Name: Bili Boboe-Balogun
Job title: CEO, Tribe Beauty Box
From: Lagos, Nigeria
Currently lives in: Toronto
Education: Hons. BA in political science, University of Toronto
First job out of school: Executive assistant at Gucci
For Bili Boboe-Balogun, running a small business has big advantages—namely, authenticity. “I have a competitive edge because I can be the face of my brand and share my authentic self,” she explains. Unlike her corporate competitors, Boboe-Balogun is “just an everyday person,” a fact that allows her to relate to and understand her customers on a personal level.
As the CEO of an inclusive beauty subscription box that caters to women of all skin tones, Boboe-Balogun is constantly looking for new products and ways to please her beauty-junkie customers. For the August box, she introduced customization, which allowed subscribers to choose from three different types of palettes.
Being at the helm of her own company has helped her develop a level of maturity that’s beyond her years, as well as a sense of understanding when things aren’t perfect. “I’ve definitely had to unlearn a lot of the expectations I had of companies as a past consumer,” she says, pointing out that there are so many unforeseeable bumps in the road that go on behind the scenes for a business owner. Instead of making snap judgments about a company, Boboe-Balogun now takes a step back to consider the big picture. “I look at their growth and that journey rather than what they are right now in front of me. I look at where they started, and I look at their values.”
As a young entrepreneur, having a mentor can help you steer your ship through choppy waters. Boboe-Balogun counts two different people as her trusted advisers: a Black woman and a white man. “As a Black woman, she shows me what the challenges are; my white mentor shows me how far I can go in the industry, what doors can open for me,” she says. “It gives me the best of both worlds.”