Karonda Cook on Opening Doors for Beautypreneurs of Color
By In Her Shoes Contributor: Brianna Arps, @briannaarps
If you’re a beautypreneur or aspiring beauty boss, Karonda Cook is a woman you absolutely want to know. She’s a rockstar mom, wife, dream builder and all-around “get it done” business woman with a pixie to die for. Karonda is also the Director of Merchandising for Sally Beauty and leads the team responsible for purchasing the multicultural hair and skin merchandise portfolio for over 3,000 Sally Beauty stores across the country. She’s opened doors for countless brands we all know and love and is truly one of the $7.5 billion dollar, Black beauty industry’s best kept secrets. The magic-maker has gone on record stating: “I am just really trying to make sure we have products for every woman in the store. I want to make sure my shelves are as diverse as the world and I know the world is not just one curl pattern, not one texture.”
Today on In Her Shoes, Karonda shares advice for small brands that are ready to hit mass-retailer shelves, the power of representation for Black women in Corporate America, and more:
In Her Shoes: In your opinion, what makes a good brand and how can others within the industry practice good branding strategies?
Karonda: In my opinion, brands that incorporate these elements within their strategies experience the most success:
- Passion. I love the wave of entrepreneurial brands that have swept the industry over the past 5 – 7 years. Women are literally cooking up all kinds of magic in their kitchens and when they tell their stories you can feel the blood, sweat, tears and passion behind the brand.
- Unique positioning. Brands with a distinctive point of difference break through the clutter of monotony and stand out.
- Market knowledge. It is important to know and understand your target market. What are their needs, wants, concerns, etc.? This should be the focal point of the strategy.
In Her Shoes: What advice can you offer for budding beauty entrepreneurs who are looking to partner with large-scale retailers?
Karonda: Research the retailer you want to partner with and know their needs and opportunities. Visit their stores, research their assortment to understand their pricing strategies and product gaps.
In Her Shoes: Hair is very much so a way we as black women express our personal style and creativity. Do you have any plans on expanding your social media “Pixitivity” into a lifestyle brand of its own?
Karonda: Our hair is our crown of self-expression. It allows us to be powerful, bold, fearless, confident and fierce simultaneously. I am blessed and humbled that others see inspiration in my haircut and positivity in my spirit. Pixitivity is a combination of the words pixie and positivity. The page contains mindfully posted content with the intent to uplift, inspire and motivate. For now, it is simply my social media hobby.
In Her Shoes: Describe the importance of mentorship and why it is important for young black women to see other black women in industry executive positions. What keeps you motivated and inspired to continue your quest of ensuring there are accessible role models of your caliber?
Karonda: Mentorship is important, not only because of the knowledge and skills one can learn, but also the access to information, resources and opportunities it provides. I had three mentors that were very instrumental in my career growth. I would not be where I am today without their mentorship and guidance. It is important for young black women to see other black women in industry executive positions because it provides a sense of inspiration and attainability. I have a passion for empowerment and am motivated to continue to ensure there are accessible role models because I want the next group of industry leaders to succeed and soar.