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‘I Like to Make Little Girls Feel Beautiful’: 6-Year-Old CEO Breaks Barriers as One of the Youngest Black CEOs Featured In Two Major Retail Chains

“I like to make little girls feel beautiful,” says 6-year-old Lily Adeleye.

Lily is the one of the youngest Black executives to have a brand in two major retail stores after her accessories brand Lily Frilly was picked up by Walmart after about two years in Target. Lily turning to entrepreneurship is no surprise as her mother, Courtney Adeleye, is the founder of multimillion-dollar hair care brand The Mane Choice, which was acquired by Canadian beauty conglomerate MAV Beauty Brands in 2019.

“It was just really taking ideas that she had – she’s very creative – and just really showing her that these ideas don’t have to stay just ideas.  You can actually work on these things and execute and bring them to market,” Courtney said. Like mom, Lily’s ideas started in the hair department with bows and clips, and grew to encompass clothing, shoes, backpacks and more. Lily has her sights on adding snack items like cookies and cake to the line up next. 

Courtney says that Lily has a hand in the details, including products, shoots, and more. “Lily is actually directly involved in the innovation of her product, so things that we bring to market are things that she absolutely loves. From the slime to the hair bows, she helps with the colors and other embellishments,” Courtney said. “As far as the business side of it, I make sure she secures retail and has those opportunities, but even then they’re actually really excited to see her come to the meetings — I think that’s one thing that’s super great. They actually look forward to seeing her.”

6-year-old CEO Lily Adeleye with her mother, business partner, and founder of The Main Choice Hair Care, Courntey Adeleye. Photo Contributed.

“They” are major executives from companies like Target and now Walmart, where Lily Frilly is carried.

Courtney also strongly believes in parents encouraging entrepreneurship in kids.

“I think the main thing to articulate to them is to say that while getting your education is important, entrepreneurship is also possible. And this is something that we don’t really see taught in schools a lot of time,” she said. “Let them know that it’s possible. And if you can sell cookies for another company, you can indeed sell cookies for yourself. 

Lily said seeing her products in stores like Target makes her feel really excited. Mom’s support, however, is even better. “I like that she makes the company like me,” Lily said.

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