Today we’re getting to know the woman behind BGLH Marketplace, founder Leila Noelliste! We gave her 10 questions (plus a bonus question!) to answer. Check it out!
What was the inspiration behind BGLH Marketplace?
L: I was a natural hair and beauty blogger for 10 years and my readers would always talk about how incredible shea, cocoa and mango butter were. I was familiar with cocoa butter but completely new to shea butter. When I started using it I realized how unmatched it was. There are very few raw beauty ingredients that work super well on both skin and hair and actually heal as they beautify. When I did more digging I was surprised at how few businesses exist that focus on whipped shea, cocoa and mango butter products. That factored into my decision to give this a shot!
Where did the Black is Beautiful tagline come from?
L: That was actually the tagline for my blog! It was called Black Girl with Long Hair and the tagline was ‘Black is Beautiful’. I reflexively and kind of unthinkingly carried it over to BGLH Marketplace.
So the BGLH in BGLH Marketplace stands for Black Girl with Long Hair?
L: Yes! BGLH Marketplace was never intended to be a standalone business. It was just supposed to be an accompaniment to my blog, but I guess the universe had other plans, lol! I quit blogging in February 2018 after BGLH Marketplace became too big to operate part‐time.
Did you always want to be in the beauty space?
L: Actually no, lol! I went to school for communication and wound up as a newspaper reporter after college. The wonderful thing about journalism is that it taught me to research everything. My beauty blog started because I had just cut all my hair off and honestly didn’t know how to deal with it. So it was kind of a personal research project that became this huge online resource. The same is true with BGLH Marketplace. It was research and observation that brought me to the concept.
What is your favorite butter/scent?
L: Vanilla Latte, hands down. I really love those sweet coffee drinks you can get at McDonalds and Starbucks and the Vanilla Latte Blended Butter reminds me of them. It smells soooooo good.
What is your least favorite butter/scent?
L: I don’t have a least favorite. I love all my butters! They are like my babies, lol! I will say, though, that the Smoked Tobacco and Vanilla was purely on the suggestion of a friend, so I don’t feel as emotionally attached to it, lol. All my other butters were my idea.
What is your favorite part of running BGLH Marketplace?
L: Whipping the butters! I’ve been doing it almost every day for the past three and a half years and I never get tired of watching the butter rise and get super fluffy in the bowl.
What is your least favorite part of running BGLH Marketplace?
L: When customers are angry or upset. It means a lot to me when people buy from us because we are so new in the beauty space, so I take it really hard when we disappoint people. Luckily this does not happen often!
Where do you see BGLH Marketplace in 5 years?
L: I see us expanding into other products, having more brand recognition and bringing whipped shea, cocoa and mango butter into the mainstream in a major way. I see us taking on investment so we can maximize our growth.
What beauty brands inspire you?
L: Bevel, Oyin and Shea Moisture, for being black owned/founded and making it really far without erasing their cultural identity. Lush Cosmetics obviously, because their products are so freaking beautiful and their packaging/branding is to die for. Also EOS Lip Balm. I gained a lot of inspiration from them when I first started out. I was initially insecure about not having a full bodycare/haircare line, and EOS showed me the value of just focusing on one beauty product and doing it incredibly well. They arrived on the scene just 10 years ago and have already taken over the lip balm market!
I have to say, though, although I admire lots of beauty brands, mine is the one I use the most, lol! My butters have honestly replaced about half of my stash of haircare and skincare products. They are just so versatile and I use them for almost everything.
If you weren’t running BGLH Marketplace what would you be doing?
L: Probably starting a passive income business that would allow me to travel the world!
Enter coupon code HEYLEILA for 35% off your order, good till Saturday, August 11 at midnight.