BET.com’s THE GLAM GAP is a weekly video series spotlighting Black entrepreneurs and influencers in the beauty, fashion and lifestyle space.
There are very few Black women on Wall Street alone, let alone those who successfully transition careers into becoming the CEO of cosmetics companies. But if the life of Aishetu “Aisha” Dozie, former finance powerhouse, has proven anything, it’s that when she puts her mind to something, it gets done.
“I was in my last role in investment banking, and it really hit home for me about the definition of success,” Dozie tells BET from her home in California. “I was a woman in a really senior position, running investment banking for the entire West Africa region, I was on a bunch of boards, you know, the kind of stuff that when you write on a piece of paper seems really successful.”
But even with the lofty title, two decades of financial success, and international notoriety, Dozie was still left feeling unsatisfied. So she decided to stop “living for the resume” and instead, prioritize her mental health and her family. The wife and mother of three boys made the bold plunge into beauty launching Bossy Cosmetics in March 2019. A decision that she said stemmed from the power she felt when wearing a bold lipstick color.
“I didn't quite know that I wanted to go into beauty, but I knew I wanted to leave investment banking and I just looked at beauty very personally,” she says. “Throughout my journey, wearing makeup has always kind of been my war paint. Like when you're getting ready to go into battle you put on your clothes, that’s your battle gear, and you get your war paint going. And so I put on a red lip when I want to be bold, I have different colors and different ways I want to look to sort of help me be prepared when I go into those meetings with a whole bunch of guys.”
And her vision for Bossy Cosmetics took off when the company launched in 2019. The vegan, Leaping Bunny-certified brand has become a massive hit with beloved shades, formulas, and colors that were crafted specifically with Black women in mind.
“What’s great about Bossy Cosmetics, and the lipsticks, is that of course the names are so fun,” she says of the lippies which boast names like Vixen, Bombshell and Flirt. “Then, the formulas are fantastic. I really wanted Bossy cosmetics to be a home for working women to feel like they were seen, and I knew that we had to start with a range that really could encapsulate the whole range of what women who show up in the workplace. I also wanted it to cater to how we show up in the world, what we look like, and have every single type of color in between. I wanted everybody to at least find a few colors that worked for them.”
But just as Dozie’s impetus to launch the brand came from more than just lipstick, so is the brand’s mission, which aims to empower, uplift, and support.
“Our initial insights into creating Bossy Cosmetics were to really think about igniting confidence in ambitious, working women around the world through high-quality, beautiful cosmetic products and through topical content,” she says. “We do a lot of profiling of successful entrepreneurs and business women, and we also assist through essential services. Whether it be work, styling tips, makeup tips, etc. we provide it all. Those are the kind of the three prongs of our strategy: product, content and services.”
But how does she juggle not one, but three demanding roles, especially in the midst of pandemic? The answer for Dozie is simple: she comes first.
“I'm number one,” she says. “And when I first became a mom, it was the reverse. My kids were number one, my family was number one. And then I came second. But I quickly crumbled after a few years of trying to do that. So now I put myself first, I do check-ins with myself, I meditate a lot, I pray a lot and I just try to stay calm. Then, I make sure that my kids are okay and they're pretty easy to satisfy, right? You've got to feed them, you've got to clothe them and just kind of make sure they're doing the right things with respect to friends and school and that. Once I’ve done that, I spend the rest of the time working, all day and at night. My supply chain is global, my packaging providers are in China, my formulation lab is in Italy, my PR team is in the United States. I've got a whole global team and so when the boys are out in school or wherever they are, whatever they're doing, I use those moments to work.”
Follow Aishetu on Instagram @Aishetu and visit bossybeauty.com to shop her products.
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