Will Target trigger the death of the 'ethnic hair' aisle?

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"Target (TGT), the second-largest discount retailer in the U.S., saw an opportunity in the natural-curls trend. In 2010 and again the following year, it invited entrepreneurs who had been selling hair-care products online to make presentations at its company headquarters in Minneapolis. Among them were the founders of Mixed Chicks, a Los Angeles company started in 2004 by two biracial women. Unable to find shampoos and styling creams that suited their hair type on store shelves, they pooled their savings, hired a chemist, and made their own. “The industry was lacking products that help you embrace your natural curls,” says co-founder Wendi Levy.

Target decided to showcase six brands—Mixed Chicks, Curls, Kinky-Curly, Miss Jessie’s, Shea Moisture, and Jane Carter Solution, placing them in a prominent spot at the end of the aisle rather than in the ethnic beauty section, where black hair-care products are traditionally sold. The retailer gambled that the products might appeal to a broader spectrum of customers, given that—as U.S. Census data show—a growing number of Americans identify themselves as multiracial. “The hair-care aisles are really the last bastion of segregation,” says Miss Jessie’s co-founder Titi Branch, who is half-Japanese and half-black.

Target ran an eight-week promotion in 400 stores. The products took off, says Christina Hennington, the company’s vice president of merchandising for health and beauty. To build on the strategy’s initial success, the retailer has expanded the shelf space devoted to the brands and now sells them at 700 stores. Marketing for the section features blown-up photographs of women of different races, whose curls range from kinky to soft ringlets
."
Startups, Target Go After the Multiracial Hair-Care Market - Businessweek
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I'm so happy that target is carrying these products. Unfortunately, I try to avoid target like the plague, because I always spend way more than I planned when I go there. However, when in a pinch, I can satisfy my PJ with a browse through the beauty aisles now!
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I hate the hair care aisle. There's way too many brands and products. I kind of like having our own little section where I can find what I want right away, although "Ethic" hair care is a ridiculous name. Actually, the hair care aisle is another reason why I mostly shop online.
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This is extremely interesting! Thanks for this post. It's strange because at my local target, the natural products are in the ethnic area; however, the other Targets in the surrounding area carry a more separate aisle for the natural products, it's funny how it will change. My other thought with this is how they don't want the natural products to be simply placed in the ethnic area (makes sense). However, I couldn't help but think that that is because the ethnic hair care is always at the end of the aisle and it wouldn't sell! I do think that it should be placed (natural hair products) in an open area so everyone can stop and think about these products and then reflect on what they are currently doing with their hair.

I wish stores would sell little pamphlets to help people who decide to go natural. However, this is a good start with Target. I hope Walmart decided to do something similar because so far, all the 'natural' stuff is in the ethnic area and I personally believe that since that is in the end of the aisle, people won't bother looking at it.
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Lol I'm confused what's target doing?

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Lol I'm confused what's target doing?

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Originally Posted by KiraSavannah
By the sound of it, starting the process of marketing to hair type not skin tone which to me is progress on many levels. Caucasian wavies or curlies who aren't active on hair forums need to know there are better lines than L'Oreal and Procter & Gamble churn out. Might stop the moronic sales assistant comments when curlies purchase lines not marketed at a different ethnic group "you're not black" or "you're not white" (see the Hall of Shame board).

"Target decided to showcase six brands—Mixed Chicks, Curls, Kinky-Curly, Miss Jessie’s, Shea Moisture, and Jane Carter Solution, placing them in a prominent spot at the end of the aisle rather than in the ethnic beauty section, where black hair-care products are traditionally sold. The retailer gambled that the products might appeal to a broader spectrum of customers ... Marketing for the section features blown-up photographs of women of different races, whose curls range from kinky to soft ringlets."
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Lol I'm confused what's target doing?

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Originally Posted by KiraSavannah
LOL, pretty much Target is trying to market the more natural products on their own, rather than pair it with a specific group, i.e. ethnic hair care. If you go into a local Target, you will notice how specific hair care products are in their own section. For example, the more commercial products like Tresemme, Garnier Fructis, Suave, Aussie, etc. are in their own aisle grouped together. Then there are the more "higher quality" salon products such as Nexxus, Redken (sometimes), Tigi, etc. that are sectioned together. In addition, there are the "ethnic" products such as: Dark and Lovely, relaxers, Olive Oil (brand), etc.

A lot of stores are placing the natural products in the ethnic area; however, marketers are realizing that natural hair care products shouldn't be subjected to one group, which suggests only specific people should use the product. Instead, Target decided to try to make the natural hair care products to have their own section. I have started to see it at some, but not all.
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I hate the hair care aisle. There's way too many brands and products. I kind of like having our own little section where I can find what I want right away, although "Ethic" hair care is a ridiculous name. Actually, the hair care aisle is another reason why I mostly shop online.
Originally Posted by CurlyInTheFog
Uhhh..."Ethnic" hair care is also ridiculous. Not sure what "Ethic" hair care would be!

I do wish Target would get in more curly products, although they have a good start. Most of what they carry isn't CG friendly. Lots of stuff with petroleum or mineral oil.
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Oh, at my target natural stuff is still in the "ethnic" aisle. I see curls and waves walk by then see the word ethnic and dodge lol,

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Daily Leave in:Shea Moisture Extra Moisture Detangler
Daily Oil: Olive Oil & Conut Oil Mix
Daily Styler: Shea Moisture Curl & Style Milk
I've always hated "ethnic" sections. Isn't every human on earth an ethnicity? SMH.
FroZen
I already love Target, so this just adds to my joy at them at last mixing the 'ethnic' (goodness I despise that term) products in with the rest of the hair care products. Unfortunately, my target has not gotten on the ball and has sadly stopped carrying all Shea Moisture hair care products except for a select few (the pink and yellow lines, both of which I cannot use).

For a long time they had all of the SM hair care products displayed at the front of the hair care isles along with the Ms. Jessies and the other expensive, high end products. Those have all vanished now from the front end. My local Targets have started clearancing them out now.

On a different note, I walked into a Walmart in a different city the other day in desperate need of a pair of socks (the ones I had on at the time had ripped and were literally cutting into my feet, otherwise I would not have gone in) and on a whim went to the hair section to see if they would carry a specific product I was looking for (Cantu Shea Butter Coconut Curling Cream) as I could not find it ANYWHERE in my town.

I spent a good 15 minutes in the hair section, looking in vain for any sign of any hair product formulated especially for curly-haired girls or women with alternative hair textures (aka the "ethnic" section) I did not see any and asked the girl working there what was going on. Her reply?

"Oh, the section with the relaxers and stuff? We don't carry none of that no more." Another quick once over confirmed this. No Shea Moisture, no Olive Oil, no Motions, not even any Hollywood brand Tea-Tree or Olive Oil. They hardly had ANY of the Herbal Essences Curl or Totally Twisted lines either, which i found really odd. I did a double take. Are you serious?

Now, this shocked me. The area that this walmart was located in has many individuals from multiple cultural groups living in a relatively small area. There are curly haired girls walking around all day, every day and their curls are just as different and unique as their gorgeous skin tones. The fact that this....establishment had just ceased to carry ANY products catering to women of color was just shocking, and I made up my mind that I would not purchase anything from that Walmart, or any Walmart, not then and not ever. I drove home barefoot that night.

So much hate. That left a really bad taste in my mouth.

Last edited by curlymetalgirl; 06-27-2013 at 03:02 AM.
"Ethnic" hair ??? Oy
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I find it frustrating that the ethnic and natural hair care are often in completely different aisles in stores. It is like that at my Target and Walgreens. There's the huge hair care aisle, but the natural stuff is over by the skin care stuff (?). In target, the ethnic hair stuff is in a different aisle, with the curling irons and blow dryers, and the natural stuff is in the skin care aisle.

It would be nice if it were all together, especially for people who are there looking for new products...that aren't necessarily educated about the difference..if they don't know where to look, they're missing out on finding the more natural products as an option.

I am very snooty when it comes to product packaging. The SM line, mixed chicks, mop-c, gud, etc, tend to have more boutique-looking packaging and would stand out well in the main hare care aisle and really gain momentum.

I hate to say it, but this packaging snootiness is why I don't shop at Sally's very often. I have to put the GVP products in my own containers just so they don't look...so generic. I love pretty bottles!
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All these personal stories I think contribute to why Target wants to make their own aisle. It's crazy how packaging, placement, and even names of certain aisles can either hinder or facilitate a sale. I also remember how SM and Miss Jessies was in the front of the aisles at my local Target. I thought that was a pretty good marketing system to at least facilitate the idea for people to consider the products they are currently using.

This was in Walmart, but just the other day I was in the "ethnic" hair aisle (because that is where Walmart places the SM products) and a woman was asking me about SM and other curly products bc she was trying to go natural. I told her how Target has more natural hair care, but to not be fooled by the name of products bc ingredients are what is important. She was looking at different products that said 'natural' or 'curly' but were full of silicones, mineral oil, and petrolatum. So I tried to explain the whole CG method as basic as possible so she didn't get confused. She seemed so interested and I told her to definitely come onto this site where all the info she needed would be here. I think that is a good example of so many hidden curlies (man or woman) that want to emerge but don't know the products to choose!
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All these personal stories I think contribute to why Target wants to make their own aisle. It's crazy how packaging, placement, and even names of certain aisles can either hinder or facilitate a sale. I also remember how SM and Miss Jessies was in the front of the aisles at my local Target. I thought that was a pretty good marketing system to at least facilitate the idea for people to consider the products they are currently using.

This was in Walmart, but just the other day I was in the "ethnic" hair aisle (because that is where Walmart places the SM products) and a woman was asking me about SM and other curly products bc she was trying to go natural. I told her how Target has more natural hair care, but to not be fooled by the name of products bc ingredients are what is important. She was looking at different products that said 'natural' or 'curly' but were full of silicones, mineral oil, and petrolatum. So I tried to explain the whole CG method as basic as possible so she didn't get confused. She seemed so interested and I told her to definitely come onto this site where all the info she needed would be here. I think that is a good example of so many hidden curlies (man or woman) that want to emerge but don't know the products to choose!
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I find it frustrating that the ethnic and natural hair care are often in completely different aisles in stores. It is like that at my Target and Walgreens. There's the huge hair care aisle, but the natural stuff is over by the skin care stuff (?). In target, the ethnic hair stuff is in a different aisle, with the curling irons and blow dryers, and the natural stuff is in the skin care aisle.

It would be nice if it were all together, especially for people who are there looking for new products...that aren't necessarily educated about the difference..if they don't know where to look, they're missing out on finding the more natural products as an option.

I am very snooty when it comes to product packaging. The SM line, mixed chicks, mop-c, gud, etc, tend to have more boutique-looking packaging and would stand out well in the main hare care aisle and really gain momentum.

I hate to say it, but this packaging snootiness is why I don't shop at Sally's very often. I have to put the GVP products in my own containers just so they don't look...so generic. I love pretty bottles!
Originally Posted by chloe92us
At my Target they are together in a same aisle but separated from the "normal" stuff, but I see so many curly and wavies walk by and see the word ethnic or see an African-American on a box and then leave


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Last edited by KiraSavannah; 06-27-2013 at 12:43 PM.
I wish they could just make a natural hair care aisle, that's has no silicones, sulfatesulfate, waxes, etc. (I can only dream). For example, the other day I saw a curly and wavy walking together, the curly looked at the line kinky curly and curls, the wavy saw a relaxer box and told her I think you should look over here.(at my Target its in the same aisle but "ethnic" is at the very end, and they have a huge gap between the regular products) Having it in the ethnic section ,in my belief has stopped people from discovering new things.

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Weekly Deep Treat-Dermorganic Intensive Hair Masque
Bi-Weekly RO:Tresseme Naturals - V.Smooth/N.Moisture
Daily Leave in:Shea Moisture Extra Moisture Detangler
Daily Oil: Olive Oil & Conut Oil Mix
Daily Styler: Shea Moisture Curl & Style Milk
I find it frustrating that the ethnic and natural hair care are often in completely different aisles in stores. It is like that at my Target and Walgreens. There's the huge hair care aisle, but the natural stuff is over by the skin care stuff (?). In target, the ethnic hair stuff is in a different aisle, with the curling irons and blow dryers, and the natural stuff is in the skin care aisle.

It would be nice if it were all together, especially for people who are there looking for new products...that aren't necessarily educated about the difference..if they don't know where to look, they're missing out on finding the more natural products as an option.

I am very snooty when it comes to product packaging. The SM line, mixed chicks, mop-c, gud, etc, tend to have more boutique-looking packaging and would stand out well in the main hare care aisle and really gain momentum.

I hate to say it, but this packaging snootiness is why I don't shop at Sally's very often. I have to put the GVP products in my own containers just so they don't look...so generic. I love pretty bottles!
Originally Posted by chloe92us
This is how it is at my Target, so if you're looking for something new, you have to check two different places to see if they carry it. But you know, I was thinking about it, and in a way hair care is kind of a marketing nightmare. Group products for straighties together? Well, is that real straighties, curlies who think they're straight, or curlies who wish they were straight? Same for curly products. Natural products? Do they have to be really natural, or just say so on the label? All the people who don't really know what hair type they are, or want to be something else... See what I mean? I suppose the best way would be to just group by manufacturer and let the shopper figure it out for themselves. Heck, people here know way more about hair than most, and look at all the trouble we have, lol. Wouldn't it be nice if stores carried a list of ingredients that we could look up?
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Uh...I actually kind of like the segregation. There are a few stores in my area that mix products and it takes so much longer sorting through all the -cones, sulfates, etc. If we don't call it ethnic can we call it the curly section?

And yes I am aware that there are "ethnic" brands with non CG products, but there aren't that many of them compared to mainstream brands.

I would argue that there is "ethnic" hair. It's silly/incorrect that they use the word ethnic to refer to specific ethnicities, but we know they mean 3b-4c hair. Let's be honest, there are only a handful of white people with tightly coily hair (3c+). The majority of people with tightly coily hair are people of color.
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Last edited by Jessiebanana; 06-27-2013 at 07:30 PM.
At several Targets in my area there is a 'curly' hair display at the head of the haircare aisle but the SM, Jane Carter, etc are also at the back end of that aisle grouped with the other brands with 'ethnic-people' pictures on them. It definitely feels like a separate, ethnic section, no different then at Walgreens. The 'natural' hair brands like Burt's Bees and Alba Botanics are in a whole separate aisle with other health food store type products. I find it very confusing and it still seems segregated to me. The Shea Moisture, Curls, Jane Carter, etc are just as organic/natural as the ones in the natural aisle and actually the SM body washes and lotions are in the natural/health aisle rather then with the SM hair stuff (or vice versa), Burt's Bees and Alba aren't split up like that.

I agree that it would be more difficult to find these lines if they were mixed in with the mainstream brands but I think it still needs work. Pantene and other lines have 'curly' products interspersed with their regular stuff. I think if Target wants to do away with the 'ethnic aisle' they need to rethink their categories. ALL hair products should go in the haircare aisle(s) with different sections for those with natural/organic certifications, those labeled or marketed for curly hair, other special categories like dandruff, mens lines and then everything else. Unless there are mainstream products interspersed with the 'ethnic' brands they are always going to create ther own area/group.
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