How Lilah B. Founder Cheryl Yannotti Foland Converted From Maximalism to Minimalism

Cheryl Yannotti Foland

It’s the break of dawn. Your eyes are opening, and you’re probably yearning for that first glorious gulp of hot coffee. Yet, as you roll out of bed, lilah b.® founder Cheryl Yannotti Foland, 49, is already in her office in the San Francisco Bay Area, brainstorming her next perfect product. “I arrive at about 7:30 a.m. or so, before my team trickles in,” she says. “I spend the morning working quietly before everyone arrives.” She’s also already been awake for two hours, exercising her body and mind, the former on a Peloton® bike, and the latter on innovative formulas to help women simplify their beauty routines.

Foland ditched the rat race of New York for a more minimalist life in California over a decade ago. Initially, she moved there for a new professional opportunity, with no plans to stay long-term. However, she found the Californian lifestyle to be addictive. “I fell in love with the people, the opportunity to be outdoors all of the time, and the overall healthier life I was living here,” she confesses. “So I never went back!” Since then, she’s adopted this “less is more” mindset in her kitchen, her closet — although she still wears a lot of basic black (“The New Yorker in me!”) — and her beauty regimen. 

“I never had the patience for a 10- to 12-product routine,” she explains. “The evolution of the cluttered world of color gave me the inspiration to make things simple again for the modern day beauty consumer.” After working for almost a decade at Arcade Beauty®, a beauty sampling company, she found that she was supporting brands with launch after “frivolous” launch. Yet, despite the oversaturation of the market, Foland observed a gap: “simple, multipurpose products with clean ingredients that work.” After 18 months of development, she debuted lilah b. in 2015 with a core collection of 11 products. Today, the brand still has a small assortment, but a big presence, with a place on the shelves of Sephora®, Nordstrom®, Neiman Marcus®, and more, with products like cheek stains, powder foundations, and more. 

For Foland, having a brand is not about trendy ingredients or unnecessarily building up her SKUs. Instead, she’s driven by helping women streamline their routines for a more fulfilling life. Here, she shares how a Tiffany & Co.® designer inspired her smooth, stone-like (and eco-friendly, recyclable) packaging, how each product she creates can be used three to five different ways, and how exercise clears her mind (and balances out her love of bread and cheese).

Editor's Note

Injectable wrinkle reducers are used to temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face such as the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet. They should not be used more frequently than every three months. Like any medical treatment, they have potential risks and side effects. Be sure to talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you.