Shirley Billot: Creating a Beauty Brand From Her Roots With Bananas and Caribbean Pharmacopia
In this episode, we talk with a woman who is making an impact internationally with her beauty brand, Shirley Billot, the CEO and Founder of the amazing skincare brand Kadalys. We have a far-ranging chat about the impact of her early life living in Martinique, the significance of bananas as a symbol of freedom for its Black inhabitants, the culture shock of moving to Paris, and how she came to start her brand.
Shirley shares how her images of beauty were formed when she didn't have a television. What growing up with a close connection to nature taught her and why it was important for her son to have that connection too. When she moved to Paris, Shirley had to suppress her friendly demeanor and found that even the food tasted different.
She shares how she came to use the waste from banana growers to create ingredients that were beneficial to the skin and what kind of working relationship she has with the growers on the island. At the root of Kadalys is a brand built on sustainability, upcycling and social impact.
But getting her products on the shelf in Paris was a challenge. One retailer told her that they weren't interested in attracting Black customers. So Shirley took her innovative products to Asia and her launch was well received in Japan and Korea so she also launched in Australia.
Shirley shares how the social justice movement in the US had a global impact, giving her a chance to get in more doors in France. And she brought her brand to the US recently and is on sites including thirteenlune, Marjani, and melaningrace.
Learn all of this and more on episode 51!