TAMPA — Pamela Thompson, 37, was nonetheless working for the federal authorities when she opened her magnificence provide boutique and salon in Tampa in late 2019. She stop that job to run her enterprise full time in early 2020.
“Some individuals might imagine that I’m loopy for leaving a profession in that consolation zone,” she mentioned. “However I’ve all the time wished to personal my enterprise.”
My Shade and Texture, which focuses on hair merchandise for men and women with textured hair, has managed to remain open and develop amid a world pandemic and native protests following the demise of George Floyd due to its dedication to the neighborhood, Thompson mentioned and the neighborhood’s dedication to her.
Are you able to share what units what you are promoting aside?
It’s being a community-based retailer, offering extra than simply magnificence provide for our merchandise, connecting and fascinating with the neighborhood. We donate merchandise to native organizations. We enable small enterprise homeowners to come back into our retailer to host their very own pop-up retailers, whether or not they’re simply getting began or they’ve been round for fairly a while.
We’re all about connecting our manufacturers with the customers. And I feel that’s what makes us very completely different. We’re all about educating our clients.
We incorporate expertise, so far as completely different merchandise within the retailer a buyer will not be acquainted with. So now we have QR codes that they will scan, it’s going to take them on to details about that product, whether or not it’s tutorials or components. We simply need our clients to make a extra knowledgeable determination earlier than they make their buy.
How and why did you begin the enterprise?
Ladies like myself aren’t getting the therapy that we deserve as African American ladies. You understand, we’re one of many primary customers within the magnificence business. However we go to completely different shops, whether or not it’s an enormous field retailer or a mother and pop magnificence provide retailer, we’re not getting that one-on-one consideration, somebody studying the labels with us, somebody who actually and actually understands.
And since my enterprise is catered to men and women with textured hair, now we have several types of textures and so it was very exhausting to seek out the best merchandise. To have the ability to put that into one area, that’s all the time been my ardour and my imaginative and prescient, so I’m simply pleased to be open.
Are you able to share extra about the way you additionally help different companies?
I’ve been capable of enable roughly 20 to 25, if no more, small enterprise homeowners since November 2019 to host their very own pop-up store in a retailer.
I’ve additionally labored with no less than three to 4 large manufacturers who we stock in our retailer. I’ve allowed them to come back in for an intimate occasion known as “Get to Know the Model.” So it’s like an intimate dialog with the CEO of that model. And so they do a product demo.
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So it’s a couple of kind of initiative that now we have in place to advertise that partnership with small enterprise homeowners.
How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted what you are promoting?
COVID has been a blessing and a curse for me. (My enterprise) was lower than 5 months outdated in March, once we bought the order from the town of Tampa that we needed to shut our doorways. This can be a essential time for a small enterprise proprietor, as a result of similar to analysis says, most enterprise homeowners — small and new homeowners — don’t final that first yr.
I didn’t need COVID to be a motive why I didn’t survive. I wished to do all the things that I might in my energy to be sure that we had been open. So one factor I needed to shortly do is pivot.
For the primary three weeks after we had been closed, I used to be within the retailer from sunup to sunset, placing my gadgets onto my web site. It triggered ladies in California, Washington state, New York and New Jersey to develop into acquainted with my retailer. And I’m nonetheless, to today today in January 2021, transport and promoting merchandise to ladies exterior of Tampa.
I wasn’t a recipient of a PPP (Paycheck Safety Plan mortgage) or any of these initiatives with the federal authorities. Nonetheless, I used to be grateful to be rewarded two months of free hire by the town of Tampa, so I used to be capable of offset some prices.
After which it was possibly late Might, after the George Floyd incident and the nationwide protesting, that additionally was proper right here in our yard.
I really slept in my retailer, as a result of we had looters strolling up and down the road. In truth, lower than three blocks away from my retailer, a gasoline station was set on fireplace.
However what did that convey out? That introduced the neighborhood out.
I had clients right here who wished to remain within the retailer with me. Clients helped me put indicators on my door to discourage any looting.
However to undergo all of that, and to nonetheless be capable to function within the midst of COVID, within the midst of native protesting, I couldn’t ask for extra.
We had individuals calling in from exterior of the town and different counties eager to confirm that I used to be a Black-owned enterprise. And naturally, after verifying that, they got here in to help, and we proceed to have people who find themselves particularly searching for to help an area Black-owned enterprise.
What’s your outlook for this yr?
My outlook for 2021 has simply been to arrange for one more shutdown with COVID. I feel that’s inevitable.
We provide curbside (pick-up). That was one of many issues we did when COVID hit, the place clients, they’ll place their order on-line or they’ll name the shop, we’ll stroll it out to them.
That’s one thing that I didn’t remove, as a result of we nonetheless have men and women locally who don’t really feel comfy going out and buying, as a result of our circumstances proceed to spike. Now that I’ve that plan in place, in 2021 I’ll simply proceed to do these issues.
And my greatest initiative is to work extra one-on-one with native small magnificence manufacturers to get them leap began and get their merchandise within the retailer.