Kianté launches luxury body care business
Kianté Francis’s body care business — Luxe, Bliss, Love —has a scent for almost every mood.
Uplift Me, Cuddle Me, Seduce Me and Vacation Me are the names of some of her candles, creams and fragrances.
“Vacation Me is one of our more popular scents,” Ms Francis said. “It smells like a tropical paradise. There are a few people who buy several of them at a time to make sure they don’t run out, or as gifts for loved ones.”
Vacation Me’s popularity is possibly an indicator of how starved for travel a lot of people are at this stage in the pandemic.
“I was supposed to go to Bali in 2021 but due to the pandemic and the current hassle that comes with travelling, I did not go,” Ms Francis said.
Luxe, Bliss, Love was born out of pandemic boredom.
When the pandemic began in April 2020, Ms Francis worked remotely by day at her job in the insurance industry. At night, unable to go anywhere, she watched YouTube tutorial videos on making body care products, one of her hobbies.
She was particularly intrigued by videos on making body butters.
“I went down a rabbit hole,” she said. “Dating back to 2014, I was making my own body moisturisers because I could not find what I wanted in stores. I would mix things like jojoba oils, sweet almond oil, adding in essential oils for the scent. I was doing that for quite some time, just for the household.”
She wondered if she should turn her hobby into a proper business.
“I took a lot of time researching and watching videos, and spent late nights trying to figure out if this was something that I really wanted to get into,” she said.
The long weeks of lockdown gave her time needed to figure out what she wanted to do.
“It was scary at first, because I have always had a fear of the unknown,” she said. “I was not sure if I wanted to go out and sell these products to people. But I believed in it, and I enjoyed doing it and people close to me said you need to get this out there.”
It took her a little while to get the formula down.
“When you are mixing it, it is one consistency,” she said. “When it sets it is a totally different consistency.”
It took her a couple of months to figure out the right balance of body butter and carrier oils.
“I learnt that they would be okay without a preservative as long as water did not get into the jar, or the butters as they were being mixed,” she said.
Sometimes it is difficult to ensure that does not happen.
“I thought, I am going to do my best to keep water out of it, but I am going to use a natural preservative, just in case it does,” she said. “That helps to stop mould or fungus from growing.”
In December 2020 she started out by making up 8oz jars of body butters as Christmas presents for her family and friends.
“I wanted to see how they felt about it,” she said. “It still was not at the texture that I wanted, but people still liked the consistency and the smell, and how long it stayed on your body.”
She experimented a little more to get it to where she wanted it to be.
“March 2021 was when I started selling it to people close to me,” she said. “In April or May, I started selling through my Instagram page. Now I have a website. I started selling 8oz jars and then I moved to 4oz, because sometimes people want to have a little try of it without investing in a full jar. Now I have a 2oz jar for party favours and stuff like that.
Ms Francis uses a few different types of butters.
“Most people are used to the shea butter, but I also use mango butter and kokum butter and apricot oil, just to give it a more complex profile,” she said.
She added scented candles a few months ago, and then a fragrance mist.
Her dream would be to get her products into a retail outlet.
“That would probably be the next step,” she said. “It would be nice to get into a proper store. I just have to get out of my head and put myself out there a little more.”
Ms Francis has a full time job, so she works on Luxe, Bliss, Love in her spare time.
For more information see luxeblisslove.com or @luxeblisslove on Facebook and Instagram.
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