Hair care CEO Jory Luster talks success strategies, leadership and longevity

President Jory Luster, Luster Products, Inc. (Photo Courtesy: The Tallulah Group)

Innovation, integrity and longevity come to mind when you think of Luster hair care products. The industry icon is the leading African-American owned manufacturer of premium personal care products. President Jory Luster is responsible for ensuring that the company’s legacy continues after almost 60 years. A recent partnership with Family Dollar stores has further expanded its influence.

The company offers hair care products, including nutrients, shampoos, moisturizing conditioners, relaxers, cream oils, detangling sprays, gels, hairdressing, adult formulas, children’s relaxers, texturizers, curl and wave gel activators, curl activator moisturizers, pomades, texture enhancers, and salon products. It sells products through a network of a sales force and various retail outlets in the United States and internationally.

Rolling out gained exclusive insight from Luster about his family’s illustrious company.

Please describe your role as CEO.

As president of Luster Products Inc., [I am] responsible for the overall performance of the company. It is [my] responsibility to oversee operations both domestically and internationally.

What is the mission of your organization?

Luster Products Inc. is an African American owned manufacturer of the highest quality personal care products. It is our mission to effectively satisfy the special consumer wants and needs of our market while holding to the following guidelines and principles:

  • Maximize profits through innovation and vision.
  • Seek new opportunities presented by Luster Products’ unique business status.
  • Conduct business in such a way as to provide a consistently positive role model.
  • Maintain the highest moral and ethical standards in all business operations and exhibit those standards in our commitment to customers, vendors, and consumers.
  • We will create an environment that will ensure that we continually improve to higher standards of execution. We are committed to providing excellence to our customers.

How do you approach business challenges?

Our approach to business challenges can vary, depending [on] the nature of the challenge that we are facing at any given time. However, we will typically deploy the following process in our approach to solving problems:

  • Identify the problem.
  • Investigate and confirm approximately how long the problem has existed.
  • Investigate and confirm the conditions that caused the problem to exist.
  • Interview all who are impacted by the problem to understand exactly how the problem impacts their ability to perform.
  • Develop potential solutions to the problem.
  • Implement the solution that best solves the problem with the least cost and least negative residual impact.

How do you evaluate talent you’re hiring and what are the skills that you are looking for in this marketplace?

In evaluating talent for hire we typically: 1. search from the available talent pool for candidates that meet the requirements. 2. Interview to validate and explore skill levels, experience levels, prior workplace achievements, personal goals, and “fit” for our environment. 3. Final candidate selection.

What are the top three benefits to being a member of your organization?

The top three benefits to being a member of Luster Products are:

  1. Being part of an organization with a history of honesty and fairness.
  2. Being part of one of the industry pioneering companies.
  3. Luster Products is a great place to work.

How do you utilize technology to give yourself business advantages?

We utilize technology to analyze customer performance, competitor performance, opportunity analysis, and consumer communication and interaction.

What technological advances have you used to communicate with your membership?

We have been developing our web-enabled mobile communication applications as we know our primary target market relies heavily on cellphones for communications as well as purchasing via the web, couponing and discounts, where to buy info, and social media-based product reviews.

What are the two key factors for business success?

In my opinion, the two most important factors for business success are:

Expertise in the field that has been selected to compete in. Expertise is based on a thorough understanding of the marketplace, product to be sold, competitive landscape, obstacles, and opportunities.

Passion for the business and customer satisfaction. Passion is the ingredient that allows the entrepreneur to function at the highest level when it comes to providing the absolute best product or service that the organization is capable of as well as assuring that customers are thoroughly satisfied with the value of the product or service that they received from the company for what was paid.

Name your three favorite business books for insight and inspiration.

Principles of Marketing by Kotler/ Armstrong, Good to Great by Jim Collins, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, and  7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

If you were giving a speech about skill sets needed in the future to remain relevant, what would the title of your speech be and why?

[The title would be] The importance of progression and change. [The reason is because] all fields of endeavor, vocations, and disciplines are changing at an exponential rate due to changes in the availability and applications of technology.

Describe your leadership style.

My leadership style is primarily “participative.” Typically I set the guidelines, parameters, and goals, then allow the team to develop strategies and tactics to get the job done and connect the dots that lead to a successful outcome.

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