“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”Confucius
English is not my first language. Printing the books cost a lot of money that I didn’t have. I talked with many industry professionals but couldn’t get their partnership. Many belong to each company and their knowledge can be considered a company asset, which made them uncomfortable to contribute. Writing or compiling every page alone would be almost impossible.
After careful consideration, I finally decided to compile everything that I have learned over two decades about the beauty industry in a single textbook. The biggest challenge in writing a textbook was to overcome the fear of ignorance. The more I study about it, the less confident I became.
- There are about 14,000 beauty stores in the U.S.
- Among them, about 7,000 beauty supply stores are owned and operated by Korean-Americans.
- About 33,000 drug stores and grocery stores sell beauty products.
- About 4,177 Walmart stores and
- about 1,799 Target stores also sell beauty products.
- About 817 Ulta stores.
- About 706 Sephora stores in the U.S.
- Macy has 850 department stores in 48 states,
- Nordstrom has about 310 stores with large cosmetic centers.
In total, there are about 83,000 retail stores that carry beauty products. If each store employs 5~7 people including the owner of the store, about half a million people work in the retail beauty industry. Even with this large workforce, there is not even one comprehensive textbook or manual.
I encounter this problem myself when I first entered the beauty industry 22 years ago. I invested my time and attend a cosmetology school but their curriculum focuses on the techniques of hairstyling, none about the products.
Every day, millions of consumers visit all those retail stores and seek advice on which product to buy to achieve their desire. I wondered how many sales associates can give them satisfying answers. Instead of getting frustrated about the lack of resources, I decided to dig in as much as I can about every product that I sell to my customers at my store. I collected piles of information from the manufacturers and tested countless products. The more I studied, the more frustrated I got.
Especially when it comes to wigs and hairpieces, not even one person was willing to share their knowledge with others. I couldn’t blame them since wig-making has been secreted trade for more than thousands of years. The skills had been trickled down from a father to his sons and daughters for generations. I had to travel all around the world, several times, to gather bits and pieces of information. To get one more piece of information, I had to prove my worthiness by demonstrating my knowledge to each wig maker only to gain access to their labs.
I lost count of gels that I tested on the mannequin head and I lost count of hair conditioner that I used on my hair to see the difference. I set up a small laboratory and made my shampoo and styling products to fully understand the function of each ingredient. Just reading the names of ingredients and their description didn’t fulfill my thirst for knowledge.
Learn as though you would never be able to master it; hold it as though you would be in fear of losing it.Confucius
As I put all the bits and pieces together into a 472-page textbook, I couldn’t agree more.
My sole desire with this book is to provide a platform for more constructive training programs for people who wants to find a career in the beauty industry. Based on this book, I wish to community colleges around the country offering classes for the future and current beauty consultants. Allowing them to earn higher income and serve the public with more confidence.