Create & Cultivate 100: Beauty: Myleik Teele

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If you didn’t know that America’s first black millionaire was haircare entrepreneur Madam C. J. Walker, now ya do. And yet, despite the well established buying power of women of color, the market for black beauty is still shockingly scarce.

Myleik Teele, creator of Curlbox, aims to give black women options. With her subscription box of curly hair products, Teele is making the “black hair experience fun and beautiful for black women” by creating a service that lets women experiment with multiple products for the price of one. “The hardest part of launching curlBOX was convincing brands how important and needed this service was,” explains Teele, of the industry’s close-mindedness. “We aren’t always at the top of the marketing budgets though we're spending a lot.”

More the Myliek below. 

Name: Myleik Teele

Instagram Handle: @myleik

Business Instagram Handle: @curlbox

What was the impetus for starting the CurlBOX?

I wanted make the black hair experience fun and beautiful for Black women.

We love the advice you've doled out on Medium. Specifically, do the worst first. What was the "worst" or the hardest part of launching CurlBOX?

The hardest part of launching curlBOX was convincing brands how important and needed this service was.

The beauty industry seems a little split-- there's natural and there's contour. And there doesn't seem to be a lot of in between. What direction do you hope the industry is heading?

I hope the industry is heading toward freedom and options. A woman should be able to do whatever she sees fit.

And how will CurlBOX be a part of that convo?

We are here to provide women with another option. If a woman chooses to wear her hair in it's natural state, we have something for her.

Where do your drive and passion come from?

I am deeply passionate about creating solutions for women of color. Seeing those things come to fruition and seeing women who have long been neglected excited about their hair is what keeps me going. I'm here to make things better.

What does beauty mean to you?

Beauty is being comfortable in your own skin.

Do you remember a moment when you first felt beautiful?

I can't recall the exact moment but I'd say around 19 or 20 when I found ways to enhance my features

What are your biggest fears about running a business?

I don't really have any fears running a business. I'm here to do my best and in the event, my services are no longer needed I'll move on to something else.

What's something you'd like people to know about your job that they probably don’t?

I am an advocate for women of color. While the business has gotten popular over the years, I've spent a lot of time explaining our process (what we want to buy, how we want to feel, how we'd like to be sold) to companies. We aren't always at the top of the marketing budgets though we're spending a lot.

IYO-- How can we stay original when we are so saturated with other people's work?

While it's OK to be inspired by others, there's someone out there that's looking for the original you. Someone is looking for you so that they'll have permission to be themselves. Why be a second-best someone else when you can be YOU?

What about your career makes you feel the most complete?

My company is ran mostly by women. The future is female and we are proof.

If you had to trade jobs with anyone else in the world, who would it be and why?

I'd love to trade jobs with Guy Raz, the host of "How I Built This" podcast. He gets to talk to some amazing entrepreneurs. I love hearing stories of success because there's always a hurdle and love hearing how each person made it over.

At what point in your career did you find the confidence to really take charge and become the woman you are today?

I spent about three years as an executive assistant to a high prole PR VP and after working with her and learning the ropes, I felt like I had something to offer. Once I learned a skill I was unstoppable.

What's the best advice you've ever been given? Or your favorite piece of #realtalk?

The best piece of advice I've ever been given is to network with people who are currently on your level. Don't break your neck to befriend the CEO if that's not where you are. You and your peers will rise together.

When you hit a big bump in the road, how do you find a new road or a detour?

A bump is an opportunity to learn a new skill. I'm excited to find ways to get over it. I'll either knock it down or build a bridge around it but I won't be stuck.

What song do you sing in the shower when you’ve had a bad day?

"No Weapon" by Fred Hammond.