Youngest CEO of a Black-Owned Business Partners with Walmart

Lily Adeleye, the six-year-old founder of Lily Frilly, has lined up distribution of her label in more than 1,000 stores. The company focused on hair bows when it started three years ago, but other accessories and apparel have since been added. Lily’s creative ideas turned into a business opportunity after showing some of her designs to her mother’s social media followers.

Adeleye is now the youngest chief executive officer of a Black-owned brand following Friday’s launch at Walmart, with products offered through the retailer. Four different designs of her hair bows are being sold. Walmart is the second major retailer that it has made access to for distribution. Last year Lily Frilly partnered with Target to sell her products. Lily and her hopes that the Walmart Inc. deal will inspire more girl-run start-ups in the future.

The mother of Lily Adeleye is the beauty and lifestyle entrepreneur Courtney Adeleye, who built The Mane Choice. It is a multimillion-dollar hair care business. A registered nurse by profession and a University of Michigan graduate, the Detroit-born founder develop natural hair care products through a science-based approach. The variety of offerings are made suitable for all ethnicities and has generated more than $100 million in sales in the past years.

Lily is inspired by business overall. I have three kids, and she is the only one who has her own company. She is constantly creating logos and asking to bring new items to market. I don’t know if it’s genetic or that something is just in her. The plan is to go down as many aisles as we can, with bags and shoes on her daughter’s to-do list,” said Courtney Adeleye.

The projected volume for Lily Frilly this year is expected to be nearly $2 million. The main product line is hair bows and accessories, which account for 70 percent of the volume, and the remaining 30 percent comprises apparel. Seeing little girls happy is the best part of Lily’s entrepreneurial adventure. On the other hand, activations can be a little difficult for the young CEO due to several picture-taking sessions and smiling when she does not feel her best self, her mother said.