Marie Davis has suffered from skin problems her entire life. From teenage acne to adult eczema, she couldn’t seem to find a product that would work with her sensitive skin. A few years ago, Davis’s daughter encouraged her to make her own creams from natural ingredients. Davis finally found something that worked! Today, its products are known as Ria’s beauty collection and are available on Amazon, Etsy, and Walmart. Its skin and hair care products include high quality shea butter with various oils, spices and flowers mixed together. As the pandemic forced the Salisbury, North Carolina-based entrepreneur to shift their sales online, the mompreneur has built her business to adapt.
Davis’ story, told at The 1000+ Stories Story Exchange Project:
What was the reason you started your business?
Dealing with skin issues can be very depressing and stressful, resulting in issues with self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, feeling unattractive, and resorting to makeup for self-satisfaction. I have always had skin problems, due to my sensitive skin. During my teenage years, I took care of acne. Later in adulthood, I started to suffer from eczema during the winter months which made my skin look unsightly. After the eczema happened and the drugs didn’t seem to work, I decided to go the natural route of healing.
I started looking for products in various places. After many unsuccessful attempts to find products that would benefit my skin, I decided to formulate my own products on the advice of my youngest daughter. It was the best advice ever. I knew that if I had any issues with my search, others were going through the same thing as well.
In 2013, I started to create my own products. A lot of learning, research and preparation was involved. I started to develop handmade, natural, scented and unscented skin and hair care products for myself. I started using my products daily and it worked. It’s great to be able to create a natural product that works without the use of chemicals. When I first created the products, my intentions were not to sell the products. It was meant to be for me and my family. Soon I started selling a few products at work. Others said that I should start my own business, but at the time, I was not confident in myself. I often compared myself to others and age (55) was also factored into my decision. I put off the idea of ââstarting a business for two years.
how do you define success?
When I finally gained the confidence to launch Ria’s beauty collection in 2015, it was because of my three daughters and others who supported me and believed in me, while I didn’t believe in myself. Ria’s Beauty Collection specializes in skin and hair care products for those who may experience skin and hair issues. Our specialty is Ria Whipped Shea Butter which is a double moisturizer for skin and hair. All of our products are handmade, natural, unrefined and made with the best quality ingredients for all skin types.
We believe in moving the client from their current self to the one they want. My products are not just for me. These are the customers, because they also play an important role. They are the ones who ensure the success of Ria’s beauty collection through their constant interest, interaction and satisfaction. Without our customers, there is no business.
Success is all about believing in yourself, achieving your accomplishments, and aiming high for your purpose and goals in life where it will lead you to a positive outcome. It’s like you’re unstoppable when you get to this point. Also, I believe success helps others along your journey.
Tell us about your greatest success to date
Walmart is my biggest âwowâ and my biggest hit to date. With the help of the recommendation of my eldest daughter Avnah, this became possible. It was a huge success for Ria’s beauty collection. We received additional customers, sales, exposure, flexibility and more. It eliminated constant travel, restocking, bulk orders, and more.
What is your main challenge and how did you overcome it?
The transition from physical retail stores to online sales due to COVID-19 has been a huge challenge. It was a tough decision to make, but it was the best decision. Due to the lack of customers, shrinking hours and days, and bulk orders, there was no other way around the pandemic. Since the change, it has been a huge success for Ria’s beauty collection.
What’s your biggest tip for other start-up entrepreneurs?
It is never too late to start a business. Believe in yourself. Make sure you have a plan. Knowing how to adapt. Have a strong work ethic. Don’t compare yourself to others. Be patient. Start small. There will always be constant changes in a business. It is a learning process. It is not easy. It’s not perfect.
How do you find inspiration in your darkest days?
By creating handmade designs that light up my day. This is my therapy.
What is your most important model?
My parents have always been positive role models for me throughout my life. Even though both parents are deceased, they are still there with me daily, spiritually. My mom was a licensed practical nurse, artist, and housewife, and my dad was a director of a drug addiction center, ran as governor, and was extremely involved in the community. The siblings consisted of 5 girls, 4 boys and 2 stillbirths. Life hasn’t always been easy coming from a big family, but my parents always instilled positivity in us. No matter what happens in life, there is always a possibility. To believe! Plan! Start! Never give up!
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