All Up In My Sista’s Business| Tommie’s House of Beauty

Are you ready to be nosey again? Well get ready to snoop into Tommie’s House of Beauty & find out what’s going on in their world!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Please explain how your family decided to go into business & why you decided to open a beauty supply store.

Tommie’s House of Beauty began with us simply being beauty supply customers. Shopping in Korean beauty supply stores, being followed as if we were stealing and not being treated with respect. After being tired of being followed around the store I asked one of the store owners a question about a product I was looking for and he had no idea about any of the products he sold in his store. And he didn’t care to know. He looked at me, shrugged his shoulders as to say “I don’t know” and walked away. From that point on I knew I could do better. I knew African American’s deserved better. At the time we started research for opening a beauty supply store my daughter was about 9 years old and I was a product junkie. I enjoyed buying new products for her hair…..moisturizing products, products for the scalp, her edges etc. But I always had to either research the product online before I went into the store or go into the beauty supply store and read the labels myself. No help was ever available in Korean owned beauty supply stores. This is what made us know that not only would we open a beauty supply store but we would also become knowledgeable and educated store owners.

As you probably already know Asians have dominated the beauty supply store market; do you find this strange since there are so many Black hair care lines? Why do you think there is not a stronger Black presence in this market?

Honestly I don’t find it strange at all because we as African-American’s are the people who are giving Asians the information. We tell them everything they need to know. I’ve been at seminars and I’ve heard conversations between Asian’s and African-American distributors and the distributor pretty much translated an African American conversation for them. The distributor basically gave a “How to sell products to a Black person 101”! What I do find strange is that even though Tommie’s House of Beauty exists, we still have to fight to get people to shop with us. I’m not a person that believes people should shop with us because we’re Black, but I do believe that they should shop with us because we sell products from our heart! We live in the community and we give back to the community. We offer many FREE seminars and workshops at our store to give people the ability to learn how to take care of their hair and learn to love their hair. We research every product that we sell in our store to ensure that when you ask questions, you are getting correct information to help guide your purchasing decision. I believe there is lack of Black presence in this market is because we have been taught to be crabs in a barrel.

We refuse to be supportive of one another in any aspect whether it’s buying Black Owned Hair Care lines or purchasing from a Black Owned beauty supply store. We have been conditioned to accept whatever we are told in an Asian owned beauty supply store but question the African-American store owner. Tommie’s House of Beauty stocks the exact same products as the neighboring Asian owned beauty supply stores and it has been noted by shoppers that our prices are identical or in some cases lower. Our customer service is extraordinary and you’re able to shop in a clean, clutter free environment and you’re able to shop without being followed or scrutinized as a shoplifter. But yet, they still patronize Asian owned beauty supply stores.

I think it is awesome that Baltimore has a Black owned beauty supply store that offers many products from local vendors as well as major brands. Coming from a consumer standpoint, I find that I may frequent Wal-Mart or Target to get products because they are not available in the beauty supply store. Or if they are available, the price has been doubled! If a customer comes into your shop looking for a product that is not on the shelf how do you accommodate them?

Tommie’s House of Beauty is always listening to the customers and the products they suggest for our store. Every time a customer suggest a product we research to see if it’s a product that fits our store and our area and then it’s added. Products such as Giovanni, Koils by Nature, Taliah Waajid, Profectiv, Jamaican Mango & Lime, and Cantu are an example of products that we now carry after the request of customers. The hard part is when customers come in and don’t see what they want and simply leave without even making a request. Also customers will be happy to know that we do a cost analysis often with other beauty supply stores as well as Wal-Mart and Target chains in the area to ensure that our prices either meet or exceed their expectations. Customers should also understand that products purchased from larger retail chains such as Wal-Mart and Target are sometimes slightly altered, being product and labeling/packaging, compared to products purchased at smaller community-based beauty supply stores such as Tommie’s House of Beauty.

Your beauty supply store is situated right off a major road that has many beauty salons & barber shops do you offer special services to them in regards to purchasing products for their salons?  

We offer a wide range of products for beauty salons and barber shops such as offering 10% off every purchase and also being able to call ahead and pay over the phone to ensure their purchase is packed and ready to be picked up as soon as they arrive. Also for barber shops and hair salons with large purchases or several stylists ordering a large purchase at the same time, in some cases delivery is available.

Congratulations on having such a wonderful store & I wish nothing but success! Before we closeout is there any upcoming ventures on the horizon for Tommie’s Beauty Supply?

Tommie’s House of Beauty is simply ecstatic about being the exclusive Black owned beauty supply store in the Baltimore area! Please come & join us at our Annual Back to School Event being held on Saturday August 25, 2012 from 10:00 a.m – 7:00 pm. This event will be epic!!! Here’s the details:

Wow! It looks like you all have a lot going on & are doing so many great events for the community which I’m so happy to see :) I will continue to keep readers updated on events hosted at your store. Thank you for allowing us to get all up in your business :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Did you enjoy reading about Tommie’s House of Beauty? Do you have or know a company that needs to be featured? Please send me an e-mail to: jamila@naturalgalsdiary.com I would love to hear from you :) Stay tuned for the next business feature coming up soon.

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