Khalil Battle of KingCurls: “Courage is the last important quality to have to take your company from good to great”

Having an open mind is important when discussing taking your company from good to great because in order to get to that great level you may have to step outside of your comfort zone, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to exceed to the next level. As part of my series about […]

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Having an open mind is important when discussing taking your company from good to great because in order to get to that great level you may have to step outside of your comfort zone, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to exceed to the next level.

As part of my series about the “How To Take Your Company From Good To Great”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Khalil Battle.

Young social media sensation, Khalil, is breaking gender barriers with the launch of KingCurls, a beauty brand aimed to normalize a narrative that males should practice self- care rituals & take pride in the health of their hair. The Curl Styling Cream is the first of many products to be launched under the brand that enhances the natural curl pattern of all hair textures.

The celebrities who have supported KingCurls include: Shakir O’neal and Carmela Anthony. KingCurls products serve to be an essential staple for pre-teens, teens and young adult males with hair. Khalil is a 17-year-old influencer with over one million followers combined on TikTok and Instagram. Trending and coined as “The CEO of Hair’ with content garnering a combined 200M views, he’s become a formidable player in a space predominantly targeted to women and has grown to be an expert and go-to person for all Gen-Zers when it comes to hair and beauty.

This teen entrepreneur believes that the beauty industry shouldn’t be gender exclusive. He believes that men should also feel confident and empowered from their hair. This brand symbolizes a celebratory measure for all men with unconventional hair textures to embrace their curls as it is a reflection of their identity.

KingCurls is devoted to promoting healthy hair for young boys and men with a spectrum of curl patterns. This brand is set to become an essential for users’ self-care morning and nightly routine as it promotes self-confidence with its curl enhancing, proprietary ingredients. The trendsetting brand is a reflection of its owner as a gender norm breaker and inclusivity advocate for communities that are overlooked because of their hair texture.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I am Khalil Battle. I am a 17 year old Social Media influencer. I came up with the idea for KingCurls back when I was a freshman in high school. I was in the midst of growing my hair back naturally after having previously put a chemical in it to make it a looser texture. During this growth period I was always going to stores looking for new products that would work for my hair. A lot of times I would also take my mom’s products. Eventually, I got tired of not seeing people like myself(boys) promoted amongst brands. Thus, I came up with the concept for a hair care brand dedicated to boys specially, so that others across the world would not have to go through what I had to.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

The hardest part about my journey has been trying to balance growing up, running a business, and maintaining a social life with friends. School has also played a major role in the challenges that I have faced. I find myself being pulled from all different directions at one time which forces me to excel but at the same it can be draining. I have never considered giving up, I only consider going harder because I know where I am at and I know where I wanna be.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

The funniest mistake was having a Black Friday sale and changing the price of my product 2x more than the original discussed discount. So instead of the discount being $6 off it became $18 off.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I would say that the idea behind my brand and the uplifting aspects of it are game changers in the hair care industry that makes it stand out. Hair care is vastly popularized amongst women and boys are forced to buy products garnered to women because we never had anything for ourselves. Going to a store and not being able to see someone like yourself on a product that you want makes it hard to feel like you’re in the right place. I wanted to make sure that boys felt like they were at home when they used KingCurls which ultimately makes my product different from the rest.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Staying two steps ahead in social media can really boost your brand like no other. There is always new information, tactics, and gimmicks to help push your brand to the next level on social media which could elevate your brand to the next level instantaneously.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

My mom, Muslimah Baldwin, is the brains behind the brand. Since she was an entrepreneur at heart before the start of my business, she gravitated towards helping the start of my business naturally. Since then, she has helped with almost all the backend work while I was busy maintaining school and athletics. Although she is not the face of the brand, she is definitely the person I am most grateful and appreciate.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The title of this series is “How to take your company from good to great”. Let’s start with defining our terms. How would you define a “good” company, what does that look like? How would you define a “great” company, what does that look like?

A good company is one who has the basic qualities of business as the foundation for where they are headed in the future. For instance, a good company may be planning for Black Friday 2 months in advance which is an ample amount of time. But what separates good from great is that extra mile that one business will take to get to the next level. With that being said, the great company would be planning for Black Friday 3–4 months in advance to make sure that they hit their target profit and more without a doubt.

Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to lead a company from Good to Great? Please share a story or an example for each.

  • Having patience is a very important quality to have in order to take your company from good to great. For instance, the big collaboration that you thought you would land in 30 days may not happen for another 45 days but you have to be open and willing to receive the blessing no matter how long it takes to come.
  • Having an open mind is important when discussing taking your company from good to great because in order to get to that great level you may have to step outside of your comfort zone, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to exceed to the next level.
  • Being honest is a key aspect due to the fact that people need to be able to trust your business. As consumers, we are constantly getting pitched to make purchases, but if someone can trust your brand a little more than the other, that can separate you from another company and make a customer more accustomed to purchasing from you or getting a service from you.
  • Quality over quantity is a good principle to abide by because the quality of your company can make someone more appreciative of it and not take it for granted.
  • Courage is the last important quality to have to take your company from good to great. You have to want to succeed as badly as you want to breathe and in order to do that you have to have the confidence and willpower to do whatever it takes and no matter how hard it gets to never give up.

Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. Can you help articulate for our readers a few reasons why a business should consider becoming a purpose driven business, or consider having a social impact angle?

I would say a purpose driven business helps you as a business owner keep the focus of your business steady at all times. If you start your business with a specific reasoning behind it, whether that be a cause that you always wanted to support or problems that you faced previously that you would like to fix, you will always be on track and know what direction you want your business to go in.

What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?

Keeping up with the latest trends and social media can help your business more than you would think. Things are constantly changing and the old way to promote your business that allowed you to garner a numerous amount of sales may not work anymore. Open your mind up to new challenges and ways of doing things to allow your business to flow effortlessly in new times.

Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?

During the covid-19 pandemic the economy was uncertain. The government provided a lot of funds for businesses but that also created an influx of stimulation amongst consumers. My strategy would primarily focus on discounts. Giving the consumer a free gift or a percentage off their purchase can help keep you afloat. The little things always help the bigger picture, especially during an economic crisis.

In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?

The time management aspect of running a business is most definitely the most underestimated. You never know how successful your business is going to be out of nowhere or on a random day so it’s hard to set time away for certain things that you need or want to do because if your business calls for your attention at the last minute, you need to handle it.

As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies a business should use to increase conversion rates?

Having an attractive website pulls customers. If something catches their attention or eye about your company or product, that can be the one thing that forces them to purchase.

Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that a business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?

Having customer reviews always allows customers to feel comfortable with your brand.

What are your thoughts about how a company should be engaged on Social Media? For example, the advisory firm EisnerAmper conducted 6 yearly surveys of United States corporate boards, and directors reported that one of their most pressing concerns was reputational risk as a result of social media. Do you share this concern? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this.

I am well versed in social media so I never necessarily have serious concerns about social media. I understand the risks but with my demographic it is really hard to ever steer in the wrong direction because I am my demographic personally. Thus, what I post has a positive effect on me that I figure will have one on all my other customers.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

Founders put the pressure on themselves in the beginning stages of their business because they feel forced to hit the goals that they were hoping for. If they realize that everything doesn’t happen perfectly for a reason, it would help alleviate a lot of the stress and bad days that may come with not reaching those goals. Stay steady and consistent and watch everything fall into place as it should.

Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Currently with my platform I promote positive & healthy hair solutions amongst boys, so I would continue that movement.

How can our readers further follow you online? Instagram & Tik Tok @shopkingcurls

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

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