Founder & CEO, Crème Collective
Secretary, Lipstick Angels Board of Directors
Leilah, tell us about Crème Collective, and why it sets you apart from other branding and marketing companies.
What started as a small sales agency from my home office has grown into a full, 360-degree brand development and distribution house where we make brands, source new brands, and refresh brands. We then take these brands to our retail buyers across the country, including everyone from neighborhood boutiques to Sephora. I think what sets us apart from other firms is that we actually do the selling! If we don’t absolutely love it, we can’t sell it. This makes us more effective as a creative agency because we have skin in the game.
You have been involved with Lipstick Angels since its inception -from volunteer to board member, and now as one of our very generous donors. What resonates with you when you think about our mission?
I have always felt that the mission of beauty products is to make people, women in particular, feel beautiful and confident. Feeling good is so important - it is a basic human need. I love the mission of Lipstick Angels so much because it is in line with what I love so much about the industry I have been in since I was a teenager. I love how beauty can transform a person’s mood, their day - even their life! Lipstick Angels brings that power to the people who need it most, which is incredibly special and powerful.
Many of the brands that you have aligned yourself with are all-natural, which is a very integral part of the Lipstick Angels cause as well. Why do you think chemical-free beauty has had such an impact on the industry?
As an agency, we partner with the brands whose products we actually want to use (obsessively!). My own wellness journey led me to brands that were cleaner and actually felt good on. To me, cleaner products worked better, irritated less, and just felt good on every level. My acne-ish skin balanced out too, which was huge for me. As I learned more from others in the industry, including Renata (Lipstick Angels Founder), I realized that ingredients were only half of it. The industry has sadly been marketing to impressionable young women like us for so long we don’t even notice it. I really took time to look at how negative marketing to my insecurities affected me as I grew into a woman, and how it affected other women in my life. The natural beauty movement has just as much to do with formulating as it does about instilling positivity into the lives of women. That piece of it is so important to me.
What criteria do you consider when adding a brand to the Crème Collective family?
I am always looking for new concepts and innovation. However, the most important criteria we are guided by are efficacy, messaging and a really good founder at the helm. I support good people doing good things, so anything less than that won’t make the cut.
Congratulations on your amazing success with Crème Collective. We know you have spent years cultivating your niche in this field. What kind of advice would you give to young women (and your daughter Willa!) out there who are pursuing their dreams of heading their own companies?
My best advice is to surround yourself with supportive, loving people who will be your cheerleaders, even in your lowest moments. There is absolutely no way I would be where I am now without the friends and family who have given me encouragement, kindness and love through the journey. Weed out the people who can’t deal with your growth and success, and spend time with the people who will inspire you to push forward.