Ultra/Standard Distributors, a multicultural hair-care and beauty distributor, has acquired TextureMedia, a hair care social media community and e-commerce site specializing in information and products for consumers with textured hair.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Michael Ross, president of Ultra/Standard, said the partnership opens up opportunities for retailers to have better interaction with TextureMedia’s 26 million active participants, representing more than $5 billion in purchasing power.

“One of the overlying themes with larger retailers is the need to be more engaged with the social community,” said Ross, noting mass chains are concerned about burgeoning competition, including online options. “We have helped bring incubated brands to mass when they were ready. We understand brands, but we didn’t have direct access to the community.”

Ultra/Standard distributes more than 6,000 stockkeeping units serving the multicultural audience in major chains including Target, Walgreens and Bed Bath & Beyond, as well as a major export business. “We have the relationships with larger retailers in every trade class. They [TextureMedia] have the whole other piece with direct relationships with highly engaged consumers with textured hair.”

For TextureMedia, linking with Ultra/Standard offers the chance to build out its team to add more resources to enrich its content and bolster the community size. “With Ultra/Standard’s support, we have an opportunity to reach more of the approximately 70 million adult textured-hair women in the U.S.,” said Crista Bailey, chief executive officer of TextureMedia. “We have become a marketing platform helping small to midsize companies have access to consumers. We want to help those brands gain entrance to major mass retail connections and also help consumers have a bigger voice at the retail level.”

Founded in 1998 by Michelle Breyer, who was seeking more information and products for her own curly locks, TextureMedia now reaches 3 million active users monthly across four portfolio brands — NaturallyCurly, Curly Nikki, CurlMart and CurlStylist. Another component is its TextureMedia market research brand, TextureTrends, which tracks hair care and style trends and changes in consumer behavior.

Ross believes this is particularly of interest to retailers. “Retailers are used to having sell-through data and this gives them information before the sale is made so they can be ahead of the market,” he said. “The industry has been slow to find out about new products.” Armed with the consumer data, he believes marketers can accelerate the speed to retail shelves. Added Bailey, “We get a unique point of view from consumers. We know how much people are spending by hair type per month.”

TextureMedia will continue to operate independently with Ultra/Standard with the original team intact. Breyer will maintain the role of head of business development.

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