The Cut Life Podcast
The Cut Life Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

Ep. 17 Teneya Gholston


Teneya Gholston is the Director of Marketing for Creme of Nature! As the head women in charge, Teneya, is involved in the products from conception, to development, and branding, to getting them on the shelves and into your hands. She even drops gems on how to get noticed as an influencer, you don't want to miss this episode!

Hello, stunners, welcome to another episode of the cut life podcast, where we interview the best hair stylist in the business and also the brains behind the beauty business, and today is no different. I have a dear friend of mine who is a boss herself, a missed Tania Ghoston, senior director of marketing for cream of nature. Hay, Tania, Hey, how are you? Are you having a busy day? Oh, my goodness, always, but I'm excited and excited to talk to you for sure. I'm glad to have you on because I don't know if you know this, but my first time ever modeling or participating in a brand campaign was with cream of nature. Really, yes, you gave me my first opportunity and I ended up working with you twice on a relaxer campaign and a hair color campaign. Oh my goodness, I love that. I love that, and that's like kind of when we started to connect and, like I always tell you, I love your spirit. You're just like a beautiful person, you know, inside and out. But no, I didn't know. That was your first campaign and you kill both of them. They thank you, both campaigns. They were featured in sophisticates, black hair magazine. With editorial. So yeah, it was a big it was a big deal for me. I was so excited about it and it couldn't have been with a better brand. The entire cream of nature team is amazing and has always treated me so well and we always have a love mess when we see each other. So, you know, I had to have you on the show because I'm all, I've never picked to NEA's brain about her daytoday and what it really takes to run a beauty brand, and I know a lot of people, I want to hear all of the juice. So yeah, let's get into it and talk to me a bit, because I know it changes daily, I'm sure, but talk to me a bit about your Daytoday, responsibilities as the senior director of marketing for cream of nature. Yeah, so, I mean also know as a business owner and I really think of myself as a business owner. You know, I'm just working inside of a corporate company, you know, really working as entrepreneur, you know, somebody who is just responsible for building brand equity, you know, and making sure that this brand is on track to meet it sales goals and delight the consumer at the end of the day. And so every day is different. You know, no matter what the schedule is. You know, I'm responsible for both marketing advertising, you know, making sure that the brand is visible, you know, and in front of the consumers. That's one side of what I do, but then another big portion of what I do is new product development, and so whenever you see a new product itself, I've been working with a team of people, everyone from rdq engineer, you know, working with our legal team, you know, working with our PR team, and so Daytoday, I spend most of all times, you know, presenting two fingers leadership, you know, sharing with them concepts and ideas. I meet a lot with our new product development team and then I work with my marketing team, who, you know, they're the ones that are just like really on top of like the social media campaigns and the influence or campaigns that, you know, all of our graphs we've e been. So it's a lots of fun, you know, a lot of long, long days, but I enjoy it and I've been doing this ever since I started working in corporate. I've been blessed to work in beauty. So I absolutely love it and, you know, just love building grants.

I love it and I love getting all of the amazing product that you send me when new collections launch, like the clay and charcoal collection. Did I say right? Okay, I said it. Rights claims. I was love. That is such a spy like collection. It's so nice and the gray colors of everything and it just smells really good. So I'm really excited about that. And, of course, perfect edges, which cream of nature is known for. Number One, we are the number one edge control. Okay, listen, and that's no easy feat because edge controls it's hard to find ones that work really well, so to be number one in the market is amazing. Yeah, we're on top and we do a lot of work, you know, with our products that our product development team is amazing and we test, you know, I test one an office is testing. I mean we have a whole, you know, group of people that we just we test the products and we make sure that they live up to, you know, the standards that the consumer wants. You know, it's like whatever she wants, we're like, okay, that's what we're going to give her and we make sure we keep working until it works like perfectly. Well, it works because people swear by cream of nature. I'm telling you, and whenever I post about the products I get DM's like are you going to give this away? Can we have and I'm like you could go to the store, we may do a giveaway, but you can go support the brand as well, because we have to keep it on shelves right. And so, speaking of products that I get in the mail, a part of that is about the influencer marketing side of the camp pains that you run. And I'm sure there are people on social media that may have an interest in beauty or fashion or whatever it is, and they're like, well, how do I attract brands to my profile or how do I partner with brands? So, as someone that is responsible for selecting influencers to work on campaigns, what exactly are you looking for in the next influencer? It's a partner with now I think that's a great question and it's a it's a very popular question because you know influencer marketing and you know really growing your brand or your personal brand as an influencer is so it's so popular. But I think that you know, whenever we look for influencers, you know we really try to make sure that one we're finding influences that are creating excellent content and, you know, I can't say that enough. We're really looking for people that are content creators, not just influencers, because I think that anyone can post a picture, but for cream of nature, we focus on, you know, who is really a storyteller, you know, who is sharing their story and their authentic story, you know, with their consumer, and so we kind of lead with that mindset and, you know, we just really like brainstorm and we call mop with a list of influencers that we feel are relevant. You know, who do we hear, you know, our friends talking about, like who do we see? That's really kind of killing the game, and we just look for people who are authentic and people who will fit our family, you know, you know, will fit the criminate your brand, because it's so important. I think influencer marketing a lot of people focus on it as a transaction and it's not transactional. I mean it is because you want to get the likes, you want to get the Commons, you want to get the engagement, but it's at its relationship based marketing. So I think that the influencer has to have a relationship, you know, with her followers so that they trust her so that they, you know, really understand that they can take her word when she kind of gives her thoughts and her views on a...

...campaign. And then for a brand, you know, when we entrust our brand to an influencer, you know we want to know that that person really loves and respects the criminate your brand as well. Right, having an authentic voice is very important because people are not stupid and they can see through, you know, certain post that just look like paid posts and there's no real connection to the brand. People definitely read into that and I do love the fact that you diversify who you work with, whether it's annually or quarterly. I love that you shine light on new faces, because they will be people that I'm like, I've never seen her before, she's cute and she hasn't unique voice or unique take on how to use the product and you know a different way to interpret it, and I love that you give multiple people a chance and it's not just stuck on one or two people all of the time. No, I think that's so important because I think that, you know, it's important to show various hair textures, you know, various hair styles, you know, including length. So we never want to create an influence of campaign where everyone in the campaign has long hair, you know, because that just doesn't represent, you know, black women. And so when we talk to our consumer, you know, our consumer sheets, she speaks to us do social she's like, okay, I want to see my texture, you know, I want to see the TWA's, you know, I want to see this style. And so whenever we put together a campaign, we really are very intentional on making sure that we select a variety of hair textures as well as a variety of hair styles and include, you know, people who style like the every day and the average woman, you know, because people want to know what works, you know, they exactly how can I get my hair done? How can I get it styled and get to work, you know, and get back home and do what I need to do daily? So, yeah, making sure we have a lot of people and I love finding new talent and so I think that's something that I take a lot of pride in personally, you know. So like when you said, oh my Gosh, you gave me my first campaign. I love those stories, and so there's been so many people over the years that are like, okay, cream of nature was my first campaign and I take a lot of pride in that. So we love discovering new influencers and microinfluencers. They're a big part of our strategy because they're new and they're fresh. You know, at they a lot of times they're very, very eager to, you know, get in front of a bigger audience and it makes them become a lot more brand loyal and it becomes more like a family, like you said, instead of it just being a transactional relationship. You feel like crew of nature is family. So whenever you guys reach out to me to partner on something, it's always an automatic guests like I don't have to think about it. I'm like, yeah, of course I want a partner with cream of nature. Of course I want to promote the brand and I know that the brand is obviously a quality brand that people respect and stand behind. So it does. It's not like something I have to sit there and debate on whether or not I want to work on it. And you did mention something about consumer feedback and I didn't want to get into that. In regards to consumer feedback being taken into consideration when you are launching new products or expanding on existing lines, yes, for sure. I mean for us we actually focus a lot on consumer insights. So, you know, whenever we sit down and we kind of develop our three year plan for the brands, because we're looking at for me, I'm looking at the three year horizons. So for two thousand and nineteen, we already know what's coming out. We've already been working on APP for like since last year. So for me right now, for example, I'm working on, you know, what are we launching at two thousand and twenty, like, what are we launching in two thousand and twenty one? So we're literally working to predict trends and so we start with consumer insights.

That's where, you know, a lot of our concepts are because the consumer really has insight into what does she need, you know, what does she love about what's on market now? And I think in the world of social media, social media has allowed the brand to have an intimate relationship with the consumer. So you know what I started out doing marketing. You had to do maybe a focus group or you had to do some type of market research in two days. Of all to literally put up a post. You know, you can put up a post and you can get extent feedback when we lost pure honey last year, I want to say twenty eight team, when we lost good at the beginning of the year, we received instant feedback. Like people are not shy. They tell us, hey, love this, love that, you know, and one of the things that consumers ask or they said, we want to pump for the setting lotion. We don't literally knew that within like a week or two of launching, and so we went into immediate you know, okay, let's see. How can we how can we make this happen? Can we make it work? You know, did we get it right with this type of you know, packaging or is their way to enhance it? And that all comes from the consumers feed but I love that. And specifically with the clay and charcoal line, can you give us some more insight on how that concept came about, because I look, I got a package with a spiral being it place on it and, you know, the products are looking so beautiful. Got My little notebook if I need to, you know, Journal some things. So you guys are definitely setting the mood with this whole collections. I want to hear more about just a thought process behind launching this. No definitely. I mean with clay and charcoal. Clay and Charcole really came from talking to the consumer, with, you know, the consumer with natural hair, you know, talking to her about what are your challenges, you know, what are your pain points and what are you doing in mark you know, what are you doing in market? And literally we will sit down with consumers and we'll ask them bring us your top five or your top ten products, like bringing what's under your you know, your bathroom counter, like what's under the counter and you know, and talking to them, wee down that people are making their own do it yourself mask at home and a lot of them were using been tonight, clay, and that was something that we just saw consistently from talking to multiple consumers. You know, I have friends that are telling me, Oh, I'm trying this. You know, they're always asking me questions, what do you think about this? And so just in talking we just saw that that was an extremely popular do it yourself treatment at home, but we found it was time consuming and you need it, you know, six or seven different ingredients, and a lot of those ingredients you needed to maybe order off of Amazon, like we just found that it was a desired treatment, but it wasn't easy and in today's where all people are, you know, going to school, workings their Moms, like myself, we don't have a lot of time to extend the Wash Day and so we were just like, okay, let's make this super easy, like let's make a clay and charcoal line that it's already mixed, it's already together, there's no guess work, you don't have to look up on dentures and figure out what the recipe is. So we just took the guesswork out of it and I think it was time to kind of focus on something that was a little bit more about the scalp and you know and just the health of the scalp and just removing, you know, some of the build up that were starting to see from, you know, using so many styling products. We're using more styling products than ever and so I think as a result of that, you know, women are starting to reach for, you know, different treatments and solutions to really detox their hair and kind of just restore their hairs, you know, natural health, and so that's really what's the basis for the line. That makes a lot...

...of sense and I've been seeing you know, in addition to the bent tonight clad trend, the activated charcoal is in everything from toothpaste that people are using to, you know, specialty drinks that people are drinking. I seen activated charcoal and ice cream out in La and it was like a black ice cream with charcoal in it. So I think it's very smart that you guys are up on the trends and able to incorporate that into the line, because it shows that you're paying attention to your audience and paying attention to, you know, what people are into, because that is those are really, really big things and I think when people see those buzz words and makes them want to support the brand even more because they're like, oh, they know what's going on out here in these streets, on the other side of it. So we're talking, you know, about the line. We've talked about influencers and what you look for, but I would love to get even more back in while, say insight on people that want to work on the brand side of the beauty industry, because we talked to people that are aspiring hairstylists all day, people that want to be, you know, influencers, bloggers, bloggers, what have you in front of the camera. But then there are also a lot of people that have, you know, PR and marketing expertise or they're interested in, you know, building brands and creating line. So what would what advice would you give to those people that want to work behind the scenes for our beauty brand, specifical a beauty brand not I think you know, I think you're kind of hit it on the nail that there are literally so many opportunities to work in beauty, and so I think that a lot of times when I meet people, people immediately said, Oh my God, I want to do what you do, because they think only fun, you know, they only see the shows that I go to or they see, Oh, you created that campaign. But I think you kind of hit it on the nail. There's so many different, you know, ways that you can work in beauty. If you're in communication, you know you could work in beauty as a pan our manager, who can work as a social media manager or community manager. Even if you're into science or stems, you know you could work in beauty as a cosmetic chemist. And so I think they have to think of beauty, beauty as a business, though, whatever you do. You know, I think there's a role for you. I mean we have accountants and beauty. We have all of the different you know kind of function in a beauty company that are needed, and so I think that's what a lot of people forget, like it's not all marketers, it's not all walking around and coming up with eas you know, great campaigns every day. So there's every functional area that you could kind of imagine a think of. And specifically, when I think about the hair stylist, you know, there are a lot of roles, in a lot of ways to work in beauty, you know, beyond the chair, and so I think that's, you know, really important for your audience to kind of think of the fact that as a hair stylist, as a professional, you have the opportunity to work on editorial campaigns, meaning you may work with a media company to cremate at a real for them for their online website, you know, for maybe for a print campaign, work with them. You can work with the brand as a campaign stylist. So we hire stylus every time we should packaging, every time we hitting campaign. You know, we'll hire five or six stylists to be on set with us to really create the Vision for the campaign and, you know, really to kind of set the tone for what the styles and the trends are going to be for the hair. And then you also have hair stylists that work with our rd department. So we have hair stylens that work in what we call our Testilon, and so these styles are really responsible for testing all of our formulations and so where it kind of time to give that real and authentic feedback, we have stylists that are working with us... have their hands in the product and they're responsible for, you know, evaluating it. A lot of your professional companies, not always with consumer, but definitely like in your professional companies, you have education. So there's, you know, a big role for education and anyone that markets, especially direct to stylust or direct to professional, they will literally have a team of people that are responsible for doing that education. So love the different roles and I think that once you find out what role really interest you the most, you know them. From there it's just all about networking and, you know, attending industry and then said, you know, going to different conferences that are about beauty. There's of so many different ones that you can attend to kind of learn more or understand, you know, what companies are out there, and then from there you can just network to kind of find an ideal role for you. I always encourage people to intern. I'm a huge proponent of internships because that's how I built the majority of my relationships. You know, when I was a publicist in the entertainment world, I wouldn't have had the access to the people that I had access to if it wasn't for interning for free and treating it like it was a paid job in really building those relationships. And then, you know, starting the cut life was really an eye opener to how expansive the beauty industry is. And I've heard, you know, the statistics about, you know, women, especially black women, being the number one consumers of beauty and, of course, from the consumer standpoint I understood it, but to see, you know, how many moving parts there are behind the scenes. Once I started a brand within the industry, it was like, Whoa, this is a big deal and there are so many brands. So even to be able to stand out, as cream of nature has, is no easy task because they are so many brands popping up every other day. Yeah, and you have to stay ahead of the curve and competitive. So, you know, it's always good to see, you know, how you guys have continued to become the cream of the crop, you know, no, puny, yeah, or maybe pun intended. Yes, the cream of the cry no, I love that. I'm mad in curses like I echo that. I Echo that. I think don't hear that enough, you know, but I am, you know, similar to you. I was been glad, you know, getting my MBA, but my first job, and I was an assistant and a hair salon working, you know, for somebody that was the director of education, you know, for a large multi national company, and that was how I got the intro into the beauty industry and that's what set me apart. So when it was time to, you know, get a job in corporate America, like after graphs school, like those connections, you know, I ended up, you know, staying with the company because I in turn, just like you said, and turned with the brand and then they bought norn and, you know, I've been with the brand for a little over twelve years. So I hope these younger millennials are listening, because I feel that social media has a lot of them thinking that they can go from graduation to CEO and want to skip a lot of steps in between, and it makes me so glad that I didn't grow up in the social media era, but I was still around enough to understand how it works and how it's a useful tool. But there I'm like, the balance has to come back you guys, because you don't just jump out the gate and it's like you're running things and you're the boss like even ditty interns like you have to write short exactly, no shortcuts exactly. So before we go we have to have a little fun. And so, since you work in beauty, I need to get all in your business and find out what is in your beauty bag, like if I was to go in your makeup bag or go into your house, I know we're going to...

...see cream of nature hair products, but I want to know outside of that, what are your go to beauty items in your beauty bag? Oh my goodness, okay, go to go to well, all side of her. I love her and know that I'm also like this kind of college and so I'm like committed player products. Outside of that, my next love was be makeup. So if you ever travel with me, people joking, they're like, okay, you have as much makeup as the makeup artist do. Why do you have that much makeup? So you're gonna find everything from Black Opal in my back. I love and I am obsessed right now with the lip bar. So I have all of her say and she is killing it out here. Boss, ladies, you know boss League, Quemadonna. So I love the lip bar, like shout out to the lip bar. I'm a family Grad, so I definitely walk with them. But yeah, I'm a makeup girl. And then I also love like fragrances. So that's like another one of my little guilty pleasures that I like to do. I really love fragrances, and maybe it's because I'm in beauty too, so you know the fragrance of the product is so important. So I'm always out like picking up a new fragrance trying to see, like, do I like it? I love that. I think people are always surprised to hear for me that out of all the beauty products, including hair, I actually have the most love for skincare and then fragrances as well. I think I own I don't even know how many bottles of perfumed that I own. It's kind of ridiculous, but I can't help me because I'm raise your back. Yeah, anytime. I love sense and even scented candles, like give me a cent of candle and I'm in heaven, like anything with the nice and I like very breath. It's just it sets the mood, I mean it's sets the tone. Like, yes, anything that's like a fresh like light fragrance, I love. But now, this was so much fun to me. I'm glad that we could get all in your business. Please share your social media handle, because I think everyone should follow you and keep up with all of the amazing things that you have going on, because, you know, is one thing to follow the brand, but I think you should also know the people behind it that are keeping this thing moving. Yes, absolutely, so. Yeah, you can definitely follow me on Instagram at Tanana love, and it's tea and Eya l ovee. Definitely check me out. A Hey, if you've got questions, let's continue the conversation over on Instagram online to I love talking to people. I mean I had a great time talking to you to hear and you know, I love talking to people and just you know, the next set of marketers and you know people that are coming up and learning the business. No, I love it and thank you so much for your insight. This gave me a lot of a lot of gems were dropped today and I hope everyone floods your own comment section with their feedback. Make sure they try the clay and our coal line, definitely the clan Chacol line, and stay tuned, because that's not it for us this year. So literally we have more, we have a lot or so stay tune because for us, if we have a collections that are about to come out. So stay tune. It sounds like you're over there rubbing your hands like Birdman. Well, we look forward to it and we'll talk to you soon. All right. Yes, so that was my girl, to Ne, a Ghostin of cream of nature. She is so amazing and so knowledgeable of the beauty industry. Anytime you see her you definitely want to pick her brain because she's had over, I think, twelve years in the business. So definitely a got in my book. As far as the cut life is concerned, we have some... travel coming up. I can't tell you where just yet, but we will be in two countries that I've never been to before and I know that we have some fans out there, so they'll definitely be some meat and Greeks and some things that you guys can attend, so definitely stay tuned for those announcements. As always, you can go to live the cut lifecom for new content daily, obviously the cut life ig were all the fabulousness takes place. And that's all we have for this week, so talk to you next time.

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