Today we’d like to introduce you to Alicia Cole Keith.
Hi Alicia, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
My name is Alicia Cole Keith and I was born and raised in Greenville, Mississippi. I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so the drive to explore entrepreneurship is in my DNA. I discovered my gift and love for fashion, skincare and trying new things at a young age. I started creating skincare products because my family and I have struggled with eczema for years. My mom and sister’s eczema left them with lifetime marks on their skin. With this at the top of mind, I wanted to make a soap that will soothe our skin. I started making soap with honey, oatmeal and no essential oils. That was the first soap I ever made. Months later, I started adding essential oils to some of my soap loafs. After making soap for a couple of years and only for personal use, I wanted to share these products with others struggling with sensitive skin. I was sure of one thing, that the soaps I made would not include any perfumes or animal products.
A few months after making my decision to try soap making as a business, I did my first vendor show here in Atlanta. I only had two products in my skincare line then, which included soaps and a small amount of shea butter. But, that was the start of Lillie’s80. The name Lillie’s came from my late grandmother, whose name was Lillie Mae. I aim to offer my customers excellent products at a reasonable price. After doing shows for a year, I wanted to offer a full spa experience to go beyond just soaps and shea butter. Currently and nine years later, I am proud to say Lillie’s offers over 15 soaps variations, including our honey & oatmeal soap, bath salts, bath bombs, lip conditioner, hand sanitizer, hand soap, shea butter whip, body butter, dead sea salt scrubs, soy wax candles and soy wax melts. The future of Lillie’s will also include the expansion to fashion, home décor and furniture restoration.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has not been smooth at all, but with prayer and dedication, things work out each day. I first struggled with finding the right combination to ensure the soaps had a defined scent. Essential oil smells are not as noticeable in soaps as perfumes scents, so I had to learn what to do to make the scents stand out. I also struggled with working full time and keeping up with the demand of my business, but my family gives me amazing support. I have learned that everyday will not be easy, but with every struggle comes wisdom and a new idea. I spend a lot of time now researching how to continue to improve and advance my products to help my customers.
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Currently, I am a Senior Manager working at Ernst & Young (EY) as a product manager. I enjoying working with our clients and being able to be creative with helping them meet their technology and innovation needs. I am most proud of my ability to work professionally and run a successful business. What sets me apart is the passion I have for my own products, determination and humbleness. I will never give up or forget where my help comes from.
What makes you happy?
When clients come and tell me that my products helped their skin or their skin feels great, that is what makes me happy. I had a customer from Mississippi who said he always struggled with itching skin but after a family vacation to Atlanta and trying my soaps, his skin has never felt better and he is still a customer to this day. I like knowing that I am helping others. I also love it when my customers return to let me know my candles had their entire house smelling good!
- Soaps – $6 to $10
- Lillie’s Skin – $6 to $15
- Soy Candles – $10 to $35
- Lillie’s Monthly Subscription Box – $15
- Email: Contactus@lillies80.com
- Website: www.lillies80.com
- Instagram: @lillies80
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lillies80