I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Crystal Tyler, young entrepreneur and owner of Tru Kream which is based in Akron, Ohio. Tru Kream represents beautiful, sexy, classy, sophisticated women all over the world. Check out what Crystal shared about her journey in our interview!
WRiTTEN BY: Janaye Bullock
JB: What was your life like before Tru Kream?
CT: I was always a hair stylist before I started my makeup line. I actually owned the salon across the street. My son’s name is Kash, and the name just rang a bell to me. So from Kash came C.R.E.A.M., like cash rules everything around me, and that was the birth of Tru Kream. I ended up getting the LLC for Tru Kream, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with it. It just sat there for a while, and then I just started building my brand.
JB: How old is your brand?
CT: I’ve been here in my beauty bar since August 2016. It’s fairly new so I have to tell myself nothing happens overnight, and I need to have patience as it grows.
JB: What did the process of beginning your brand and obtaining an LLC look like?
CT: It was a process, and I kept asking people for help. You know, when you want something you’re going to figure it out, no matter who helps you.
JB: Who else helps run your business?
CT: I mainly do everything by myself, and sometimes it drives me crazy. I’m looking into getting some interns, though.
JB: What do you feel like the core principals of your brand are?
CT: Sexy. Just giving women confidence, and making women feel beautiful by enhancing that beauty. Women go through so much as it is already, so feeling beautiful can really put the icing on the cake.
JB: What products does Tru Kream offer?
CT: We just started off with foundation, contour and concealer. The foundations are cream, and some of them are matte finish. I’m trying to get people to come in and try them on their skin, so I can see what they prefer. I like to hear the feedback. It’s hard to get what consumers really want, instead of picking what you like yourself. Anyway, The main products now are lipstick, lip gloss, and hair. Eventually, I want to branch off with more things.
JB: How did you go about starting your line of beauty products?
CT: First, I started out making my own lotions. I was looking for what product would go along with the name Kream that I could produce. Then, I found something that helped me create my own lip-gloss. From that point, I realized I could find a company that could help me do my stuff. I just began researching. When you want something bad, you go for it. It was a non-stop thing that kept me up all night trying to figure it out, and that’s what I did. I started off with manufacturers in Akron, but I ended up finding a company in Canada.
JB: Have you had events here in your space to accumulate feedback?
CT: That’s something I’m working on. I’m trying to find a big makeup artist that I can bring down here to do demonstrations and introduce my products to other people. I was also thinking of holding a master class here.
JB: You mostly focus on lipstick, lip-glosses and hair. Are these products your best selling?
CT: Yes. I also have an ecommerce site. I get a lot of people coming into the bar, but I want to be worldwide and see more purchases from my website.
JB: How long does it take for your to complete your color concept?
CT: About a month, it’s a quick turn around.
JB: How does it feel to be a young, black woman with her own brand?
CT: It feels good. Today I was in Walgreens, and I was looking a mess. I was thinking, “Should I say something to this girl about where she purchases her hair?” I was like, “No, I look crazy asking her where she gets her hair from and I don’t have mine done.” But I ended up asking her and she says, “I was going to buy some hair from you!” I just thought, “Oh she knows me!” I realized I must be doing a good job. Sometimes, when you’re doing it, you don’t see how far you really have come. You just keep working and try to reach the goals you see ahead, and you don’t feel like you’re getting there.
JB: How do you measure success?
CT: Success to me will be when I can position other people to win. When I’m done, I can help others.
JB: Who would you say Tru Kream caters to?
CT: Right now, I feel like it caters to younger people, but I would like for people in their 40s to start wearing my brand.
JB: What was the most rewarding part of opening this place?
CT: When I put my name up on the wall, I was so happy. Extremely happy. It was actually young guys who put it up, and I was just sitting here nervous thinking, “Lord, please do not let them mess up my wall.” But when they finished I thought it was so nice.
JB: What was the most challenging thing about starting your own business?
CT: When I first got this place, it looked like a dungeon. It was horrible, but I still saw my vision of my makeup in the front part and a hair salon in the back. I thought the setup was going to be perfect, but I didn’t know where the money was going to come from. I had no money, and it just made me depressed because the rent was perfect. It was my ounce of faith that put everything together, and now I have exactly what I wanted.
JB: What is your vision for the rest of the space?
CT: I want to have a store, and I want counters and places for people to come in and buy stuff. I’m located in a very busy area; there are a lot of businesses across the street.
JB: Do you find yourself with more clients for makeup or for hair?
CT: Hair. I just got a makeup artist, though, this is her first week here. Her name on Facebook is Larae McCall.
JB: Why do you believe beauty products matter so much to women?
CT: Since I was a kid, I loved beauty stuff. I was always doing hair and putting on lipstick or playing in the mirror, acting like I was a star. Then, when I started doing hair, I enjoyed the field, but I felt like I was supposed to be doing something else. I don’t do makeup, but I love getting my makeup done. I love services, like getting my nails polished and getting my hair done. I wouldn’t do my own, just because I love services. I enjoy feeling beautiful. When you don’t, it can throw your day off. However you feel on the outside can sometimes affect how you feel on the inside.
JB: What is beauty to you?
CT: Beauty can mean so many things. Even a person’s character can bring out their beauty. Sometimes, it’s not all about looks. What’s inside of you can make you feel beautiful, including being kind to others and helping other people.
JB: When you were 16 could you see yourself where you are now?
CT: When I was 16, I thought I was going to be this big real estate agent managing houses. I just loved houses. I still love houses, but that’s what I really wanted when I was 16. I wanted to go wherever the money was.
JB: What are some of the most important factors for making sure you never lose clientele?
CT: You have to take care of your customers. As part of a service, you’re being a servant. You have to cater to them, and you have to make sure they’re okay. Also, this is where your money is coming from. Your clients determine the amount of your paycheck. You have to take care of the customer.
JB: Where do you want to expand with your beauty brand?
CT: I want hair products. I want everything, I really do.
JB: What would you say is next?
CT: Hair products.
JB: What are your goals and aspirations 10 to 15 years from now?
CT: More store fronts in different places, like Atlanta and California.
JB: What sets Tru Kream apart from other product lines?
CT: I’m younger than them. I’m starting from scratch, from the bottom to the top.
JB: Describe Tru Kream in 3 words.
CT: Bold, beautiful and sexy.
Facebook – Tru Kream
IG – @trukream
Snapchat – @trukream
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Khrystian McCalister