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Article: Episode 25: Melabebe - Kelli Clifton Ogunsanya

Black women

Episode 25: Melabebe - Kelli Clifton Ogunsanya

While their immune system continues to develop, children are the one age group more vulnerable to the harmful effects of environmental pollutants and toxic chemicals. As parents want to do their best to protect their little ones, walking down the children’s care aisle of a local supermarket or pharmacy can be an overwhelming experience. However, for one mother, a lifestyle with products in tune with nature with your little one shouldn’t be difficult to find and is worth living.

Meet Kelli Clifton Ogunsanya, the founder and CEO of Melabebe, a plant-based skincare company for melanin-rich kids. Kelli founded Melabebe to fill an unmet need in the marketplace for children of color and demonstrate that moms can take career pivots and follow their entrepreneurial passions.

Quote from interviewee for call-out box:

“The way they marketed to kids of color or people of color always had a slightly negative connotation. It was always issue prone skin, challenging skin and that wasn't the label that I wanted to put on my kids.”

Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want to Miss:

  • The beauty industry is highly unregulated and can capitalize on uneducated consumers.
  • Because a child will use a product for a long time and in great quantity, choosing safe and effective products are important. 
  • Nostalgia and tradition shouldn't determine the products parents choose to put on their children.

Check Out These Highlights:

  • Why some companies create products with ingredients that are carcinogens (3:15)
  • Kelly shares the kind of ingredients that are specifically geared towards children versus for adults (6:51)
  • How Kelly balances being an entrepreneur, mom and having a full-time job (8:09)


  • “the skincare product industry, and especially for baby products, is north of $800 million per year.”
  • “We really focus on very clean, lightweight products that are not heavily concentrated and really will not provide or offer adverse reactions to young skin.”
  • “Self-awareness is so critical, and sometimes we don't even know what we're holding on to and what we're dealing with until we start to unpack it and motherhood is one of those things that will force you into seeing some of those things quicker than you might have otherwise.”