Sholayide Otugalu, founder and owner of Joséphine Cosmetics, was in our inaugural class of Girlboss Foundation grant recipients back in January 2015. Her organic cosmetics line stood out for its innovative approach and inspiring commitment to social issues like LGBTQ rights and domestic abuse. We recently caught up with Sholayide to see how the grant has changed her business in the last year and a half, and what's in store next:
It’s been 18 months since you were awarded your Girlboss grant. What’s new?!
It's really been a very productive 18 months for Joséphine Cosmetics! We launched L'Exquise & Liberté, our first collection of skincare and mineral makeup, and we've received a great response from our Glamourites. Our HD mineral graphic eyeliner quickly became the cult fave. We've also started selling products in various brick-and-mortar locations: We're in five Warren Tricomi NYC locations, including the Plaza Hotel, East Hampton and Greenwich, Connecticut. Other retailers include Madonna & CO in NYC and Wink Boutique.
We also just launched Stella Noire, a new collection heavily inspired by audacious femme vigilantes joining together to raise a strong voice against gender-based violence. Our weapon of choice: organic and vegan lipstick, and lip-to-cheek baume. This is a dauntless collection, poised to empower our Glamourites with bold lips speaking our new truth. We've partnered with RISE, a non-profit organization based in California, that serves victims of intimate partner violence and sexual assault/abuse. This partnership will generate and increase awareness on gender-based violence and educate our audience on how to support various initiatives. With every purchase of a product in our new lip arsenal, Joséphine Cosmetics will be donating partial proceeds to support RISE's efforts in addressing gender-based violence.
How has the grant changed your approach to your business?
Since receiving the grant, I've become a much more efficient boss. It has definitely taught me how to make sound and tough decisions with ease, and to do what's best for operating a lean business. I have received some great business offers and opportunities after winning, some of which were very exciting, but my main priority is to create the best Joséphine customer experience. I'm a firm believer in the sayings "You have to crawl before you walk," and "Take everything one step at a time."
Anything super exciting coming up?
Most def! I've been working on a new organic beauty elixir over the past year, and we're getting ready to release it this fall. We are gearing up for our second tradeshow this year, showing our glam-packed goodness at the Indie Beauty Expo in NYC on August 24th and 25th. We will be presenting our latest organic lip collection, Stella Noire, and previewing our new beauty elixir. If anyone's out in NYC, please stop by and say hello—we'll have plenty of fab giveaways!