Leilah is the founder and CEO of Crème Collective, a global beauty, sales, and creative agency that represents a mix of well-known and up-and-coming brands in the luxury and clean beauty space. As a business owner and mother, she’s mastered the art of building an empire and raising a family.
SO, HOW'D YOU GET STARTED?
I’ve been in beauty sales and marketing for a long time. I started Crème Collective because I felt like the newer, cooler, niche brands didn’t have a voice and didn’t know how to get their product out there. And at the time, I knew that retailers around the world really wanted these types of brands, so I started Crème Collective as a place to bring brands in and help them grow.
LESSONS LEARNED ALONG THE WAY?
People really want to know the truth and they don’t want a lot of sugar coating. So communication is everything — just straightforward and honest.
"The biggest accomplishment for me is having gathered the coolest group of women on the planet into one company."
ACCOMPLISHMENT YOU'RE MOST PROUD OF?
It’s such a huge accomplishment to start something and to have it work a handful of years down the road. On paper, there are lots of accomplishments — like having a global company, growing a big team, all the impact we’ve had on the industry. But internally, the biggest accomplishment for me is having gathered the coolest group of women on the planet into one company.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?
I define success by waking up in the morning and feeling like I’m doing something important and that I have a purpose. Also, balancing that with time spent with family.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
In the world of beauty, there are women who are owning who they are and moving forward with confidence. I think we’re in a new era of women and seeing that is a constant inspiration for me.
ULTIMATE LIFE HACK?
My life hack comes from Brené Brown —who’s so amazing to listen to— and it’s how to start an awkward conversation. So when you approach somebody, rather than saying, “I know you’re mad at me about something.” You say, “The story I’m telling myself is that you’re irritated with me because of A, B, and C.” We’ve adopted this as a company and I’ve adopted it into my life and it’s so useful for just breaking down barriers, owning insecurity, and getting right to the core.
GO-TO PRODUCTIVITY HACK?
My go-to productivity hack is alcohol. [Laughs] Sorry! When I’m too in my head about a subject, things just don’t flow. Sometimes a cocktail can take the edge off and get my mind thinking in a different way. Creativity really needs to come from the heart. It needs to be relaxed and it needs to be authentic or you completely miss the mark. Sometimes being productive means taking some downtime, going on an inspiration trip, and figuring out how to be more productive in the creative sense.
I think mothers are extremely productive. In my twenties, pre-motherhood, I had the entire day. And if I didn't feel like doing something during the day, I could stay up late and do it at night. It's just not true anymore with children. You've got a pretty defined space of time to get things done. And I’ve found, just naturally, women become way more productive when they become mothers.
"Creativity really needs to come from the heart. It needs to be relaxed and it needs to be authentic or you completely miss the mark."
MOST UNUSUAL ITEM IN YOUR HOUSE?
If I were an outsider stepping into my house, it would be the giant vats of Kimchi we have fermenting at all times in my garage. [Laughs] Delicious — and they totally make sense once they're in a mason jar — but while they're like sitting out there in the elements, it's probably pretty strange for people.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE WELLNESS?
Wellness started this career for me. Growing up in suburban America and eating everything out of a box or from a drive-through for my childhood and teen years, wellness was not in my consciousness at all. When I was 20, I moved to LA and was trying to balance college and work. I had a battle with acne and a little bit of weight gain and was tired all the time. So I started reading and investigating. I cut out so many things from my diet and got more in touch with my body, how food made me feel, how exercise made me feel. And that sort of trickled out into every area of my life. I had to look at every single product I was using and the ingredients. Ten years down the road, that informed our foundation as a company at Crème Collective, the kinds of brands that we take on, the kinds of ingredients that we're okay putting into our portfolio.
FAVORITE SELF-CARE PRACTICE?
I have more self-care practices than any other human being that I know. My most important self-care practice is one of those two to three-hour shower/facial things that I do with all my different concoctions in the bathroom on the weekends. The other one is sleep. I sleep so much and I love it and don’t feel guilty about it.
FAVORITE WAY TO LET LOOSE?
I let loose the same way I always have. Cocktails with friends and that’s the long and short of it. Whether it’s dinner at our house or going out, that hasn’t changed for me. There’s something about unwinding and being able to talk freely and let the pressures of life go. And that usually happens at dinner with friends. Being able to kind of detach from the pressures of life.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU?
I’m really happy with where I am. I've moved into this with an open heart and I'm happy to see what falls into our lap next.