Alexander and Toni Randolph Norman

Babson Professor Bill Bygrave, Case Director

Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship

© Babson College.

Abstract

Toni Randolph-Norman, a veteran African-American entrepreneur in the retail and wholesale clothing industry, and her son Alexander Norman, a recent graduate of Babson College have an opportunity to become the source of all Wal-Mart’s Afro-centric products. When their Karibo line of African-American women’s careerwear fashions was introduce in Wal-Mart’s stores in 1995, it was an instant success and it has continued to grow in popularity. It has aroused the interest of executives at other major stores including Sears, Kmart, and Caldor, who are interest in having Alex and Toni create brands for their stores. The decision facing Alex and Toni is whether to put all their eggs in one basket and deal exclusively with Wal-Mart or to play the field. Alex and Toni’s company, Ranor Inc., is a virtual corporation: It owns the Karibo brand name; it controls the design of the Karibo line of fashions; it is responsible for merchandising of the products; but it has cleverly structured its agreement with Wal-Mart so as not to carry any working capital risk—especially inventory. Topics include finding opportunities; creativity; developing, marketing, and selling a new product; brand names; ethnic markets; fashions; department stores; entrepreneurial careers; minority and female entrepreneurship; family business; ethics; and virtual corporations.

Location of the company: Manhattan

Date of the events in the case: 1995 through 1996

Industry segment: Women’s fashions sold in discount department stores.

Stage of the company: Pre-startup, startup, and early growth.

Age of the entrepreneurs: Early 20s and 50s.

DVD

There is a 41 minute DVD available for this case. Please place orders through ecch.

Teaching Note

There is a 5 page plus 2-page exhibit written by Bill Bygrave.