tgin Target Update | Our First 90 Days in Target Stores

  • tgin + news
  • June 7, 2015
  • Ashley

If you don’t know by now, tgin is now in Target.

I just want to send a very special thank you out to all of my friends, family, and fans that have came through and been in my corner these last few months. Whether you made a purchase, send me a congratulatory email or told someone about tgin and why they HAD to buy it, in the end it made a difference.

This entire experience was  my first introduction to national retail.  While I learned the importance of shipping on time, how to forecasts spsw (sales per store week) and how to track down a missing pallet worth $25,000, the most important thing I learned throughout this process was the importance of letting go. I learned a long time ago that I was no good at playing “God” and that I had to stop trying to be something that I was not qualified for. Still, I remained a total control freak over this entire process to the point that I started to have all kind of random unexplainable health issues these last few months that I can probably attribute to stress . All of us Harvard black girls are. I think its a qualification for admission.

I finally realized that I had to let completely go and trust that everything was going to work out three days before we were scheduled to hit shelves.  Well, as you all know, we did a daily countdown telling our friends and fans they could find us in stores on March 1st. Well, three days before March 1st, one of the Target people asked me during an in person meeting, what I was going to do if the products weren’t in stores on March 1st.  My answer was I don’t know, but I had to trust that everything will work itself out. The old me would have lost it and asked my team to call every store we were supposed to be in every day and ask when the products were arriving, but the new me just decided to say God let thy will be done.

When I left that meeting and flew back home to Chicago, I could have been like we’ve totally messed up and this is just a disaster waiting to happen if we’re not in the stores on 3/1 like we told everyone we would be. After taking time to pray,  I sat down with my team sat down and talked startegy. We ultimately decided that we would turn the uncertainty of finding tgin into a game. Interestingly enough, our customers loved it and for there The Hunt was Officially on.

We had a strong start because our friends family and fans were willing to talk to managers and store clerks, which spurred the phrase If You Don’t  See It, Ask for It! We owe all of our customers tremendous thanks for their persistence, because in the end it paid off.

July 1st is the end of our evaluation period, and we’ll learn whether we’ll make the cut, get expanded or if additional items will get picked up. So the pressure is still on, but I definitely feel like I’m in a much better and HEALTHIER place just by letting go.

Lately, I get a lot of questions about how things are going, so I decided to answer most of them here. If you still have a question, feel free to reach out to me at info@tginatural.com and I’ll get back to you personally.

What’s happening right now?

Part of what is happening at this stage is that we’re test marketing what moves in which stores ang how quickly it is moving. I know it sucks sometimes when you go to a store and see the Moisture Rich Sulfate Free shampoo and Triple Moisture Replenishing Conditioner but not the Honey Miracle Hair Mask, well we’re working on that. The numbers will ultimately determine what goes where once this evaluation period comes to an end.

How did you feel when you saw your products on the shelf?

It was amazing and surreal at the same time. You finally feel like the hardwork paid off. For the record, I still get a rush every time I see our products on the shelf at new stores. I try to get around to as many different stores as possible just to see how things are moving and check the shelves to make sure things are in the right spot.

Do you think you were ready for this opportunity?

I think we were. The selection process and the amount of paperwork you must supply is pretty exhaustive. I think we had a lot of experience with production and shipping on a smaller scale when we were just selling online and to local health and beauty supply stores. It took a minute to figure out how to produce and order on such a large scale, but now things are coming together rather smoothly. I also think our social media and marketing team have done a great job of getting the word out about the launch and making sure customers are getting their questions answered.

How does Target.com work? 

Our products are sold on there as well.  Although we spend the majority of our energy pushing in store visits Target.com is still a great place for tgin customers and all retailers, not just Target, are making it a point to increase the number of channels where you can purchase.

Where is the Shea butter Argan oil, soap and Leave in Conditioner?

We’re hoping to get all of those items picked up in stores sometime soon, especially our recently released Green Tea Super Moist Leave in Conditioner. Again the numbers determine everything. The shea butter and soap are also a new venture for Target as they are starting to increase the number of small specialty natural skin care brands that you see in stores.

Why aren’t you in my Target?

Target has roughly 1,700 stores. We’re in 250 of them.  I assume they initially placed us in high volume stores that would serve as reliable indicators of whether we could make the cut long term.  Strangely enough, we get a lot of requests to be carried in more stores in California, Texas, and surprisingly Colorado.

What do you wish you would have done differently?

I wish I would have stressed a lot less and taken better care of myself. I’m recovering now and am trying to make time for massages and the little niceties, but juggling can be so hard. I also wish I would have known that there will be bumps along the way, but things will work themselves out in the end . I’m learning to trust that I was given this opportunity for a reason and that I have to believe this path has been laid out before me for a reason.

What’s changed since you have gotten into Target?

I think people take the company a lot more seriously. We’ve also started to take ourselves a lot more seriously. We saw a huge bump in our it followers and now we get a lot more orders from folks who have seen us in Target and gone home and done their research. It’s great exposure. I’m hoping to take a vacation one we get out of the ninety day period

How can friends, family and fans help?

Like I said above, we love when you post shelfies, make purchases and tell your friends who tell their friends about tgin. Even my white classmates at Harvard came up to me last week at my college reunion and were like I know people who use your products or there is this woman with natural hair in my office and I told her she could go to Target and find your products. Every single testimony, purchase, IG post or Facebook share makes a difference.

Is it too late to post a shelfie?

Absolutely not.

When are you going on Shark Tank?

Do you all really want to see me argue with Mark Cuban about why black women like to put honey and olive oil in their hair.  If someone knows the sharks or a producer at NBC, hook it up. Unfortunately, I’m swamped and can’t wait 5 hours in a casting call line to be told no.

What’s up with Whole Foods?

We’re in talks, but nothing is solidified yet. Whole Foods is great and one of my favorite stores to shop at, but it is extremely decentralized which can make the process a little onerous.

What about Sally’s Beauty Supply, Ulta, CVS, and Walmart?

Right now, we’re just trying to master this Target thing. Our hands are completely full, especially if we get expanded.  As noted above, there is the possibility that they may take on more of our handmade products and that could prove to be extremely challenging, because literally on a day to day basis two people are making everything for Target, 100 stores, Amazon.com and all of our online orders. It’s a lot.

How did the recent move to a bigger factory go?

We’re still settling into our new space.  It’s kind of crazy that we’re in this huge facility and its like 4 of us there. I’m only there part of the time, because I’m off working on things and in meetings, but we should be good. We definitely have room to grow. We just had our internet hooked up and hopefully we can now buy some real office furniture. I was going to buy 2 desks from iKea, but couldn’t believe they wanted $169.00 in shipping. Yes, I can be cheap sometimes.

Are you hiring? 

I’m accepting resumes. We’re running pretty smoothly as a small team, but I’m especially interested in smart people with good writing skills who are great problem solvers. Everyday we have to figure out how to handle some new issue so we need people who aren’t scared to try and come up with an answer even if it’s not an approach we decide to go with.  We need (calculated) risk takers

What ‘s next? 

A vacation!  I also want to finish redecorating my condo. A fire in my building caused my bedroom to flood, so I’ve been living in corporate housing for the last six weeks. Once, I finish the insurance and remodeling process, I’m out of here.

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