Bowling Green State University has installed its first vending machine offering haircare products for students of color on campus. It was installed in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union in August to make products accessible and affordable.
“I’m actually a proud graduate from the University of Toledo,” Taylor Winston told The Toledo Blade about her business. “I did face having to walk to the nearest beauty supply store or go without products while being a student.”
She saw a need that needed to be filled after conducting market research on the distance between beauty supply stores and five universities in the Ohio region.
“UT has a nearby beauty supply store, but it still is not that accessible to students because they might have to walk. They might not have a car,” she said. “They might not have the resources or the funding.
Winston said she wanted to include beauty and haircare products that both men and women could use.
“I tried to find products that both men and women could use,” she said. “As I’ve been loading the machine, I’ve been talking with students, gauging what they would like to see inside the machine.”
The machine carries accessories such as brushes, afro picks, bonnets and durags, as well as products like shampoo, conditioner, gel, eyelashes and lip gloss.
“Taylor informed us of her concepts or ideas, the needs that we had heard about from our student population,” Patrick Nelson, BGSU’s student union director, told the news outlet about working with Winston to install the vending machine. “There are some unique products, unique ideas, and it’s hard to find some of these items so we tried to help support that idea, what would it take, and what it looks like moving forward.”
He added that the vending machine is a true novelty as campus doesn’t have vending machines serving anything other than food and beverages.
“One of the things that she had pitched to us on was the ability to bring in some unique products and good price points for our students,” Nelson said.