Case Number: 5-310-505, Year Published: 2010
HBS Number: KEL529
Retail, African American, Soft Sheen, Sales, Organic, Ethnic Hair Care, Early Adopters, Beauty Supply, SKU, International Sales
The Namaste case is a story of how Kellogg alumni couple Gary and Denise Gardner grow their Namaste branded hair care line from production at the family’s kitchen table into a formidable $80 million empire within a 14-year period. The Gardners come from a long-time hair-care business lineage, the Soft Sheen dynasty, started by Gary’s father decades earlier. Soft Sheen was ultimately sold to hair care giant L’Oreal for over $100 million. Gardner claims Namaste’s growth occurred through listening to the needs and desires of customers for healing hair care products that reminded them of nourishing household remedies. The hair care line became a leader in its industry, but faced the dilemma of how to expand sales in new markets, especially international markets such as South Africa and Nigeria.
Students learn to develop new business opportunities including international expansion and tools of the internet to exploit the tools of vision, innovation and change resulting in new customer services and solutions. Students will focus on the basic fundamentals of sales and review the relationship of customer need identification and the reasons that make people buy. Students will assess the entrepreneurial strategies applied to fuel future growth based on an idea or product. Students will focus on the sales fundamentals that can be applied to entrepreneurial environments.
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