Mahogany chatted with Elle Vie Lavida, owner and creator of ElleVie Body Butter, to find out what motivates her, who empowers her, and how she celebrates her Blackness.
What was your inspiration for starting this brand?
As a Black girl, you’re taught that ‘ashy ain’t classy’. So, after my favorite shea butter was discontinued, I decided to engineer my own. I wanted a product that was clean, moisture-rich and would leave others asking, “What scent are you wearing?”
What do you hope Black women will feel when they use ElleVie?
Black women deserve to be celebrated daily! At ElleVie we want Black women to know they’re a priority. I personally develop product, social content, and imagery—as if I’m doing this for my own family and close friends.
How does it feel to receive support and encouragement from our community?
It’s an amazing feeling! The feedback received when speaking to customers warms my whole heart. They let me know how proud they are to support a Black female-owned brand, and that validates all the love and hard work we put into creating this brand.
Who in your life encourages and empowers you the most?
At an early age, my mother began paving the way for Black women. She has inspired me to celebrate being born a Black female and has taught me to create a path for other women of color. She has always supported my entrepreneurial spirit with words of encouragement. She was our first packaging, shipping, and customer service department all rolled up into one team member.
What advice would you give to a sister who wants to start her own business?
Do it afraid! Don’t live your life wishing you’d done something—just do it. Don’t be afraid of failing because you won’t fail. Even if the business doesn’t make it, you will grow and learn many valuable lessons. Carve out a little time every day to work towards starting your business. Listen to podcasts, take classes, watch YouTube videos. Become a sponge and soak up knowledge, but don’t let that keep you from jumping in and starting your entrepreneurial journey because most of the lessons that you learn will be hands-on
Here at Mahogany, we’re motivated by purpose, faith, and community to celebrate Blackness 24/7. How do you celebrate yours?
My name means ‘the life’, and the name of my brand means ‘she lives.’ Every day I celebrate living authentically as a bold, Black business owner, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and advocate.