CHERYL FOLAND OF LILAH B.
Posted on July 18 2018
This week we're chatting with lilah b. founder Cheryl Foland on the inspiration behind the brand, beauty industry trends, and her personal beauty routine. Learn where the name lilah b. comes from, just who inspired the sleek, fluid design of their DivineDuo™ compact, and Cheryl's thoughts on minimalist beauty.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I was born and raised on the East Coast in Connecticut; the eldest of four children in a loud, boisterous Italian family. Following university, I landed in Manhattan where I worked in finance for two decades before launching lilah b. I was that fast-talking, overachieving, Type A, eldest child. I ran at a fast pace for many years before moving to California for a new career role where my life changed dramatically and I adopted a healthier, minimalistic lifestyle. I landed in the beauty industry during my stint in private equity whilst simultaneously discovering my new-found philosophy. I learned a ton about the beauty industry and, in particular, the white space of luxurious and clean, simple beauty. Why must color cosmetics and the beauty routine be so complicated? And why not offer simpler, cleaner formulations? And so, lilah b. was born!
The idea of a multi-use minimalist product is all the rage now, given the beauty and fashion industries' renewed obsession with French minimalist style. When, where, and how was the inception of lilah B? What inspired the name lilah b?
My East-to-West-coast move and my insight into the beauty industry for more than a decade inspired the creation of a luxury, minimalistic clean line that the modern day woman was missing. Lilah is my 90-lb. Rhodesian Ridgeback. I adopted her upon my move to California and she was truly part of my turning point to a healthier lifestyle. Lilah is part of our team and spends her days at the lilah b. offices, greeting visitors or basking in the sun.
Your brand is inspired by a Californian laid-back lifestyle but made in Milan, Italy. What prompted Italian production?
After much diligence and a decade in the industry, it was clear that the Italian labs and chemists were the most innovative when it came to luxury formulations, in line with their pursuit of perfection in creating luxurious goods in general. I challenged the best of the best to create multi-purpose products that truly performed each task we claimed they would and to ensure performance and long wear while taking out the bad stuff.
What inspired the now-recognizable lilah b. packaging? It reminds us of Japanese rock gardens – there's something very zen about it. Did you know right off the bat that you wanted a swivel compact?
Being a luxury consumer myself for many years, I knew what I DIDN’T want was a cheap component that oftentimes would break or look horrible in your bag after only a few weeks. I wanted a complete, 360º sensory experience, which not only included fabulous formulations but a luxurious, sophisticated compact; wonderful and soothing to the touch. Women would feel proud to pull out of their bag and never want to put down! The custom design of the stone-like compact was initially inspired by the fluid designs of Elsa Perretti of Tiffany & Co. whom I have admired [from when I was] a teenager.
You've been featured in countless magazines and blogs from Vogue to Byrdie to InStyle. When did you know that lilah b. was something special?
I am clearly biased, but I felt lilah b. was something special from the start, even before we had a product complete. I spent countless hours on every aspect of each product, from the package to the formulation to the overall customer experience upon receiving their package. We are truly unique in the luxury, clean beauty space. It’s been a labor of love; hearing the feedback from industry experts and editors makes me feel like I’ve done it right.
There seem to be two concurrent movements in makeup: the minimalist, skin-focused trend à la Glossier and the Instagram-inspired Kardashian-esque movement that features a more heavy-handed approach: a rich base, faux lashes, the works. Where does lilah b. fall on the spectrum in its appeal, and do you envision one trend surpassing the other?
I believe that the health and wellness trend overall is a megatrend that will never go away. The younger generations are growing up much more aware of what products they are using, what is in them, and why, so the focus on wellness will continue to build. What lilah b. encompasses beyond just healthier, clean formulations is the minimalistic, simpler philosophy: a mindset that adds to wellness. The ability to declutter and simplify your routine encourages thoughtful purchasing, unlike most brands that encourage the beauty consumer to purchase more. We truly believe that ‘with less, you are more’ and that is what sets us apart and gives us true vitality.
Many brands are now understanding the demand for cruelty-free/vegan products and are pivoting their formulations and testing to that end. lilah b. has been cruelty-free, vegan, and non-toxic from its very inception. Why do you think there is such a large movement now and how important is it for brands, as they grow, to remain true to this standard?
There is so much more transparency now that consumers are insisting upon it, so brands need to react in order to sustain their customers. We definitely came out of the gate with our belief of cleaner formulations without compromising performance, so it's easy for us to stay true to who we are and what we stand for. It will be interesting to see how other brands maneuver in this very interesting time of greater focus on what's in the products they offer.
What are your favorite products/colors in the range and why?
My favorite go-tos are our Divine Duo™ Lip & Cheek in b. fearless along with our Bronzed Beauty™ Bronzer Duo - I wear them almost every day. These two products offer many products in one so I have my complete look in just two: b.fearless for my lips and cheeks, bronzer for an all-over sun-kissed glow and quick application on the eyelids. Whether heading to the office or off on a plane, I don't leave my house without my Aglow™ Face Mist – I couldn’t survive without it. So, 1-2-3 and done!
Do you have a daily AM/PM ritual you like to follow?
I usually start my day with a trail run with Lilah and my husband (if we don’t awake to a foggy Sausalito morning!) or a Bikram yoga class followed by a cup of coffee and peruse through my overnight emails. I get into the office fairly early to jumpstart the day so I can focus on my team when they arrive. As far as beauty routine goes, mine couldn’t be easier: a soap for cleansing, an eye cream and moisturizer, and of course, my two or three lilah b. must-haves and off I go! I’m pretty low maintenance and truly practice “less is more”.
If there was one thing you wish everyone knew about lilah b. what would it be?
Who the brand is named after! It’s the first question I get in any founder appearances or training!
Want to check out the best in minimalist beauty?