For most entrepreneurs, a move to the Bay Area is par for the course. For Cheryl Yannotti Foland, founder of 18-month-old Sausalito beauty brand lilah b., San Francisco was the last place she saw herself. The seasoned beauty and media industry consultant moved from Manhattan to the Bay Area in 2006 to run West Coast operations for Arcade Beauty. She figured she’d be here two years at the most.
“I was this crazy, high-strung. oldest child, overachiever type A, fast-talker New Yorker,” Foland says. “I’d sneak into the gym and run on the treadmill like a gerbil for 30 minutes at 5 a.m. so I could work my butt off all day. And I don’t think I ever realized how unhealthy that was because that was the world I lived in.” Foland steadily grew the Arcade business, working with brands like Bare Escentuals, Urban Decay and Benefit Cosmetics that were all on the cusp of expansion. She soon adopted the California lifestyle by dressing more casually and seeking outdoor activities at every chance. And she also met and married Steve Foland, an investment banker with Stifel whose weekend house in Napa gave her more opportunities to de-stress and connect with nature.
When Arcade was sold in 2014, she was 44 and facing a crossroads. “I recognized it wasn’t just this new lifestyle that I took on, but it was the people. It was the culture out here that I fell in love with. It really forced me to slow down and focus on what was important.”