Kristi Dinkins opened Product Freak, a beauty supply store, in Flossmoor Commons in July of 2021 with the philosophy that shopping at a beauty supply store should be enjoyable. She says that unfortunately that’s not always the case.
“I had stopped going to beauty supply stores. I didn’t like the way I was being treated. I didn’t like the clutter,” Dinkins said. “We’re shopping beauty products. It should be fun. It shouldn’t be something like ‘ugh, I got to go to the beauty supply store.’ It should be something that you’re excited to go to.”
Product Freak is the first Black-owned beauty supply store in Flossmoor. Dinkins said she thinks it’s important for Black women to not just be consumers in the beauty industry but own businesses like Product Freak as well.
“We spend the most money in the beauty industry as Black women. So, I wanted to have a nice and safe space for them to shop for their beauty products owned by another Black person,” Dinkins said. “That’s definitely my target market, but I have a little bit of something for everyone.”
Inside Product Freak, a customer is likely to see Dinkins by the register with her laptop computer on the counter. A sticker that says “Beauty is My Business” is emblazoned on her laptop. Dinkins runs the store by herself. She said she’s hoping to hire help this summer if sales are high enough.
Among other beauty supplies, Product Freak sells wigs, hair bundles, eyelashes, other hair products, purses, makeup and jewelry. Both synthetic and human hair wigs are for sale at Product Freak, Dinkins said.
The store has a constantly changing display of necklaces and earrings. Dinkins said she has customers who come in every week just to see what new jewelry is in stock.
“I named it Product Freak because I’m a freak when it comes to products. I’m obsessed with shopping. I’m obsessed with all beauty products,” Dinkins said. “I feel like I have a good eye for accessories because I like what I do. Everything is handpicked here. Everything is Kristi-approved.”
Dinkins is 41 years old and said she’s dreamed about opening her own store for about a decade. She said she comes from “a family of entrepreneurs” and her uncle has been a mentor. Dinkins said she worked in “corporate America” for over 20 years, learning how to operate in the business world.
During the COVID-19 shutdown, Dinkins said she had extra, free time on her hands. She said she took online classes through a consulting company on how to run a business in preparation for opening Product Freak.
Dinkins said she signed the lease for the store with the previous owners of Flossmoor Commons, Front Line, but has mostly dealt with the new owners, Flosscom Investments LLC.
Product Freak is at 3321 Vollmer Road in Flossmoor. It is open Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The store is closed on Monday.