Women entrepreneurs often talk about the need to work together, and during the 25th Anniversary Essence Festival this past weekend, the founders of The Lip Bar, Urban Skin Rx, Eden BodyWorks, Mielle Organics, and CeeCee’s Closet NYC were an example of what happens when they do.
At Le Meridien’s LMNO Restaurant July 5, Melissa Butler of The Lip Bar and Rachel Roff of Urban Skin Rx welcomed some 20 beauty bloggers and influencers for an intimate NOLA’s Darling “She’s Gotta Have It” style brunch. The women founders are behind The Beauty Collective, a group of women small business owners (including Eden BodyWorks, Mielle Organics, and CeeCee’s Closet NYC) focused on highlighting multicultural brands.
At the brunch, which MadameNoire and HelloBeautiful were proud media sponsors of, guests chit chatted with one another while sipping on guilt-free cocktails from Ketel One’s Botanical line. They were also treated to a three-course menu experience with fresh fruit and yogurt parfaits, the choice of either hanger steak or chicken n’waffles benedict, and a sweet dessert to top it off.
Playing on the theme of “She’s Gotta Have It,” Butler, Roff, and Eden BodyWorks’ Vice President Ylorie C. Taylor, each shared what they have to have as women business leaders working to expand their brands while taking care of themselves.
“What I have to have is peace,” Butler shared. “As an entrepreneur I work extremely hard and I don’t really make a lot of room for myself so that’s what I gotta have this year. That is my commission, to build peace and love in my life so that I can continue to pour into you ladies.”
Distinguishing harmony from balance, Taylor shared, “My personal she’s gotta have it has been my she’s gotta have it throughout my career — harmony — because this life is very unbalanced. I wear multiple hats, wife, mom, friend, sister, collaborator, so I think my she’s gotta have it is harmony this year and I work really hard everyday to make sure my team understands harmony and when [something] doesn’t fit, when it doesn’t feel right for us, that no is a real word just as much as yes is. So I encourage all of you to find harmony, some call it balance, but our scales are never balanced.”
Attendees were also asked to go around the table and share their personal she’s gotta have it for the second half of 2019, with many echoing similar themes of learning patience, exercising faith, eliminating fear, and getting out of their own way.
With so many events happening during Essence Festival weekend, for many the brunch was a welcome way to not only connect with other women on similar paths in an intentional way, but also give back to the members of The Beauty Collective who have supported them on their individual journeys.
“As a female founder, it’s very important for me to support other female founders,” actress Africa Miranda shared. “Specifically, Melissa and Rachel have both supported me on my journey as a talent as an author, as a beautypreneur as well, from advice to literally financial support. Rachel and Urban Skin Rx were one of the sponsors of my book tour for Step Up. Step Out. And Shine. So to be at Essence, the epitome of Black Girl Magic, these are brands that celebrate women, that celebrate beauty inside and out, so there’s no place that I should be or that I should want to be or that I would be other than here.”