Courtney Adeleye didn’t grow up dreaming of working in the beauty industry. In fact, she studied to be a nurse and the last thing she expected was to have her own brand. But, when she set out on her own personal beauty journey, one thing lead to another, and eventually, The Mane Choice was born. It was a horrible hair experience and a lack of products on the market that fit her needs that sparked Adeleye’s interest in hair care. Now, with over 50 different products available and a community of shoppers that swear by the formulas, it’s safe to say her career jump paid off. Ahead, we tapped Adeleye to find out more about her career journey and what it’s like to grow your own beauty brand.
Can you tell us about your career background that led you to where you’re at today?
I didn't always have an interest in working in the beauty industry. My background is in science — nursing, specifically. I took that background and started making products with the intended result being healthy, longer hair.
What inspired you to start your own hair-care brand, The Mane Choice?
I really had no intention of starting a brand. My goal was to find a solution to the problems I was having with my hair. I wasn’t able to find exactly what I needed in stores, so I created it. It worked so well for me that others wanted it, too. Essentially, my business was started because I decided to answer the demand for what I’d created.
How did your own personal hair journey influence your brand?
I’d gotten a dye job that went horribly wrong. My hair began to break, so I started a healthy hair journey. I shared that journey on YouTube and continued to share my growth updates. I also shared my deep conditioner recipe, which [I believe] was partially responsible for the growth that people were noticing. I received so many responses and feedback suggesting that I sell my deep conditioner. I didn’t plan to ever do so, but long story short, I eventually did. One order became two, then three, and so on.
If you had to pick, what’s your favorite product from The Mane Choice?
I can’t choose just one! I am proud of all of the products created within The Mane Choice’s product range. It may sound cliché, but my team and I invest a lot of time and resources into product development, R&D, testing and marketing. Each product sold to consumers is a testament to the hard work we put into the developmental process. Each new product or collection becomes a favorite for me.
Where do you get your inspiration from to create new product lines and collections for The Mane Choice?
Our assortment spans over 50 different product offerings and we are proud to be able to offer premium, healthy hair-care at an affordable price. So, we take inspiration from a desire to continuously provide quality products. We are also inspired by our customers. They are super vocal and we listen very closely to them. I believe that has been a key factor in our success. Customer feedback is a driver of our business model and will always be a part of our DNA.
As CEO, what’s a typical day at work look like for you?
The only thing that’s typical about my day is that I’m intentional at beginning it with prayer. After that, the only consistent thing tends to be that nothing is consistent. On any given day, I’m rotating through an on-going list of tasks. That may include travel, speaking, finalizing the details on a new product or collection and taking meetings and calls. People often ask how I’m able to balance everything, but there really is no balancing. I choose instead to prioritize. What takes priority for the day is what drives my day.
Biggest pinch-me moment in your career thus far?
One of the biggest pinch-me moments was seeing my products on the shelves of a major retailer for the first time — to think that I had no intention to sell my products. From starting to sell it, having no idea that the reception for it would be so great, to then being able to walk into a retailer and see it on the shelves was one of the best feelings.
Do you have any advice for aspiring female entrepreneurs?
My greatest advice would be to make sure their brand is “market-ready.” When I launched The Mane Choice, I launched with one product, but I strived to make that product as perfect as possible. I invested in my branding, packaging, logo and website so that customers had no reason to doubt the credibility of my company. Often, entrepreneurs can feel pressured to launch with what they have, but I truly believe there is virtue and value in patiently waiting on the perfect time. In the meantime, build the best product or service you can, pinpoint your audience and then begin to strategically market. Your mentality should be that there is only one shot to get it right. Take your time so that you get it right.