Growing up in the ’90s, Lakisha Bullock was bullied for her appearance at her West Philly middle school.
“I had big thick hair. My mom didn’t know what to do with it,” she says.
At the time there weren’t a lot of Black hair products that weren’t relaxers and straighteners, she says. So, in high school, she set out to find them for herself. She came across the brand Carol’s Daughter, launched by a Black Brooklynite named Lisa Price who started a business making hair care products in her kitchen.
“I was like … ‘I could do that,’” says Bullock. She began dreaming of starting her own product line. “I fell in love with the idea of fixing myself,” she says.
Over the years she learned to make her own skin and hair products, and manage her hair. She would do her sisters’ and neighborhood girls’ hair to make money to buy new clothes and shoes. In 2011, she went to cosmetology school. Skin care products were her side hustle while she became a mother and worked a variety of management jobs.
In 2015, Bullock was in a difficult relationship and struggling with her mental health — and her skin was suffering as well. She had serious eczema. She started making her own treatment, and it worked. She decided that the time had come to share her skills, and officially launched SCB (“She Creates Beauty”) Naturals.
Her business was on and off over the next few years, but by 2020 she had saved up enough from her job as an assistant director for a nonprofit to buy her own house. Now that she had her own space, she decided it was time to focus on her business. She turned her basement into a skin care “lab,” left her nonprofit job and began developing her wellness brand full time.
Her experience in retail and management made entrepreneurship natural.
“I’m a manager at heart,” she says.
As a one-woman business, she has to be. She says she is highly organized and uses Periodic Automatic Replenishment, or PAR — a method of inventory tracking often used in restaurants — to keep on top of things, like her handcrafted soaps, which take several weeks to complete. The higher the water content, the longer they take to cure.
“Soapmaking is fun. But it is dangerous,” she says. “I’m handling lye, so I need to suit up.”
Bullock also makes lotions, balms, serums, toners and masks. Her business is vegan and cruelty free, and she grows some ingredients for the products in her own garden — a certified plant nursery.
Her products are currently sold by seven retailers, including Philly Foodworks and the Kensington Community Food Co-op. She also does pop-ups at farmers markets, like the weekly East Falls Farmers Market, where she met her friend and fellow entrepreneur, Hector Hernandez, a candlemaker. They often go to each other with business-related questions, and Hernandez loves using her products — particularly her lemon poppy lotion, he says.
“She wants to dabble in everything,” he says. “She doesn’t let anything get in her way. That’s what I love about her.”
Shannon Reynolds, owner of an ecommerce website called iCraft-Mart that helps new local entrepreneurs market their handmade products, was Bullock’s very first retailer, and still sells her wares to this day. Reynolds says Bullock’s brand is “superior in every way,” down to the meticulous packaging.
“Phrases like ‘vegan,’ ‘sustainable’ and ‘organic’ aren’t just buzzwords to Lakisha,” he says. “She embodies that lifestyle, and wants to make sure they’re available and accessible to all.”
“I’ve never seen anybody work as hard as she does to make her business a success,” he adds. “Lakisha is one of a kind.”