How this nurse turned a $500 investment into a multi-million dollar haircare empire

Abu Mubarik August 24, 2023
Photo Courtesy of Olbali/Entrepreneur

Meet Courtney Adeleye; she is a trained nurse who reinvented herself as an entrepreneur. While working as a nurse, Adeleye said she entered entrepreneurship in the beauty and wellness sector after being motivated by her passion for helping people live healthily.

Besides her passion, she was also influenced by her personal experience of searching for products suitable for treating natural hair.

“There were not many brands that used natural ingredients and specialized in healthy hair growth at the same time,” Adeleye told Entrepreneur. “So, I started mixing my own products at home and infused them with vitamins, nutrients and healthy ingredients.”

She made YouTube videos of her homemade hair care routine and within a short period, she started recording a large following that was curious about how she goes about her hair innovation. They also bought products from her, which she developed using $500 of her savings. And when she realized that she was getting more orders, she decided to upgrade her homemade haircare routine from a side hustle to a full-time business.

This led to the creation of The Mane Choice, a hair care solution for healthy locks, featuring formulas free from mineral oil, petrolatum, parabens, sulfates and formaldehyde, according to Entrepreneur.

In the first three years of her business operation from her home, Adeleye said she sold $10 million worth of products and she also partnered with more than 60,000 retailers across the U.S. within another two years, recording $100 million in sales and an IPO by 2019.

Adeleye said black entrepreneurial women often get branded in a way that often goes a long way to hamper the growth of their business. According to her, despite her diverse marketing, she still gets asked if her products are for only black women.

Per figures, more than 11 percent of all beauty customers are Black, however, Black brands account for only 2.5 percent of the $60 billion beauty industry. To make matters worse, McKinsey & Company writes that there is “a persistent myth in the beauty industry that Black-brand products can only be sold to Black consumers.”

Due to these challenges, Adeleye said she is very intentional when it comes to displaying diversity across her brands, ensuring the growth potential of the business on all levels. In 2022, the nurse-turned-entrepreneur launched Olbali, a health-focused direct-selling company, to house The Mane Choice and her other private brands, including Cool Coffee Clique and Foolproof Body.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: August 24, 2023


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