Since announcing to my readers that my 10-year-old natural hair blog, Black Girl with Long Hair, is officially defunct I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how and why I made this transition, and where I see my brand going. That’s a lot of ground to cover, so I am chopping up my story into bite-sized pieces to share over the next several weeks. Today I wanted to talk about why I haven’t expanded outside of whipped butter products.
As many of you know, BGLH Marketplace started out of my career as a natural hair and beauty blogger. And during that time I covered many indie beauty brands that were started by black women and grew to be incredibly successful. So when my own brand started (kinda accidentally, read about that here) and gained some traction, I assumed I would go down the same route — expanding my whipped butters into a full natural hair care line that would eventually be carried in a big box retailer. But I have realized that my lane is completely different. Here is why I’ve stuck to whipping shea, cocoa and mango butter.
1. BGLH Marketplace has morphed into a skincare company.
When I started making my products it was from a natural hair blogger point of view. I was using ingredients I’d heard referenced over and over again in the natural hair community. Imagine my surprise when I found that customers were buying my products for their skin. I came to realize that there are huge gaps in the skincare market — and they hit black women especially hard because we have higher rates of eczema and psoriasis. I have since shifted my focus and now market my products as multi-use, with skincare as my entry point.
2. The natural hair care market is well-developed.
Back when I started blogging in 2008 the ‘natural hair’ section of drugstores and big box retailers was anemic. And then Target began adding proven brands like Shea Moisture (the old school Shea Moisture, Oyin and Kinky Curly to their shelves. Beauty supply stores followed suit. Haircare behemoths like Pantene and Dove got in the act, releasing natural hair lines. Suddenly black women had a plethora of options when it came to natural hair care. There isn’t a gap I feel the need to fill.
3. I am not a ‘stir and pour’ beauty company.
In fact, I operate more like a bakery!
4. There is a need for whipped butter products.
Many people love shea butter, cocoa butter and mango butter. The problem? The butters are dense and difficult to apply. You have to double boil or microwave them down, and then slap it onto your body. And while you could whip your own butter at home, it is a messy and time-intensive process. And that’s where I come in. I have figured out all the details of whipping shea, cocoa and mango butter so you don’t have to. It’s not easy work, but it is valuable.
5. Shea, cocoa and mango butter can do a hell of a lot.
My whipped butters have eliminated at least 4 other beauty products in my regimen, and I stay glowing.
Most days I don’t feel like I’m selling just one product, I feel like I’m selling 5. There are those who buy it for hair, those who buy it for skin, those who buy it as a perfume alternative, those who buy it as a massage oil alternative, those who buy it to heal chapped lips, those who buy it for beard care, those who buy it to dimish pregnancy stretch marks. I feel like I have half of a full body line in one product.
6. Lots of people don’t even know what shea, cocoa and mango butter are.
When you do beauty blogging for as long as I did (10 years!) you can take a lot of things for granted — like the fact that everybody knows what shea, cocoa and mango butter are. Everybody doesn’t. Everyday in my storefront I meet people (yes, black people too) who have NEVER heard of them and have no clue what they do. That is definitely a gap in the market and a lot of my job involves educating people on the effectiveness of these ingredients.
7. I don’t want to create a full product line. I’m happy where I’m at.
I love what I do! I love the opportunity to focus on one thing and do it really, really well.