Episode 208: Shontay Lundy, Founder and CEO of Black Girl Sunscreen
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When she decided to move to LA, Shontay Lundy had no idea of where she was headed next. Cue 4 months of hiking, reflecting, and dreaming — a transformative period that birthed the idea for her life-changing brand, Black Girl Sunscreen. From not knowing where she would live, to becoming the creator and founder of her own brand, you never know where that next big risk will take you!

Dan Hodgdon
Esperanza RosenbaumHi, Molly.
Molly D’AmatoHi, Esperanza. How are you doing?
Esperanza RosenbaumI’m doing all right. How are you?
Molly D’AmatoI am also doing all right.
Esperanza RosenbaumGreat. Did you do anything fun this weekend?
Molly D’AmatoI actually didn’t, because I have a friend that’s staying with me right now, and then right when she leaves, my parents are coming to visit. So it was like, I knew my whole week was gonna be filled with like, socializing and no alone time. So this past weekend, I just literally stayed inside and was just like, trying to be zen and really just relax, because I knew I would just get—I was gonna be so busy this week. What about you?
Esperanza RosenbaumTotally. Yeah. I mean, I wouldn’t say my weekend was necessarily super fun, but I do feel like it was really productive. I got my hair braided, so.
Molly D’AmatoOh my god, yes! I was looking at it. It looks so cute.
Esperanza RosenbaumYeah. Thank you. I got—
Molly D’AmatoI love the—is it purple?
Esperanza RosenbaumIt’s like pink and purple beads into—yeah.
Molly D’AmatoOh my gosh.
Esperanza RosenbaumI’m really excited about it. But—
Molly D’AmatoI love them.
Esperanza RosenbaumThank you. Thank you. But my head has definitely been hurting a little bit because of that.
Molly D’AmatoOh, really?
Esperanza RosenbaumYeah. And then, what else did I do this weekend? I mean, I went to the gym and, you know, went crazy at the gym. And then I also started taking Japanese classes with my wife, so.
Molly D’AmatoOh my goodness, that’s so cool.
Esperanza RosenbaumYeah.
Molly D’AmatoThat’s so fun. How has it been going?
Esperanza RosenbaumGood, good. Both of us already speak a little bit. I took it in college.
Molly D’AmatoOh, that’s so cool.
Esperanza RosenbaumYeah. And my wife is half-Japanese, so she speaks a little bit too.
Molly D’AmatoNo way.
Esperanza RosenbaumYeah. But we’re gonna be seeing her family again soon, and we just really wanted to be able to talk to them in Japanese, so.
Molly D’AmatoThat’s so awesome. Oh my gosh. I wish I could speak so many languages. That’s my dream. My dream superpower is just to be able to speak every language.
Esperanza RosenbaumTotally. Totally.
Molly D’AmatoWell, this week, we have Shontay Lundy on the podcast. I’m very excited. She is such a cool person. And I feel like we have supported Black-owned businesses before at BBCA, and we got some stuff from Black Girl Sunscreen. So, I’ve been dying to hear from her and meet her. So, it was so cool to hear from her.
Esperanza RosenbaumYeah, absolutely. I feel like Shontay was such a unique guest for us.
Molly D’AmatoYeah.
Esperanza RosenbaumI feel like the conversation that her and Jodi had, it had a very different flow from the kinds of conversations that Jodi usually has. But I think that’s because Shontay is such a unique individual, you know?
Molly D’AmatoYeah. And she really wanted to learn from Jodi. And she was asking Jodi questions, which I thought was really cool.
Esperanza RosenbaumTotally. It was really fun being behind the scenes. I feel like Shontay really kept me on my toes as the director.
Molly D’AmatoYeah.
Esperanza RosenbaumBecause I could never tell, when was she gonna speak and when was she gonna stop? So, switching between the two of them was like, oh my god, this conversation is so dynamic, you know?
Molly D’AmatoYeah. I loved it.
Esperanza RosenbaumYeah. So, I think we should get into the episode.
Molly D’AmatoYeah, let’s do it.
Esperanza RosenbaumAs we would say in Japanese, いきましょう.
Molly D’AmatoOh my gosh, I love that!
Jodi KatzI am so excited to be here for our fifth season of Where Brains Meet Beauty podcast. And that’s just me looking down to make sure I actually hit the record button, which I did. So, this is our episode featuring Shontay Lundy. She is the creator and founder of Black Girl sunscreen. Hi, Shontay.
Shontay LundyHi, Jodi. How are you?
Jodi KatzWelcome to Where Brains Meet Beauty.
Shontay LundyThank you for having me.
Jodi KatzSo, this is our first time ever meeting. And I told you in the pre-show that my team literally demanded that I get you on this show. So, I’m really glad that we could make this happen.
Shontay LundyWell, thank your team for recommending me. I appreciate it.
Jodi KatzYou know, in the world of where my team sits, you’re sort of this like, skincare celebrity. So, I’m wondering if you need that vibe and energy many times a day in your work.
Shontay LundyDo I need the vibe and energy? I think it’s kind of like, once you’re around someone, the energy might come down a little bit, so it doesn’t feel like it. But I think at first, maybe, they’re like, “Oh my gosh, I’m so excited to interview with you. I’m so excited to be at headquarters.” So I think initially, that’s the vibe and energy, but then it kind of like—it tapers down. Like, “Oh, it’s just so-and-so.”
Jodi KatzWell, I mean, isn’t that life, right? When I was younger in my career, I really—and it sounds so ridiculous to say out loud—I really thought CEOs like, didn’t go to the food store, you know? I just didn’t think that they were ever anything like me. And now that my friends run businesses, I realize that, yeah, we all go to the food store. We all go to CVS. But there is this sort of—this idea in our heads of who people are until we meet them.
Shontay LundyYeah. This is true. I actually don’t go to the supermarket, though. I get everything delivered. Everything.
Jodi KatzBut you order your own food, I guess, right?
Shontay LundyIt depends.
Jodi KatzOkay. Well, maybe you’re just like what I have always imagined in my 20s, right? Like, head of a business. Well, do you go into CVS to pick up things ever?
Shontay LundyI will go into the stores that Black Girl Sunscreen’s distributed in. So, for example, if we are in Target, Ulta, whatever, I will go see the product on display. But in terms of actually shopping. I will fill that. Somebody will order it. Mm-hmm.
Jodi KatzOkay. Well, then you are everything that I ever imagined, Shontay, I have to say.
Shontay LundyBut what I do order, what I do order is my own clothes, for the most part. Yeah.
Jodi KatzOkay. Well, that’s interesting. We can get on a whole tangent here. I actually don’t like shopping for clothes at all. So, I would choose not to do it if I could. But I wish I had a passion for it. I used to have a passion for it. It just faded away.

But anyway, let’s talk about being an entrepreneur in the beauty industry. This is a career journey show, and my favorite thing to do is go back in time, Shontay, and think about your 10-year-old self. What did you want to be when you grow up?
Shontay LundyI wanted to be one of three things. The first thing was the President of the United States. The second thing was a violinist. And then the third thing was a racecar driver. All three of those things are very different. But when I think about it right now, I think I would be great at all of them.
Jodi KatzOkay. So, Why racecar driving?
Shontay LundyOh. I love to drive. I can jump in any car, not even change the mirrors or the seat, and feel really comfortable. I have the need for speed, so I like sport cars. I just—I love it. It gives me a little adrenaline rush, and it’s fun.
Jodi KatzI ask because my daughter, who’s now 11, I think when she was like nine, she said she wanted to be a racecar driver. I didn’t know what to make of it. Maybe she has a need for speed. I don’t know.
Shontay LundyI was in Paris, and they had a Lamborghini just kind of like, rent me. And they take you through this tunnel. And he’s like, “Okay, you can floor it.” And I was like—I floored it so hard, he’s like, “Settle down, settle down.” But it felt like I was so free. And maybe that’s what it is. It’s about like, you just get this moment of, I’m doing it, so.
Jodi KatzI am so the opposite. I have no need for speed. I’m wondering, are you a risk taker? Is that sort of your natural state?
Shontay LundyMy entire life.
Jodi KatzOkay. So let’s talk about that. Because being on an entrepreneurial journey, you literally take risks every day. And I walked into my entrepreneur journey not a risk-taker, not thinking that I’m a risk-taker, and realizing, oh, I guess I take risks. I just didn’t realize it. So, when did this risk-taking, other than wanting to be a racecar driver, how did that show up for you in your career?
Shontay LundyYou know, now that I think about it, probably when I went off to college. I think it’s a risk when you leave your home, and you decide, “Hey, I’m never coming back.” Which is a different way of living today, right, where kids that are 17, 18, or even 21 are going back home after college. I did not. After college, I drove my car down to South Florida to Miami, and I was entering a masters program and looking for a part-time job and an apartment. And that was a risk that I took. I knew I was going to school, but I didn’t know where I was gonna live. I didn’t know how things were gonna turn out.

I was in corporate America for 13 years down in South Florida, but I transitioned out of my job and drove across the country to Los Angeles, where I currently reside. No place to live, no plan. That was another risk. So, risks have come up throughout my life without me even thinking that it was a risk. It was just me making a big decision and then deciding, “Okay, well, I don’t know what’s gonna happen, but it’s always gonna work out.” And that’s my mind-frame, that whatever happens, it will work out.
Jodi KatzWell, that’s so interesting. And, you know, if were sitting with a business coach right now, they would say to you, “Well, Shontay, those weren’t risks to you. It doesn’t sound like you even thought that there was even any counter to it working out, right? It doesn’t sound like you had self-doubt.” Did you have self-doubt?
Shontay LundyNo. But I also don’t have that much self-doubt, I guess, right? Because I think that, one way or another, it will work out, whether it—there’s pros and cons, right? Like, it might not be favorable, but the day ends, and then there’s a new day tomorrow. So, it’s a risk in my mind because not everybody is willing to do that. Not everybody will say, “Hey, I’m not gonna—I’m gonna just drive my car to whatever state and not have a place to live.” That’s a risk for many people. It’s not really stable, either, right? Not knowing where your money’s gonna come from. That’s a risk.
Jodi KatzRight. You know, Shontay, it’s so interesting, because this podcast is like free therapy for me. And I really feel like the universe brings me the guests the day I need to hear these messages. So, I am historically living in self-doubt with the shadow man following me around, this shadow of financial insecurity just chasing after me. And it is so fascinating for me to talk to somebody who moved through the world in these very big situations, right? This isn’t like, should I take this class or this class? This is like, let me pick up my life and move several times. It’s so fascinating for me to hear someone talk about moving through the world without that doubt. It’s almost like you’re speaking another language, because I just never was able to do that.
Shontay LundyYou now, and Jodi, I’m willing to do it again, and again and again to get experience in different environments, to get experience to different folks. I will say that living here in Los Angeles has opened up a network of individuals that I didn’t really have access to living in South Florida, right? So, for me, it’s always about, what’s going to elevate my life? And can I do it? Do I want to do it?

Another risk that I’ll take is going on vacation myself. And I know many people that are like, “Okay, isn’t that kind of boring? Aren’t you afraid something’s going to happen?” But for me, I feel at peace. I feel like, “Hey, I’m on my own timeline. I’m on my own schedule. I do what I want to do. And I’m not afraid.” But it’s a risk, because something can happen as a solo traveler. So, I don’t know. I feel like there are things that I have to muster up the courage for. Like, even having this conversation. Sometimes, you know, you have to pump yourself up. But for these bigger decisions in my life, I feel a little fearless.
Jodi KatzI’m very inspired. And literally, you have no idea how much I needed to hear this message today. I had this, imagine a green button in front of me, and I needed to press—I wanted to press it, right? I wanted to say yes to it, right? I want to say yes to this big idea and moving closer to my dreams. But all the old stuff was getting on me, right? I was having these kind of weird dreams and waking up cranky because all this old self-doubt was filling in my head space and my energy. But my joy was saying, “Go for it, Jodi. This is the way to the dream.” So, I did press the green button. But I had to—and this is a proverbial green button. But I had to talk myself into it, right? So, it’s so magical for me to listen to somebody who moves through the world without that shadow of self-doubt.

And of course, some things go the way you want; some things don’t. But it’s this adventure that’s so important, right? This is living.
Shontay Lundy100%, right? Because we’re only here one time. So, hopefully, we can—most people think you’re here one time, right? I think that we’re here one time. So, how are you gonna do it, that time that you are here? Are you doing something that’s fulfilling? Are you doing something that is giving you joy? And that’s how I think about my daily life. Not even just the impact that I’m having, but my day-to-day. Am I happy about what I’m doing, who I’m talking to, what I look like? I mean, all of it.
Jodi KatzWell, let’s go back to corporate America, on topic of “Am I happy?”. So, when you drove south, you found a job, what was your dream or your goal for that time in your life? What did you channel in that moment?
Shontay LundyGetting a full-time job with benefits. And it’s hard, right, especially if you go into a four-year college degree and not knowing what you want. My major was elementary education for the first two years, and then I switched to business economics. And with business, coming out with a business degree was so broad, so I could’ve really applied for anywhere. And I was running into a wall because I didn’t have the experience. I had the education, but I didn’t have the hands-on experience. So, I just wanted to get on with a company that was going to offer me somewhat of a reasonable salary, as well as benefits.

And I didn’t really understand the concept of work your way up. And that’s what this company taught me. It was about pay your dues, work extremely hard, be better than anyone else, sell better than anyone else, provide great customer service like no other, as if you were the customer. And your success will come. And that’s how my corporate has lended a hand to where I am today, because I think that creating a product like Black Girl Sunscreen is vastly different than operating a business.
Jodi KatzSo, when you were at this first job, were there people there who were actually mentoring you and coaching you in these skills, or did you just sort of have to learn this through osmosis?
Shontay LundyIt was extremely competitive. So, you would find some people that were authentic and some people that were low-key kind of fake. And you kind of had to figure out who was legit, but really focus on yourself. So, in that space, I didn’t really have mentorship until I got to a certain level, and they became more of my peers than a mentor, and we were kind of riding the wave together.
Jodi KatzWhen I had my first job out of college, I was so—what’s the right word—bratty, I guess? I thought I was so much smarter than these people who had been in advertising 30 years, right? And they should be listening to me. And I was the lowest on the totem pole. I was making copies of videos. That was my job. But I had this inflated sense of self, with the self-doubt. You could just imagine what I was like back then.

So, moving through life being a bulldozer, thinking that I know better than everybody else, but secretly being full of doubt and really motivated by fear. It’s so fascinating for me to hear you talk about this first job for you in corporate America, where you were like, looking around you like, you know, I guess positioning yourself for growth and success. Did you find a lot of young people who were able to see what you were seeing and take advantage of it?
Shontay LundyYes. But it was a question of whether they took advantage or not, right?
Jodi KatzMm-hmm.
Shontay LundyBecause not everyone—some people are okay with where they’re at, right? Not everybody is a founder, creator, CEO, or even in middle management. And that’s okay with them. So, for the ones that understood what it took to get to the top and wanted to make six figures or whatever their goal was, they definitely were on, like, “Listen. I’m not actually gonna give you the resource, because you’re my competitor, and you’re gonna be in that room, in the conversation for a promotion.”
Jodi KatzYou know, Shontay, I remember seeing this guy, he’ll remain nameless, who just had that ambition. It was like you could see it, you could smell it. He wanted to be the CEO of this company someday. He was my age, but in his early 20s. But you can just see it. And I used to watch him, because my desk was near the aisle, the hallway, walk back and forth, chasing after whoever was the most senior person on his account. And I’d be like, look at him. He’s following around so-and-so. But now I look back, I’m like, of course he was doing that, because that was the path, right? Literally walk in their shoes. Follow their steps. And now, of course, he is the CEO of this global giant corporation, right? He just followed—he literally followed the leader, right?

And it’s fascinating to me to talk to you and watch someone like him. They figured it out. He figured it out, and you figured it out. And there are so many more people, I think, like me that were just clueless and stuck in their own head. So, I think that a lot of young people can do this, right? They can say, “I want to learn here. I want to take this ambition and do something productive with it. But I have to actually follow the leader. I have to see how they’re doing it. I have to learn from them.”
Shontay LundyYeah. I mean, there’s a couple things that I think of when you say that. So, I am so grateful for the opportunity that I was given in that corporate space, because again, it’s lended me a hand to create this foundation and this structure that I have here at Black Girl Sunscreen, understanding how departments should commingle, should collaborate; understanding what even departments should do, knowing how to maybe structure a sales team, and how to write goals and implement them. What is company culture? What’s not? How to watch out for HR issues, right?

But at the same time, coming out of that corporate space, because I think that corporation—some corporations, big ones—actually try to mold the individual to how they want them to be. Now, here at Black Girl Sunscreen, I have blossomed into Shontay. And I’m not in this space or in four walls where someone is telling me like, “Hey, you have to wear pantyhose with your skirt, because this is how our company—this is our dress code, and then this is how we want you to be perceived. It’s professional. Hey, you have to use this vernacular because this is how our company—this is how we speak, and this is how we want you to be viewed.” So, transitioning out has allowed me to really step into my own. I think it’s great to have people to look up to, but still remain yourself.
Jodi KatzYes. I mean, that’s such an important point. My whole entrepreneurial journey has been because I wanted to be me, right? And I didn’t even know the full extent of who I was back then. It’s been 15 years of running my own business. So, 15 years ago, I just wanted to actually have a job where I could be the mom I wanted to be, because I wasn’t seeing that around me. Now, I’m like, I’m weird, you know? And that’s okay. And the culture of my business invites that in and nurtures it in other people, and it creates ROI for our clients. So, it’s wonderful.

But I couldn’t actually be me if I followed what every other agency owner was doing 15 years ago, which was all about, in my interpretation of it, having fancy furniture. That’s how I summarize it. If you were a cool agency, you had fancy furniture in the lobby and in the offices. And I couldn’t afford fancy furniture, so I was at a WeWork, right? And that’s the best I could do. That was a big deal, you know, back then. So, but now I make—I used to say, “We’re not cool. My agency, we’re weird. We’re not cool.” And now I feel like we made our own coolness.
Shontay LundySo, I really want to understand, what is weird to you? Like, what does that mean?
Jodi KatzYeah, that’s a great question. I think growing up in this industry in New York, it was all about the fancy photographers, and fashion, and a lot of BS, like plenty of BS, and spending clients’ money frivolously, and wearing certain labels of clothes, and things that I just wasn’t interested in, and the fancy furniture. So, that was cool.

And weird is me being very vulnerable. I love being vulnerable, and I feel like the most myself when I’m being truly honest with the world, even if it’s not a favorable theme. Talking about the fear of financial insecurity, which is so real for entrepreneurs. But I feel like people really don’t want to talk about it. But it’s like, the worst feeling, being vulnerable about how hard it is to reach your goals and your dreams, and the crying that I’ve had and all that stuff. So, that is really actually weird in this agency world that I grew up in. But it’s served me well now that I actually embrace it.
Shontay LundyGot it. Yeah, I don’t think you’re weird. I think it’s pretty normal.
Jodi KatzWell, maybe now it’s normal. But I think a lot of these old rules, thankfully, this entrepreneurial—the big entrepreneurial question that’s happened in the past 10 years in our industry has changed so much, right? I used to go to these events in our industry, and I was like the outsider. And there was the clique from this corporation, the clique from that corporation, right? And I never worked at these big companies. I didn’t have friends in those companies. I literally would stand by myself at these events and look and see like, how can I introduce myself to somebody when they’re all in a clique? You can’t. You actually—I’ve googled this. You can’t go to an event and enter a group of six or eight people and introduce yourself. It’s not possible. You have to look for the other person standing alone.

And that’s what I did. And I had to work up the courage to do it. Literally take a deep breath before I walked into these rooms and say, “I have to go find someone who’s alone.” And I would just go up to them and introduce myself. But I would have tingles in my arms because it was so nerve-wracking, right? So, that’s another reason why it felt, I guess, weird, right? It wasn’t part of the culture of the industry.
Shontay LundyI ask myself this question daily. Does it move the needle to have—to be invited to certain events, and to be friends with certain people? Or do I keep my head down, work, and accomplish my goals? Does that make me weird? I’m still trying to figure it out.
Jodi KatzI don’t think it makes you weird. But it’s saying, “I’m not willing to just play the game for the sake of playing the game,” right? Because that’s what happens. People go to be seen. Literally, people buy tickets to these really expensive events just to be there, just to have a physical presence so people can say, “So-and-so was there.” And for some people, I guess if you’re in sales, there probably is a value to that. You have to stay top of mind. And other places, it might not be relevant. But there is a game that’s literally being rewritten, you know? And then maybe it’s going to be a lot of different games. But there used to be only one, right? When I was 20, there was one game in this industry.

And maybe by you saying, “Well, no, I’m actually going to curate and edit how I spend my time to what’s going to serve me best,” then you’re writing the rules of a new game. And there’s going to be a lot of people who are going to be looking towards you saying, “I want to do it that way,” because this way isn’t serving me. I actually used to say to my business coach, “Go and network.” I’m like, “I just want to go home and put my PJs on and watch
The Real Housewives. This is all I want to be doing.” Right? So, I found a way to do this and still watch The Real Housewives in my PJs.
Shontay LundyThat’s great. Yeah. I just think about the way that, I guess, suits me, right? And then the business, the livelihood of the 16 individuals that are passionate about Black Girl Sunscreen. That’s the best way for me.
Jodi KatzI love that. Well, let’s talk about—I want to hear about your breakaway from corporate America, right? Because you told me you got back in the car and you drove to LA. What was that moment or that period in time where you said, “I’m ready for something new”?
Shontay LundyWhere I felt like—when I felt like I was just tapped out in that space. And you get that feeling. Sometimes you can kind of march through it, and then sometimes it’s just like, okay, today’s the last day. And I had my last day. And I was in my loft apartment, and I said, “Okay, so what’s next?” And it’s time to go to Los Angeles. I packed my car and put my bulldog in the front seat, and it took us three days to get to the West Coast. Stayed with a friend for two weeks and found an apartment. And I gave myself only the two weeks to stay with her because I didn’t want to feel like I was a burden. And it was important that I stayed on the path of, this is what I need to do.

And that was the moment where I felt like, all right, it’s LA. There’s nothing else that can be done here in South Florida. And I just wanted to feel free. I wanted to get off of this structured schedule, right, going from kindergarten to grad school, 18 years of school, and then another 12 years in the corporate space, it was all of my life that I knew that was answering to someone and to being on an early-ass schedule, from like 6:00 AM till 10:00 at night. I was in extracurricular activities in high school and college. In the corporate space, I sat on different organizations, and it always took up more than the normal coursework. So, for me to come to the West Coast, it just felt infuriating. I had no job. I had no plan. I just did yoga and hiked every day for four months.
Jodi KatzIt sounds like a dream. I’m curious, did you ever have that shadow of financial insecurity following you during that time period?
Shontay LundyNo. Because I knew that I would have to enter the workforce again. But it does feel good just to kind of do nothing and to dream. And I say dream because a dream in my mind doesn’t always come true. It’s okay for it just to be idle and just to be a thought, right? And that’s what I was doing during those four months. And during the four months, I came up with Black Girl Sunscreen, but actually implemented it. So, that’s no longer a dream to me, right?

But that time off gave me the ability to even think of something, right? Because when I was caught up in corporate and in this rat race, I didn’t have the capacity to think outside of my day-to-day. So, I am so thankful for just that time frame of the transition. Because without it, I wouldn’t be here today.
Jodi KatzYeah. That’s why we all need to take breaks. We have to, right, where our bodies and our brains, our hearts, need a break. And then we can be more creative, right, and inspired.
Shontay LundyYeah. But my break was—it didn’t have a timeline.
Jodi KatzMm-hmm.
Shontay LundyWhen we go on vacation, it’s kind of like, okay, five days, seven days, 10 days, whatever. There’s always a time where we have to come back and we’re gonna get back into our groove of things. My break was, I didn’t necessarily have a timeline. I knew eventually, but when was that eventually? And I think that’s what really allowed me to think creatively, because I didn’t feel pressed or rushed to meet a timeline, or oh my gosh, I gotta get this thought out, because I go back to work on Monday.
Jodi KatzYeah. I’m actually going on vacation, and that’s exactly how I feel. I’m like, okay, I’m going to leave on Friday. I come back on Monday, right? So there’s this clock ticking, right? I want to jam in as much fun in Salinas as possible, right, before back in this seat again.

I want to switch gears a little bit, because in our pre-show, you told me that CEO is a big—you said “big for me,” right? You choose not to have that title. I’m curious why.
Shontay LundyOh. Because I’m a fun person, I think, and I like the words “creator” and “founder.” And CEO, the word “CEO,” this is what reminds me of. And this is no shade to you, or don’t feel attacked, okay? CEO reminds me of this pose right here. You know how when people take that pose, and their arms are crossed, right? And that’s so not me. I feel like I’m pretty approachable. I’m really silly. And I think I’m not as—I don’t look like your typical CEO. And that’s the cool part about who we are today.

We recently got a trademark, Black Girl Sunscreen, our business name. And it’s a big deal because we were supposed to get it in five years. We got it in two.
Jodi KatzWow.
Shontay LundyOur name is descriptive, right? And the post went viral. It’s at like 149,000 likes on Shontay’s personal page, which I have about, I don’t know, 12,000 followers. So, it’s reached nine million accounts. And my team and I, we were really analyzing this post, because we wanted to understand the mechanics behind it. Why did it go viral? What’s going on? And what we came up with was, okay, Shontay, you have maybe these long nails. You’ve got on your kind of cool sunglasses. You’ve got this big hair, and your tongue is out. You’re making a silly face. And you just don’t look like the typical CEO, right?

And when they said that, I’m like, yeah, I guess I’m that, but it doesn’t work for me. So I say that CEO is big because I don’t see myself as a CEO. I see myself as this founder and this creator of this product that is now running a business.
Jodi KatzOkay. So, this—and it’s incredible that we’re talking today. I actually used to not use CEO for the same reasons. I was founder and creative director. I’m like, that’s who I am. In my soul, I’m just creative, and I’m out in outer space thinking of ideas. But then my COO said, “No, I need you to be the CEO.” So, it’s fine. Whatever. Whatever she wants. Whatever Aleni wants, Aleni gets.

So, okay. My last question for you before we move on to what we call our snack break, this idea of growing a business. For me, the best way to describe it is a seduction. I love my work. I love growing these ideas and seeing my dreams come true. But once I get a little taste for that success or what I define as success, I want more. Like sugar. Like, I need more, more, more. So, it’s seductive. And this seduction is part great, because it means I love my job, right? If I didn’t love my job, I certainly would not be seduced by it. But then, you know, there’s another things that I like to do with my time. And when you’re kind of really in that seduction, you can kind of lose sight of these other things. So I’m just curious if that word resonates for you at all in your own entrepreneurial journey, and if it does, how you manage that seduction.
Shontay LundyWell, I’m completely seduced and I’m filled with lust because I spend all of my time with Black Girl Sunscreen, massaging it, growing it, and telling it little secrets, day in and day out. So, I love that you introduced the word “seduction,” because I never, ever thought about it that way at all. I felt like I was consumed. But now, my voice has even changed because I’m like, ooh, you know what? Don’t judge me if I really love what I’m doing and I feel fulfilled. I feel like I can actually leave this planet today and feel accomplished. That’s how seduced I am by Black Girl Sunscreen.
Jodi KatzI love your interpretation of this. And I’m so grateful that we work in businesses where we—there’s so much joy in the everyday that like, the seduction is warranted and wanted, right? Imagine—I mean, we’ve both been there, where we’re having jobs where we didn’t feel fulfilled and didn’t feel joy, that I was not seduced by those jobs.
Shontay LundyNo. This is sexy, too. I mean, don’t you want to feel sexy? Doesn’t everyone want to feel attractive? And, you know, for me, the best part of this is being able to give a livelihood to people, right, that are here in the community that believe in what we’re doing. Seeing something grow, like corporate culture. Our environment is also very important. Helping people grow within their personal space, even if they’re here for a short time, Black Girl Sunscreen making an impact on their lives and them making an impact on Black Girl Sunscreen. I love everything about it. And if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to do this at the level that I’m doing it at.

The question is, will I tap out? Eventually, right? But right now, I’m going—my need for speed is here.
Jodi KatzOh, I love it, how you just brought this so full circle. Well, that actually concludes our podcast portion of our show, so I want to thank you so much, Shontay, for sharing your wisdom with our listeners.
Shontay LundyThank you, Jodi.
Jodi KatzAnd for our listeners, I hope you enjoyed this interview. Please subscribe to our series on your favorite podcast app. And for updates about the show follow us on Instagram @wherebrainsmeetbeautypodcast.

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