Speaking with Felicia V. Bland, is like speaking with a ray of sunshine. She is a breath of fresh air and positivity amidst an increasingly cynical world, and she radiates this attitude through her own business as well. Mille’s Best, named after her grandmother and inspired by her own daughter, is an amalgamation of all the positive values that Felicia stands for. Aside from selling sustainable organic hand-crafted products, she has also created a support network of female artisans — each one promoting empowerment, diversity, friendship, and sustainability. Why buy your soap from anywhere else?
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to start Millie’s Best?
I am a creative person, that loves food, beauty, art, reading, traveling, learning new things & doing crafts. I was born, raised and currently reside— in New Jersey, USA. In 2014, I started experimenting with handcrafted soaps & delicious body butters. I took a variety of professional courses on cold process soap making, hot process soap making, and essential oils in New York City. The Youtube handcrafted soap gurus Soap Queen’s Ann Marie Faiola, was one of my 1st great online teachers. Then I started to make, gift, donate & sell my handcrafted skincare products away to family, friends & to a local school for a fundraiser.
My love for healthy, handcrafted, natural and organic skincare products inspired me to start Millie’s Best. I come from a lineage of naturalist, creatives, hand-crafters, and business women. The company is named after my grandmother, Mildred. She was a beautiful, elegant, spiritual and creative person with gorgeous skin, and her skincare routine was natural and uncomplicated. She was a seamstress that designed, made and sold her own clothes. My daughter, Beauty, is a beautiful & elegant creative soul, that loves skincare, makeup, beauty, fashion and the arts, she currently has her own Mink eyelash business. She keeps me up to date on current beauty trends, social media and she inspires me daily. She was the one who encouraged me to start and continue to grow my company.
Could you run us through how your products are ethically and sustainably made?
Millie’s Best is currently an exclusive skincare online platform that offers a variety of luxurious, natural, vegan, organic, handcrafted artisan beauty products from different artisans in North America. I partner with some wonderful women with great brands. Some of my partners are Jillian of Butter Me Up Organics from California, Melissa of Elegant Rose Boutique from Michigan, Stephanie of Code Skincare from Florida and Tammi of Hanna Herbals from Illinois. They make their products in small batches, with lots of love. Each artisan has their own eco-friendly processes that are both ethical and sustainable. They use natural sustainably sourced, cruelty free ingredients with certified organic ingredients in small batches.
I would like to give a special Shout-out to all the handcrafted artisans throughout the world; your creativity, pride, devotion & commitment to your craft & the handcrafted industry is amazing and inspiring.
Why should we choose handcrafted soap?
You should choose handcrafted soaps because they are luxurious, delicious, & eco-friendly; they are made in small batches by handcrafted artisans. The artisans use high quality ingredients, beautiful natural oils, delicious butters, luxurious milks, fresh botanicals and natural essential oils. Handcrafted soaps are gentle, moisturising and safe. The pH of handcrafted soap is between 8-10, which is safe to use on the skin. Handcrafted soaps are free from harsh chemical detergents, hardeners and synthetic lathering agents. These harsh chemical ingredients can be drying and irritating to your skin and dangerous to the environment.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as an entrepreneur so far?
My biggest challenge as a new online beauty and skincare entrepreneur has been managing all the social media outlets, marketing and selling online effectively. I am currently learning how to balance learning and applying all of this new tech, website & social media information. It is an exciting and ever-changing time for online entrepreneurship.
What advice do you have for women who would like to become a GirlBoss like yourself?
Sometimes failing is a blessing and sometimes losing is winning but never give up. There are some talented & amazing women, that never act on their dreams & give up on their dreams because of the fear of failure. Some fail and stop pursuing their dreams. Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before the light bulb worked, but to him each failure was a lesson. I have come to learn that failure can teach us a lot of lessons, that enables us to learn & grow. It is a blessing to be able to start all over again, because you still have the beauty of the breath of life; do something even if it’s small. Take a class, get a mentor, start the business, but do something to act on your dream consistently. All true creatives, hand-crafters & entrepreneurs know that the winning is in the growth & perseverance.
Hannah Lynn Tann