany’s East and West, which would dramatically advance the cause of freedom and peace.
Obviously this article is meant for all OTC stores operating in America, so I am not referencing any major issues like freedom and/or peace. We live in the greatest nation on the planet and we are so fortunate and blessed to have great freedom and rights. So why is it that OTC stores have constrained themselves for so long? OTC stores have caged themselves, limiting their prosperity and growth. This needs to change.
The fact is that Jinny Corporation is by far the largest “ethnic” and multicultural distributor for chemical hair care products and beauty general merchandise in the world. We have represented and protected this special niche industry for over 35 years and this is what we know best. But as time changes, the demographics and businesses around you change, so WE NEED to change with time and our surroundings as well!
The posters featuring only African American women that are placed in your store windows—in most cases covering your windows from top to bottom and often times also the entire concrete wall surrounding your building—need to be torn down. Below are some of the reasons why our OTC stores need to tear these posters down.
(This list below is not in the order of importance)
1. The OTC store may portray to outside consumers that they only want to
do business with and only service “African American women.” We
need to grow business and cater to all types of races that live and work
near the store location and not just focus on the female African
2. No retailer in America practices this type of activity of catering to one
race besides OTC beauty supply stores; not Wal-Mart, Sally, Ulta,
Walgreens, Sephora, Big Lots, Bass Pro Shop, Kroger Grocery, Whole
Foods, Target, McDonald’s and so on. No other retailer displays only one
race (African American, Caucasian, Asian, Mexican or Indian person and
so on) in the front of their window consistently.
3. Some non-African American woman could view this as being “racist”
towards them. This could be a reverse racism and could invite a law suit
from non-African American people.
4. It has, could, and will lead to more robbery and theft in your store.
Because your windows are covered from top to bottom, no one can view
the activity inside your store.
5. It devalues the store in the eyes of the new potential customer. These
posters create a “small local store” image. A potential customer may
think everything must be cheap in that store and it may only attract
“below average” consumers.
6. The poster’s hair styles are outdated because these posters have been up
for years. It tells the consumer that the store is old fashioned and not up
7. The word “exclusive” has not existed in the hair market for quite some
time now. No human hair importer can afford to give exclusivity to any
one particular OTC store for many good business and survival reasons,
thus advertising these hair brands using African American women on the
outside window posters does not have the same impact as it did years ago.
8. Just because we have all practiced this antiquated way of covering all the
windows with posters of African American women, does not mean this is
the right thing to do in 2015! Jinny’s biggest complaint from our
customers is that all want special treatment from Jinny. I totally
understand their request, but I don’t understand why they all choose to
act and look exactly the same from the outside to their own consumers!
9. The average OTC store has 15,000 to 200,000 different products
displayed on its shelves and walls. Why limit yourself by covering
your valuable window and wall space with products that cater to only
one demographic? Your customer base has tremendous potential to
expand if you market yourself a little differently.
10. These posters are not the only option to protect products from “sun ray
damage.” There are many “sun proof” products that could be applied
to your glass windows that can be used to protect your items from direct
sunlight besides covering your outside window with these thick posters.
These are just some of the reasons why I suggest our OTC stores tear these posters down. In the next issue, I will share some good information on how to use your window space to increase your overall store business.
I urge all of our OTC beauty supply stores to change your store image from the outside and it could lead to a much better sales. Please know that this industry is one of the last dinosaurs that still exist in America, and I cannot express how important it is for our OTC stores nationwide to evolve so we can improve together as an industry.
It saddens me greatly when an OTC store owner tells me that he/she does not want his/her son or daughter to take over their business because they think there is no future in the beauty store business. This has been the root of all evil in our industry! The fact that we still do not have a strong second generation or a backup plan to take this business to another level is one of the biggest problems we face today.
I am a firm believer that everything starts with a good education of your industry and a willingness to change. At the same time, if you think you can or cannot, you are right, because you are the catalyst for change. Believe in yourselves and know that we can change for the better, and we will.
The next article will be in the June issue:
“How to Use My Free Window Space to Increase My Store Business”