Courtney Adeleye Knows How To Find The Sweet Spots for Million-Dollar Success

"I'm always about leveling up. If I did something great last year, how do I do better this year?"


Courtney Adeleye is no stranger to making multi-million-dollar moves that not only change lives but empower others to do the same. As the founder of The Mane Choice⁠—a line of natural haircare products that went from her home to the shelves of major stores like Target⁠—she took $500 and turned it into more than $100 million within a few years. Her online brand is undeniable⁠—bright, bold, and uber-confident⁠—and her more than 380,000 followers on Instagram alone eat it up.

Her most recent transition has been her biggest yet. She struck a deal with MAV Beauty Brands for millions more, which meant The Mane Choice would be acquired by the Canadian company and more doors would be open for partnerships like the Generational Advantage Fund that would help women build generational wealth. She also made a personal investment, to the tune of $30 million.

Yep. Sis, is about that life. "Doing the acquisition gave me the ability to expand and to continue to grow in other areas of business that I wouldn't have had the ability to do," Courtney said in a recent interview with xoNecole. "It's not only a financial thing but it's about a resource, a growth, and an understanding. It put me in a position to do other things I really enjoy which includes pouring back into women, investing back into female brands, and creating the conglomerate I have today."

We talked with her more on those other things, which right now fall under the umbrella of her newest venture, Olbali Corp. The conglomerate houses brands Lily Frilly (where her 7-year-old daughter is the CEO), Foolproof Body, Cool Coffee Clique, and POPtritional.

Check out what Courtney had to say about how she finds multi-million-dollar sweet spots in business, how she remains inspired as an entrepreneur, and her advice for other Black women who want to continue to grow and advance in building the lives of their dreams:

You've got your hands in multiple businesses. What inspires you to pursue certain industries? How do you know it's worth the risk?

I don't think there's an industry out there that I'm not interested in. I can look at a category and I can see what we call in business the 'white space.' I always think, 'What are those opportunities that could possibly exist?' So creating a company like Olbali, we're going to play in different areas from a consumer-product goods perspective, whether that be food or health and wellness.

I thought, 'Do I see an opportunity to do it better? Do I see an chance to give the industry something it doesn't have?'

Even with my daughter's brand, I definitely feel representation matters. Sometimes we can't achieve what we haven't seen. So, it's about putting her in a position where she can speak to little girls across the world to let them know they can do it, too. I definitely felt like we had a lack of representation in a community in regard to what we see in the retail world and what we see on TV. You're never too old and never too young. Entrepreneurship is a special gift from God and you have to give that back to the world.

This is so fascinating, because you've been able to take several businesses and turn them into platinum. Tell me more about this 'white space' concept.

A lot of times, we're motivated only by what we see. It's easy to pinpoint what's already been done. Ultimately, when you look at a business, there are not many things out there that are totally new or haven't been done before, but what makes a business special is doing it in a way that hasn't been done before—doing it in the unique way you have to offer.

I see a lot of entrepreneurs who think they're too young or too new and they think they have a lot missing, but what's missing is what makes them special. I always say don't be afraid to infuse that thing that makes you different into your brand.

Take an industry, such as coffee, which you could say is a boring industry. I look at it and say, "No, there's a lot of white space there because if it's so boring, who can make it dope? Who can make it classy? Who can make it something everyone would want to be part of?" I think there's a lot of white space in everything we do. You have to look at something and innovate. It's easy to say, "Hey, this is how it's always been done," but in order to be innovative you have to be willing to take those risks and do things differently.

For example, with [Cool Coffee Clique], it's very risky to make coffee [packaging] pink. It's like, 'Am I excluding men?' But I have to be confident in what I have to offer and say, "But it's been done before in black, brown, and in every traditional way. How do I make it interesting?" That's where that white space comes in.

That's awesome. We have to tap into those white spaces where we can create what we want to see on the market. So, to some, you pretty much made it when you started earning millions. What's the key to continue growing and leveling up?

We can all agree that no matter what your age, there's experience there that's going to give you the jump on entrepreneurship or innovation. And I have to continue doing that, to continue innovating. That experience is the very thing you amplify and use for your brand. It's important to have an understanding that you can grow as you go. You don't have to seek funding in order to make it. I started with $500. I didn't have a line of credit or a credit card.

Also, it's understanding that distractions come in many shapes, forms, or fashions. It could be a relationship, time, or lack of support. Distractions are the No. 1 deterrents to someone going into business, no matter what age you are.

Sometimes, isolation is going to help you ascend to the next level. You're going to have to lock yourself in that room in order to think. It's going to take you not being at those functions sometimes, which, as you mature, you understand that's not always where it's it. I have to think about my future.

Ask yourself, "How do I compare to people who are dominating in the industry?" It's not about comparing to say, "I need to mimic that," but what elements about that brand inspire you? There's something you can do to make your own brand attractive. Many times I'll sit with entrepreneurs and ask, "Do you think you have the best product?" and many times, the scary thing I hear, is "No I don't." Well, why? Whatever that reason is, you've got to address it and fix it.

You're looking at someone else's social media page and saying, "I think everything they post is clean. Everything is dope." Meanwhile, you have the ability to come close, even if you're not mimicking it--even if you're inspired to go get an AirBnB, for example, and take some great pictures. You say, "I'm going to call some models in and take some product shots."

Business is business. You have to understand you're taking the market share from somebody. I'm in the coffee industry, so I understand, "Hey Starbucks is dominating. How can I take that consumer? How does that translate to the consumer? What are the things I can do?"

I'm always about leveling up—always try to do it better. If I did something great last year, how do I do better this year?

Follow Courtney Adeleye and learn more about her brands via Instagram @courtneyadeleye, or via Olbali's website.

Featured image courtesy of Olbali Corp.

When it comes to the topic of oral sex, I can tell you, off the rip, that if there's one thing that both men and women can agree on, it's the fact that far too many people think that so long as they've got their mouth somewhere in the vicinity of their partner's genitalia, they are actually doing something. Absolutely not. Not even close.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

R&B crooner Miguel and his wife Nazanin Mandi's love is no longer the "sure thing" he once penned it to be. After being together for 17 years, and married for nearly three years, the two have officially called it quits. In a statement given exclusively to PEOPLE, a rep for the former couple shared with the outlet:

Keep reading... Show less

What a month it's been with New York Fashion Week, the VMAs and the MET Gala giving us life and style inspo for days. The spring runways evidenced that fresh ideas are on the horizon. The VMAs showed us that the world is our runway and we should treat it as such. And then there's the MET. The MET Gala made it clear that America is chock full of innovation from denim to crystals to colors. To be African-American means that we got a little extra edge so the lewks are more than plentiful.

Keep reading... Show less

Can we talk about how Megan Thee Stallion is lowkey an inspirational speaker? I mean seriously, have you ever been feeling down on yourself and then "Girls in the Hood" starts playing? It's like, OK girl, get it together, you're a Queen. From beats and bars to catchy lyrics, she's gonna deliver. But musical talent isn't the only thing that deserves acknowledgment. Sis is also about her bag. The "Savage" rapper has collaborations with multiple brands like Cash App, Revel, and recently announced, Nike.

Keep reading... Show less

We all know that the pandemic has been an eye-opener for professionals forced to work from home, isolate, and now, deal with the back-to-office mania. In fact, research by insurance giant Prudential has found that 1 in 4 workers are looking toward new career horizons, and another recent survey of professionals ages 18-24 found that 66% have felt stuck in their careers since the pandemic began.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

Exclusive: Lucky Daye Is Doing It For The Culture, From The Soul

Every so often, an artist comes along who seems to be a physical manifestation of all that we are.

Latest Posts