Ambitious, humble-spirited, and fashion/beauty enthuse are just a few words to describe the founder and creator of Lotti Belle, Lashae. The vision of Lotti Belle was birthed out of Lashae trying to find a solution to why her hair had become so dry and her scalp became so flakey. Moving from the dirty south to Los Angeles, Lashae noticed that when the seasons changed, her hair would become damaged. Her hair was affected so bad that she started visiting her dermatologist on a weekly basis to figure out a solution. During a trip back home for vacation, Lashae discovered old photographs from her child hood, when her hair was thick and long. Not understanding how she could go from years of having healthy hair, to now brittle hair, Lashae asked her mother, “what where yall doing to my hair back then?” Her mother contributed the success of Lashae’s hair to her grandmother, Lotti Belle, who inspired the company’s name. Lotti would braid and oil Lashae’s scalp. After seeing that nothing Lashae was using had a positive affect on her hair, Lashae decided to take matters into her own hands. She started researching and creating her own concoctions and testing them by trail and error. After she started receiving compliments and inquiries about what she was using on her hair to revive it, Lashae knew that she had share this product with the world. We recently got a chance to talk with Lashae about The Lotti Belle Brand so sit back and enjoy!
For those who don’t know you, who is Lashae?
Lashae is a 33-year-old entrepreneur from North Carolina. I was raised in the south. I went to and HBCU, Clark Atlanta University and pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. I work in the entertainment industry at the Oprah Winfrey Network in programing and development. I am easy to talk to, and I love to have a good time. I am a go-getter and I don’t take no’s well. I’m like no? How can we make this a yes?
Lotti Belle was inspired by your grandmother, what is the biggest lesson she taught you?
She died when I was five years old so, I was only blessed to be with her at an early stage. She pretty much was the person I would go to while my mom would work. My grandparents house was in South Carolina. My grandmother and grandfather taught me from an early age, to own your own business. They were both farmers who came over via slavery. They never worked for anyone. They also had their own land and farm. They were real big on all natural products. Back in the day, everything was all natural. Everything was castor oil. They were very big on owing your own. As far as hair goes, my grandmother always had her hair done. She always made sure she greased her scalp and got her hair done. I remember she had long luscious hair until the day she died. She was at a nursing home with a full head of hair so that’s what she taught me. As a lady or as a woman, always keep you hair done. And that meant keeping it healthy.
What is unique about Lotti Belle?
Its unique because it’s for women. Particularly, women of color. You can wear it with a sew in. You can wear it if your hair is natural. You can wear it if your hair is pressed. You can wear it if your hair is premed, curly, or straight. It is also unique because it contains fresh preservatives that come from the mountain unlike other products you can get at the store which may include chemicals. Lotti Belle came directly from Mother Earth straight into bottles, which have UV light protection, which means, nothing can get in it. The bottles are also amazing. They are reusable. It is super poignant and a little goes a long way. Its 100% organic and all natural. A lot of people really aren’t doing that because it’s really expensive. I have a great price point. I know people in the middle, so it’s very affordable. You’re getting a luxury brand for a reasonable fee.
How hands on were you when selecting the ingredients and why was it so important to use all natural ingredients?
I did my homework and I was researching stuff for myself in the beginning so, it took about a year to get everything right. I would do a lot of testing like, what does this do? What does that do? I would go online to see what mixtures would really promote hair growth. I also got to the point of growing your edges. I’ve realized that not doing a sew in or getting a press, your edges are the first to go. You’re always putting your hair behind your ear. You’re touching it in the morning with your face soap in the morning. Your hairline is very important and that’s what I was focusing on. It was like trail and error. It was like okay, that doesn’t work or that’s too heavy. I also wanted it to smell good. A lot of times a weave product may work or be great but, they stink. You go to work,go to work out, or go on a date and your hair smells like rotten eggs or something. I wanted to feel nice and confident. When I take my sew in out, I don’t want to smell stinky hair. I wanted to smell something sweet. That’s how I knew I had something good. I went from stinky weave to OMG! I don’t have to wash this if I don’t want to. But, of course I would. It felt so moisturized and smelled so good.
Can you use Lotti Belle oil everyday?
I use it two to three days a week for my hair. Some people use it daily. Using a pea-sized amount or a diamond-sized amount is fine. I would recommend using two to three days prior to your washday. So say if you get your hair done on Saturdays, starting Thursday,apply Lotti Belle to your scalp. On Friday I would really get in there and get it more saturated so Saturday when it’s time for you or your stylist to wash it out. That way it will have penetrated your scalp. I know some people who just like to use it as a conditioner or a treatment. It just depends on what your hair really needs.
Besides being great for dry scalp and dandruff, what are some other benefits of Lotti Belle?
You can mix the Lotti Belle oil into other conditioners. I know some people who use it to remove their makeup. Everything is all natural and all organic. Sometimes people use face wipes and they don’t realize that it contains chemicals that could burn your eyes. The Lotti Belle oil is so pungent. You can take a little bit on your fingertip and glide it on your face or eye makeup. Rub it into your eye, and literally wipe it off. It comes off real easy. It also doesn’t leave you feeling greasy. It’s a very light product. A little goes a long way. So it can be used to remove makeup, it can be used on your edges, and you can also mix it into your protein conditioner.
In January, Lotti Belle became available in stores, were there any challenges during this process?
I would say, it wasn’t really hard. It was all about where I wanted to see my product and at the time, I really want it to be in all stores. I want it to be in fancy stores and in beauty supply stores. I have it in Charlotte North Carolina and in Los Angles. I’m currently trying to be more of a wholesale business so that other entrepreneurs who are in the hair care, hair salon business, or a stylist can buy it at the wholesale rate and can have it at their store or salon.
Lotti Belle is coming out with a face, body, and hair mist. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
I’m really big on if it works for me, then I certainly feel like it could work for everybody else. I am a big product junkie myself and I know what works for me. I’ve been taking my time on this. Like I did with the oil to come up with a really nice formula that will work for everybody’s skin type. I finally got everything in order. I’m just waiting for my packaging and doing a little bit more. But, mainly the packaging and how I am going to ship it. The formula is awesome. Its basically, sometimes when you don’t want to put oil on because it is hot but you need something refreshing. So, this is a mist that comes out in the same bottle as Lotti Belle. It has UV protected lights. It comes out very light and you just spritz all over your body and hands. It does wonders for you skin. It has all these amazing ingredients in it to help with skin discoloration, blemishes, and dry spots around your nose or mouth. I would wake up after washing my face and putting on my makeup this may sound weird but, I was getting dry around my mouth. Dry patches and I was like wait a minute. I’ve noticed a huge difference in just adding that to the particular dry areas.
Will this product have the same affect as Fresh’s Rose Water?
It definitely have rose. Rose and ale Vera like ale Vera juice, and a little dash of the Lotti Belle oil. I feel like a little drop of oil goes a long way in this mixture and moisture. This will hydrate your face. If you work a 9-5 or you’ve been out all day and you need your makeup to look a little bit more refreshed, just mist your face and reapply a little bit of makeup. You will look like you have a fresh face.
When should we be expecting a launch date for the Lotti Belle Face, Body, & Hair Mist?
My goal is for September. I am also coming out with a candle. People love the smell of Lotti Belle. I get a lot of videos or testimonials and peoples number one thing is, “I love the smell, that alone just gets me.” So, I was like really? When you go to my product line, I want you to get the Lotti Belle experience. When you smell the candle, it’s going to have the same exact ingredients in my hand poured candle, that is LA based. It’s going to be a coconut wax with olive oil. Both of these products should be out by the top of September.
What factors do you think contributed to Lotti Belle’s success?
Not taking no for an answer. Having access and being in L.A. The location has really helped because a lot of our products are made from here. Locally, in-house the product is here which has been a huge help for me. Knowing a lot of different people. I’ve meet tons and tons of people. I have a lot of resourceful resources because of the entertainment business. So that really helps. Plus, I have a lot of dope friends that really believe in me. Especially Karen. I was like, I have this product I’ve been using it, let me know what you think. Being honest is another factor that contributed to Lotti Belle’s success. When I was giving out samples, I really wanted feedback. People were really being honest. Another factor was watching other black women. I felt like, if they could do it then I could too. My biggest thing is, if I love it and swear by it, and it honestly and truthfully works for me, then I can sale this product. It’s not even a product I’m selling. I’m trying to put people on and teach others. I feel when you have something like that, you’re not selling it. You are saying try this, it will change your life.
Do you have any advice for people who are starting their journey into entrepreneurship?
If you are at the stage in life where you can quit your day job then by all means, do it. I love my 9-5. It’s been a true blessing. I do this on the side and yes it’s a lot of work but I don’t feel like its work. It should feel right, it shouldn’t be complicated. I would also say pray about it. I’m a Christian. I say pray about anything you do. If you come up with an idea, and regardless if you have a 9-5 or not, you want to be realistic with your goals but, at the same time you need to challenge and push yourself. Sometimes, I wake up at 3 or 4 am and work on Lotti Belle. Sometimes I’m not getting my sleep like everybody else but, it’s the bigger picture. Put your effort in and make it work for you. If you’re doing something you are passionate about, it’s not work. It’s feeding your soul. You have to really love what you do. Love what you’re selling. Love what you have to offer. Love the product. Don’t tell everybody what you are trying to do. Not everybody is for you. Not to say you can’t share your vision with people, but sometimes, its best to visualize it without any negativity. It only takes one person and that person maybe positive but they could say something like but or so and so does that too. You don’t want any of that to get into your head. When I stared Lotti Belle, I didn’t tell anybody. Well, my mother and best friend knew. Once I decided I was going to do this, I started moving. I had to come up with a logo, a look for the packaging, and bottles. I didn’t really go to people asking what did they think. I have a team of people that I would run things by. Ultimately, I knew what I wanted. With the products that I am launching, I had to remember how Lotti Belle was created. It wasn’t about the little details because the little details can stress you out and cause you to not do something. I just prayed on it and let it go. I gave myself a deadline and went for it. You can’t have doubt. Also, be around people that are doing similar things. Be around people who are doing the same thing as you in some capacity. A lot of my friends were just starting off doing consultant work or they had just opened up a business. I was around people who were creating their own businesses. It was really encouraging. One year at the Essence Women’s Luncheon, Taraji P. Henson said, “ stop fooling around with people who have your same problem and get around people who have some solutions”
Click here to check out the Lotti Belle product line