TG Brands: The Buyer of Choice for Businesses in the Multicultural Hair and Beauty Space
Article written in partnership with S99
African Americans spend $6.6 billion on beauty, representing 11.1% of the US beauty market. However, black beauty brands capture only 2.4% of revenue in the overall beauty market. TG Brands is looking to change this in a revolutionary way!
TG Brands is a privately-held holding company based in Atlanta, Georgia that owns and operates a portfolio of eCommerce and brick-and-mortar stores in the multicultural hair and beauty industry. TG Brands is one of North America’s largest black-owned, woman-led holding companies in this space. Brands they own include True Glory Hair, founded in 2010 and has driven over $180M in sales, and Kinky Curly Yaki, founded in 2012 and is one of the first brands to provide premium hair extensions specifically for curly hair textures.
Driven by the idea that “we are better together,” the mission of TG Brands is to build a portfolio of businesses in the beauty industry and infuse them with the capital and operational support they need to grow.
As president of TG Brands, Marsha Jean-Louis has shown she is uniquely positioned to execute the mission of this holding company. She has a breadth of knowledge and experience running and operating several direct-to-consumer businesses. She is a serial entrepreneur and uses her grit and fresh take on solving problems to help guide her in her leadership decisions. She began her career at TG Brands after her own hair product company was acquired. She also is a founder of Stream Suites, a technology platform that helps beauty professionals monetize their skills.
We asked Marsha more about her background and how it has helped her in her leadership role. She replied, “When I tell people I worked in the field of international development and just graduated having studied finance and economic policy the same year I joined TG Brands, they are always confused, maybe even amused.
Though my career trajectory is atypical, my unique background has made me a strong leader in primarily two ways:
1) I run our business, understanding we do not operate in a vacuum. I pay close attention to what is happening in the wider market and the economic trends that may impact our business and make decisions based on this. For example, understanding inflation would disproportionately impact our already price-sensitive customer base drove me to make tough decisions around cost-cutting when many businesses were still hiring aggressively. I attended a talk with James Stavridis, a former Navy admiral and Managing Director of the Carlyle Group. He said, “Leadership is about the trendlines. It’s about sitting back and, with some boldness and humility, casting judgment on the future and then having the courage to take people with you and inspire them toward this future.” Having a deep understanding of exogenous factors outside our company allows me to cast better judgments on the future.
2) The second advantage I have with my background is that I am deeply analytical. Some of my favorite business leaders that I study and admire are not your typical, charismatic leaders. They aren’t necessarily great orators, have large social media followings, and are often understated. At their core, what makes them great leaders is that they are exceptional capital allocators, and they understand their business by the numbers. I observed that leaders who can manage their businesses with a long-term view are those who are analytical and make rational data-driven decisions. I found that for many beauty brands that fail, it’s because they didn’t have a leader at the top who knew their numbers well enough to properly allocate human and capital resources.
We asked Marsha what types of businesses she was looking to acquire under TG Brands she replied, “We look for businesses that have done the groundwork to build real, authentic brands. These brands have garnered customer loyalty and have established product market fit.” Under Marsha’s leadership, the businesses under TG Brands have been able to lead competitively through its authentic connection to the end consumer. Marsha believes this authenticity differentiates their business from the barrage of oversea brands entering the space. “We understand our consumer because we are her. Our team, at all levels, is tasked with staying connected to the end consumer and making decisions based on data pulled from our customer base, not just on gut feelings. We lead with authenticity, passion, and integrity and these core tenants permeate all levels of our organization. Our products are worn by our mothers, sisters, aunts, and friends, so our community is constantly holding us accountable to ensure we offer the best products and customer experience we can. This is why we continue to be successful in this space.”