Laetitia Membray, Owner LaSeen Brand Management
Name: Laetitia Membrey, owner of LaSeen Brand Management
Location: Paris, France
Age: 33 years
I was employed in the ethnic beauty industry for 7 years. The last 2 years, I realised I could do a lot more, have a much bigger impact. I was meeting a lot of black entrepreneurs with great products, but with little knowledge on how to market those products. Every time I connected with them, I would give them a piece of advice. They were always extremely grateful and kept coming back. That’s when I started playing with the idea to venture out on my own and start my own business. I could share my knowledge and help black businesses and at the same time do my own thing.
It was the birth of my daughter that ultimately made me take the leap. She gave me the strength to move forward with something bigger and better. I quit my job at my last employer and started LaSeen Brand Management.
I focus specifically on black-owned brands, because that is where I can make the biggest difference. In France there is a lack of interest for the afro community. There are just not a lot of businesses that take an interest in this space. Having worked in the ethnic industry for years, I also knew there was a lack of structure. A shame really, because there are so many opportunities and there is a huge demand. Black women in France love to buy hair products, beauty products, skincare products, but the bigger retail shops don’t stock much, outside of a few big American brands. Yet, there are so many small cool local brands that people just don’t know about!
Living in Paris
I don’t live in central Paris, but in the suburbs of Paris. There is a big difference. The suburbs are colloquially called ‘the banlieue’, which translates to ‘ghetto’, but I like to call it ‘culturally diverse’.
I love living in the 93, that’s how we call it here. It is very rich, people are very clever. Most people here know the street’s way, not necessarily the educational way, but I feel you can learn so much here. The people here are very passionate, even when they are not allowed the same opportunities as other parts of Paris. You have to fight 3 times as hard to make it here, but it can feel so rewarding when you do. It only made sense to start my business here, because I am surrounded by so much inspiration.
Transitioning to Natural Hair
I had my last relaxer / Brazilian treatment in 2012. That is also when I moved to London. It was in London where I saw so many different natural hair products. I was like WOW, because in Paris, we did not have that much choice! I started buying and trying different things. At one point I was like, if I combine this cream with this oil my hair looks really good!
I also started to meet all sorts of people in the natural hair community in London, who were giving me great advice on how to look after my natural hair. I don’t think the afro community in London is bigger than in Paris perse, but I was definitely more in contact with them. Not long after, I decided to cut off all my damaged relaxed hair and embrace my natural hair.
Back in France, I used to go to work with straightened hair or my hair pulled back hiding all my curls. I would start my day with my hair really sleek in a bun, but by the end of the day my curls forced their way back to existence. I did not experience any of that in the UK. I went to my very first interview in London with natural hair and they were all cool with it. It is something I never had in France and it really helped me to enjoy and love my natural hair.
Colouring My Natural Hair Blonde
I recently dyed my curls blonde. I have 3c-4a type curls and for the longest time I was really afraid to damage them. This year I thought, it’s just hair. Let’s color them and have some fun. I know now how to properly take care of them. I have a good routine in place. If my natural hair does incur color damage, I’ll just cut them off and let them grow back.
My family was really surprised when they saw me with blonde hair. I am known to take good care of my natural hair. The schock on their face when the hardcore naturalista of the fam came through the door with blonde hair was priceless!
Natural Hair Routine
This last year, with running my own business, my natural hair routine has become a lot simpler. I shampoo my hair about every 10 days. Then I use a mask, because my hair really needs the hydratation. After that I use a leave-in cream and finish with a hair butter. At the moment I am using a natural hair brand from the West-Indies called Mango Butterfull. I use their milk and butter. Every 3-4 days I will refresh my curls with a bit of water and their products. It has been working really well.
I also wear a lot of low manipulation hairstyles to the office. Like a fun bun or a cute head wrap. It saves me time in the morning, because I am always rushing as a new #girlboss and at the same time my blonde hair doesn’t have to endure as much!
Skin Care Routine
I haven't really found my holy grail when it comes to skin care. I keep trying a lot of brands and products, but nothing really sticks. I have a pretty normal routine, I wash, exfoliate and hydrate with a rich cream or butter, because I have very dry skin. The harsh winters in Paris also do not really help. I still need to find that one product. Maybe I need to educate myself a bit more on the different steps I should take in my routine. Something that works for my skin, but also works with my hectic lifestyle.
I hate to admit it, but I am actually pretty bad when it comes to make up. It’s really bad, because for my work I speak to a lot of beauty influencers that are always in the know about the latest rages. Make-up has never been my strength, but when I have an appointment with a client I try my best haha. I always carry lipstick and a highlighter in my bag. I love highlighter because it makes your skin glow. Having said that, today I am not wearing any because I was rushing again.