Brand: BeautyBeez

Founder: Brittney Ogike

Sales: Under $200,000 (estimated, not including the store location)


What are your 2021 goals? Aside from an increase in revenue, BeautyBeez’ goals for 2021 are to continue to grow the brand with an emphasis on cultivating a community that celebrates inclusive beauty. “We have really gotten to know our customers in the past year. One common theme is community. I want BeautyBeez to not just be a retail brand, but a platform to share hairstyles, and beauty tips, and tricks. This year, we are working on ways to accomplish that,” Brittney said.

Launch History/Unique Proposition: Recognizing the limited offerings of Black hair care products in Los Angeles, Brittney set out to create a space that focuses on providing unmatched customer service and the most in-demand hair and beauty products. BeautyBeez is a place where women of color not only shop for the best in hair care, beauty, skin care, wigs and extensions but can also choose to relax in the in-store spa or explore in a space created specifically for them. With a flagship location in Los Angeles and an online store, BeautyBeez is a community for all beauty needs.

What gap were you looking to fill in the market with the launch of BeautyBeez? “What many people outside of the African American community don’t realize is that ethnic hair care and beauty products are typically sold in small, local retailers called beauty supply stores. The larger retailers do not carry items that meet our specific needs. For decades, the beauty supply industry has been left unchanged and wholly inadequate. More recently, consumer behavior has shifted. Our community has become more conscious of where we spend our dollars but found that we had no place to turn to for our beauty needs. BeautyBeez was created to fill the white space in ethnic beauty. We provide an inclusive beauty experience where women of color can shop, explore and play in a world full of beauty,” Brittney said.

BN: How many brands are currently in stock? How are artisans chosen?
BO: “We currently stock 200 brands and over 1,700 products. Our vetting process for brands is simple, we have a solutions-oriented approach to product curation. We are constantly asking, ‘Does this product solve the problems that our customers are experiencing?’ Our ultimate goal is to offer high-quality, effective products in the hair and beauty categories for women of color, with careful attention to featuring minority-owned brands.”

BN: What are some notable top sellers? Why do you think they are so popular?
BO: This past year, top sellers were braided hair wigs, and skin care. “2020 was such a whirlwind and everyone was trying to adapt to a new normal. Braiding hair and wigs are protective styles for women of color. Since salons were not open, our customers were forced to find easy, healthy solutions for their hair. In terms of skin care, I think it became a popular category because our customers were spending more time at home. They are experimenting with different serums, making DIY masks, and perfecting their daytime and nighttime routines. I think the shift to skincare is here to stay,” said Brittney.

BN: Is the brick-and-mortar storefront open now? If so, what safety precautions have been put in place?
BO: “Yes! Fortunately, our storefront was able to open back up this past summer. We added some additional buying options to make it easier for our customers, such as free shipping for online orders and curbside pickup. In-store, we are complying with all COVID-19 precautions established by the CDC and the state of California. We have a sanitation station at the entrance of our store, and we are disinfecting countertops after every transaction. I’m so grateful to our staff for taking the pandemic seriously and ensuring all of these guidelines are enforced. Unfortunately, we have had to discontinue wig try-ons for the foreseeable future and are exploring other options for our wig-shopping customers.”

BN: How has your business been impacted by current events?
BO: “The events of 2020 had both a positive and unfavorable impact on our brand. The pandemic was more of a headwind and caused us to focus on building our online presence, driving our e-commerce site, and promoting the true essentials in hair and beauty. We were forced to delay the launch of our services side of the store, The Beauty Bar, where we offer hair braiding and skincare services. We closed our storefront for a few months and only processed online and curbside pickup orders. The Black Lives Matter movement created more of a tailwind effect and helped improve growth and exposure. There was more of a conscious effort on consumers as a whole to buy Black. We received a lot of support from our community and saw a huge growth in the sales of Black-owned brands in our store. I’m a big believer in “everything happens for a reason.” These events have only sharpened my skills as an entrepreneur and have better equipped me for battling all the obstacles and challenges that come with entrepreneurship.”

BN: What are your biggest challenges as a female entrepreneur?
BO: “My biggest challenge as a female entrepreneur is being taken seriously in this industry. I have had pushback at every level of my business. I have reason to believe the majority of it was because I’m a Black woman. Unfortunately, I have had to have my husband speak with vendors, contractors, and employees in order to get things accomplished. We are in an industry of mostly female consumers, however, the majority of the decision-makers are men. There should be more balance so female entrepreneurs don’t have to face these same challenges.”

BN: What’s something no one tells you when starting a business?
BO: “Before starting a business, there is a false hope that you can be your own boss and create your own schedule. No one tells you that you still have a boss – your customers. And you are beholden to their needs. I am always working. My phone is always buzzing. Entrepreneurship is a 24-hour, thankless job. You really need to be passionate about your industry.”

BN: How are you funding the business? Do you have investors?
BO: “BeautyBeez is a family-owned company comprised of myself, my husband, and my brother. Fortunately, we are self-funded and haven’t had to seek any outside funding, yet.”

BN: What’s a mantra you live by?
BO: “Life happens outside of your comfort zone. I found this quote a few years ago and it’s changed my life. Living inside of our comfort zone—the area that keeps us safe with no stress and anxiety—strips us of our confidence and hinders our growth. Stepping outside of that zone is where we evolve. We’re able to reach our highest potential. While growing BeautyBeez, I’m constantly being pushed outside of my safe zone. Public speaking, financial commitments, sales tactics, and many other situations have all forced me to evolve and develop in ways that I wouldn’t have if I had stayed in my safe space. Over the past few years, I’ve become more resilient and confident in my abilities as an entrepreneur and, as a result, all other facets of my life. A life outside of your comfort zone comes with fewer regrets and more feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment. I have it on my phone as a daily reminder to live life to the fullest.”

BN: What are you hoping the Biden/Harris administration will bring to the business world over the next four years?
BO: Brittney hopes the Biden/Harris administration can get the pandemic under control. “We have the vaccines. Now we need leaders to implement a plan for distribution and mitigation efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. The only way the economy can recover, and people can get back to work is if we get the pandemic under control,” she said. She would also like to see more relief and support for small businesses, especially for women and minorities. The businesses don’t just need financial support, they need resources and tools that will help them succeed.