By Tiana Cole and Feona Morrison
The world of beauty and skin care can be an overwhelming one. From the vast number of products in the market and stiff competition from some of the most popular brands which have been around for decades.
To that end, one Guyana-born entrepreneur` has already commanded the spotlight on her company ‘Selah Scents’. Her name is Sandy Williams, and she is obsessed with creating highly innovative and clean beauty products that will help you feel your absolute best.
It was only a matter of time before 29-year-old Sandy launched her line of facial soaps, body bars and bath bombs. The company was formed in June, 2017, months after Sandy migrated to the United States of America with her husband, Kwami.
Sandy, a former teacher, explained that when she moved to the USA around winter she started to develop very dry skin. She complained that she tried a bunch of skin care products, but unfortunately none of them helped her condition.
“So I said to myself, I need to start making my own products,” Sandy confessed, adding that, she is a self taught soap maker and has been testing her skills for years.
“I knew the basics. There were lots of trials and errors and research.”
Like any other customer oriented businesswoman, her main objective is to provide naturally made products using wholesome ingredients such as peppermint oil, eucalyptus and a variety of butters like shea and kokum. And together, she and her husband have become a force to be reckoned with.
According to her, “I like to speak with my customers before I embark on making a product for them. Some people have oily skin, while others may have dry skin.”
“I ensure that all of my ingredients are FDA approved. I insist on that. Because when it comes down to labeling, there are certain rules you must follow.”
Some of the highly demanded products are Sandy’s turmeric luxury soaps, which can be personalized in any scent or size desired by customers. Then there is also the charcoal beauty bar and other novelty soaps, which can be molded into mustaches, cupcakes, shoes and other unique shapes.
In the near future, Sandy hopes to expand her line of products to offer products like body butters and sugar scrubs, from using only nature’s finest ingredients.
‘Selah Scents’ does most of its marketing via its Facebook page. The company’s page has a five out of five rating and loads of positive feedback from satisfied customers.
“We do most of our selling online through our Facebook page. We prefer this platform because we get to talk with our customer one on one,” Sandy said.
The feel of contentment, according to her, comes when customers let her know how much they love her products.
One customer wrote on the company’s profile, “Thank you Selah Scents! I am very excited to start using these handmade soaps with turmeric and charcoal. Very fast delivery service. I am so pleased with my purchase.
Another pleased customer said, ” I love, love the soaps! Especially the charcoal one. I use it to shave my legs and it is amazing on the skin. Totally worth it, it is not only moisturizing, its lasts a really long time too. My husband loves them as well. He says it makes his skin feel baby soft.”
The businesswoman disclosed that she receives special orders from customers who present her products as tokens at baby showers, weddings, birthdays and other special events.
While shipping to Guyana is not available, Sandy said that for persons here who are desirous of using her products, she can have them shipped to their relatives in the USA, who can in turn bring them to Guyana whenever they travel.
In the meantime, ‘Selah Scents’ is hopeful of getting its products on the shelves of popular stores in the USA.
The company has already sent out sample products and is anticipating a favourable response.
Starting up any business comes with its fair share of challenges and Sandy is advising budding entrepreneurs that they will need a good dose of perseverance.
She revealed, “Our biggest challenge was people trusting our products. Even our family was skeptical. Some people rather spend money on expensive brands– but these products contains lots of harsh ingredients used as preservatives.”
Sandy confessed that she owes much of her success to her husband, Kwami.
“He (her husband) is really my main motivation to keep going. He provided unconditional support financially when I was trying and failing to get my products perfect. I really owe much of my success to him.”
“Knowing that your family and friends might not be your biggest supports can be very disheartening. It’s not all about them. It is about you with the expectation that they may not be there. But you have to persevere. Just be very confident.”
By the way, “Selah” is the Hebrew name for warrior, and when Sandy was younger she picked this name for her daughter who she hopes to give birth to in the future. Sandy doesn’t buy soaps, she only uses her products.
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