We had the good fortune of connecting with Lateshia Willis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lateshia, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I’ve always known that I was destined for greatness. I made a lot of mistakes that put me on unexpected paths, but I never let any of the negativity change my outlook on life. Starting my own business has provided me with the opportunity to live out my dream of being a successful business owner, and the opportunity to leave behind a legacy for my children. I love what I do, and the fact that I help others in the process makes the hard work worth it.
I still work full time, but I will eventually be able to give 100% to LatteShea.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I was a single mother of three sons by the age of 18. My life goal has always been to leave some type of legacy for my family. I was living in survival mode for so long that I had tunnel vision. I lost sight of my goals and began to feel hopeless. I was bouncing from temp job to temp job while trying to keep a roof over our heads.
When my career took off, it all happened suddenly. My sons were teenagers and I had more time to really start to focus on myself. I often felt bad for not having a degree, but I never let it stop me. I reached a level of success that none of the females in my immediate family had reached. I felt like I was on top of the world. I remember having lunch with one of the VP’s, and he started to ask me about college. I had taken courses, changed my major several times, but never completed college. I was instantly embarrassed when I told him I didn’t have a degree. He told me that he’d hire me over people he went to college with based off my work ethic and personality. While his words were kind, I am smart enough to know that it was not 100% true.
I knew that I needed to get myself in position to start working hard for my own business. I just had to find my niche. One day, in 2017, I made some shea-based body butter. My sons loved it! I knew that more people were using Shea, so I created my own line of body butter, LatteShea. LatteShea is an all natural skin care company. Our goal is to promote healthy skin and body. in the beginning sales were slow, and I found it difficult to manage working full time and starting up my own business.
I’ve worked very hard climbing the corporate ladder, and I enjoy the work I do. However, I’ve seen my own ideas taken, changed, and even completely ignored. I have a very creative mind and realize that I need to apply all the things I have learned towards building my own business.
Fast forward to 2020… A friend of one of my sons asked for some of my body butter. She said the steroids and creams she got from her Doctor, were not working on her Eczema patches. I knew then that I needed to really focus on my business. Working from home during the pandemic was a blessing.
I’ve added more products to my line and will be adding another “branch” to LatteShea. There are so many others selling the same products, but there is room for us all. My brand will always focus on quality over quanitity. I don’t dilute my products with cheap oils, or cut corners using the cheapest ingredients. When you use LatteShea, you know you’re getting top notch skin care.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m a homebody, but I do enjoy going out for a great meal and drinks in the City. If I have a week long visitor, this would be our itinerary:
– Spend a morning near the old Braves Stadium. Start with Doughnuts from Hero Doughnuts and Buns. The pistachio and strawverry doughnuts are my faves! Spend the afternoon walking off those doughnuts at the Beltline. There are so many cute little places to grab lunch and just enjoy different views of the city.
-Downtown Decatur is another nice area to grab a bite to eat. Leon’s has great food options and beverages. You can’t go wrong grabbing a quick bite from Victory Sandwich Bar.
-North Georgia is where I’d spend a lot of time. I enjoy hiking, and the views are amazing. There are so many options to view waterfalls and the Georgia mountains.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I love my family! They’ve been so supportive of LatteShea. I’m always looking to expand my brand, and I must thank them for listening to my hyper business presentations. My ideas are constantly flowing. It’s always a blessing to have people in my corner supporting my vision.
I do wish my Grandmother was here to see me now. I was always around her. She was super hard on me…sometimes to hard. But there are some things she taught me that have allowed me to truly excel in the business world.