Tampa Black-owned natural beauty source store sees community aid

TAMPA — Pamela Thompson, 37, was still functioning for the federal authorities when she opened her splendor source boutique and salon in Tampa in late 2019. She give up that work to run her organization complete time in early 2020.


“Some people may perhaps feel that I’m mad for leaving a vocation in that ease and comfort zone,” she explained. “But I have generally needed to individual my business.”

My Shade and Texture, which specializes in hair merchandise for girls and adult men with textured hair, has managed to stay open and mature amid a world-wide pandemic and area protests pursuing the death of George Floyd many thanks to its dedication to the local community, Thompson reported and the community’s determination to her.

Can you share what sets your organization apart?

It’s being a neighborhood-dependent retail store, furnishing additional than just magnificence source for our merchandise, connecting and engaging with the community. We donate products and solutions to community corporations. We allow compact business enterprise owners to appear into our store to host their very own pop-up shops, no matter if they are just acquiring started off or they’ve been all around for fairly some time.

We’re all about connecting our models with the shoppers. And I assume that’s what helps make us quite diverse. We’re all about educating our clients.

We include technological know-how, as significantly as distinctive goods in the retailer a buyer may perhaps not be familiar with. So we have QR codes that they can scan, it will choose them specifically to details about that solution, whether or not it’s tutorials or ingredients. We just want our consumers to make a additional educated selection prior to they make their invest in.

How and why did you start the business enterprise?

Women of all ages like myself are not acquiring the procedure that we have earned as African American gals. You know, we’re a person of the range one particular consumers in the splendor marketplace. But we go to diverse stores, whether or not it’s a significant box store or a mother and pop beauty source retailer, we’re not getting that a person-on-one particular interest, an individual reading the labels with us, anyone who definitely and definitely understands.

And for the reason that my enterprise is catered to gals and males with textured hair, we have diverse sorts of textures and so it was pretty really hard to discover the proper solutions. To be equipped to set that into one area, that is usually been my enthusiasm and my vision, so I’m just joyful to be open.

Can you share more about how you also assistance other enterprises?

I’ve been able to make it possible for about 20 to 25, if not a lot more, modest small business owners due to the fact November 2019 to host their possess pop-up store in a shop.

I’ve also worked with at minimum a few to four major brand names who we carry in our store. I’ve allowed them to occur in for an intimate event called “Get to Know the Brand.” So it is like an intimate conversation with the CEO of that model. And they do a merchandise demo.

So it is extra than a person variety of initiative that we have in spot to boost that partnership with little organization entrepreneurs.

How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted your enterprise?

COVID has been a blessing and a curse for me. (My organization) was a lot less than 5 months old in March, when we bought the purchase from the metropolis of Tampa that we had to near our doorways. This is a essential time for a little company proprietor, due to the fact just like exploration says, most organization owners — smaller and new entrepreneurs — never past that 1st yr.

I did not want COVID to be a cause why I did not survive. I needed to do anything that I could in my electrical power to make guaranteed that we have been open. So a single detail I had to promptly do is pivot.

For the very first 3 months immediately after we were being closed, I was in the shop from sunup to sundown, putting my things on to my web site. It triggered girls in California, Washington point out, New York and New Jersey to turn into familiar with my store. And I’m still, to this working day this working day in January 2021, transport and offering solutions to gals outside of Tampa.

I wasn’t a receiver of a PPP (Paycheck Protection Approach financial loan) or any of those people initiatives with the federal governing administration. Nevertheless, I was grateful to be rewarded two months of free lease by the city of Tampa, so I was in a position to offset some expenses.

And then it was maybe late Might, immediately after the George Floyd incident and the nationwide protesting, that also was suitable right here in our backyard.

I actually slept in my store, for the reason that we experienced looters walking up and down the avenue. In actuality, a lot less than a few blocks absent from my retailer, a gasoline station was established on fire.

But what did that convey out? That brought the group out.

I experienced prospects below who wished to continue to be in the store with me. Shoppers helped me set indications on my doorway to discourage any looting.

But to go by means of all of that, and to however be able to operate in the midst of COVID, in the midst of community protesting, I could not request for additional.

We experienced folks contacting in from exterior of the metropolis and other counties wanting to verify that I was a Black-owned company. And of course, immediately after verifying that, they came in to guidance, and we continue on to have persons who are exclusively in search of to assist a community Black-owned organization.

What is your outlook for this 12 months?

My outlook for 2021 has just been to put together for yet another shutdown with COVID. I imagine that’s inevitable.

We provide curbside (pick-up). That was one particular of the items we did when COVID hit, wherever consumers, they’ll position their order on the internet or they’ll get in touch with the retail outlet, we’ll wander it out to them.

That’s a thing that I did not eradicate, since we continue to have females and adult men in the community who never feel comfy going out and searching, mainly because our situations continue on to spike. Now that I have that system in spot, in 2021 I’ll just continue to do these items.

And my major initiative is to perform more one-on-one with regional small elegance brands to get them leap commenced and get their items in the retailer.

Proceed Examining