February is Black History/Futures Month! To celebrate, we’re giving space to ethical black-owned businesses we know and love. Starting with Pure Aloha Bath and Beauty, a natural skincare company!
Our Story by Mariam, Founder of Pure Aloha:
“I started Pure Aloha because I grew up surrounded by all things natural.
For a third of my life, I lived with my grandmother. She provided everything we needed to survive by growing and making it all herself. 90% of what we used in our daily lives came from our farm and gardens.
She had fruit trees, vegetables in the garden, grew her own rice and other grains, as well as raised her own animals. The nearest market to us was miles away and not accessible by automobile.
We were self sufficient. I learned to make everything varying from threads out of cotton to making gourd containers. I loved being surrounded by nature! And learning how to use things that were provided to us by nature.
A Natural Path to Healthy Skin
I wanted to make natural products mainly because of my family. My children, husband, and I all have sensitive skin, and our youngest child has eczema. It is difficult to find products that are gentle and natural enough for us to use.
At my previous job I worked for Naturopathic Doctors. This was something I was not expecting. But, I was eager to learn all areas of medicine to better myself. Working in that environment was a great experience for me and has actually brought me back to my roots.
The whole idea or goal for treating a person in the naturopathic field is to get to the root of the problem. Not to only make the symptoms go away, as so many of us are used to seeing these days. This made me think about all of the times I had just ignored things that I should have been paying closer attention to. This includes all of the skin problems I’ve treated in the past by just putting some prescription or over the counter product on. Those problems always came back time after time. I thought about how many products I had purchased in the past. I did not know what half of the ingredients in them were.
Then, I started using my own homemade products with all natural ingredients such as Shea Butter and Olive Oil. I used it on my daughter’s and my skin and hair and started seeing the difference almost immediately. Within about two months I saw both of our hairs become healthier, shinier, and longer. And that’s when I thought, ‘Why not share this with other people who want the same thing I wanted, but might not be able to do it themselves?’
What makes Pure Aloha unique and more than just another of thousands of skincare businesses? When I started building this business, my number one goal was to make products that were amazing. In the beginning, I wanted to make great-looking labels and use the best looking containers. But as a solopreneur on a tight budget, I knew that the most important thing to spend money on would be quality ingredients in order to make the best products.”
“After all, Pure Aloha was born because of my own search for natural, high quality, gentle bath products that didn’t cause my skin to react. Every product we have made over the years I have personally tested and/or have had friends and family test before selling the first item. If I am not happy with a product, and if it isn’t gentle enough for my sensitive and dry skin, I do not want it for my customers.
Getting Pure Aloha Started
Let me say that Pure Aloha was not planned. This was never my dream. Pure Aloha was born out of necessity as I have previously mentioned. I struggled with sensitive skin that reacts to any skincare product I buy from a store. When I began making my own soaps, and later other beauty products, I immediately felt the difference. My skin was happy, and I cannot remember the last time I went to my doctor about any skin issues. Everything that involves Pure Aloha all the way up until this very moment has ALL been divine intervention.
Once I found out how great my own products work for my skin, I knew I was never going back to store-bought. When friends found out about my products and tried them, they loved them. One day it occurred to me that I wasn’t the only one looking for a natural option for my skin and health. Since I have always loved owning my own business, having previously owned a natural hair salon, I became excited about the idea of running another small business. Slowly but surely, I made a few soaps and sold them to friends. They all appreciated my products and expressed to me how much they liked them. It was encouraging to hear that others benefited from my creations.
Open for Business!
A couple of years after I had started making my own products, we left Hawaii and moved to Texas. It took some time to get settled in. Meanwhile, I learned that there were plenty of opportunities here for a small business such as mine to grow and prosper. I began attending smaller markets at churches and local schools. My very first ‘big’ event was at my son’s high school where I made over $300. I was blown away.
I wasn’t prepared that day. My setup was boring, my packaging was pretty sad, and I did not feel confident I would make any sales. That craft fair was the deciding factor as to whether Pure Aloha would exist or not. So after experiencing the success of that day, I worked on improving my products and packaging, and I gave it my all! I then attended bigger events and gained a little more confidence after each one.
Over the years, every product I created just came to me when it was time. I didn’t force anything. If I tried a new product that didn’t work, I knew that maybe it was not meant to be, or it just wasn’t time yet. Many products initially didn’t make it past the testing phase. But when I revisited them later on with fresh ideas that came to me at random times, those products became my best selling ones! I have not yet made a product solely based on the thought that it would sell well. Each product I have made because I felt compelled to and it felt right.”