Convinced that what you put on your body is equally as important as what you put in your body, cosmetologist Tracy-Ann Mairs embarked on creating an organic skincare brand aimed at treating a plethora of maladies.
In 2020, just ahead of the COVID-19 reaching Jamaica's shores, she founded Skin by Indie Luxury Artisans. The sole proprietor, also trained in management studies and project management coms, invested $350,000 into research and development of organic raw materials, stepping away from synthetic.
"We manufacture a 100 per cent skin and haircare products both for males and females," Mairs told Jamaica Observer when interviewed at the recently held Expo Jamaica 2023, adding, "I wanted to make an alternative to traditional skincare which is filled with all sorts of chemicals."
"We specialise in products that assist in treating acne-causing bacteria, eczema and just to nourish the skin and provide benefits overall," she explained further.
During the research and development process, Mairs consulted a chemist to ensure that the products met market standards and industry quality. She emphasised the need to ensure her products can be used from "the babe to mom and dad; everyone included".
The company has engaged both the Scientific Research Council and the Bureau of Standards Jamaica to streamline production to meet regulated quality standards and ascertain certification for same.
Now with a team of three, Mairs operates a laboratory in Meadowbrook from which she makes body scrubs, body creams, body oils, soaps, and hair elixir
"We work like a conveyor belt," the businesswoman told Sunday Finance, explaining the process of making the products then packaging them for the Skin by Indie virtual store.
While the company also markets its products on Instagram, the social media platform it uses most, it has also secured a distributorship deal with regional e-commerce platform Caribshopper.
"If you want to order from us you can simply send us a DM on Instagram or click the link in our bio to arrive at our WhatsApp where we can speak to you further, do a mini-consultation and see what your skincare needs are and we deliver islandwide," Mairs stated.
In the meantime, the company has secured a grant from the Development Bank of Jamaica to further develop a website with e-commerce capabilities.
When asked what products are most in demand, Mairs responded, "Our top seller is our French Mocha Coffee line that is made with 100 per cent Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee and Jamaican chocolate. It is used to tighten the skin and reduce wrinkles."
Coming a close second are Skin by Indie's Wood and Wata Sunshine and Rain line and our hydrating H2T body oil. In addition, the company makes a pumpkin-coconut soap for skin irritation, a Baba Shea line for intense skin hydration, and a charcoal-based facial cleanser for detoxification.
Over time, Mairs has "recycled" funds or reinvested profits to grow the business. She is now looking at growing Skin by Indie into a regional and international brand known for its organic products.
However, for the short term the proprietor is negotiating with three hotels, two pharmacies and a couple spas to distribute the skincare line. In May she partnered with Visa Jamaica in providing products for Mother's Day baskets.
Commenting on sales following Expo Jamaica 2023, Mairs told Sunday Finance, "There has definitely been a boost since the expo. Those who were curious about our brand and finally got a chance to interact with our products have since purchased from us, returned for additional products and referred others who have also purchased."
She added: "We were also able to reconnect with distributors who previously engaged us and are now is discussions with regards to distribution channels."
Again reflecting on the showcase, she said having the ambassadors from Brazil and the European Union purchasing her products was the highlight of the event.