Tell us about your path to creating Beauty Bakerie
My journey began early! At 9, I had a passion for arts, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. The inception of Beauty Bakerie was an attempt to pursue a calling towards this trifecta of interests while also affording me more time with my daughter. In 2015, a regular post went viral on Instagram and it was then that I had captured the attention of the masses. I was so down on money all the time so I'd always just put what I could towards what the brand needed while learning most of the skills in my spare time. So I've worn every hat at my brand. She's a big girl now, but never too big for Mama.
I don't think there were many beauty brands on IG at the time so it really gave us the 'social market' to ourselves for a bit. Later, I was invited out to Ulta, then Target, and so on and so forth. The appetite for the brand was global. Today, it is sold in over 2000 locations. I've been really blessed to have great teams and great team members on this journey. Even my investors are incredible. It's not every day you wake up and your small company takes off, but that's what happened and it's been amazing.
-What has been the hardest part about being a Black woman breaking into the beauty industry?
Knowing that we have the power to create change but also understanding that as human beings we are already slower to adopt the very change we ask for, need, want, etc. It’s hard to change myself, which means it’s going to be much harder to change any other person…and even harder to change systems.
As Black women we are essentially coming into yet another space that wasn’t designed with us in mind attempting to make space. It’s bold. It can even be called dangerous and very few are going to think of the psychological, mental and spiritual implications of it…we are attempting to scale huge mountains with not much more than a fanny pack and the audacity to have a heart to save others, but also have to give thought to the protection you need as well. It’s a lot. It makes me wonder sometimes how Madame CJ Walker or Malcom X or MLK felt being the change they wanted to see; being the change they felt was possible but unable to realize the full fruits of their efforts. There are times I’ve wondered why this dream was so big in me, then I remember my calling and Who Called me and I regain an inner strength to complete the specific work and mission. Nothing more. Nothing less. I know why I'm here so I focus on that.
-How has philanthropy played a part in your business and its growth?
Philanthropy is what Beauty Bakerie truly is at it's core. It probably shouldn't be called a beauty brand lol…it's here to serve. We can’t come into the industry of servicing others without having a heart for others. It just doesn’t work that way. Because we have been intentional and thoughtful in our approach of serving our customers and letting our love flow outwardly the brand has an abundance of community, support and love from all over the world. I have 224 kids. At least that's what it feels like at times. We have 24 orphaned children in Uganda that we support and 200 in Zanzibar. The kids in Zanzibar we came across while on our first family trip in 2020! Loved the village and the people so much. Me, my daughter and my husband just wanted to do what we could to help. There are also 11 children in Indonesia we've supported. Many of the kids have grown up right before our eyes and are young adults now. There is no Beauty Bakerie if we aren't prioritizing the needs of others.
-As we celebrate Black Business Month, what lessons have you learned as an entrepreneur that you think other Black small businesses could benefit from?
I know often times people ask me for advice and they usually want to know how to stay motivated. I have a hard time answering that question. I personally don't think you need motivation for the thing you're called to do. Beauty Bakerie is as natural to me as getting up, brushing my teeth and starting my day.
The other thing I hear often is people saying that they think they're ready to hire. I think you can try to hire contractors for a bit to get into the flow of things, but it's a big step and because change is slow to be adopted there will be things expected of you even if you're new to it all. I think we think that hiring makes us more official. Who can say. I do know that getting help can also be a lot of work and it can take your focus off of the business or the things you do very well. You're better off honing those skills so you can lead even better at the right time. And at that time, you will know.
-What do you see for the future of Beauty Bakerie?
We’ve made the brand more accessible. We give both an online and offline experience that our customers just rave about. However, the next and best thing we can do is unfolding and I am excited to share it soon!