My Founder Story – CeCe Olisa

My founder story isn’t very glamorous, but I’m going to tell it to you anyway.

Growing up as a plus size teenager, there were two challenges to my confidence:

1.) I couldn’t find cute clothes in my size.

2.) As an active teenager, walking to school, playing sports and taking dance classes, I found that a few hours into my day, hygiene issues would spring up.

I told you this story wasn’t glamorous, but let’s continue…

I’m proud to say that when it comes to my first challenge of finding cute clothes in my size, I grew up to become the person I needed when I was younger.

In 2008, I began working towards my mission to serve the 67% of American women who wear a size 14+.

Over the last 14 years, I’ve built a community by sharing my life in New York City on my lifestyle blog, sharing my message of “don’t wait on your weight” with millions in my “How to Build Self Confidence” Tedx Talk. Then I took my community to the next level as I found success bringing body positivity to the fashion industry as co-founder of theCURVYcon.

When we put theCURVYcon on hiatus due to COVID-19, I had a lot of time to think and dream about how I can make the women I serve feel more confident beyond the outfits we put on each day. I kept thinking about the things that challenged my confidence growing up as a plus size teenager.

I started to wonder if this is the time to commit my career to solving my second confidence challenge– hygiene and body care.

Growing up, my mother would lovingly say “CeCe, it doesn’t matter how cute you look, if you smell”.

It’s a funny adage, but it’s the truth. My mother’s good advice set me down my path to body positivity and embracing my body– I am curvy girl with full breasts and what I like to call “extra fabric” (aka, skin folds, fat rolls, a fupa, etc.). I have PCOS and the embarrassing excess body hair that comes with it. All of this effected my hygiene and my confidence as a teenager. I had a choice to make. I could choose to hate my body and ignore these things or embrace my body and learn how my body needed to be loved in order to prevent body odor and other hygiene issues.

I chose to love my body and learn how it needed to be loved.

From my teenage years to now, I’ve created and refined a meticulous daily, weekly and monthly body care routine to keep me feeling confident in my curvy body.

My body care routine does more for my confidence than my best outfits.

If I commute through New York City for an investor meeting with a cute outfit on, but I haven’t gone through the rituals, recipes and routines that address my specific body care needs as a woman with curves and “extra fabric”, I know that my hygiene issues will spring up.

If I walk into an investor meeting with hygiene issues, will I feel confident? Absolutely not.

But I had to wonder– do the women I serve see the connection between self confidence and body care like I do?

So, I got to work…

Over the last two years, I got to work on a research project. I took time to speak to my community in 1:1 interviews, small focus groups and invested in a deep study to analyze the most effective and helpful content across all of my online platforms.

The research was clear– yes, my community loves my fashion, but

My lessons on hygiene and body care have been the leading confidence building topics for my community over the last 14 years.

Learning that the way I want to serve my community and the way my community wants to be served are in alignment made my heart sing and gave me the confidence to move forward as founder and CEO of Body Positive Beauty Brand, Cocoa by CeCe.

If 67% of American women are curious about how to boost their self confidence with body care, I’m happy to show up and show you how.

First, by sharing my personal recipes, rituals and routines. If you’re new to my work, some community favorites are:

Then, by creating body care products that work together to help us all feel soft, fresh and confident all day. I’m so pleased to continue my mission of serving 67% of american women to feel more confident each day.

I love that I can bring body positivity to the beauty industry as founder and CEO of Body Positive Beauty Brand, Cocoa by CeCe the same way I brought body positivity to the fashion industry as co-founder of theCURVYcon.

I have a collection of products in the works, but as a small woman owned business, I need to take this step by step, one product at a time. For me, it made sense to release products in the order in which I use them. After my hydrating shower routine, the first step of my body care routine is to moisturize and soften my skin, so the first product I’ve launched is my skin softening Doll Butter, now available at cocoabycece.com

Curious about where the name Doll Butter comes from?

I sat down for an interview with House of Wise and explained the name of my debut product.

You can learn all about the inspiration for Doll Butter in this article: WITH DOLL BUTTER, CECE OLISA IS BUILDING A BODY-POSITIVE BEAUTY BRAND

Thank you for your support. I’m very optimism about the future!

CeCe xx

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