FUSING science and personal determination, a recent chemical engineering graduate has embarked on a journey to establish her own skincare business. Saneka Hibbert, CEO of Skin by BLXC Gold, deeply struggled with dry skin, which has driven her to create a line of skincare products.
"I still have dry skin, and one of the challenges with that is that I couldn't find the product that basically keeps my skin moisturised long enough without causing it to look scaly. Lotion helped, but not for long. And I had these spots on my legs that I was insecure about," Hibbert shared with the Jamaica Observer.
The insecurity of her skin condition plunged her into research, and she sought answers for what she was doing wrong. While scrolling on social media, she came across a social media influencer who was using a product that was showing results. She reached out and learnt the secret was shea butter.
In 2019, she began exploring the science behind shea butter and used her home as a lab to experiment with developing the product to create her own. With a contribution of $15,000 from her mother, the first products were created, all focused on the entire body and targeted at dry, flaky, ashy skin. "I came up with a cocoa shea butter body butter, a mango shea butter, and a coffee scrub," she revealed as her first three products.
Her first sale was from a supportive co-worker, and that was all the motivation and boost she needed to dive into the business. From positive feedback from that one co-worker, the word about Skin by BLXC Gold started to spread, and as more people used the products and were willing to share pictures of their progress customers started to demand face products.
Skin by BLXC Gold added three new face products: a pink and green clay mask and a turmeric scrub. "Took me a while to properly formulate the turmeric scrub because I didn't want people to get a lot of residue of turmeric on them, so it took a while to develop that," she shared. Once the formula was perfected, turmeric and kojic acid soap was added, then turmeric and sea moss, all to tackle varying skin issues. Hibbert marketed the soaps by providing small samples of the soap with each purchase, and through that, sales from her soaps increased, and so did the addition of soap options. "The turmeric and sea moss soap is competing with the kojic acid and vitamin C bars. That [kojic acid and vitamin C bar] was released after the turmeric and sea moss, but now it's going neck and neck," she told the Sunday Finance proudly.
Though the profits from each product could not be determined as the business is still learning to manage its finances, Hibbert said she's more focused on the positive feedback and customer satisfaction from each product. The products range between $850 and $3,600 for various body oils.
The products are available on Skin by BLXC Gold's Instagram page, and it has gained international customers with a successful listing on Shop QMall, a Caribbean e-commerce platform and Carib shopper.
Though there are over 20 products available at Skin by BLXC Gold, Hibbert says the learning process of how to continuously improve the products will never stop. "There's no such thing as too much knowledge, so I purchase books, I go on YouTube and basically educate myself because, at the end of the day, as a skincare business owner, I have the responsibility to ensure that whatever I put out there on the market is safe," she said.
And though the capital is still limited, she says the plan is to continue building on the brand and slowly expanding while staying within the budget. The vision of Skin by BLXC Gold is to be a leading skincare brand in Jamaica and the Caribbean and to be known as a family brand.
"You know how you [would] grow up and hear [about] carbolic soap? I want Skin by BLXC Gold to be a staple in the household, a household brand," said Hibbert.