Courtney Adeleye considers herself a beast at what she does. And if you’ve been following her journey and the journey of her hair care brand, The Mane Choice, then you know that she’s not lying. With the spirit of your favorite auntie that always makes you laugh (her niece would attest), she offers herself up so honestly that you want to pour into her.
It’s a gift and skill that not everyone possesses. It’s part of what has made her the bawse she is today. So when she offers up gems of wisdom on how to grow as a businesswoman, her followers are all ears.
When ESSENCE got to pick her brain about how she got to where she is, we asked that burning question that we want to know from all moguls on her level: what’s your top five? And the generous CEO gladly broke down her top five tips for women looking to gain major success in the beauty industry and beyond.
Tip one: Be open minded.
“Sometimes, we go into things that we’re very passionate about, but we don’t know how our journey is going to begin or end. And you never want to put yourself in a box where someone can’t tell you ‘hey, you may want to try this.’ You’ve got to be open minded.”
Tip Two: Don’t put your name on things you can’t stand behind.
“I never put out something that I’m not proud of. I would definitely tell people not to rush. It’s not about perfecting it, but it’s about giving quality because people are going to treat you like what they think they see. So if you give a crappy product, then they’re going to treat you like a crappy company. I remember once someone told me, ‘Oh my God, Courtney, I’m so glad you’re not one of those companies that makes your products at home.’ I was like, ‘Girl, yeah!’ But I had been making my products at home for years. You don’t have to appear to be a small business.
Tip Three: Network like your business depends on it, because it might.
“I would definitely say networking is a big thing. It’s sometimes not about what you know but who you know. And you meet people that can help you, but you have to kind of put yourself out there. You have to start going to things. If you want something different, you’ve got to move a little bit different.”
Tip Four: Spend wisely.
“There’s time to buy, and there’s a time not to buy. I’m not going to tell you I’m going to go buy a car tomorrow if it’s not time to buy a car. It’s time to ante up on some more products because the holidays are coming. And I think sometimes we get so caught up in wanting to have the image or wanting to have things that we never had, but it’s going to come. Invest back into your company.”
Tip Five: Understand the business.
You can’t be in business and don’t know your business. Whatever you sell is not necessarily what you make. If you bought a product that cost you $10 and you sold it for $8, you’re in the hole now. You didn’t make $8. When it comes to that, people see that small number and think they made the sale. But how much was your shipping? How much were the labels? How much was the person who actually packed it? You got $5,000 worth of product, and you had a 50% off sale, but you’re still in the hole $2,500 now. You can’t grow something that you don’t understand.