In this episode of Women in Retail Talks, Women in Retail Leadership Circle Digital Content Director Kristina Stidham interviews Tonya Thompson and Sharie Thompson-Wilson, co-founders of DreamGirls, the female and Black-owned, family-operated natural hair care brand. Listen in as Thompson and Thompson-Wilson discuss the genesis and evolution of the DreamGirls business (1:07), as well as how they launched their signature Healthy Hair Care System product line during the COVID-19 pandemic (2:41), which surpassed $2.3 million in sales in one year. The sisters share how social media brings customers to both their salon and e-commerce businesses (4:43), the factors they feel attributed to the brand’s rapid growth in such a competitive space (7:17), and why building self-esteem and confidence in women, especially Black women, through hair care is so important to DreamGirls (11:02).
Thompson and Thompson-Wilson discuss why being hands-on with customers’ hair in the salon is essential to how they run their company (14:15), how customers often react emotionally after their hair is transformed by DreamGirls (15:10), and how they’ve impacted customers’ overall health (16:09). They share what their day-to-day roles look like in their family-run business (18:50), who they turn to for business or leadership advice (20:58), their tips for other women entrepreneurs (22:25), and what’s next for DreamGirls (28:05).
Sharie Thompson-Wilson and Tonya Thompson are healthy hair specialists and the co-founders of DreamGirls Hair, a results-producing beauty business that consists of two salon branches and the all-inclusive at-home hair transformative product line DreamGirls Healthy Hair Care System. With a strong desire to help women, especially Black women, with their hair confidence, Sharie and Tonya worked from the bottom up and founded DreamGirls Hair salons in their hometown of Los Angeles in 2006. In addition to DreamGirls, Sharie and Tonya co-founded the Mixed Institute of Cosmetology & Barber, a school dedicated to addressing skin color, race and ethnicity as a feature instead of a challenge to hair care and styling.
Early in her career, Sharie Thompson-Wilson worked in corporate during the day and styled hair at night. She decided to walk away from her corporate job and become an apprentice at a local salon, where she worked and earned her cosmetology license. In 2006, Sharie went into business with her sister, Tonya, and opened the first DreamGirls salon. In addition to her great strides to revolutionize the industry for healthy hair growth, Sharie continues her entrepreneurial accomplishments as a motivational speaker and an inspirational community activist in Elk Grove, CA, where she’s raising her seven children with her husband, Marcell.
Tonya Thompson graduated from Cal State Northridge with a degree in journalism emphasizing in Public Relations and initially worked in corporate sales. Shortly after, she added real estate investor and private pre-school elementary school owner to her resume. Her passion to help women grow their hair came full circle in her early 30s after her sister, Sharie, presented her with a business venture of selling hair extensions, which quickly led to the opening of two DreamGirls salons and an apprenticeship to get back to what she loved. Tonya currently not only runs the Los Angeles DreamGirls Salon, but is also a successful real estate investor and agent in the Greater Los Angeles area, is married, and is a mother to three young entrepreneurs.
Date: September 28, 2021
Credits: Tonya Thompson, Sharie Thompson-Wilson
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