Case Detail

Case Summary

Entrepreneurial Sales Strategies: Namaste Laboratories Pursues New Markets for Hair Care Products

Case Number: 5-310-505, Year Published: 2010

HBS Number: KEL529

Request PreviewBuy

Authors: Tracey Robinson-English

Key Concepts

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.

Learning Objectives

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.

Number of Pages: 10

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Entrepreneurship, Family Business, Marketing

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: Chicago, Illinois, United States, South Africa

Industry: Consumer Products, Ethnic Hair Care Retail

Organization Name: Namaste Labs, Inc

Organization Size: Medium

Decision Maker Position: Owners

Decision Maker Gender: Male and Female

Year of Case: 2009