We had the good fortune of connecting with Taleiah Todd-Hill and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Taleiah, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
To be honest, there wasn’t one. I’d started experimenting with making skin care and hair care products because I didn’t like all the synthetic ingredients on the shelves. Plus, at that time, the “natural” products that were available did nothing for my skin. They left me very dry, which is not a good look on dark skin. So, I bought some oils, some butters, and some aloe and started mixing them together. Not only did my homemade goodies take care of my dry skin, but as a bonus, it helped heal my seasonal eczema. So, I never went back to buying over-the-counter lotions and other products. The idea to turn it into a business came from a friend of mine whom I was always talking to about ingredients and mixing stuff together. She suggested it, and I thought why not? Especially if other people out there felt equally disenchanted with the options that were available for sale. Keep in mind I had no business or marketing experience, or any idea of how to start. I just did it. I made a ton of mistakes along the way. I still do. But I love the learning process and constantly improving. One thing I’ve learned on this journey is that I’m generally allergic to synthetic ingredients. That goes for hair and skin. But because most mass-produced products that contain synthetics contain a LOT of synthetics, it’s impossible to pinpoint the specific ingredient I react to. So, it’s easier to make my own or purchase from a natural brand that I trust that doesn’t use lots of synthetic ingredients. I think there are a lot of folks in that boat, who aren’t opposed to synthetic ingredients for the sake of ideology. Rather, their bodies are constantly reacting to products and they have no way of figuring out what ingredients they’re reacting to. Those are the people I want to serve. I want to make finding and using skin care products easier for people. Natural products typically have a simpler list of ingredients, which makes it 1000x easier for folks to figure out and understand the individual ingredients that their bodies love and don’t love.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have a full-time job in addition to running CaLoveCo. But I want to be an artist/creative so that I can run my business full time. Until I can do that, I try to share everything I learn with people interested in natural face, body, and hair care. I try to make my content as educational and useful as possible so that people can make educated decisions about their health and beauty products. I also try to use natural ingredients and simple formulations in my own products to make it easier for others that are sensitive like I am to identify their allergic triggers and find products that work for them.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’ve been in this situation before, and it’s a hard one depending on your socioeconomic background and how much driving you have to do. Traffic in California is awful and gas prices are super high. But, left to my own devices, I’d take my visitors to different parts of LA County and Orange County. This list is from North to South.
Hiking in Malibu or areas thereabout
Spend a day at the beach in Malibu and take a surfing class
Walk around Santa Monica and visit the pier
Shangri-la rooftop bar
Spend a day at Venice Beach and on the Boardwalk
Natural History Museum
The Nest-A Black-Owned Breakfast Joint
LA Brisket-BBQ, but with healthy options available
Mil Jugos-Venezuelan food in Santa Ana
San Diego Zoo
San Diego Safari Park
Gaslamp District in San Diego
This is not a representative list of the activities to do or the food to eat. It’s the beauty and the curse of living in a melting pot of cultures.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My mom for putting up with me and letting me commandeer space in her house for experiments and storing ingredients and supplies, and basically taking over her kitchen and dining room table while experimenting. And not charging me for it.