All Articles Tagged "consumer"

Filling A Need In the Beauty Industry, Model Entrepreneur Iman Brings The Right Color to Cosmetics

February 25th, 2013 - By C. Cleveland
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Welcome to the “Work It!” column, where we take a look at business innovation of every kind.

Diego Corredor/MPI / Picturegroup via AP IMAGES

Diego Corredor/MPI / Picturegroup via AP IMAGES

Sometimes being an innovator is as easy as paying attention to what others ignore. Iman is best known for serving fierceness. She blazed runways and magazines during the 70’s and 80’s. She was a muse to Saint-Laurent, Valentino, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, and Versace. She’s David Bowie’s wife! As if all that fabulousness wasn’t enough, you have to give her props for being an innovative businesswoman as well.

If you’ve walked through a department store or picked up a magazine for black women, you know about Iman Cosmetics. But you may not realize how the brand has made history. There was a time when being a supermodel wasn’t enough for a black woman to find foundation in her color.

Iman still remembers make-up artists asking her if she brought her own foundation when she showed up for shoots, and the grey shade her face took on when those same artists mixed concoctions to make due.

Where There’s A Need, There’s A Check

In 1994, after she retired from ripping the runway, Iman founded Iman Cosmetics. From the start, Iman was confident in her venture because she knew there was a need for her product. Women constantly approached her on the street asking what products she used, and where they could buy them. Her products, sold on the Web and in chain stores, do about $25 to $30 million a year.

Iman’s business strategy is still effective today. In every industry and area of interest there is bound to be a group that is underserved. Being the first to cater to their needs will inspire unparalleled brand loyalty.

I was admittedly comfortable with Iman Cosmetics being identified as a beauty brand that filled the gap for black women because it was deeply personal for me. It was more than foundations and powders; it was appealing to a deep psychological need that I think all black women needed at that time: to be told that they were beautiful, invited to sit at the cool table and courted in high style.

- Iman, “Think Tank: Iman on the Multicultural Consumer”

Serve, Don’t Pander And Never Abandon

The main pitfall with this strategy is alienating your intended audience by stereotyping them. As Iman says, “Multicultural markets are nuanced, but not alien.” Know your audience and their culture, but don’t pander in a way that be can perceived as offensive. Show your allegiance with subtle nods to social cues that someone not part of that group would miss.

This innovation strategy isn’t limited by race. Any trait that makes a person unique can be translated into a business’s differentiator. Appealing to a niche market is a great way to build up to serving a larger market. Iman Cosmetics slowly shifted to a more holistic vision that served women of all skin tones. That doesn’t mean when you get on leave your base for the mainstream. Never forget the customers that supported you first.

C. Cleveland is a freelance writer and content strategist in New York City, perfecting living the fierce life at The Red Read. She is at your service on Twitter (@CleveInTheCity) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed). 

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“Mega Monday” Brings Crowds of Shoppers After Christmas

December 26th, 2011 - By Charlotte Young
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shopping woman

As many shoppers know, the days leading up to Christmas is reserved for shopping for loved ones, but the day after Christmas is a day to do some personal shopping.

With most people still at home enjoying the holiday season, Reuters and businesses alike expect that this “Mega Monday” will see the third biggest shopping day of the holiday season.  The day falls right behind Black Friday and Friday, December 23.

This year Christmas came on the warm side for many across the nation, another reason to be out and about on the day after Christmas. For retailers it also means less of a sale in winter clothing and accessories.

Many people will be cashing in on their store gift cards while others says that it’s worth waking up early to take  part in the 60 and 70 percent discount advertisements.

According to ShopperTrak, shoppers may do up to 60 percent more shopping this December 26 than last year’s date.

“It was a stampede at 8 a.m.,” shopper Sarah Klein said to Reuters.

Consumer spending has been up this holiday season, although less than expected. Americans are more optimistic about the economy and a poll by Consumer Reports observes that four in 10 Americans plan to do a bit of shopping over the next few days.

Although people may be out in the malls, not all of them are there to shop and spend money. Despite the allure of additional discounts, this year Americans are also returning purchases in record numbers. CNN Money reports that shoppers have returned about $46.28 billion worth of holiday merchandise.

Consumers Responsive to E-mail Marketing

June 28th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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(BrandWeek) —  Despite all the complaints one hears about e-mail spam, a survey in the U.S. and 12 countries in Europe and Asia/Pacific finds plenty of consumers willing to act on marketing e-mails that catch their fancy. Released this week, the study shows 58 percent of respondents saying an e-mail marketing message has prompted them to make a purchase at an offline store or via a call-center order desk.

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Consumers Responsive to E-mail Marketing

June 28th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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(BrandWeek) —  Despite all the complaints one hears about e-mail spam, a survey in the U.S. and 12 countries in Europe and Asia/Pacific finds plenty of consumers willing to act on marketing e-mails that catch their fancy. Released this week, the study shows 58 percent of respondents saying an e-mail marketing message has prompted them to make a purchase at an offline store or via a call-center order desk.

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CBS.com Publicly Testing iPad-Ready Video

June 21st, 2010 - By TheEditor
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(Read Write Web) — CBS.com is experimenting with HTML5 video, the plugin-free video technology supported by Apple mobile devices including the iPhone and iPad. With HTML5 running on the CBS website’s back-end, visitors from these and other Internet-connected devices could stream videos without having to install the Adobe Flash plugin, something that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is known to be vehemently against, having penned a public statement giving half a dozen reasons why Apple mobile devices won’t include its support.

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Consumer Confidence On The Rise

May 25th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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(CNN) — A key measure of consumer confidence climbed for a third straight month in May, a research group said Tuesday, with the outlook for the next few months spiking to pre-recession levels. The Conference Board, a New York-based research group, said its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 63.3 in May, the highest level since March 2008, when it stood at 65.9. The index climbed from a downwardly revised 57.7 in April.

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Consumer Confidence On The Rise

May 25th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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(CNN) — A key measure of consumer confidence climbed for a third straight month in May, a research group said Tuesday, with the outlook for the next few months spiking to pre-recession levels. The Conference Board, a New York-based research group, said its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 63.3 in May, the highest level since March 2008, when it stood at 65.9. The index climbed from a downwardly revised 57.7 in April.

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Setting Up Shop For Young Media Consumers

May 19th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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(YPulse.com) –  Last week in Essentials we learned guys’ lifestyle network Thrillist had bought members-only e-commerce site JackThreads (described as a “grungy Gilte Group,” by TechCrunch). Then yesterday I pointed to a post on PSFK that gave props to a recent sweepstakes on Urban Outfitters for rewarding readers of the UO blog while potentially attracting new ones. The common thread here? A marriage between online media and e-retail that could raise some interesting questions for publishers, brands and young consumers alike.

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Consumer, Industrial Shares Lead U.S. Stocks Higher

May 3rd, 2010 - By TheEditor
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(WSJ.com) — The consumer-discretionary and industrial sectors led U.S. stocks higher Monday following reports of increasing consumer spending and a rise in manufacturing activity to its highest level since July 2004. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 94 points, or 0.9%, to at 11102, in midday trading. Its top performers included some of its most economically sensitive components, with J.P. Morgan Chase up 2%, Boeing up 2%, Cisco Systems up 1.8% and Walt Disney up 1.7%.

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Consumer Rebound Gives Economy Solid Boost

April 30th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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(AP) — The economy grew at a solid 3.2 percent pace during the first quarter of this year as consumers boosted their spending by the most in three years.

The Commerce Department’s initial estimate of the economy’s performance in the January-to-March quarter, released Friday, provided more evidence that the economy is strengthening. It marked the third straight quarterly gain as the United States heals from the longest and deepest recession since the 1930s. Still, growth was weaker than in the fourth quarter of last year, when the economy grew at 5.6 percent.

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