One local startup that’s setting itself apart from other wellness brands is OwnU’ Style LLC. Founded by two Hutchinson-born sisters Brittany and Jessica Gray, Own U’ demystifies everything from Black skin care to natural healing remedies with a unique range of product offerings and educational information promoting Black well-being.
“We want to focus on healing black people and blackness. Once we began studying, learning, and meeting other natural remedy users, it wasn’t long until we realized that Black people are not chemically based like Caucasians,” said Brittany, a Licensed Esthetician. “We are more natural-based, and we need to get back to our roots and really dig deep to find what works for us.”
Own U’s product lineup consists of both facial and body care products: an everyday black soap, lemongrass exfoliator, hydrating beard and body creams, their sea moss recipe, and more. The ingredients used in their products range from unrefined shea butter and black seed oils found in their hydrating skincare products to top-quality specialty salts for their body scrubs.
With every purchase, Customers are given detailed instructions on how the product should be used and an explanation of the ingredients used in each product.
After years of working in health independently, The two sisters finally joined forces, and career paths, to formulate a product that specifically addressed Black people’s health challenges.
“I’ve done a lot of studying just with natural herbs that I learned from friends in Florida. I learned about the natural remedies passed down from their ancestors, and then I mixed that with Brittany’s knowledge of science and mixing things, and we just came together at that point and said, okay, this is what we need to do” said Jessica.
Creating the recipes for Own U’s products took years of research and development, trial and error, testing, and retesting to find just the right ingredients and stability. Melanin-rich skin often challenges finding the right products that work with the skins tone and texture, making finding the right skincare products all the more critical
“The reason why I like Own U’s products so much is that their hydrator has TeaTree Oil in it, so that way I don’t have to use commercial shampoo and conditioner brands that have sulfate, which is a huge plus for African American men because those products tear away at our facial hair,” said DJ, an Own U beard hydrator and toner user.
The two have always been interested in a holistic lifestyle. Part of that stems from growing up in Hutchinson with grandparents and parents who were advocates of healthy living and organic eating, and part of it stems from their desire to look and feel good.
Last year when both of their parents contracted Covid-19, Brittany and Jessica used their knowledge of herbs and vegetables to create a natural remedy routine their parents could use in their recovery. Part of their routine consisted of fasting from meats, concentrated juice, and soda pops and replacing them with a tea made from dandelion, hibiscus, and more.
“Our parents have had several health issues over the years, and since we started giving them our remedies, it has helped with their blood pressure and diabetes, and they stopped taking their prescribed medicine,” said Brittany.
Vendor opportunities and word of mouth continue to be great ways for attracting customers, generating product awareness and revenue for Own U’. In addition to face-to-face, customers are also discovering the skincare line via social media.
Their focus has been on product development and launch, but as the business grows, the two hope to expand into new markets and expand their product line.
For now, the sisters continue to build the Own U’ brand, while raising their young children, with hopes of one day committing fully to the company. As far as the near future, one of their immediate goals is to complete their online store. Until then, you can find out more about the line and reach the sisters via their social media platforms @OwnUStyleLLC or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org