Business professional, Romina Brown is a woman of many hats. She is a wife, mother, and a born leader. In the early days of her career, she took a path down Computer Science and Engineering but soon found that it was not something that satisfied her. She switched her major to Marketing and soon after, earned a Masters of Business. After graduation, she worked in marketing and held corporate positions which led her to realize that Category Management was the way to success.

Today, she is known as the owner of the only African American and woman-owned category management firm in the United States! The company serves many of the largest and fastest growing brands in the world of beauty.

Her company, Strategic Solutions International (SSI) is the first and only company to provide consumer-based transactional data coupled with attitudinal insights from both consumers and industry leaders in monthly Channel Insights Reports.

We sat down with the successful leader to discuss the inspiration to start her firm, get a few beauty insights from her, and the importance of them all.

What made you want to found the global category management firm, Strategic Solutions International?

I worked in corporate America in this capacity and understood that this was a hidden resource that drives sales based on facts.Category Management is the core of fact-based selling.Retailers want proof of performance or reason for being when brands are trying to establish, maintain or expand their retail presence. At SSI, we consider ourselves as Category Growth Managers because we are stewards of growth for our client partners as well as for the overall industry.If brands are paying attention, willing to make adjustments and to manage their operations, they can take advantage of growth and expansion opportunities illuminated by the insights we deliver on a regular basis.

Can you share with us a few beauty insights from a recent study SSI prepared regarding universal segmentation based primarily on hair texture?

Hair Care is one of the fastest growing categories in Beauty.  Growth in hair care in the US is partly driven by shifting demographics to a higher population of consumers with textured hair (which typically requires increased consumption of products for daily styling) 

SSI prepared a universal segmentation based primarily on hair texture.  The purpose is to demonstrate  market potential based on texture.  

Hair needs vary across segments. Overall, women with straight hair have fewer needs than those with textured hair, with coily or zig zag coily textures having the most needs.

Consumers in all segments listed moisture as one their biggest hair needs, but it is particularly important to the coily and zig zag coily segments. Repairing ends is also a commonly shared need across many segments.

On average, women with coily hair use the most different products for styling, and those with chemically altered texture, curls, coils or zig zags also use significantly more products for styling than women with naturally straight or wavy hair.

Leave in conditioner is commonly used in all segments. Straight and wavy haired women also favor hairspray, heat protection and dry shampoo (which can be used to add volume), while those with more textured, or chemically altered texture, hair more commonly use hairdress oils, moisturizing lotions, and gels.

Why do you think we should pay attention to these insights?

At SSI, we don’t skim the surface and provide general, directional insights.  We are experts in the beauty category.  Our data files, pivot files and monthly insights are created from attributed grouping based on real consumer usage.  As a result, the insights from our reports reveal the deepest contextual insight available in the market today.  Our reports combine big data sets with small customized and relevant data sets.  These insights from our reports are more than directional.  Brands and retailers can use the insights from our reports to make strategic decisions.

You’ve accomplished so much thus far! What else do you hope to accomplish and what can we expect to see from you in the future?

We seek to become The Most Respected And Preferred Global Market Intelligence Platform For Women Of Color

In a dynamic demographic environment, The Narrative will enable CPG companies and retailers to make true connections with women of color by understanding  the cultural drivers that influence her consumption and purchase decisions