Small Business Spotlight Feature: itiba, LLC

Peace Kinks & Curlies, Im Just Jackie is back with a new Small Business Spotlight Feature: itiba, LLC!!!  itiba, LLC is based in the U.S Virgin Islands. I came across this business on FaceBook, when I was searching for natural skin care products.  I reached out to Yoki, the owner of itiba, LLC and she was more than happy to be a part of my feature.

Yoki’s creations are availIable in five scents (papaya, crucian spice, midnite rain, & carib lime) I purchased the soap, body butter, body polish and lotion in the Midnite Rain.  I used all the products together for two weeks before I made my final review.  Check out the video below for my final thoughts of itiba, LLC skin care line and then continue on to read the Q&A portion!!!

Also, Yoki is offering a 25% discount. The code is IJJ25. 
Just go to the website and then send in an email with what you want to order and mention the code in the email. She will send a  PayPal  invoice. The code is good for two weeks!!!

 

 

Small Business Spotlight Feature: itiba, LLC

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Yoki K Hanley and I am from St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands. St. Croix is the largest of the four islands in the Caribbean. It is a beautiful little island so full of rich culture, wonderful food, plants and the inspiration for my skin care line.

Can you tell us a little about your company (name, what you offer, when established, etc)?

The company name is itiba, LLC. I got the name form the Taino Goddess, itiba cahubaba. In the Taino belief system, Itiba is called Mother Earth. It is from her that all life sprang from. I chose the Sankofa symbol to represent the fact that the products are natural and that we have gone back in time to what we used to know in natural, holistic living. So we have gone back to the Earth, to bring forth to the present to make these natural, holistic body care products.
Itiba utilizes the natural Caribbean flora for inspiration. All of itiba’s products are handmade on St. Croix in the United States Virgin Islands. The products are:
Body soap – this made using the cold process method. These soaps are made from coconut and palm oils, shea and mango butters and/or sunflower, olive and grapeseed oils. Depending on the type of soap, there are different additives used. Carib Lime is made with parsley powder and spearmint leaves as well as green clay. MidNite Rain is made with activated charcoal to give it a black color. Crucian Spice is made with Turmeric powder and a small amount of powdered myrrh. Sea Lavender contains lavender powder and alkanet root powder. Island Rose contains frankincense powder, beetroot powder and just a small amount of annatto seed powder. Papaya, the sweetest and succulent of them all contains no colorants or additives.
Lotion – these all contain aloe vera juice as the liquid of choice as opposed to water. When I first started this company, I harvested the aloe vera locally and prepared it for use in the body care products. Aloe is a very funny plant and in order to retain its high potency and nutrients, it needs to be used within 24 hours of being harvested.
Body Butters – these butters do not contain any liquid. They are made with 100% pure unrefined shea butter, mango butter and jojoba oil plus vitamin E and of course fragrance. A simple, decadently rich product that is super for overnight moisturizing or dealing with the heels, knees and elbows.
Body Spray – This is available in the Carib Lime scent only. Like the lotion, this product is made with 100% aloe vera also. It adds to the richness of the product and adds a nice feel to the product. This particular product is very popular because it (the Carib Lime 100% essential oil blend) has been formulated to act as a natural insect deterrent.
Body Polish – this truly is a creamy, exfoliating product. Think of your typical body scrub, but without the thick layer of oil sitting on top. This polish is corn meal based with salt for added exfoliation. With it containing more corn meal than salt, you are ensured of getting an even and longer exfoliation than with salt alone. And you feel the difference in your skin than using a plain salt or even sugar scrub. The best thing about this product is that it can be used inside or outside of the shower. It has great rinse-ability and it leaves your skin glowing when you are finished.

What was your inspiration behind starting the brand and for each design?

Sankofa in English means, “go back and take” (Sanko means go back, fa means take). The Asante (Ashanti) of Ghana utilize the Adinkra symbol to represent the idea of go back and fetch it. One of the symbols of Sankofa bears a strong resemblance to the eastern symbol of a heart. The more common symbolic representation of Sankofa is of a bird with its head turned backwards and taking an egg off its back. In Ghana, they use Adinkra symbols to express proverbs or other philosophical ideas. Sankofa symbolizes the Akan’s thirst for knowledge knowing that the quest is based on critical examination along with patient and intelligent investigation. The Akan believe that there must be forward movement with the times, but as we move forward the gems must be picked from behind and carried forward with the march.

 

For me, the principle of Sankofa is an important one. Whether it is with my business or in my personal life, it is so important to have those moments of reflection and introspection. You need that quite time to determine where you have been, what you have learned and what you will do in the future. I use this principle almost daily in my business life. Especially when it comes to new product development. If I have a recipe or formula that I had liked but it did not work, then I take the time to study it, see if I can figure out where I went wrong and take from it what worked and use that to make it even better for a future product.

 

We all get “stuck” in life and by using the principle of Sankofa, it can greatly help us to look at where we have been making the mistakes and correct it. But this is something that we each need to be sure we are able to do. Sometime with reflection and introspection we see things in ourselves that we do not like. We have to be able to take a good hard look at that and admit to our mistakes, love ourselves despite it and take only the gems of wisdom forward to help make each other and us a better person.

What distinguishes Itiba from other brands?

First of all itiba is 100% Caribbean made! All the products are created and developed by myself on the island of St. Croix (my home since birth). The products are cruelty free, meaning that none of the ingredients used in the making of the products have been tested on animals. That is very important to me. This is a labor of love. So if my own children cannot use any of the products, then they won’t be made or sold. Simple.
Secondly, I grew up where we went to the bush for a lot of our healing. In this day and age and with my own children and grandchildren, I still do the same thing to this day! That is very important to me, to live synergistically as much as possible with nature and what it can provide to use for healing and sustenance. I started making my products as a way to address simple skin issues, first with my own children, and then with others. Almost ALL of my inspiration in fragrances and product comes from living on this beautiful island.

What challenges have you faced with starting the line?

Managing itiba, LLC from America’s Paradise in the Caribbean comes with its own sets of rewards and challenges. First of all, I am surrounded by inspiration and the wonderful scents and flora of the luscious, green Caribbean island of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. There are so many different scents and colors that can just help to inspire and create the next fragrance for itiba or the next product. I have access to a lot of wonderful medicinal plants here that come with years of use and history. I can experiment with these plants and get to see just how they would work in different applications. Right now I am working on incorporating the turmeric into other products other than just the Crucian Spice soap. But despite all the inspiration and access to natural healing plants, there are certain challenges. First of all it is a small island within the Caribbean. Everything has to be flown in and sometimes that can get very expensive and tricky. It is not that easy to substitute something here if you run out, you can’t run down to your local WalMart’s or Costco and pick up your palm oil or something similar to that. So planning and making sure that you have what you need “just in case” comes in to play a lot. Being sea locked it can be very difficult getting the word out about your product. Not being able to know fully about other markets, it can sometimes hamper you when you are trying to make a name for yourself. I find I have to work harder in every aspect to make myself known, to validate my company and my products.

What personal goals would you like to accomplish with your business?

I met one of my goals when I traveled to Paris, France in 2012 to participate in one of Europe’s most prestigious competition, European Beauty Innovative Awards. It was a major step outside of my comfort zone and I was so very scared. But it was a GREAT opportunity for me to see how skin care companies are in Europe and I learned a LOT! My company did not place, but I will not regret that decision. It was a true eye-opening experience. I would love for one day I can return there, with the knowledge that I gained and walk away with one of the top prizes.

I would also love to see that my products are offered and available to anyone looking for quality, Caribbean made skin care throughout the US and Europe.

Do you have any advice that you would offer to an aspiring entrepreneur?

Never give up! Always push yourself. Step outside of your comfort zone once in a while. NEVER GIVE UP! Find a mentor. Be kind to yourself. And always make sure you take care of your credit. That is so very important. When you first start it will require money. There is no getting around that. And if you do not have deep pockets, then your next bet is to create credit.

And finally, how do we get our hands on Itiba:

You can order from JPSelects.com at http://www.jpselects.com/beauty-skincare/itiba.html
And also at My Natural BFF at http://www.mynaturalbff.com/#!itiba/c1tcs where 5% of the net proceeds goes to a wonderful organization based in Baltimore, MD called Heal A Woman To Heal A Nation, Inc. (www.partofthecure.org)
To learn more about the products visit us at www.itibabeauty.com
Follow us on Instagram at instagram.com/itibabeauty and on Twitter www.twitter.com/itiba
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Small Business Spotlight Feature: iRock Natural

 Small Business Spotlight Feature: iRock Natural @iRockNatural 


Peace all, it’s that time again to showcase another small business. For the next two weeks Im Just Jackie will be featuring iRock Natural. Take a moment to read my interview with Melani Jones, owner of iRock Natural, to learn more about Melani & her company. And take advantage of the discount code!!!

Q.  What is your name and where are you from?
A.  My name is Melani L. Jones and I am from Matoaca, Virginia.

Q.  Can you tell us a little about your company (name, what you offer, when established, etc)?A.  iRock Natural is the name of my company. We offer trendy tees, jewelry, and tote bags for EVERY natural! We have a wide selection of various logos to include those for the curly girls, loc’d ladies and gents, and a children’s line. iRock Natural was officially established on March 16, 2012 (one year down!).

Q.  What was your inspiration behind starting the brand and for each design?
A.  My inspiration for the name, iRock Natural, came one day when I driving home from work. The name just dropped into my head and I knew I had to do something with it. At that time, I had not been natural for long myself but I loved it and wanted a way to show that. So I decided I would do tees as a way for others to show their love for their natural hair. It started with tees and has since grown into the jewelry and tote bags.

As far as the inspiration for each design, sometimes that just comes to me as well. Most times I have just been jotting down ideas and put them together to get the tag line and the design for each tee. I also get a lot of help from my family as I bounce the majority of my creative ideas off of them. They give me that extra feedback I need when creating new designs.


Q.  What distinguishes iRock Natural from other brands?

A.  I think what distinguishes iRock Natural is that I really strive to have something for every natural at every point of their journey. I take customer’s feedback and requests to be able to provide items that people would enjoy wearing.

Q.  What challenges have you faced with starting the line?
A.  TIME MANAGEMENT!! There never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done that I’d like. But I’ve learned to just do what I can and leave the rest for the next day.

Q.  What personal goals would you like to accomplish with your business?
A.  My personal goals for iRock Natural are to branch off into doing some self-esteem/empowerment type activities. I think that deciding to go back to your natural hair opens up a new sense of awareness. You have to really learn to love yourself when you may not fit into the societal norm. So I hope eventually to be able to pass on that sense of self-love to others in large group settings.

Q.  Do you have any advice that you would offer to an aspiring entrepreneur?
A.  JUST START! You may not know it all but don’t think that’s a reason to stop you from taking steps towards being an entrepreneur. There are a lot of helpful resources that can assist with starting a business, so be sure to tap into those. Also, don’t ever limit yourself. You never know what you can accomplish when you put in the time and effort to make things happen.

Q.  And finally, how do we get our hands on iRock Natural?
A.  My website: www.iRockNatural.com I am always available by email as well (for questions/concerns, etc) at iRockNatural@gmail.com. Facebook: iRock Natural, Twitter: @iRockNatural, and Instagram: @irock_natural

Thanks so much Jackie for the opportunity to feature iRock Natural!!!

Save 20% off any purchase over $25 with coupon code Jackie20. The coupon code will be good for the duration of the feature (April 13 – April 26, 2013)

 

 Small Business Spotlight Feature: iRock Natural

 

Small Business Spotlight Feature: Dope Crochet

This week Small Business Spotlight Feature: Dope Crochet @DopeCrochet is a Fav of mine!!! Thank you Ericka for taking time out of your busy schedule ❤ Please take a few moments to get to know Ericka & Dope Crochet!!!

Q. What is your name and where are you from?
Ericka Barnes and I am from Austin, Texas

Q. Can you tell us a little about your company (name, what you offer, when established, etc)?
Dope Crochet, crocheted earrings and other accessories for women, and recently some mens items have been added to the collection. Established in 2011

Q.What was your inspiration behind starting the brand and for each design?
When I decided to go natural, I ended up with an afro that left it hard for me to find accessories that I liked to complement my new hair style so I just made my own. That was pretty much where it grew from.

Q. What distinguishes Dope Crochet from other brands?
The emphasis on the details flow through everything about the brand, from the styles of accessories and their crochet patterns, down to the packaging. No one does it this way.

Q. What challenges have you faced with starting the line?
Balancing graduate school, maintaining the relevancy of the brand, filling big orders all while being pregnant…life has been interesting to say the least but the challenges all have made me stronger.

Q. What personal goals would you like to accomplish with your business?
I think right now to see the brand being welcomed and appreciated by the people who these products are made for stand as a big accomplishment to me. I really like that Dope Crochet has become a lifestyle brand.

Q. Do you have any advice that you would offer to an aspiring entrepreneur?
Keep your brand healthy by always looking for ways to keep it new and improved. Always show your believers, customers/clients, that you appreciate and love them!

Q. And finally, how do we get our hands on Dope Crochet Jewelry?
DopeCrochet.com (and on Etsy), Facebook.com/DopeCrochet (Like US!), @DopeCrochet on twitter, Tumblr as well

Also check out this video:
  

@DopeCrochet: @im_just_jackie you are too cute!!! This video had me cracking up, LOL!                                                                               


        

Small Business Spotlight Feature: Dope Crochet

 

Peace Kinks & Curlies Dope Crochet is Im Just Jackie Small Business Spotlight Feature of the week. Dope Crochet specializes in crochet accessories…hats, earrings, scarves, etc…I’ve had the pleasure of featuring Dope Crochet before.  And I’m even more excited to showcase Ericka’s creations again.  To see more of Dope Crochet creations, go to the website atwww.dopecrochet.com Click on the link below to view the Spotlight video.

Small Business Spotlight Wrap Up: Flowers From Fatima

 

Small Business Spotlight Wrap Up: Flowers From Fatima @FlowersFFatima

 

Peace Fam, for the past two week Im Just Jackie has had the pleasure of showcasing creations of Flowers From Fatima. As the feature comes to a close on Friday, just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to Fatima and I hope you all enjoyed Flowers From Fatima!!! Check out the video and see what new pieces I got!!!

 

Small Business Spotlight Feature: Flowers From Fatima

I am so pleased, honored and excited to showcase Flowers From Fatima for the return of my Small Business Spotlight Feature. I’ve been an admire of her work for some time now!!! I’m very happy I finally had the opportunity to add her creations to my accessory collection. And even happier to showcase Fatima and her business for the next two weeks. Take a moment to get familiar with Miss Fatima and her beautiful creations:

Q. What is your name and where are you from?
A.  My name is Fatima Spencer and I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio

Q.  Can you tell us a little about your company (name, what you offer, when established, etc)?
A.  I am the founder and fashion designer of Flowers From Fatima. Our boutique carries a unique line of handmade hair flowers and accessories for everyday wear, as well as special occasions. We also specialize in centerpieces and wedding decor.

Q.  What was your inspiration behind starting the brand and for each design?
A.  When I was a young girl, I was heavily involved in revitalizing my neighborhood through gardening. Planting flowers was my way of surrounding myself with positive energy, love, and natural beauty. I instantly fell in love with flowers and began emulating Nature through handmade hair flowers. Each flower is inspired by real life beauty.

Q.  What distinguishes Flowers From Fatima from other brands?
A.  Everyone has a story, but mine is a reflection of my own personal journey. Flowers From Fatima was founded on a unique story that involved me and my family transforming our low-income neighborhood into a paradise through flowers.

Q.  What challenges have you faced with starting the line?
A.  One of the major challenges that I’ve faced with starting Flowers From Fatima was simply waiting for business to bloom. Patience and positive thinking are important throughout the journey towards your dreams, but it is ESSENTIAL in the beginning.

Q.  What personal goals would you like to accomplish with your business?
A.  I’d like to have my product carried in a popular retail store within the next 5 years. I also plan to to start a non-profit to empower and inspire women to embrace natural beauty.

Q.  Do you have any advice that you would offer to an aspiring entrepreneur?
A.  Do what you love and do everything WITH love! You send energy through everything that you touch. Your customers will fall in love with you AND your brand.

And finally, how do we get our hands on Flowers From Fatima?
Visit us online at http://www.FlowersFromFatima.com!

Thank you so much for your time Fatima.

http://www.FlowersFromFatima.com
http://www.twitter.com/FlowersFFatima
http://www.facebook.com/FlowersFromFatima