Like many women on the journey of transitioning to clean or non-toxic living, Shadora Martin began to make positive changes in her personal life and everyday lifestyle shortly after discovering that she was pregnant.
While it was a pregnancy, that inspired Shadora to take better care of her body; the home to her unborn child, It was upon further research, that she discovered that the clean beauty market was not as inclusive as she thought. She quickly learned that there were not that many product options that catered to the skin of black women.
With the responsibility of bringing another beautiful black girl into the world, Shadora set out to ensure that the world that her daughter would grow up in, was better than the world she grew up in, and the best way to ensure a better experience was to create it. She began formulating her own products, creating dream-like body butters with one of a kind scents, such as champagne mango, and amber + oakmoss, and sharing these products amongst friends and family. That was how Best Life Organics was born.
So tell me Shadora, Is that how the name ‘Best Life Organics’ came about?
Actually, funny story. The name came to me around the time that Cardi B’s album Invasion of Privacy came out. She has a song on that album with Chance the Rapper called Best Life and for me, after hearing that song, while also feeling like I was on my way to my best life, it felt like a perfect fit. That’s really how the name Best Life Organics came about.
I find the scents of your products very interesting. They all smell amazing by the way. I was particularly drawn to the scents, champagne mango and amber + oak moss oak. Can you tell me a little about how you came up with the unique names and scents?
“I wanted to incorporate natural scents into my product line. Not like ‘cotton candy’ or ‘strawberry shortcake’ but like natural scents that transported you to a different or more tropical place. I believe that scents elevate the entire experience, and so when you’re showering or applying the product topically on to your skin, they also act as aromatherapy to awaken your senses”.
As a black business owner myself, I know first hand, that all challenges are not equal. I’m interested in hearing about the unique challenges you experienced, navigating the beauty market as a black woman.
“When I first started out, and of course, pre-covid, I had a lot of success doing pop-up shops and enjoyed connecting directly with my customers. With covid pandemic, shifting the market more online, I began to seek placement in e-commerce stores, but I found that getting into the retail stores as a black woman was not easy at all. I would pitch my products to several boutiques in the D.C area, but would just never hear back. It was a real struggle, and It came as no surprise to me that my first opportunity in retail came from a black-owned retail store.
Following the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, the civil unrest over the treatment of black people, and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, I’ve experienced a dramatic shift in the response from retailers. I’m finding that non-black owned retailers are now more accepting towards my products, and want to carry them. My hope is that this belief in inclusivity is not a trend, but something that becomes the norm”.
Where does the term ‘Black Owned’ lie in the bigger picture of Beauty, Retail and a future where Inclusivity is the norm?
I believe the term black owned is a thing of pride, and right now people are making a consious effort to support black owned businesses. This is important for a number of reasons – we need the visibility and the opportunities for growth and expansion because we’ve been denied that for so long. However, in the long term, black owned should become the norm without the need to differentiate, and great products can just be great products. In other words, sit my body wash right next to Dove and let people choose.
[Laughs] So, I imagine your answers may be biased, but what are some of your personal Best Life Organics favorites right now?
Inspired by the champagne mango fruit, and in remembrance of Shadora’s childhood past time eating champagne mango’s with her mother, growing up, this scent was designed to give island vibes all year long. Crafted with a signature blend of whipped shea butter, almond oil, avocado oil, jojoba, and aloe vera, this butter melts right into your skin for all day moisture. The natural fragrance of champagne mango is phthalate free and contains no synthetic ingredients.
Driven by Shadora’s own experience growing up with Acne, the Charcoal + Rose Clay Detox mask is effective at preventing breakouts. This quick-drying mask instantly goes to work to remove impurities, exfoliates, tones and brightens the complexion. This mask is 100% plant based, with key ingredients like kaolin rose clay, organic rose water, and honey. For best results, after mask has completely dried down, rinse off with cool water and follow up with a toner and serum or moisturizer. Use 1-2 times per week.
The Velvet Serum
The velvet serum is a perfect follow-up from the detox mask. This moisturizing serum helps fade away scarring and hyperpigmentation and leaves your skin feeling velvety smooth, while also replenishing moisture. It’s highly effective for people with oily/combination skin, hyperpigmentation and contains key ingredients like hemp seed oil, rose hip oil, and evening primrose.
I really appreciate your time Shadora. I think our conversation further validates St. Eden’s mission for inclusivity and opportunity for all in the clean beauty market and helps me personally envision a world where the people behind the brands look like the people using the brands. What do you envision a future looks like for Best Life Organics?
One word ‘ global’. I want the brand to be a global brand. I want the brand to be a champion for people with sensitive skin, and I think especially for me growing up with acne, and having skin issues that diminished my confidence, I want to end skin insecurity, and for people to feel confident and beautiful, naturally. I want people to feel amazing in their skin, as they are, but whether Best life Organics becomes global or not, as long as I’m making people feel good through my products, I’m happy.
Inside Look At Best Life Organics Written by Ona Okoye