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Dove & Butterfly takes flight with skin care products

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Shi-Vaughn Lee with some of her Dove & Butterfly skin care products (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)
Dove & Butterfly skincare products (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)
Shi-Vaughn Lee with Dove & Butterfly products (Photograph by Jessie Moni Hardy)

Shi-Vaughn Lee has come a long way since opening her skin care business Dove & Butterfly, exactly a year ago.

The 25- year-old sells body butters, sugar scrubs, body oils and soaps, and is about to open her own location in Harrington Sound, Hamilton Parish.

“The most important thing I have learnt in the last year, is that you can do whatever you think in your mind,” she said. “I feel like one day, that clicked in my head. I realised I did not have to wake up every day and go to a job that I hated.”

She said in school the message was always that you had to be a doctor or lawyer to be truly successful.

“In school, it was never even a thought that I could become an entrepreneur,” she said.

As a result she tried several different careers. She did pre-med in her undergraduate years. Then she studied law and was Called to the Bar in 2019.

Then, feeling that law wasn’t it either, she took acting courses, and then got her real estate licence. None of it felt quite right.

The world health crisis last year brought her some unexpected clarity.

“During the pandemic I was on my phone a lot, browsing,” she said. “There was nothing else to do. I kept seeing body butters, shimmer oils and all these natural type skin products. Once I kept seeing it I thought, oh I think I want to do this.”

She had been thinking about starting a business for a few months, and even had a logo drawn up, but was not sure exactly what the business would be.

Dove & Butterfly refers to the transition she was going through in her 20s to self actualise. She likens her situation to a caterpillar changing from a cocoon into a butterfly.

“When you are transitioning, you may not always be able to see what the end looks like,” she said. “For me, my ultimate goal was to feel like peace in whatever I was doing. That is what the dove means.”

When she started Dove & Butterfly she searched for someone in the community who could make skin care products like body butters for her.

“I am business-minded,” she said. “I thought, why not get them to make it for me, and I can brand it. I found someone, but it turned out he was super busy.”

Instead of getting someone else to make her products, she took to YouTube to learn how to do it herself. Now she loves the process, but is still a little more interested in the creative side than production.

The chemistry background she had from her pre-medicine studies in university helped her nail down her formulas.

“If I wanted it to be a little softer I would add some more oil,” she said. “But I am still learning different things that impact the texture or how better to get the scent. There are different fragrance oils that have different scent levels. You have to adjust the formula to account for that, insuring that it is still skin safe.”

She now runs Dove & Butterfly full time and has one part-time employee.

“We make product every single day,” she said. “Some days we are dedicated to scrubs and butters. Some days we do oils.”

She has found it complicated to ship the ingredients to Bermuda.

“The main thing is just getting it on the dock to meet the deadline so it makes the boat,” she said. “I have somewhat gotten down when I need to order to ensure that it is there on time.”

Sometimes the product misses the boat, or breaks in transit, or completely disappears. But overall, she has had good luck.

Ms Lee said packing orders can also be challenging.

“We have to be really, really accurate,” Ms Lee said. “If we have 100 of the product and give two to someone by accident, that leaves us short. What do you do?”

This Friday, Dove & Butterfly products will be available at People’s Pharmacy and Hamilton Pharmacy.

For more information see her on Instagram @doveandbutterfly or at www.doveandbutterfly.com.

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Published June 23, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated June 24, 2021 at 8:01 am)

Dove & Butterfly takes flight with skin care products

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