Many times it is extremely uncomfortable for Black women to shop in beauty supply stores because such shops are typically Korean owned, and often not culturally sensitive or customer friendly. You have to leave your bag at the front because it is thought you might shoplift, you are looked at suspiciously, and often times followed down the aisles as you try to shop. Most recently in a bizarre event, a Korean beauty supply store owner in North Carolina strangled a Black woman he accused of stealing false eyelashes. These sort of incidents are just not conducive to an enjoyable shopping experience, but things are changing.
Lia Dias is hoping more Black entrepreneurs follow her lead and open their own beauty supply stores. On April 1st, she opened the doors to The Girl Cave in South Los Angeles. The 32-year-old wife and mother of three is actually a serial entrepreneur, owning not just this new beauty store, but a franchisee juice bar too, and she also brokers commercial real estate as well
Right now, Dias’ attention is on the success of The Girl Cave, which features a full-service beauty bar, boutique, and showroom. She told MadameNoire what she has planned for The Girl Cave.
MadameNoire (MN): What prompted you to open this type of business?
Lia Dias (LD): I had a very negative experience with a beauty store owner that refused to let me shop with my purse. It was an embarrassing but necessary moment. I thought of all the money I had spent over the years in a store that didn’t respect me as a consumer. I and so many of my friends have had similarly negative experiences. I knew in that moment I had to open a beauty supply in my community.
MN: What are your thoughts about the beauty supply store owner who strangled a Black woman in North Carolina?
LD: I was horrified, but not surprised. It was a wake-up call to me to be even more serious and diligent when it cannot keep happening.
MN: How did you fund the startup?
LD: I used the commission payments from a handful of my real estate transactions to fund my initial cost. I loaned The Girl Cave LA (TGCLA) the money from my real estate business.
MN: What were you doing prior to this?
LD: I worked full-time in child welfare as a social worker. I literally was miserable removing kids out of their homes for a living. I made a conscious decision to leave a job that wasn’t fulfilling.
MN: Tell me about the name?
LD: The Girl Cave name came from a conversation with my oldest daughter, Kayla, and husband. We came up with the name thinking of a name that would capture a place where women would feel comfortable to spend time indulging in self-care.
MN: You are a serial entrepreneur. What do you enjoy most about being a business owner?
LD: I love the push that it forces me to give myself every day. Every day I wake up with a drive that I didn’t have when I was working for someone else.
MN: On top of all of this, you are a mother of three. How do you juggle it all?
LD: I am blessed to have a strong support system. My husband has taken on a bigger role in our home and with our children to give me space to be away more. My father and sisters have also been a tremendous help. I am not doing this own my own, it takes a village!
MN: What are your goals for The Girl Cave LA?
LD: My goal is for there to be TGCLA beauty supplies across America. I want to be able to give other women an opportunity to own their own business.
MN: What has been your biggest business lesson?
LD: I have learned to remain positive even in the most difficult times. In addition to riding the wave of success, you have to ride the wave of failure the exact same way.