For author and jewelry designer Alex Elle, a new chapter in life brings celebration and entrepreneurial inspiration. It’s not surprising, then, that her life’s richest period to date—as a successful businesswoman and mother to her 6-year-old daughter Charleigh—would catalyze her latest beauty concept, Balm and Co. (originally known as Daisy Balm).
I [want her to know] she can make income doing something she really loves.
The idea for the beauty line, which targets babies and expecting mothers, came to fruition during a mother-daughter afternoon.
“Charleigh wanted to do a DIY project with me and her choice was lip balms,” Alex Elle explains. “We made like 200 of them on accident, [and] we ended up giving a lot of them away.
“It started as just something fun but then she had the idea of selling them,” she continues. “That’s where the ‘momma-prenuer’ came into play. Seeing the business side of it, I decided that this could really be something profitable in the mommy market.”
Vegan and all-natural, the selection of butters and balms are available online.
The entire line is currently handmade at home by the pair, but ideally not for long, says Alex Elle. (There’s a reason for her to dream big—her first business as a college student exceeded her highest expectations and ultimately led her to shutter it prematurely, as she couldn’t meet the high demand from customer.)
“Anything I do seems to [draw] a really high demand,” Alex Elle admits. “Hopefully this time around, with the resources and the connections that I have, I’ll be able to have a manufacturer make batches for us. I would love to see the brand in stores eventually!”
Alex Elle is most eager to produce the kinds of skin-sensitive products that saw her through her pregnancy.
“I’m excited about Boobie Balm, a solid butter-based product that goes on the nipples when nursing,” says Alex Elle. “I was a nursing mom and am a big advocate for breastfeeding, so including this product is gonna be awesome.”
Other forthcoming items include “Baby Booty Butter,” a diaper cream, and “Baby Bump Butter,” a solution to itchy, pregnant bellies.
As for Charleigh’s role in the business, “she helps with mixing, packaging, and writing all the thank-you notes,” Alex Elle says. “Basically anything that won’t get her burned.”
The profits may be monetary in part, but Alex Elle says she hopes her daughter will first and foremost gain practical, applicable lessons from the project.
“Even if my daughter has a steady 9 to 5 and a college degree, I [want her to know] she can make income doing something she really loves and is passionate about. I want her to know that she can use her creativity to potentially have her own business one day.”
How will Balm and Co. differ from Safi, your first beauty line?
It’ll be a body line geared toward moms and babies, offering healthy, holistic products that aren’t packed with mineral oils and things like that. It’s also mainly a vegan line, so we don’t use any beeswax or honey.
What’s your timeline for Balm and Co.?
It’ll be sold online on Big Cartel [an Etsy-like site] by summer or fall. People are already asking about it. I’ve sent out full-size samples of the balms with a handwritten note from Charleigh and I’ve gotten a really great response. We’re also hoping to find a nonprofit we can donate some of the proceeds to. (Full disclosure: mater mea has received a donation from Balm and Co. in the past.)
Who is your biggest beauty inspiration?
I love Oyin Handmade. I love that they’re in Baltimore, [which is] not too far away from me, and that they’re family-based and have included the entire family in the making of Oyin. It’s a family affair. It’s been fun seeing them [go] from just being a mom-and-pop to now being in Target.
Do you think enough women are exploring entrepreneurship?
I think more women are now. And I think that’s important for this generation because we’re judged harshly. If we’re stay-at-home moms, we’re judged. If we go work 9to 5, we’re judged. Entrepreneurship for women—taking hold of the business and really being in charge—is a beautiful thing, and I think that’s happening more and more now.