This is the fourth installment in an interview series with the 2021 Target Takeoff Beauty cohort. Participating companies are sharing, in their own words, details about their innovative companies. All interviews have been conducted by the Target Takeoff Program Management team. 

Meet Frederick Benjamin. 

Frederick Benjamin founder, Michael James

TT: Michael, what’s the one-liner description of Frederick Benjamin?   

MJ: Frederick Benjamin is a promise to deliver grooming products that puts the confidence back into the hands of today’s men of color. 

TT: What inspired you to start Frederick Benjamin? What makes what you are doing different from anyone else in the marketplace?  

MJ: The lack of quality grooming products for men of color inspired me to start Frederick Benjamin. After working in the beauty industry and finding a true passion for the category, I thought to myself, who better to deliver next generation grooming products than myself. With product development and innovation experience, our formulas are not just a copy-cat of existing items on the shelf, we wow our customers and awake the senses with each use. 

TT: How did you decide it was the right time to join an Accelerator? What are you most looking forward to getting out of the Target Takeoff experience?  

MJ: I knew the time was right to join the Accelerator because of the month-on-month growth we were experiencing, coupled with the request from our customers to buy our products locally. I realize there is a lot to learn about going into the retail, with unknown cost, best practices and much more. So I’m looking forward to better understanding how to set us up for success while avoiding landmines along the way. I’m also looking forward to networking with great people from the industry. 

TT: What currently keeps you up at night, as a founder/leader of your company?  

MJ: What keeps me tossing and turning at night is the fear of letting my team down and not having and/or being able to provide the resources and tools they need to push the business forward. 

TT: How do you stay motivated through the ups and downs of growing a business?  

MJ: I stay motivated by broadening my view of ‘wins and losses’ so that I can point to a few wins during setbacks and missteps so as to not get too down, while taking the wins in stride by celebrating with the team but also reflecting on how we could have pushed the limits even further, with ‘what ifs’ and ‘let’s try’ statements. 

For more information about Frederick Benjamin, check out shop.frederickbenjamin.com