Wil Shelton built a network of 100K Black salons and now promotes global brands

Wil Shelton built a network of 100K Black salons and now promotes global brands
Wil Shelton (Photo credit: Gerry Garcia)

Wil Shelton is the president and CEO of Wil Power Integrated Marketing, a company that connects with global brands that are looking to generate more exposure in the African American community.

Shelton has developed a distribution network of more than 100K hair salons and barbershops in multicultural and urban communities and has used his network to spread awareness about various global brands, including Paramount Studios, FOX, RCA, AT&T, Columbia Records, Lions Gate, Comedy Central and others.

He uses street teams in more than 40 markets to distribute brand paraphernalia and marketing materials to his network. He also creates opportunities for salon owners to boost their visibility within their own communities by hosting movie screenings and premiere parties or through branded giveaways.

Rolling out spoke more with Shelton about what makes his business unique and how he monetized it.

Explain your business and exactly what it is that you do.

I’ve [been] a licensed hairstylist and cosmetologist for 26 years. I’ve owned my own hair salon for 10 years. In doing hair in my shop, I began to realize that clients would come in and be there for two or three hours. We’d listen to music, gossip, talk about movies and TV. When a client would leave, they would tell me they were going to go buy an album [we had just talked about], or they would say, “That’s a good movie recommendation.” Then, they’d go see the movie and come back and tell me about it. That’s when I began to realize that I was helping the entertainment companies organically promote their projects through the salon.

I decided to build a business around this untapped audience. I sent out proposals to all the different entertainment companies, television and film and record labels. Within 30 days, I started getting FedEx and UPS shipments of free CDs and movie passes to give away. That’s how I got started.

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