Rolling Out

Beauty industry CEO Germaine Bolds-Leftridge says core principles drive success

Beauty industry CEO Germaine Bolds-Leftridge says core principles drive success
Germaine Bolds-Leftridge (Photo courtesy Kelvin Bulluck)

Germaine Bolds-Leftridge is the CEO of GBL Sales Inc., a Maryland-based business that sells and markets health and beauty aids in the Northeastern and Southeastern markets.

Bolds-Leftridge, who has been in the beauty industry since 1984, also the founder of  Ubiquitous Women’s Expo, the largest event in Washington, D.C., dedicated to empowering, uplifting and inspiring multicultural women. 

Rolling out spoke to her about how social media impacts business marketing.

What mission or cultural insights made you decide to get involved in the hair business?

My grandmother in Charleston, South Carolina, was a hairdresser and my mother was a hairstylist in Detroit. When I got out of school, I really couldn’t really find a job. I had sorority sisters that introduced me to some people that were in the business. I started out as a merchandiser. I love the whole entrepreneurial type of journey. Most of the brands that I was interviewing with did things differently. To see Black people create their own journey and products was an amazing thing to see. I was so excited. It was something that even [while] going to Morgan State University I couldn’t imagine.

How do you compete in a crowded industry and remain relevant in the mind of the consumer?

I think that staying relevant in the mind of the consumer makes you keep your hand on the pulse of the business. Social media has really changed the way the conversation is being navigated. I don’t care how much money people may have to throw into their marketing, if you don’t have that touchpoint with the consumer, it’s not going to resonate.

One of the things that I love about some of the brands that I represent is that they have a direct ear with the consumer, and it’s working for them. Social media has changed the whole ballgame. 

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