I said I was coming back to blogging and then I disappeared again. Well this time I’m back for good (seriously) plus I was gone for a good reason.

Selling whipped shea, cocoa and mango butter out of my Brooklyn apartment was no longer sustainable. My boxes took up the bulk of the building’s shared basement and hauling 50 lb cases of raw butter up two flights of stairs was not ’empowering’ anymore.

My lease was up and I had the choice of going through the whole drama of trying to find a bigger apartment and a landlord who would put up with my sprawling operation, or just get a storefront. I chose the latter.

The room in my apartment where I operated BGLH Marketplace. This was moving day. In another set of pics you’ll see a sampling of alllll the boxes that were in the building’s basement.
Moving day.

I found a cute little spot in Bed Stuy, right on Marcus Garvey Blvd at the intersection of Kosciuszko St. And so began my nightmare.

Before the work got started.

First there was the horror of moving all the boxes out of my apartment basement to the shop space. I had to move them *before* my contractor started work on the space. Which meant he had to maneuver around a humongous pile of boxes that we pushed against various walls according to where he needed to work next.

All of this had been in my basement.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Like… my god.

And by the way every horrible thing they say about working with contractors is true. Over budget, past deadline, sending ME to Home Depot to find supplies. Like what the hell do I know about plywood and sheetrock?? Didn’t stop my contractor from having me go find stuff for him. And I don’t mean ‘pick up’ stuff. I mean FIND stuff. I was in the aisle searching ‘proper subflooring for hardwood’ on my phone, hands shaking, praying I did not buy the wrong stuff.

I want you all to know that I literally, *literally* went to Home Depot every day in the month in August. Sometimes two or three times a day. And it was horrible. The leering men, the horrible customer service, the disorganized store layout.

My plan was to open the shop on August 15. That didn’t happen. As mid-August came and went I’d go home at night and curl myself into a ball. Oh wait, no because I have three kids under five I had to put to sleep first *before* I could curl into a ball and weep silently at what felt like a huge mistake.

Finally, *finally* in early September the shop was done enough that I could begin accepting customers.

We weren’t completely finished. But I did not care. I was accepting customers no matter what.

I designed our sign, learned our ‘point of sale’ system (which is the fancy word for cash register. Apparently things have changed since I was a child.) But finally, save some minor details, the shop was completely ready for business.

Cash register and plant.
Butters!
We whip the butters right in the window! That’s my shop assistant Zawadi. Hey girl!
The view from outside.
More butters!
The day our sign went up!

This was a gamble, but it felt like a move I had to make. I jumped off a cliff and I still don’t know what the outcome will be. But I’m proud of what I created.

It’s been a couple weeks since we began taking customers and things have been good. Settled enough that I can manage my blog team again and continue accepting online orders at bglh-marketplace.com.

The shop’s grand opening is on October 1. If you are in the area please come on down! I’m also hosting a BGLH meetup in the space on Saturday, October 7 at 11 a.m. It will be a small gathering. Just 40 people and some brunch-y refreshments. If you live in the area and want to meet me and see the space, please enter your email below.

So, in summary, no I didn’t abandon BGLH. Yes, I’m back blogging for good. And yes, now I have a shop.

~Leila

BGLH Meetup in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn at BGLH Marketplace
358 Kosciuszko St, Brooklyn 11221
(at the intersection of Kosciuszko St and Marcus Garvey Blvd, beside Fermento Cafe)
Saturday, October 7 at 11 a.m.
Refreshments provided.

RSVP

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Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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87 Comments on "I Was Gone Because I Was Opening My First Store in Brooklyn… I’m Back Now"

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Yolanda Humphrey

Congratulations!

Lisa

I am so happy for you! I have been reading your blog for so long..Just the other day I was wandering why I haven’t seen you in my inbox. I live in Florida but I come to NYC often I will be stopping by.

Kylana

Oh wow, Leila! Congrats! I will be sure to visit the store the next time that I am in NY.

Tiah

So proud of what you have accomplished! Blessings to you for accomplishing fear. I pray you have much success in the years to come! Keep loving our sistas hair!!

Nancy

Good for you sista! All will be well

AshleyK

Congrats! This is so awesome. I love the whipped shea butters.

MiMi

WOW.
I’m obviously behind because I didn’t know you’d moved out of Chicago, let alone to Brooklyn and had this in the works. Congratulations! Your hard work is going to pay off. I wish you continued success. This is just the beginning.

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