Brian Smith and his wife, Tywana, struggled to find the right hair and skin care products for their daughters. The couple made the bet that other Black families faced the same challenge and in 2002 launched Treasured Locks, an online boutique selling hair, skin and body products for people of color.
Based out of West Chester, Ohio, Treasured Locks sells more than 20 brands of products, including shampoos, conditioners, serums and hair vitamins and supplements. The company also sells its own line of items as an affordable alternative to major brand labels. The business boasts more than 80,000 deliveries and counting.
“We've been in business for almost 18 years. We are a Black-owned company. We only sell products that we use ourselves,” Smith said. “We used to joke that the girls are our guinea pigs because everything we sell we would use ourselves.”
In recent years, YouTube channels, social media and websites dedicated to natural Black hair and attention from major online retailers have increased competition for Treasured Locks. But Treasured Locks’s unique products and being one of the few Black-owned hair companies in the industry has kept customers coming back.
Smith is particularly proud of how the Treasured Locks website is designed. The company uses artificial intelligence to help customers find the products they want depending on their hair type and the outcomes they desire, and responds with personalized advice.
“We've always wanted to give a customer the best experience possible,” he said. “I always wanted to be able to guide customers to what product is best for them. Someone could say, ‘I’m looking for a shampoo,’ and we could ask ‘Do you want natural shampoo? Something for your hair to grow?’ So we guide them through the process.”
Another crucial factor in customer experience is the checkout process, so Smith studied Fast, a one-click login and checkout service that simplifies the shopping experience by completing orders with just one click.
He was initially hesitant to use services from a company he didn’t know, but once he realized what Fast was offering he thought, “anyone that says they can help with customers’ experience and increase our sales” was worth looking into. Treasured Locks installed Fast Checkout on its website in October 2020, and now about 25% of sales are processed through the online checkout startup. Customers trust Fast, Smith said.
“I had a customer ask me about Fast recently, and then they saw it on another website,” he said. “As it rolls out, and people understand what it is, the rate of use will keep going up.”