Sometimes a leap of faith can be exactly the spark that’s needed for your next great idea. After quitting her full time job at Essence magazine last year, Shakyna Bolden moved halfway around the globe to serve as Project Director for TLB Enterprises, a Business Development and Consulting Firm in the UAE. The result of her time abroad? A desire for full-time entrepreneurship, and the pursuit of a life filled with passion and purpose. Fast forward to December 2014, and Bolden is now the owner of Sol Creamery – a natural skincare company.
While the pursuit of entrepreneurship has its challenges, Bolden has faced them head on, with a courageous and humble spirit. She spoke with BlackEnterprise.com about the decision to launch her own company, the challenges of being a business owner and what’s next for her business and brand, Sol Generation.
BlackEnterprise.com: What inspired you to start “Sol Creamery?â€
Shakyna Bolden: It’s so funny because I never ever thought I’d end up formulating homemade body products, let alone the founder of a skincare company. Sol Creamery naturally evolved out my love and passion for crafting body butters, candles, salves and more. I found so much joy and assurance in my own products that I began to share them with my family and friends. Their reaction encouraged me to serve and nourish the skin of others, which birthed Sol Creamery.
What led you to quitting your full time career in effort to becoming a full time entrepreneur?
I could sense a pool of untapped potential within and knew the optimal use of my skill-set and talents lied outside my 9-5 and in the world of self-employment. Â A four-month sabbatical to the Middle East revealed my innermost desires and helped set my intentions toward meaning, passion and purpose. My daily work became self-nourishment, charity and craftsmanship, which in part manifested as natural skincare.
How did you come up with the name?
Sol means sun, and reflects my passion for glowing, radiant skin. I coined ‘creamery’ from an idea to open a neighborhood shop where people can order fresh, custom body butters made to their liking; kind of like an ice-cream parlor or smoothie shop.
What have been your biggest challenges in starting your own company and how do you work to overcome them?
Like many entrepreneurs, I started my company with a limited budget. Â I was able to cut costs by teaching myself skills graphic design and social media marketing so that I wouldn’t have to outsource that work. Â I have also committed to prioritize service over profit so I’ve spent a lot of time on product testing and market research. Â In the short run this delayed the launch of my company but overall it’s built a sense of trust with my consumers.
What role have mentors played in your career success?
My Dad is my greatest mentor as he’s an entrepreneur himself. I respect and admire the hard work and dedication he puts into his business. Â He taught me the journey of an entrepreneur is not easy but you must believe in the value of your brand and be able to weather storms.
What are some essential tips to maintaining healthy and moisturized skin?
Great skin begins with what you put into your body, not what you put on it. If you want healthy skin you should start by drinking lots of water on a regular basis. Dehydration can make your skin look more dry and wrinkled so you want to properly hydrate throughout the day. The next best thing is to moisturize your skin daily directly following a shower or bath. Â Of course I recommend products based within natural ingredients like shea butter and avocado oil because they’re inherently packed with vitamins and minerals that revitalize dull skin cells. Lastly, I recommend exfoliation. No matter how much you moisturize, there remains a layer of dead skin that needs to be removed in order to reveal younger, more vibrant looking skin.
Are there future plans to open a brick and mortar location?
I would love to open a brick and mortar location. Many people just are not aware of natural skincare benefits and do not have access to these types of products. I think greater physical access to fresh, natural products make a big difference in skincare purchasing habits. I’m currently planning live activations for 2015 that bring my ‘creamery’ concept to life.
What’s next your for your business and brand, Sol Generation?
I created a wonderful line of baby, children and new mommy products that will be released in the first quarter of 2015. Â So many mothers want natural solutions for their children’s skincare, especially when it comes to conditions like dry skin and eczema. It’s extremely important for me to provide dependable products that nourish an entire family’s skin throughout all stages of life.