In honor of female, entrepreneurship I am showcasing a friend of mine who has a wonderful line of natural hair and skin care products. Please visit her online and support her business. She is a super positive person and I am grateful we connected.
How did you get started?
I started my first small in-home business 1994 making gift baskets from products I purchased wholesale from companies I connected with at a local trade show. I spent $250 on products and supplies and sold to my family and friends. I started with home parties before opening a small store front inside a local beauty salon. I went on to get my professional license in esthetics and introduced skincare services to expand my retail business. The company I have now, Tru2u Skincare & Cosmetics started in 2010. I started making my own products after having a horrible reaction to a product I purchased that triggered my eczema. I lost all the hair in my crown area and had to see a dermatologist for a year to get my hair growing again. Nothing I purchased retail seemed to work with the treatment regimen prescribed by my doctor, so I became a kitchen chemist and made my own products to support the treatments. They worked very well for me and I was able to regrow my hair. People began asking what I was using on my hair and offered to purchase the products if I’d mix them up a batch. I decided to no longer purchase wholesale from other vendors and began to market and sell the products I was mixing for myself and Tru2u Skincare & Cosmetics was born.
Did anyone inspire you to become an entrepreneur?
I would say it was my husband. He’s had a small dj business since we met and still does parties today. He loved it and would have parties lined up for months at a time, plus he was able to bring a little extra into the household for things a young family might not be able to afford. I thought “I can do that, too!”
What are some of your favorite products?
I pretty much use all of my Tru2u Products for myself daily – Tru2u Peppermint Hair & Body Custard, Tru2u Peppermint Moisturizing Spray, and Tru2u Lavender Body Custard are my absolute favorite products! The bonus is I make them myself! I love my Pure Shea Black Tar Soap for my face and body. It’s the only soap I use. I’m currently in love with Just Naturals Skincare Herbal Gel with Vitamins. I use it as a leave in conditioner on my natural hair and i can get up to 12days from my wash-n-go. For makeup it would be my Crown Royalities Lip Gloss. I have a friend that makes it and my lips are lost without it! My more commercial product choices for my hair include Garnier Pure Clean Conditioner, Aubrey Organics GPB, ORS Hair Mayo, Carol’s Daughter Monoi Intensive Repair Mask, and Nexxus Youth Renewal Serum. Some of my choices are not all natural, but I use them weekly to monthly and they work for me.
How important is it to use natural products on natural hair?
I think it can be very important depending on the issues you’re dealing with concerning your hair. I went for years thinking I had to use silicones on my hair and would defend them to anyone that thought differently. I still might, depending on the product and how it’s used. For a time I really believed my hair needed that sticky film build up to help get the look I wanted, but since switching to a regimen with fewer cones and parabens my hair has actually gotten much better! It’s like your hair and scalp can really tell the difference. I think discovering the benefits of natural products has extended my natural hair journey and I’m getting far better results in my hair’s health and vitality, which is a huge issue for me as I get older.
How long did it take for you to get started?
Since I was already using the products I created for myself it was very easy to build a small business around them. It took about 6 months to get enough raw materials and supplies to actually call myself a business.
Have you experienced any setbacks? If so how did you move forward?
I would say my biggest problem is finding local supply sources. There are none! I’m very selective about my raw materials and because I’m still small I don’t have the space or funds to order in bulk, so finding suppliers that offer incentives for small quantity purchasing is challenging. In order to manage some of those issues I’m been exploring partnerships that allow me to place my orders with larger businesses that carry the products I use. They allow me to order with them to receive wholesale pricing. It boosts their orders and helps increase my profit margin. The other issues would be advertising and finding creative ways to market your product with limited dollars, and knowing what is the next level to pursue as you grow – new equipment, adding employees, etc.
Where do you see your business in the next 5- 10 years?
I’ll be retirement age in that time frame, so I’m putting the pieces in place to turn my home business into a full time concern. I have a partner with a similar vision and we’re currently working on plans to open a complete holistic center offering natural skincare service, healing modalities, and natural products. In 5-10 years I see myself doing exactly the same thing I’m doing now, but in my own building and full time! Bringing healing products and services to an under serviced neighborhood at an affordable price has always been my goal.
What would be your advice for anyone looking to start their own business?
- Start a business plan. Not necessarily to attract investors or get loans, but to help you develop your vision. I’ve had the same business plan since 1999 that I just keep revising as new opportunities develop. It’s been my road map, as well of my source of creative visualization, and it’s been invaluable in helping me imagine what could be if I stay on course.
- Start where you are. Don’t believe that you need some huge infusion of cash to get started. Find something small you can do everyday toward making your business develop. It can be research or a simple questionnaire you email to friends. What you energize with your thoughts materializes in your life.
- Be careful not to try and start at the end of your vision. Everyone wants that grand vision they see in their mind, but when we do that we can derail our dreams because they seem so huge or unattainable. Be sure to break your journey down into baby steps. Any journey is possible if taken one step at a time!