Inspiration and Business Niche
Rolande S. Sumner’s used to be in the military, however these days, she is the Founder of Butter Angels Handcrafted Skin Care®. Her company is based out of Powdersville, SC, USA.
She initially launched in December 18, 2015, however like many growing businesses she has spent the last few years laying the foundations for her brand, which is still in the start up phase. They are working hard to hit growth by 2019.
When asked why she started her business Rolande said “I have dry skin and the traditional commercial products were not working. My skin would be ashy by lunch”.
Feeling that traditional skin care did not do anything to soften her skin and unhappy with the selection available, she started to make my own body butters. Like many Female Founder’s she began her journey making her own products in her kitchen!
She says “it was 2008 when the natural hair movement start to take off. Everyone was using whatever they could find in their kitchen cabinets and local beauty supply store to create hair care products. I decided to try some of my experiments on my skin. The results were outstanding”. Spurred on by her sister she decided to start a body butter business.
She initially doubted her ability to run a successful business while she served in the military. However, shortly before she retired from the military in 2015 she started to take the idea seriously. “After being fired from my first civilian job, I boo-hoo cried for a couple of weeks, then decided that it was time to make my dream a reality. I didn’t have any more excuses holding me back and it was all I could think about”.
Rolande has huge passion for her work “I stay in business because I love what I do. I love working with my customers and clients. I work on my business when I have the flu. On nights and weekends when I’m not at the 9-5. I work on my business from my laptop, my phone and any other device I can get my hands on. My family has become a part of my business”.
Live Life Fully
Rolande has a wonderfully inspiring message “It’s important that I develop a life of my choosing and live it fully. Yes, I must still work a traditional job for a bit longer. It provides the income needed to sustain our stand of living while I pursue my dream. Some day soon Butter Angels will do that. Having my own business means I and call the shots and shape my work and passion around what is most important to me, my family and health”.
How would you describe your company?
Butter Angels Handcrafted Skin Care® is more than an African American Veteran Women owned business. It’s a sign symbol that the movement of self-identified women veteran owned businesses are alive, thriving and growing. Unlike male veterans, women veterans do not openly identify as veterans.
Veteran owned business
She says “generally, we leave the military and transition into civilianship without a peep. The folly in that is, we don’t get the help and attention we need. There aren’t enough programs that cater to our special needs. In recent years there have been more women veterans like myself who have openly identified as veteran and have used that platform to help other women veterans”.
Butter Angels Handcrafted Skin Care® utilizes its platform to not only serve African American Women Veteran Entrepreneurs with luxury vegan skin care, but to empower and inspire others to stand up and create their own dreams and live authentically and fully through self-identification. The benefits of being a veteran do not stop at the Department of Veteran Affairs or the Department of Defence. There is a large and beautiful support network on the other side of retirement. I am one in a movement of other self-identifying women who want to share that network.
What kinds of products or services do you offer?
Rolande specialises in handcrafted natural vegan skin care made with exotic ingredients from around the world. Her product line includes body butters, lotions bars, lip moisturizers and serums. She also provide wholesale and private label services as well as speaking appearances.
She has been busy upgrading the brand to speak more clearly and directly to her audience as well as provide a complete luxury experience. Her store, product, YouTube and podcast relaunch is March 1, 2018,so watch this space! The YouTube episodes are called Veteran Spotlights. The podcast is called Sister Soldier Entrepreneur.
She says “The Veteran Spotlight and Sister Soldier Entrepreneur provides us an opportunity to interview African American Women Veteran Entrepreneurs. Interviewees share their entrepreneur stories, products and services, a few pieces of advice and more to the audience from which they come from”.
What is the key problem that you are trying to solve? Who are your target customers?
Rolande wants to solve dry skin issues, by using exotic, highly effective and potent vegan ingredients from around the world. Coconut oil and olive oil are awesome ingredients, but she says “they tend to be over used”. She offers something different. Some of the ingredients used are Mafura Butter, Mongongo Oil and Rice Bran Oil.
Her mission is to enhance the beauty of African American Women Veteran with quality skin care, encouraging messaging, inspirational stories, and powerful imagery. She says “I acknowledge that their glow comes from within. I just want to enhance that glow”.
What plans do have for your business over the next 12 months?
Rolande plans to upgrade the Butter Angels LLC® brand by offering a complete luxury experience. She is developing digital products, such as an upgraded Veteran Resources List and eBook. Lastly she will increase the number of public appearance she offers as well as the wholesale and private label side of the house.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
She says “The challenge I face is funding and time. Currently I am bootstrapping the business, however, I hope to win pitch contests and grants in 2018 and 2019. I want a debt free life, so loans are not a consideration at this point. With more funding I can develop the business faster and devote my time to solely on the business and eventually part from my 9-5”. We hope that Female Founders in Beauty can help support you along the way!
What advice would you give to other female founders that you wish you had been given?
Rolande says “Maintain open communication with your spouse about your business. Your spouse will be there in the roller coaster of emotions that you experience as a business owner. They will reap the benefits and draw backs of your decisions. They will fill in for your short comings. It’s easier to get their corporation when they know you care about their concerns and their input. A healthy marriage is about teamwork and communication. That shouldn’t stop when you start your business”.
How do you ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
Roland has a great tip for how she continues to learn, she says “I’ve turned my car into a university by listening to audio books and podcasts. I also receive mentorship, attend webinars and network with other like-minded people”.
Is there anything else you want to share?
Butter Angels Handcrafted Skin Care® is Natural Ingredient Resource Center Certified, Leaping Bunny Certified, PETA Vegan Certified and a member of the Indie Business Network. Stay tuned to Butter Angels Handcrafted Skin Care makeover via our blog Sister Soldier Entrepreneur via our website and our social media outlets. We launch our website, product line, YouTube and Podcast features March 1st. You don’t want to miss it.
Business website and social media profile links.
Butter Angels Website: https://butterangels.com