DETROIT – You may remember Gwen Jimmere and her company Naturalicious from previous Tech Time reports.
She is the first African-American woman to own a patent for a natural hair care product.
“We create high performing, time saving, hair care products for busy women," the CEO and founder said.
She has manufacturing facilities in Detroit and outside the city, and Naturalicious products are sold in several locations.
“We are sold in over 1200 retail stores including Sally Beauty, Whole Foods and ULTA,” Jimmere said.
Since the coronavirus crisis began, things have change for Ms. Jimmere and Naturalicious.
“I’m heartbroken by it. I know a number of people who have died from COVID-19, including someone very, very close to me," she said.
Professionally, Naturalicious employed differently-abled men and women via the Detroit area non-profit Services To Enhance Potential (STEP). Since COVID19, this portion of the companies production team has been reduced, rightfully in the name of safety. However, it appears they will be poised to return once the crisis ends.
“The STEP organization is working to ensure the safety of their clients, who work on our production line. As such, they are not able to work during this time, but we can’t wait to have them back with us!" Jimmere said.
Other Naturalicious workers have adapted in this COVID19 Era. Ms. Jimmere reports they are home-based. Despite this, as person (not just a businessperson), she still has concerns.
“I am extremely concerned about the safety and health of my team, as well as any economic impact that could potentially affect them," she said. "I’m also acutely aware of the increased needs of our customers and our need to continue serving them with excellence during this time. As a leader, their needs always supersede mine.”
Product sales in stores appear to have taken the biggest hit. “We've seen a downturn in our orders from our retail partners.” But she reassuringly states that turning to the internet sales and social media for advertising to return current customers and earn new ones is working.
“We’ve found new ways to serve our customers through fun online challenges and other community building activities,” she saids. “Our website sales are strong.”
Ms. Jimmere give much of the credit for her company “weathering the storm” to Naturalicious consumers.
“We are very blessed to have an extremely loyal fanbase of customers. Our customers are very particular and intentional about what they use in their hair, so they’re still very actively purchasing our products," she said.
Leading her company, keeping her company base and taking care of her employees give Ms. Jimmere reasons to see brighter days in the future.
“I’m an optimistic person, by nature, and I want to maintain that for my entire organization," she said.
This statement and knowing COVID-19 victims inspires Naturalicious to do what it can to add, at least, a little light to the lives people on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight and give credit to customers who want to help.
“For every order over $75, we are donating our Deluxe Travel Kits to first responders. The kits will be donated in the name of the person who placed the order,” she said.
Ms. Jimmere states that Naturalicious has applied to two government assistance programs utilized by many because of novel coronavirus’s impact on people and business. A response from one is still pending while the other is, as she states, “successfully processing.”
To learn more about Naturalicious, click here.