It’s not easy to build a company from the ground up on your own, let alone expand that company into a successful brand with major increases in revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, many companies have seen a drop in revenue during 2020 …
But not Terrinique Pennerman’s haircare business, Kurlee Belle. Amidst the economic uncertainty of COVID-19, Kurlee Belle was able to achieve six-figures in revenue for the first time in 2020.
While Kurlee Belle has been around since 2008, it was during the worldwide economic uncertainty surrounding the pandemic in 2020 that they achieved their highest revenue yet. So how did Pennerman manage to grow her brand into a smashing success during such a hectic time?
Recognizing a Shifting Need
As the world went into lockdown in early 2020 due to COVID-19, Pennerman saw her haircare brand had a chance to fill a rising need for customers. Kurlee Belle sells hair products made from natural ingredients that were developed from mixtures Pennerman learned from her own mother while growing up in the Bahamas.
Pennerman recognized that while people were staying home, they would need high-quality at-home hair products, and they would need to be able to purchase them online.
Before this year, Kurlee Belle products were sold primarily through major brick-and-mortar retailers, such as Sally Beauty. The key to Pennerman’s success was how quickly she was able to pivot to selling primarily online, reaching customers while they were stuck at home.
Keeping Up With Demand
Finding the right manufacturer isn’t always as simple as you’d hope. This is especially true during global events that cause major supply chain disruptions. Kurlee Belle had to handle not only those supply chain disruptions but also a huge and sudden increase in demand. Pennerman had to get creative to fulfill orders as quickly as they were coming in.
Luckily, Pennerman has had excellent relationships with her manufacturers since the early days of her company. When talking about those early days at the company when things weren’t as steady as they are now, Pennerman recalled, “I was really putting the company first and then having good relationships with my manufacturers, where if I didn’t have the upfront cost, they would help me because they knew that I pay my bill.”
When Kurlee Belle began, Pennerman financed the whole thing with her own money. Because of her drive and consistency, manufacturers knew they could trust her. These relationships make it easier for Kurlee Belle to fulfill orders, despite sudden shifts in demand, such as the one caused by COVID-19, because manufacturers are willing to make adjustments for Pennerman when they are able.
Despite these solid relationships, the increase in demand for Kurlee Belle products was more than the usual manufacturers were able to produce. Not wanting to lose potential customers, Pennerman got on the phone to find smaller manufacturers with more availability.
She had to get creative to find the people that could produce what she needed, but she was able to do it, and customer orders were fulfilled. No customer was left unhappy.
An Online Fan Base
Part of Kurlee Belle’s successful shift to being a heavily e-commerce focused brand is due to its online fan base. Pennerman established a blog when her company first started, and customers grew to trust her as a leading expert on keeping hair healthy. She was able to establish an online following early on.
Pennerman’s pre-established online presence made it easier to pivot to e-commerce amidst a volatile time for the economy. It can be difficult to change your strategy entirely during a worldwide disaster. Luckily for Kurlee Belle, despite being focused on brick-and-mortar retail prior to 2020, their online presence made the transition to e-commerce run smoothly.
Taking Care of the Customer
One of the most sure-fire ways to build a leading brand is to give customers the best experience possible. Since the start of 2020, Kurlee Belle adjusted its website to create be more user-friendly. A user-friendly website can make all the difference for e-commerce brands.
User-friendly websites signal to customers that their needs are important to the company. According to online advertising company, Sweor, 75 percent of consumers admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on the company’s website design.
Kurlee Belle also improved the customer experience in 2020 by offering new promotions. Often brands that are trying to increase revenue are hesitant to offer discounts and promotions, but the lost revenue is often made back when you build customer loyalty and appreciation.
Not only did Kurlee Belle offer promotions while improving the customer experience online, but they also helped customers identify their specific hair needs. By helping customers match their unique needs to certain hair products, Kurlee Belle was able to offer not just a simple product, but also useful information. Because Kurlee Belle is not just a place to get your hair products, but also a place for customers to learn more about healthy hair, they have a unique differentiation factor.
Kurlee Belle was able to pivot quickly to a COVID-19 world, this driving the brand to the top of their industry in the middle of a hectic year. While the future of COVID-19 remains uncertain, you can be certain that Pennerman will continue to be smart about leading Kurlee Belle to success.
- Featured Image, Unsplash