I am only taking the crumbs – Niche Strategy

How do you enter a market with large incumbents without being crushed by them? Market entry lesson from a hair stylist, Arrojo: (via WSJ)

WSJ: You sell and use P&G’s Wella brand in your studio and represent the brand at beauty shows. Why isn’t P&G upset about you launching your own competing brand of Arrojo product?

MR. ARROJO: I talked candidly with the P&G folks. They want market share of the beauty industry in the States, and Nick wants to keep building his business and brand. I’m a little dot compared to their business. If I sold to other salons tomorrow, [he sells primarily online, in his salon and through QVC] I’d get them upset perhaps. I’m not planning to go down that road at present. Sure I might make some more money selling shampoo, but I wouldn’t get to travel and the exposure and to be visible on stage. Don’t bite off the hand that fed you; don’t think you can rule the world.

In the rest of the interview Arrojo talks about Branding, customer loyalty and retaining customers even when their regular stylist quits. Arrojo charges $500 for a haircut, but when I read this interview I think he can pass for one of those management gurus who charge $50,000 for a speech.