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inspirational story

CEO of Detroit’s First Beauty Supply Vending Machine

Leslie Williams is making it easier for all of us to become Lavish girls by giving easy access to the black beauty brands that we desire. The lack of representation for women of color in mainstream cosmetic brands and the onset of the pandemic provided Leslie an opportunity to bridge the gap between black beauty essentials black women needed and the accessibility to retrieve them. Be it that many beauty supplies in the city of Detroit are not black owned this is a huge step forward in black ownership of places where many black women frequent. Now you can get 24 hour access and get beauty essentials straight to your door via DoorDash. Leslie Williams is a woman on a mission to make Lavish Box more than just a hometown favorite. Her Lavish Box vending machine is the perfect solution for when you need access to black beauty brands quickly. Read on to learn more about the woman behind the vending machine, her message to black women and a special shoutout to her mother. 

Tell us about yourself. What prepared you for this venture and what inspired you to create this business?

I am the owner of Lavish Box, LLC. I am a 26 year old Detroit native, WCCCD graduate and senior at Wayne State University. I have over ten years of experience in the fashion, hair and beauty industry as a Makeup Artist, Hair Stylist, Model and Fashion Show Producer. I created Lavish Box out of the pandemic. When the beauty supplies closed, it left many black women and other POC without their most prized beauty essentials. Many people were completely cut off from the products and tools we use everyday that is specific to our needs.

The Lavish Box mission is to be Detroit’s leading vending machine retailer specializing in the beauty and hair care market. We pledge to provide quality beauty and hair products that are typically found in inner city beauty supplies. We recognize that there is a disconnect between major retailers and Black beauty products. Lavish Box took the first step in catering to our under tapped market providing convenient and affordable products specifically catered to the Black, Brown and in between.

What are three words that describe the community you’ve cultivated?

Inclusive, innovative and entrepreneurial-driven.

What is or was your greatest challenge and biggest accomplishment or strength?

I think Lavish Box’s greatest accomplishment was being able to be the first beauty supply vending machine on DoorDash. It definitely opened up many doors for us. We worked for months trying to get on the platform.

You have two locations and now you are on DoorDash. How does that feel and what’s next for Lavish Box?

Honestly, it’s exhilarating. It makes me so excited to keep going and keep expanding. I want to take over the Metro Detroit area and then start working my way across the nation. I’m so excited that I am a potential national brand. 

What do you do to decompress and share any advice on ways women can learn to better care for themselves? 

The best advice I can give women is to make sure you take care of your mental. Often, Black women have the perspective that we have to work twice as hard to achieve half of what men or other races would achieve. I think we get so caught up in trying to be the best that we get burnt out, yet we are so used to working under pressure, we work through it. It’s okay to take a mental health day. It’s okay to turn off the phone and ignore calls when you need to. Self care is so important and no one will take care of you, like you.

What does the beauty of Detroit mean to you?

The beauty of Detroit means the beauty found within the people. Detroit is rich in culture, history, diversity, innovation and hustle. The many perspectives and backgrounds that exist here adds to its beauty as a whole. The thousands of hustlers that we have, from the local business owner to the entrepreneur constantly doing pop up shops, have a kind of determination and passion that is natural to us. They say if you can survive in Detroit you can survive anywhere, and that’s our beauty. We are raw.

Be it that we are celebrating Women’s History Month, think of a woman that inspires you. What would you like to share with her about the impact she has had on your life?

My mother inspires me the most. My mother was always the head of the household, and that in itself contributed to my need for independence. Her workload was always jam-packed, between school, work and taking care of three children…and a husband. My mom taught me the definition of multi-tasking and perseverance. I never in 26 years seen my mom quit. I never saw her break down or hear, ‘I don’t know.’ If she didn’t know, you’d never know, because she’d find a way. To me that’s what women are about. We are strong, resilient and we keep going. 

Yes, my mother has always made a way, no matter the circumstances or many roles she’s had to play! We honor the women who have made daily sacrifices for us to be where we are and who we are today. Also, that drive and resilience as women and as Detroiters is a unique beauty all its own. Leslie, thank you so much for sharing your story and getting black owned beauty essentials to the women who need it most! We all need the reminder to prioritize self care and mental wellness. You can find Lavish Box’s 24 hours vending machine on DoorDash or at these locations:

Citgo
13330 Linwood
Detroit, MI 48238

Sunoco
8005 E. Jefferson Ave.
Detroit, MI 48214

By Tayler Jones

As a 26 year old artist and Detroit native I seek to focus on sharing stories of the innovative and resilient people in our city and not its negative criticism. Therefore, to over accentuate the good and support local businesses, our gift boxes are a gateway to the artisans, craft makers and doers in the city. This blog is in honor of them and the great things happening in our community!

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