Native entrepreneur Maeyonni Westbrook has large plans for enlargement.
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Decked out in fluorescent pink and blue that draw you in, the MK Glam merchandising machine is positioned strategically on the entrance to the check-out lanes on the Brown’s ShopRite in Eastwick’s Penrose Plaza.
Loaded with extensions, wigs, and different Black hair care and wonder merchandise, it’s the primary of a dozen self-service retailers coming to Philadelphia ShopRite shops from hairstylist Maeyonni Westbrook — and it’s been a success.
“Enterprise is so good, actually good,” stated Westbrook, who thought up the thought about 5 years in the past, and at last noticed it come to fruition this 12 months after taking part within the 2021 Brown’s Business Incubator.
In 2017, when Westbrook started working after hours as a hairstylist, she dreamed of a option to be in a number of locations without delay. Purchasers had been continually looking for wig and hair extension appointments, however she couldn’t accommodate them due to her 9-to-5 job.
So Westbrook determined to create a merchandising machine. She priced them out, set about acquiring the mandatory permits, and began in search of a location. Initially, she tried pitching the machine to malls and outfitters, however saved being turned down.
Her mom identified that through the pandemic, grocery shops had been one of many solely locations that maintained foot visitors. With that at the back of her thoughts, Westbrook reached out to ShopRite.
The company workplace put her involved with Alexandra Beauvais, supervisor of Gross sales for Brown’s Super Store, a set of native supermarkets run by rumored mayoral candidate Jeff Brown. After a number of months of back-and-forth, Westbrook received the chance to pitch her proposal to Brown’s Enterprise Incubator.
This system works with native entrepreneurs to get their merchandise positioned within the large field shops — which additionally advantages the ShopRites, Beauvais stated in a video, explaining that neighborhood members are probably the most frequent consumers, in order that they know what’s lacking from the cabinets. Westbrook’s idea match proper in.
“The presentation was like an everyday dialog,” Westbrook stated. “I went in interested by having one merchandising machine positioned of their retailer, however they supplied me 12.”
She left the assembly and ran down the hallway screaming with pleasure, she stated, nonetheless in shock concerning the enterprise alternative.
MK Glam’s merchandising machine hosts quite a lot of completely different beauty gadgets like hair extension, oil sheen, hair glue, hair caps, make-up, and Westbrook’s branded edge management. Merchandise vary from $7 to $300 — and the higher-ticket gadgets are literally promoting extra.
“What I believed wouldn’t promote is definitely promoting sooner,” Westbrook stated.
One contributing issue: the service is handy. Most hair provide shops shut at 6 p.m., she famous, so the machine’s accessibility is a promoting level.
Westbrook selected the Island Avenue ShopRite as her first outpost as a result of she lives close by, with further ShopRites machines slated to come back on-line quickly.
There’s further enlargement brewing. Westbrook stated she hopes to finally have MK Glam merchandising machines in motels and on school campuses, and appears ahead to providing extra merchandise from small, Black-owned companies as her personal enterprise grows.