Like many DIYers, I shared the butters and soaps with family and friends, who quickly encouraged me to sell my kitchen creations. My first response was, “Absolutely not.  I don’t have the time”.  After a few months of coaxing, in May 2014 La Belle Femme Products was launched, anchored by the signature French Lavender Body Butter.  After initial success on Etsy.com, I soon built my first website.

I continued to work 50+ hours a week as busy administrator for one of the nation’s leading pediatric hospitals.  When I left the clinic, I became a beautypreneur – the CEO, creative director, webmaster, manufacturer, product fulfillment and customer service center.  Evenings were spent ordering raw ingredients, making products, creating new fragrances, designing labels and other branding images, addressing a rapidly filling email box and preparing the next day’s shipments.  Weekends were for pop-ups at community fairs, fashion shows, church events and any other place I could set up a 6 foot table and my swiper!

2014 Holiday Season Pop-Up

2014 Holiday Season Pop-Up

In 2013, I returned to natural – no more chemical relaxers for me!  My new found freedom from harsh nutrient-robbing chemicals, quickly lead to frustration as I was constantly in search of suitable natural products for my hair.  I was a self-proclaimed, dissatisfied product junkie.  My quest eventually led me to experiment with simple, pure, natural butters and oils. 

After months of trial and error in the kitchen, I created my own hair care products.  During this experimental phase, I soon realized these same natural ingredients could be used to make skin moisturizers and handcrafted soaps.  My goal was to create products to withstand our Gulf Coat humidity (great for your skin, tough on your hair!) without the residue of a sticky, heavy film. 

In retrospect, I’d always been a bit of a DIYer.  I rarely used products straight from the beauty aisle.  They always seemed to need a little something extra, so it wasn’t unusual for me to add a bit of natural oil or Vitamin E to lotions, creams and conditioners.

My "Big Chop", August 2013.  After several months of 'transitioning', I cut my hair 2 hours before attending a black tie event!  

My "Big Chop", August 2013.  After several months of 'transitioning', I cut my hair 2 hours before attending a black tie event!

 

Making body butter in my home office.

Making body butter in my home office.

In August 2015 I received a phone call from ESSENCE Magazine. Unknown to me, a family friend had given an ESSENCE staffer a sample of body butter.  The ESSENCE Beauty Editors were looking for emerging brands to introduce to their subscribers via the new subscription program – The BeautyBox.  Was I interested? YES!!!!  In a complete act of faith, I entered into agreement with TIME, Inc. (Parent company) to provide ESSENCE over 10,000 samples of my best selling Pomegranate Kiss Body Butter. 

Over the next six months, I contracted with a manufacturing company, cosmetic chemist, fragrancer, graphic artist, marketing professionals AND completed a successful Kickstarter Campaign.

February 2016, La Belle Femme Products delivered 15,100 units of Pomegranate Kiss Body Butter to the ESSENCE BeautyBox distribution center…and my life hasn’t been the same!

ESSENCE Office at Time, Inc. Headquarters, New York, NY

ESSENCE Office at Time, Inc. Headquarters, New York, NY

Life changing moment...

First glance of my Pomegranate Kiss Body Butter in the Essence BeautyBox.

 

 
 
 

'I love this body butter a lot. It feels like silk when I put it on... and the scent is heavenly!" - Tracy M., MI, ESSENCE Beauty Box