Nicole Brown: The Multi-Million Dollar Serial Entrepreneur Behind Izzy & Liv

Nicole Brown is the founder and CEO of Izzy & Liv, a thriving lifestyle brand that celebrates the culture, confidence, and soul of the Black woman. Her dedication to putting Black women in the spotlight in everyday items from graphic tees to shower curtains, has filled a tremendous void in the market and turned Izzy & Liv into a million-dollar brand.

Named after her daughters, Isabel and Olivia, the driving force behind Izzy & Liv is Nicole’s desire to show her children how beautiful and unique they are. Her years of experience as an online marketing manager, helped her realize how much of that representation was missing for Black women and girls in digital and e-commerce spaces. Determined to create what she was looking for, Nicole used her marketing expertise to launch and scale her brand in record timing.

In 2002, Brown found herself searching for websites for women of color and quickly realized there was a need to be filled. So she launched a community website for women of color called “Mahogany Butterfly’.

With MaBu, she wanted to create a space that empowered Black women by reminding us of our beauty and strength. A place we could go to and immediately feel a sense of pride in who we are an connect with other like-minded women. She ran the site for 6 years while continuing to work full-time as a marketing manager for fortune 500 brands. In 2011, Brown sadly retired the site being overwhelmed with technical issues, working my 9-5 full-time, while running the MaBu on the side and being a wife and mother to her then 3 children. She spent the next few years focusing on her marketing career and being a mother to two boys, Avery and Ethan, and daughter, Isabel. While being a marketing manager paid the bills, she always regretted letting MaBu go and never could shake her creative passions rooted in a desire to create content and goods that reflected and celebrated her culture.

Then in 2013, she was pregnant with her 4th child, Brown developed HELLPS Syndrome a life-threatening pregnancy complication for which the only cure was the delivery of her daughter via emergency c-section, at just 26 weeks. Born at 1 pound, 5 ounces, her daughter was so tiny, Brown’s ring fit over her daughter’s entire arm. Her baby girl spent her first four months of life in a NICU followed by a year in and out of hospitals for surgeries and doctors visits. During that time, Brown struggled with the stress of balancing caring for her, Brown three other children; feelings of guilt (over what she felt was her body’s betrayal); constant worrying; and sleepless nights. However, she also learned so much about herself, about life, about faith and determination.

Since its 2014 debut, Izzy & Liv has been featured in Essence, Blavity, Bustle, and the Huffington Post, and has developed a massive, global customer base. With a devoted community and growing team behind her, Nicole remains intensely focused on her goal of normalizing the essence of Black womanhood and moving it from the margin to the mainstream. Brown curated a monthly subscription called “The Brown Sugar Box.”

“The Brown Sugar Box is a monthly subscription curated by Black women, for Black women. Every item is selected to either evoke some sense of confidence or pride, to celebrate the things in life that helped shape is, to revel in the nostalgia of Black culture, or to support and promote other black women showcasing their magic through the businesses they have also created.”

She continued to say that customers tell her they love the box because the items they surprise them with are often items that reflect themselves and the things they love. They enjoy not only getting a box full of melanin but that the items remind them to love themselves and celebrate themselves for once. The items her brand curate are meant to empower, inspire and bring joy. Black women are not celebrated enough and neither is Black culture. With the Brown Sugar Box, they curate culturally relevant items that allow subscribers to share and display black culture or express themselves through a t-shirt, or piece of jewelry, or a bag, etc. They try to bring Black Girl Magic to life in a box.

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