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Mixed Chicks Hits Target

Hair care products company Mixed Chicks is hitting the mass market with a new distribution deal with big-box retailer Target. The Canoga Park-based company, which caters to multi-ethnic consumers with curly hair, now offers its full-line of hair products in more than 700 Target stores nationwide and on Target.com. Wendi Levy, co-owner of Mixed Chicks, said until recently the company had mainly catered to salons. The deal with Target now allows for the company to reach consumers directly. “We’ve gotten interest from people all over the U.S.,” Levy said. “Going through Target we’ll get to them faster.” Brad Masterson, spokesperson for The Professional Beauty Association, said the partnership with Target could launch the brand into a household name. “It will definitely be a boost in sales and revenues,” Masterson said. The company, founded in 2003, primarily has sold its products to more than 2,500 independent retailers, including salons, spas, beauty supply stores and boutiques. Although Levy declined to disclose recent revenues, Mixed Chicks generated about $5 million in 2010 and expected to reach about $8 million in 2011, according to a San Fernando Valley Business Journal interview with the co-owners last summer. The company ranked fourth on the Journal’s list of fastest-growing private companies in 2011. Levy and her business partners, including husband Brad Kaaya and friend Kim Etheredge, have faced some challenges this year. Last year, Mixed Chicks filed a lawsuit against beauty store giant Sally Beauty Supply for alleged trademark infringement, trade dress infringement, and unfair competition. Although mum on details, Levy said the trial is scheduled to begin at the end of the month. Despite the setbacks, Mixed Chicks is plowing forward with growth plans, including revamping and expanding its men’s line and purchasing a new facility by the end of the year. Levy declined to disclose details about other potential distribution deals in the works, but said she and her partners are considering future partnerships with new retailers. Levy said Target’s “one-stop shop” business model was appealing and she and her partners appreciate that Target officials “respect our opinions and invite our input as far as advertising and marketing for our brand.” Christina Hennington, divisional merchandising manager for Target’s Beauty Division, said the goals of Target and Mixed Chicks are aligned. “At Target, we’ve been focusing on meeting a variety of our guests’ needs for years — everything from Hispanic, African-American, natural, organic, premium and everyday values,” Hennington said. The retailer includes an assortment of salon brands that are not widely distributed, she added. Target has put some effort in expanding its offerings to the African-American and multi-ethnic segments and has tripled the space dedicated to the categories over the past few years, she added. The retailer first began carrying Mixed Chicks’ children’s line in late February. Last month, the company announced the full line would be rolled out in 715 stores this month. Products include women’s and children’s shampoo and conditioner, detangling deep conditioner, hair silk, straightening serum, and children’s tangle-tamer. Targeting individuals with curly locks, the vegan products aim to be a solution to unmanageable and unruly hair. So far, the public response has been encouraging, Levy said. “Sales have been phenomenal and the multicultural consumers along with curly heads of all cultures love the wash-and-go freedom our products provide,” she said. Mixed Chicks uses vegan ingredients that cater to the “very relevant” green category that is a consistent trend among hair care products, Masterson said. “People want products that are safe for themselves and the environment but still do what they say they do,” she said. The brand’s popularity with the female market has prompted the duo to chase after another market: men. Levy said the company is currently working on improving and growing its existing men’s product line, which currently consists of a shampoo and leave-in conditioner. “We want to make some adjustments to it and make it more man-friendly,” she said. The new line will include conditioner, gel and body wash and is slated to hit the market in the fall. Target customers already are sounding off on the Mixed Chicks brand and its promise to help tame naturally curly and wavy hair. Ann, a Target customer from Wisconsin reviewed Mixed Chicks’ Deep Conditioner on the retailer’s website, giving it a five-star rating. “(I’m) so glad it’s now at all the Target stores,” she said. “There is nothing better for my hair.”

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