Bonnie Steen hated to spend hours in the hair salon getting her hair colored. She also wasn’t satisfied with at home coloring, which results in over coloring that leads to hair damage. Fed up with a lack of options, Bonnie looked to her late husband Claude to help find a third choice. A little tinkering in the garage and the Steen’s had the prototype for the revolutionary applicator that has made Roots Only a smashing success. Today Bonnie and her daughter Susan run the business with Roots Only products available at Walmart stores nationwide.

My successes. 

Bonnie Sheen and her daughter Susan Ladua turned an idea born in their garage into a worldwide brand. Their hair coloring applicator makes home hair coloring more efficient, cost effective, and healthier. Originally they started selling their product online and at local flea markets. The family knew to grow their business they needed to find an outlet that reached more customers. That’s when Bonnie’s son-in-law began talking to local Walmart managers about carrying Roots Only products. In 2001 a buyer in Bentonville, AK committed to sell Roots Only in over 1,000 Walmart stores on a trial basis. During that period Walmart sold over 80% of their Roots Only overhead. This success lead to Roots Only being carried in over 3,500 Walmart stores from coast to coast. As the business continued to grow Bonnie and Susan became overwhelmed with the responsibilities of being a product supplier to a national retailer. That’s when Susan sought out help from SCORE.

How SCORE helped. 

One of Bob’s suggestions to help Roots Only was to seal their boxes with fluorescent pink tape to help with recognition in the stock room. Now their products wouldn’t get lost. Bonnie and Susan continue to meet with Bob about sales pitches, navigating the retail environment, and product pricing. Bob Godlasky says about Susan, “She asks good questions, she follows up, and she executes”. He also likes to brag, “Her product is 100% made in the USA”.

What's great about my mentor? 

Bob Godlasky joined SCORE after working in product development with CVS Pharmacy. He has hands on experience dealing with companies like Roots Only, and knew what made those companies successful. Bob met with Susan Ladua to discuss best practices for her business. They worked on a plan for handling the demands and pitfalls of a larger company like Walmart. With Bob’s help Roots Only prevented themselves from falling through the cracks while dealing with Walmart, as the national chain had trouble keeping track of onsite overhead often resulting in stores appearing to be out of stock. A problem Bob helped take care of with a little outside the box thinking, literally.

Roots Only