They say necessity is the mother of all creations. For Courtney Adeleye, The Mane Choice founder and CEO, that statement rings true.
Unable to find adequate products to meet her hair care needs, the Alabama-based entrepreneur took matters into her own hands—literally— and concocted various products to treat and care for her hair. Through sharing the results of her homemade mixtures, Adeleye’s videos attracted a large following and gained the trust of countless viewers.
In less than four years, The Mane Choice, which offers a wide variety of multi-cultural hair care and bath and body products is sold in several major retailers including Target, Sally Beauty, CVS and most recently Walmart. In fact, the brand made history by being the first hair vitamin to be featured in the hair aisle (they’re usually reserved for the vitamin aisle). In 2016, the company garnered over 6.5 million dollars in sales, making Adeleye a self-made multi-millionaire seemingly overnight. But we all know that it takes a lot of hard work, determination and business skills to make it to this level.
Earlier this month, I caught up with the nurse-turned-entrepreneur to talk about her rise through the hair care ranks, advice for entrepreneurs and more.
Below, check out our Q&A:
BGG: Describe The Mane Choice customer.
Courtney Adeleye: Here at The Mane Choice, we pride ourselves on providing premium healthy hair care products at an affordable price. Our mission is to create the best solutions for all hair care challenges and total body needs in the beauty space. Like our comprehensive approach to hair and body care, our consumers are very knowledgeable about products and look for items that can remedy multiple hair care concerns. We are just happy to be their main choice for a solution.
BGG: Was working in the beauty/haircare industry a lifelong goal?
CA: No, I didn’t have an interest in working in the beauty industry. My background is in science–nursing, specifically. As a YouTube personality, I created a video showcasing my length and shared my deep conditioner recipe, which was partially responsible for my length. I received SO MANY responses and feedback suggesting that I sell my deep conditioner. I had no intentions of doing that, but long story short, I eventually did. One order became two, three, and so on…
BGG: Did you take any supplementary business courses as a result of pursuing entrepreneurship?
CA: No, I did not formally take any business courses. However, I did my homework on the industry and took what I learned from my nursing background to get to where I am today.
BGG: Did you have mentors in the business prior to launching The Mane Choice? If so, how has their mentorship impacted your business?
CA: Other than past experiences, working closely to the owner/CEO at my former jobs and studying how other business owners conducted business, I didn’t have any mentors prior to launching mine. In my experience, my faith and family were two of the biggest impactors on my business. I have been blessed with a powerful support system and a committed team at The Mane Choice. It becomes easier when people support and buy into your vision. I am especially thankful.
BGG: What has been your biggest challenge as a business owner?
CA: I strive to commit to having a positive outlook on life and my company, and focus all of my energy on new ways to best serve The Mane Choice customers. However, doubt from others, not myself, can often try to negatively impact how you view your success and what you’re striving towards.
BGG: What advice would you give a fellow entrepreneur who suffers from self-doubt?
CA: If there is someone who feels doubted, I would tell them to be so good that they can’t ignore you! I think it’s especially important to focus on and hone your strengths and abilities. Always strive to be the best, the hardest working, and the most knowledgeable. It’s hard to ignore value. I would also remind he or she that in times where there isn’t a way that there is always the option to make one. I think the evidence of this is shown through the multitude of girl [and men] bosses around the world.
BGG:What advice do you have for women, particularly women of color, who want to pursue a career in the beauty/haircare industry?
CA: My advice would be to strive to be the best at what you do. Do your research and make sure the presentation is just as great, or better than the product or service that you offer.
BGG: Is there any significance behind “purple” being incorporated into your brand or is it simply just a design choice?
CA: We chose purple because it is a regal/royal color. Royalty is what our brand embodies. Royalty depicts the consumers we represent.
BGG: What’s the single most important thing a woman can do to promote healthy hair growth?CA: Consistency is key. Developing a healthy hair growth regimen is paramount to a successful hair growth journey. Using quality products made with quality ingredients, such as The Mane Choice, and adopting great hair care practices will get you to your goals in no time!
BGG: Outside of the hair vitamin, what’s your most popular product? Why do you think it’s a top seller?
CA: Our 3-in-1 is next in line. There’s no other product on the market like it. It’s co-wash and detangler that you can leave-in. Talk about a game changer!
BGG: What makes the Mane Choice different from similar products on the market?
CA: As many may or may not know, my husband is a physician and I am a registered nurse. Together, our backgrounds in science have helped us to formulate our products based on extensive research, for all hair types and textures by infusing each product with vitamins, Biotin, and nutrients. We have successfully developed a comprehensive array of products that can cater to a multi-cultural demographic.
BGG: Describe the most rewarding aspect of your career thus far.
CA: The most rewarding aspect of my career and leader of my company is knowing that The Mane Choice has made such and impact in the lives of others! That impact has created such a demand for our products that we’re now in over 16,000 stores.
BGG: What’s next for The Mane Choice?
CA: You’ll just have to stay tuned. Trust me!
Have you ever used The Mane Choice? If so, what is your favorite product(s) and why?