CEO Q&A: Lisa Price, Carol's Daughter (Extended)

Lisa Price, CEO of Carol's Daughter, a line of natural beauty products, talks with Danielle Drolet about the need for authenticity and retail expansion.

Lisa Price, CEO of Carol's Daughter, a line of natural beauty products for hair, skin, and nails, talks with Danielle Drolet about the need for authenticity and retail expansion.

Carol's Daughter has traditionally been seen as a beauty brand for African-American women. Why is it now looking to branch out to all ethnicities?
When I started Carol's Daughter, I made products that worked for my beauty needs and the people around me. There are a multitude of hands touching the brand now and I want to be able to continue providing beauty solutions that meet their specific needs. The tag line “beauty by nature” was created because Carol's Daughter believes in the beauty found inherently in all of us. I truly believe this and continue to create products that help all women feel this way.

How will you communicate a successful brand message to a broader audience with differing wants and needs in the beauty market? How will your comms team help you with this?
Messages of product benefits, solutions, and ingredients resonate most with our customers. We've taken the brand and analyzed our offerings within our hair and body products. We have been working these past two years in filling our gaps in providing beauty solutions.

To better communicate solutions, we've repacked in sleeker packaging with clear product benefits and ingredients for easy brand navigation. To help communicate that the brand now speaks to a variety of hair and skin needs, we've signed Selita Ebanks and Cassie and Solange Knowles as “spokesbeauties.”

How are you leveraging the company on Facebook (650,000-plus fans), and Twitter (18,542 followers)?
Carol's Daughter is warm and inviting – we perpetuate a feeling of family and togetherness – and that is felt within our social networks. We speak to our fans like our girlfriends and interact with them. We use Facebook to test ideas, brainstorm new products, and find out what's relevant. Our fans are very vocal and they've helped us come up with our most popular products.

Since the company's roots began in your own kitchen, it has rapidly expanded its presence at retail. Tell us more about that, as well as your plans for the next five years?
I'm always humbled when I think about the brand's growth and success. I've been blessed with a strong business partner, Steve Stoute, and an investment team that has helped me take the hobby to a business and to a brand.

Currently, we have nine standalone shops nationwide, including our flagship in Harlem, NY, which includes a nail and foot spa. We are looking to expand within the next five years into approximately three additional locations, and are looking in the Illinois and Texas areas. Our products are also sold at other retailers, such as Sephora, Macy's, select spas, and on military bases.

For the next 24 months, our focus is rounding out our hair offerings and then we will move into body. Our fragrances are expanding and we will continue with our My Life fragrance by Mary J. Blige.  Lisa's Kitchen, a DIY line of bath and beauty products exclusively on Home Shopping Network, will see rapid growth in 2012.

How many people are on your communications team and how does that relationship work?
Fortunately, we are a small company with a family-oriented culture, so we all work together every day. Our communications team is about 10 strong, spanning various departments. We ensure that we all talk and understand how each department contributes to the overall consumer message from advertising, to media relations, to social, to digital.

Do you currently work with a PR agency and what do they support the company on?
We work with Tractenberg & Co. to support us on new launches and on telling the brand story to the media. Having an agency is key, especially when you are growing and working hard to maintain your authenticity.

Carol's Daughter has a pretty exciting roster of celebrity investors, from Jay-Z to Jimmy Iovine. What's the secret to achieving and maintaining relationships like these?
What sets our investors apart is that they're not just financially invested in the company – they're emotionally invested, too. Each of the celebrities in our extended family truly believes in the mission of Carol's Daughter and makes a point of playing an active role in the development and evolution of the brand.

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