That’s right, BGLH just made its Shade Room debut. But not for the messy celeb/‘net famous hijinks you claim to hate but secretly follow on your phone. Our line of whipped shea, cocoa and mango butters, sold at bglh-marketplace.com, made their marketing debut on The Shade Room’s Instagram account, check it out.
Here’s some history. Back in 2010 I opened a boutique called BGLH Marketplace and fashioned it after NaturallyCurly’s CurlMart. I basically wanted to use BGLH as a portal to sell top quality natural hair products and accessories to readers who had a hard time finding them in-store.
I did it for a year and worked with black woman bosses who owned incredible brands and were sweet enough to let me carry them in my modest e-shop. Writing for BGLH and running the shop got to be a lot, though. So I considered it a learning experience and shut BGLH Marketplace down about a year later.
Back in 2014 I started missing having an online store and decided to open BGLH Marketplace back up again. I reached out to the same brands but most had grown exponentially since my first go-round, and my little online store wasn’t the best venue for their wholesale. While I waited to round up enough orders for my first wholesale shipment I figured I’d sell raw shea butter since I knew that finding a consistent and reliable source of high quality butter can be difficult for naturals. I did some research, found a great supplier and started selling raw shea butter at BGLH Marketplace. But after several months of trying and failing to get a large enough wholesale shipment from natural hair companies, raw shea butter was the only thing I was selling.
I knew from experience that whipped is the best form for usage, so I figured I’d start whipping the shea butter to give two options for sale. What transpired was several months of obsessive experimentation until I came up with a butter formula that had my trifecta: deeply moisturizing but not heavy, rich but not greasy and, above all, soft and powdery. And *that’s* when things blew the f*ck up.
I ordered mango and cocoa butter and started whipping those too. My family became a butter family. We threw out all our lotions and most of our hair styling and moisturizing products, because the whipped shea served so many different purposes. One whipped butter scent became two, became five, became sixteen (my Dad is addicted to the lemongrass whipped shea butter.)
Now, in between writing for BGLH I whip and sell about 150 pounds of shea, cocoa and mango butter every month, with the help of two shop assistants. It’s a side hustle that is developing ‘main hustle’ status (although BGLH will always be my first love, and is NOT going anywhere.)
BGLH readers were the first to give my whipped butters a try (and let’s be honest, those first few batches I made back in late 2014 were… not great) so I want to thank you all so so very much. The BGLH Marketplace brand is growing (we have a kids’ line and lotions coming soon) and it’s kind of surreal. Over the years I’ve written a lot about other black woman entrepreneurs who had this happen — developed products in their kitchen they then sold commercially with great success. Now it’s happening to me. I’m awkward about stuff like this and I’m not great at being in the spotlight, so it feels kind of weird. But I can’t deny that the shit I whip is damn good ;)
Anyway, in a nutshell, that’s how BGLH made it to The Shade Room. And shout out to The Shade Room’s team as well. They have some incredible people working behind the scenes.