Recently I sat down for a brief chat with my favorite "Soap Lady" Mrs. Elaine Muhammed of Urban Indulgence. Urban Indulgence specializes in quality skin care products formulated for African American skin. They are very moisturizing, effective and affordable. Her products have been featured in Essence magazine and are making their way into homes across the country. I have been a long time lover of her products. If you know me, then you know my purse is never without some of her creams or butters. Bartending tends to leave your hands pretty dry. Her products leave you moisturized without being too oily or greasy. Not to mention how great they smell.
Needless to say I was super excited when I stopped by her shop at 3314 Poplar ave to see a remodel in progress. She gave me a sneak peek of what was to come and let me in on her exclusive grand opening deets. After which she asked if I could come up with some Non-Alcoholic beverages to serve during the event. I, of course was up for the challenge. Creating fresh Non-Alcoholic beverages inspired by products I use everyday sounds like a dream challenge. After careful consideration I decided to use everyone's all time favorite "Bitten", one of my personal faves "Purple Haze" and two newbies, "Creamy Coconut" and "Moscato". We will talk drinks at a later time. Just make sure you stop by the Grand reopening to taste them. I may even spike a few, who knows. In the meantime, check out our chat below.
Bossy Bartender: Tell us a bit about your business
Mrs. Muhammed: Urban Indulgence is a hand crafted skin care line that was created for African American skin. It started with me making products for my daughter Nikela who is a cancer survivor who suffered from eczema. It left her with really dry and flaky skin and non of the commercial products I found in the stores really worked for her. So I started concocting my own recipes and my husband thought they were so great that I should start marketing them.
BB: Well that actually answered my next question which would be why soaps and skin cream? And How did you get started?
Mrs. M: Well we actually started with Body Butter. The body butter was formulated with 90% raw shea butter because Shea Butter is very healing to the skin. We do mix a couple of other skin loving oils that are high in Vitamin E like grapeseed oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil but the shea butter base in the magic ingredient in that particular product. So when we created the body butter why not do soap. Because its something that would be complimentary to go along with it that would also be very moisturizing and not stripping the skin of its natural oils.
BB: How did transition from making things for your family and your daughter to getting out in the community and selling, marketing and now owning your own store?
Mrs. M: Well my husband, who is a police officer thought the body butter was so great which was all that we were making at the time, said "Make up a few jars and let me see if I can sell them". Well he left home with 12 jars and came home with none. He said " this is a good product". So we started marketing just the body butter to friends and family. We started creating giftsets to give to friends and family for birthdays, wedding gifts and from there it just spiraled into family friends, friends of family friends, and more. We started producing in our kitchen and outgrew the kitchen til we couldn't even cook in the kitchen anymore so that kinda forced us into our first little production space.
BB: When did you start marketing your products to sell?
Mrs. M: Well I've been making them for about 10 years, but I started marketing them about 5 years ago.
BB: What is the most rewarding part?
Mrs. M: Doing for self and actually loving what I do. And anytime that you can love what you do and its fun to do, its doesn't necessarily feel like a job. And the fact that I don't have to answer to anybody, true enough its long hours but I prefer to work long hours for myself than for anybody else. And job creation. Ive been able to create a job for my daughter. So she doesn't have to go out and punch a clock for anyone else. And it's a legacy for her. If I decide That Im ready to retire so can carry it on herself. Generational wealth.
BB: I definitely can relate to that. You know I love what I do. I took Kavi to a job with me and even tho he cant really work or help, just for him to see what I do and how I hustle hopefully plants a seed. So last question. Besides the ReOpening, what's next?
Mrs. M: Actually next is going to be branching out into wholesale and distribution. We are looking into going out into the spa market, salons, possibly even stores like Target and Whole Foods