The Base Butter Beauties: On Entrepreneurship & Mental Health
The creators of the Black girl glow fix who earn their coin & make mental health cool again.
By Amani Richardson
From college roommates, to CEO’s and creators of the Black girl glow fix— She’Neil Johnson and Nicolette Graves of Base Butter are leading the beauty industry by way of prioritizing one another’s mental health. With tons of Instagram filters and editing apps, almost anyone of us can attain clear, pore-refined skin within seconds. Yet, the vast complexities between skin care and mental health have become an integral influence in where Black women choose to spend their coin. Both She’Neil and Nicolette are diving in no shallow waters to disrupt the beauty industry beyond diverse representation. What keeps the Base Butter duo thriving, might also ring true for you and the homegirls that’ll prioritize therapy sessions over happy hour on the weekends; the same homegirls that’ll make room for all of us to win and share the secret sauce to level up.
The glow goddesses of Base Butter, sat down to chat with Sad Girls Club about the balance between entrepreneurship and self-care, finding your co-founder in crime and why sometimes, together is better.
What has been the foundation of your friendship, which led to co-founding Base Butter?
We met at Howard University freshman year and became both roommates and the best of friends. We would make sure we would clean our room together; even if we were doing relaxers we would relax our hair at the same time. So, we used to do a lot of the same things and we’ve always been collaborative. I think our friendship is very symbiotic in that we mirror each other in a lot of different ways yet, we are also very different. Working together on Base Butter is kind of a manifestation of all the other things we’ve done together.
How do you utilize one another to check-in on your mental health all the while running a business?
Nicolette: I believe that because our friendship has been going on for about 8 years, we just feel comfortable sharing a lot of things together. I would say that we both are very vocal and have the ability to pinpoint when one is not operating from their best and have an open conversation about it.
She’Neil: We really do prioritize mental health and we’re always having that conversation; giving each other tools and resources, talking about going to therapy and things like that. It's a bit of a safe space within our friendship. This year for Nicolette’s birthday we all went on a trip, peeled back to talk about the hard things and the things that are stressing our mental. Mental health is just a high priority within our friendship.
Share your self-care routines.
Nicolette: I’ve learned in the last year or two that I really value routine. And I really, really value being able to be in control of my environment. Therefore, I’m really into cozy, ambient spaces. I like to try to find really cool places to work out of. As far as when I wake up in the morning, I meditate every morning. I face mask probably every other day. I love my morning coffee routine. I go to a coffee shop everyday and spend two hours just jotting down my ideas related to business and related to life in general. Sleep has become a really big part of my self-care routine as well as working out, I try to work out everyday. Lots of journaling, sleeping, masking and eating good food. I spend a lot of time by myself too.
She’Neil: Myself care routine is disconnecting from my phone. I do Base Butter’s Instagram but I really wish that I didn’t have to because I don’t like being on social media. I can feel it impacting my mental health just from looking at everyone, comparing businesses, looking at emails and trying to be there for everyone at the same time. I love to just be in my apartment. I love to just lay here, light a candle, listen to music, maybe smoke a little weed. And i like fashion so I like to put together outfits, look on Tumblr and create mood boards.
Can you speak to the notion of “collaboration over competition”?
Nicolette: There’s room for everybody. I’d say the collaboration piece was missing so much within the Black community. We can look at so many other cultures and communities who have worked together. They give each other the secrets, they give each other connects. They build out their networks and those different types of things and that’s why they are able to succeed. Other communities stick together and that is why they are able to come up. We (the Black community) doesn’t do that. Instead, a lot of times we talk about it, but when it comes down to it we feel as though if she makes a come up, I can’t make a come up too. And I don’t really understand why that exists. I have seen both personally and professionally is that a lot of my own success has been because of people collaborating with me.
She’Neil: I know we hear a lot about “crabs in the barrel” but since I’ve founded Base Butter, I’ve only interacted with women who wanted to help me. I believe that if we just stop thinking that black women are always wanting to bring each other down, we can achieve so much more. I believe this happens in every culture— there is always someone who is jealous and always someone who doesn’t want you to succeed. Instead, focus on the people that do want to help you.
What advice can you share with young girl bosses aspiring to run their own business, but fear that they can’t do it alone? What are some ways they can find their partner in crime?
Nicolette: As far as finding someone, I believe that comes along when you are true to yourself, true to your business and true to what you are trying to execute. Outside of that, just talking to people and going into spaces with like-minded people. Also, understanding that when you have something worth creating and worth talking about, people are going to be attracted to. It’s important to be very vigilant and clear on who you bring on. Before knowing you want to bring someone on, have a set criteria in place of ways that’ll determine if that person is worth your time and energy.
She’Neil: My advice is first to do it yourself, first. You need to have that discovery time where you learn what type of person you are as a founder. You learn about the business yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to jump on board and help you figure it out because if you have no understanding of what your business is, its going to be hard for you to work with others to get things done. Secondly, pay attention to how that person acts outside your business and or outside of your friendship. I know how Nicolette works, I know how she operates and I know she’s going to get it done.
Lastly, what are two intentions that you’ve set for Base Butter for 2019?
One, product line extension and continuing to broaden the brand experience. Two, continuing to grow our Instagram community and make at least $10K every month.
She’Neil Johnson and Nicolette Graves are the CEO’s of Base Butter. Base Butter is skin care line born through the grown consciousness, intellect and demand for representation from consumers. All Sad Girl readers will receive 15% off their order— go get your glow on sis!
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