Base Butter: Skin Care Crafted for the Everyday Woman of Color
Who is She’Neil? What do you want to be known for in this lifetime?
I want to inspire people to live their dreams by seeing me live my dream. I’m not focused on necessarily being seen as a CEO. I want to be seen as someone who went out there and did what they’ve always wanted to do!
Who/What inspired you to start each of your businesses?
I started Base Butter in 2014. When I started Base Butter it wasn't called Base Butter. At the time, I was making all natural lipsticks. I had just graduated from college, working my 9-5 as a Consultant, but I was bored at home. After a while I stopped making the lipsticks, but I was left with a lot of natural ingredients. I started experimenting with the ingredients, applied for an LLC and I put the website up in a week. When it first launched 30 people ordered. Then my photographer Roy, he does all of our photography, joined. I met him through my little sister. She called me up and told me Roy wanted to do some photography work for my company. He sent me the pictures and I thought it was great! He would bring in his friends, who were regular women of color, and make them look beautiful. That got the attention of people like Essence and Nylon!
I just started with an initial body butter, and then I wanted to know what impact I [really] wanted to have. We began to talk to Dermatologist and we learned how to build science based skin care products. Today [our focus] is 50/50. The first half is to educate our customers. The second half is to build products based on clean science.
How do you manage your growing businesses on your own or with limited resources?
So I work with my best friend who has a Bachelors in Nutrients. She’s worked for health and wellness brands. I haven’t had a 9-5 since 2017 so I have to build a schedule for myself. Even though I don’t work 9-5 for a company I try to do the same for Base Butter. I’m in charge of marketing and creative and I have a Consultant who does things like Facebook ads. My partner and I don’t try to do everything. We’re not looking to expand into retail. We make sure where we are spending our time, we get a return on investment!
Are there any companies or creatives you’d want to collab with in the near future? *let’s speak it into existence*
Right now I’m not looking to partner with any companies. We’ve had the opprotunity to be in places like Wal-mart and Urban Outfitters. We would only partner with companies if they wanted to support us in an incubator program. In terms of influencers, those we work with must have similar values. We don’t care about the number, we focus on the reach. We look at their engagement to find the ones who add value to their community. Right now, we are starting to move into the macro influencer space (people over 10k). Anyone we work with, we’re really intentional about who we choose!
Who are some of your favorite female bosses?
Beyoncé . She’s a boss and she looks good doing it! Of course I have the usual names like Oprah and Michelle Obama but my peers really inspire me and motivate me! I can see what they do close up. My friend Muhga, she inspires me to push the limits and just to realize that I can have a multi million dollar business. I have friends who work in different industries. My friend Imani is the founder of Culture Con and my older sister started Curly, Curvy, Conscious. I just have a really good tribe around me, through blood and just through friendships and just through living in NY. I don’t like to follow too many influencers and celebrities. I really like first degree separation, it's just more relatable. This entrepreneurship journey is hard...a lot of people make it look glamorous. It’s very real. Money wise. Mental health wise. Physical health wise. I have to keep a lot of people around me going through the same struggle.
Favorite women of color to follow on Instagram?
The new EIC at Teen Vogue @lpeopleswagner, @KahlanaBarfield, @marachans
The Fashion & Beauty Director at Essence
Founder of the Lip Bar - @melissarbutler
Who’s She’neil listening to music wise? (Artists/album)
Oldies! 70’s funk music - Earth, Wind & Fire and diana Ross for when I’m really stressed! That’s what I grew up on! 90’s and early 2000’s R&B music when I need to be in the zone and working. My favorite artist from that era is Aaliyah! More modern -- Xavier Omär and Kelela. Kelela is my favorite! She was there when I got engaged; my fiance set that up and when she brought me on stage, he proposed. For motivation, Let it All Work Out by Lil Wayne. I just really like music with emotions and artistry. Like I said this entrepreneurship journey is very stressful so I need a lot of music that will calm me down.
Can you describe your style in three words?!
Clothing from Black Owned designers
70’s - I like platforms, flares, high-waisted, metallics, neutral color, and big hair. Definitely 70’s!
My style is really influenced by people around me.
Any self-care tips you use to stay looking so bomb?
Disconnect from technology -- I manage my screen time with the new Iphone update. Right now I’m on a Instagram purge. I had my fiancé change my password so only he knows it...so I’m not on my Instagram. I definitely take care of my skin, take baths, and meditate but the biggest thing is disconnecting from social media. It can be a lot sometimes...so I have to disconnect.
What was your 1.11ven moment/breakthrough/a time you realized you could do anything you set out to do?
I honestly just told myself just do it! I waited a whole year. I had filed for the LLC at the beginning of the year. I just really realized it's never going to be perfect, you just have to learn from experience. I’ve been learning. I’ve had very high highs and very low lows. I just learned that you just have to learn from experience, you’re never going to have it perfect. You learn you have to continually adapt to new trends. I just had to accept that it's a continuous process.
If you could give a young girl one piece of advice, what would you tell her?
Continually adapt and be vulnerable - things are always changing. You should be open to having new perspectives and be open to learn and adapt. The second one is to run your business off your intuition. There are a lot of experts --- they basically are telling me what type of decision to make [about my business]. I'm like that sounds good, but for some reason my gut is telling me something else. So sometimes I question myself because I think they’ve been in the business longer and I wonder “Am I blind to something?” Really listen to your intuition! This summer before we re-launched, I got a lot of messages telling me “don’t just focus on women of color. You’re going to lose money, you need to expand.” I was listening to them thinking maybe they are right, but it didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel genuine! This community has helped me grow. They're so many companies who just sell to women of color. So finally I was like I’m just going to target women of color. My friend, who started the Naturall Club, told me how she had the statistics and the money was coming but investors didn’t want to invest. She let me know, you know what you’re doing, listen to your intuition!
Are there any upcoming projects that we can expect to see you flourish in?
Short term, we will be expanding our product line that really target our customers and our communities issues. Long term, we’re going to implement technology to make the skin care process easier and a lot more intuitive for women of color. We’ll be incorporating things like AI and just optimizing our web experience just to have a more intuitive and more simple and effective process when it comes to skin care for women of color!
Base Butter’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/basebutter/
Base Butter’s Website: https://www.basebutter.com/
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