When EMU alumnus Abdul Golden (BBA96) had a hard time finding the right grooming products before taking a business trip – he was struck with an idea.
“I was doing some last minute prep for a trip that was coming up,” said Golden. “I found myself in the suburbs looking for the products that I normally use. I had to go to three different stores to find the personal grooming supplies I was accustomed to using.”
While frustrating at the time, Golden thought back on the experience some six years later and realized the potential to fill a distinct need in these underserved markets. Thus, in 2017, the Detroit native and EMU College of Business alumnus launched Golden Grooming Company offering all-natural skin, hair and hygiene products specifically formulated for African American males.
“The company was founded to fulfill that need, and the response has been spectacular,” said Golden.
His company is now growing quicker than anticipated with the start up trying its best to fulfill large wholesale orders of product. The end goal for Golden Grooming is to expand to a national presence with product appearing on the shelves of CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and other large-chain retail stores. Currently, Golden is content to continue supplying the barber shops and beauty outlets around metro Detroit as he wants to ensure the company is growing at a measured and manageable pace.
Golden Grooming started with three core products and the plan is to expand with an additional seven to eight products by the end of calendar 2019, according to Golden. The company will eventually feature a full line-up of products attending to all black male needs from skin, hair, lips and yes, even beards. But, selling skin balm and body wash is just one aspect of the company. The brand of Golden Grooming goes much deeper as the company looks to improve self-confidence and empower a new generation of young black males. Part of the company’s mission statement says that “Golden Grooming Co. is for the everyday man that knows the key to looking good starts from within.”
While at Eastern, Golden wasn’t completely sure where he would end up professionally. He graduated from the College of Business, which had just opened when he enrolled as a Freshman, with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration majoring in finance. He credits his EMU experience for helping to plant the entrepreneurial seed and teaching him some unexpected life lessons.
“All of those experiences did a lot to prepare me for my life’s journey and hard work,” said Golden.
Ironically, one of the classes that really stands out for Golden is his required English class. He says that class helped to teach him the importance of human communication and how that applies across all industries.
“People may not realize it now, but those soft skills are becoming infinitely more important,” says Golden. “It’s such an overlooked skilled, and you have to be a good communicator to succeed in business. That lesson hit home with me, that and my first public speaking class really brought those points home.”
Aside from his classes, Golden misses the camaraderie with being on EMU’s campus and from his brothers at Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Although Golden regularly attends functions on and off campus involving the organization. He attended Eastern’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Day march on Jan. 21 to hear his friend and fraternity brother Ken Dobson speak about Dr. King’s message.
He says there’s nothing that has been able to duplicate that experience.
“That is definitely what I miss the most, just hanging out at the Eastern Eateries and around campus,” says Golden. “I miss the camaraderie; we were just a group of young people all trying to figure out life together. Those are critical and important times and they all happened at Eastern.”