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Gloucestershire born beauty brand secures £1M funding

The Business Magazine article image for: Gloucestershire born beauty brand secures £1M funding
20 October 2023

Liha Beauty has raised £1 million via a funding round led by private equity. The investment follows the £200,000 raised by the organic skin care brand pre-pandemic.

LIHA was founded by Gloucestershire-born Liha Okunniwa and London girl Abi Oyepitan, who met at university in 1998.

Whilst Abi was travelling the world as a professional athlete, competing in two Olympic games, Liha was setting up an art publishing business.

In the Yoruba (Nigerian) tradition making beautifying oils, soaps and lotions from the nuts, tree bark and plants that grew in abundance was a skill that was traditionally learned by all young women. Liha's mother is an English aromatherapist, so she started to blend the two disciplines together.

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Liha said: "Whenever Abi would travel I would ask her to bring back different ingredients- especially that good Nigerian Shea from her father’s town."

Liha and Abi started their business on £3,000 of savings each.

Posting the news of the £1M investment on LinkedIn, Liha said: "Over the years we have been to countless investment meetings where people were genuinely baffled that we couldn’t ‘just do a friends and family round’ , or quit our (two) other day jobs we were each working in the very early days to prove concept/ have first mover advantage. 

"People often ask if we knew then what we know now would we have gone a different route and tried to raise super early on just with concept and no market proof. Maybe it would have been quicker, sure, maybe ‘easier’. But we all know the statistics on black woman founders and what percentage of investor / private equity capital actually reaches our banks."

"Also the beauty culture hadn’t shifted in our direction yet. Because we had to get out there and shift it ourselves."

But while Liha and Abi were still making their products in their kitchens, they were being featured in Vogue and other glossy magazines.


Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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