What were you doing at 6-years-old? You were probably doing what most of us did, go to school, playing with our friends and toys and pretty much being a kid. Well, 6-year-old entrepreneur Lily Adeleye is doing all that and more as she has become the youngest Black CEO of a major company and a deal with Walmart.
That’s right, she’s only six.
Her company, Lily Frilly, was started three years ago with an emphasis on hair bows, but apparel and accessories have since been added. What started as a creative outlet turned into a business after Adeleye showed some of her designs to her mother’s social media followers.
With this week’s launch at Walmart, Adeleye becomes the youngest chief executive officer of a Black-owned brand with product offered through the retailer. Four styles of her hair bows are being sold. This is the second major retailer that she has made inroads with for distribution. Last year Lily Frilly was introduced at Target. The mother-daughter team hopes that the Walmart Inc. deal will inspire the next generation of girl-run start-ups.
The Cutest Executive Officer (CEO) is the daughter of beauty and lifestyle entrepreneur Courtney Adeleye, who built The Mane Choice, a multimillion-dollar hair care business. A registered nurse and a University of Michigan graduate, Courtney took a science-based approach to developing natural hair care products. She has a range of products made for all ethnicities and has generated more than $100 million in sales in the past seven years.
According to Courtney, “Lily Frilly started out as a brand my daughter Lily and myself created, as I have always believed it’s important to let your children follow their passions, whether that be art, sports or in this case, growing a business.” She continued, “Now, Lily Frilly has become so much more than just that – it’s become a brand children love, as well as a symbol of inspiration and confidence for young girls as well as for the black community. It’s amazing to see what kids can do, and we’re so glad Walmart is providing this platform to give Lily Frilly the room and attention it warrants.”
“Lily is inspired by business overall. I have three kids and she is the only one who has her own company. She is constantly creating logos and asking to bring new items to market. I don’t know if it’s genetic or that something is just in her,” Courtney Adeleye said. “The plan is to go down as many aisles as we can,” with bags and shoes on her daughter’s to-do list.
This year’s projected volume for Lily Frilly is expected to be nearly $2 million, with hair bows and accessories accounting for