Accented Glory's accessory designer Tonya Cross (TC) got a chance to meet and chat with fellow woman entrepreneur Camille Brown (CB) of Hazel's Soapery. Check out their conversation below to learn more about Camille, her brand story, and natural products she create.
TC: Thank you for agreeing to share your brand story with our Accented Glory Family! I love meeting and engaging with other creative women in business. Please introduce yourself and tell us who you are.
CB: Hello Everyone. My name is Camille Brown and I am the Artisan and Proprietor of Hazel's Soapery. I am also a Mother, a Sister, a Friend, a member of Zeta Phi Beta, Sorority, Inc. and currently a South Carolinian (not sure how much longer that is going to last).
TC: Accented Glory's target audience is black women with natural hair. I know how life changing returning to natural hair has been for me personally. Tell us about your natural hair journey and how it has impacted you.
CB: I began my natural hair journey after researching the use of "relaxers" and its effects on uterine fibroids. I was curious why it seemed as though so many young African American women had them. Understanding I needed (Still do) to change my diet, I never considered how what I was putting on my hair could affect my internal health. It was an eye-opener for me. One that ultimately led me to create Hazel's Soapery.
TC: WOW...My natural hair journey inspired me to launch my brand Accented Glory as well! Tell us more about your brand Hazel's Soapery and how it came to be.
CB: Hazel's Soapery was created from a lot of major pieces that came together over the span of about 10 years. I'll give you the abridged version :).
On my 34th Birthday, I was getting dressed to go out with a group of friends. As I was getting ready I noticed a pain in my left breast. I didn't pay it much attention at the time and continued on with my evening. Well as time went on I ended up with a mass in my breast the size of an egg. After several treatments and scans, too many pain relievers and antibiotics. I had to have a partial mastectomy to have it removed. I was blessed to have a wonderful Dr. who was a world-renowned researcher in Breast Care. After removing the mass she was so curious about its make up that she studied it. She called me in to tell me that the mass was a build-up of toxins that my body was not able to secrete due to a blockage caused by using Clinical Strength deodorant. You can read the entire story here.
The second piece was my Grandmother, Hazel Whitman. I had the Grandmother that people put in movies. She was kind, prayerful, wise and for a little girl who would never be quiet, she let me talk as much as I wanted :). She was the person that people would call and say, "I have an earache and I don't know what to do." My grandmother would go into the kitchen, mix some stuff up in a bowl, put it in an old medicine bottle, and say, "Come on Baby, pick this up". So I got my beginnings by staying attached to her hip, watching her, and not even realizing what it was I was watching. In addition to listening to my mother talk and read about different roots and vitamins. It laid dormant until about two years after her passing.
The third piece was my transition to natural hair. My grandmother was also a Cosmetologist, her and my Great-Grandmother owned their own shop back in the 1930s. One of their early lessons was to "take care of your scalp and your hair will grow healthy without all that junk". So I have never been a fan of using a lot of products (Minus my Jerri Curl phase). When I decided to go natural, I couldn't find products that worked on my hair. So, I began to research and mix my own. I made itchy scalp sprays and all sorts of concoctions. Then one day, I came across an article that said; Whatever you put on your skin takes 26 seconds to get into your bloodstream. That was it, I needed to know what was in my soap, my lotion, my lip balm, of course, deodorant and here we are today. I found that I could create and therefore control the ingredients that I used on my skin. More importantly on my children's skin. We have seen such a change over time and its amazing.
TC: I'm a huge advocate of using products made with all-natural ingredients. Tell us why you chose to avoid using chemicals and harmful ingredients in your products.
CB: I avoid using chemicals and harmful ingredients mainly for the reason stated above. However, I will add this. My belief is that God created this world with everything we need to survive on it. So when you think back to our grandparents, for me I was blessed to even know my great-grandparents. I was able to watch them garden, cook, make home remedies, can food, hunt and cut up meat. All these things that we got away from because it was more convenient to buy it pre-made or packaged. So what many companies did was find a way to mass-produce the simple God-given ingredients to make a profit. The trade-off has been our health. So when I looked back and see, my Grandmother lived to be 80 yrs old, with clear skin, no real health problems, in her right mind and compare it to me who at before 40 had breast surgery, fibroids, Dry-skin. It was obvious, I needed to go back to what they were doing. Convenient or not. My main goal is to not have my children be dependent on the easy way. Or the junk food, the bad habits that I have, and am trying to break. I want to raise them without having the need to create new habits. But have healthy ones from the start. I want the same for my customers. I want us to understand those big companies are in the business of making our skin dependent on their product so that if we stop using it for an hour, we need to get more. I want us to reset our skin, so that it functions as it should on its own, with products that work for it.
TC: Love your mindset; everything we need can be found in nature! I also noticed that you have a blog on your website. Why do you feel it's important to educate your customers?
CB: I love teaching. I was a pre-school teacher and Parent Educator at another time. It is so little we understand about ourselves. About how to love and nurture our skin and our hair. I happen to also love doing research. So as I learn and grow, I feel I would be remiss to keep that knowledge to myself. We suffer in many ways because we know not. We don't know why our skin is so dry. Also, Hazel's Soapery didn't start out to be a business. It started out because I wanted to change the way I was taking care of myself and my family. I want to share what I learn so that if there are others out there who are doing the same we can help each other. For every piece of information I share, someone has poured more information out into me. Everything can't be about a profit or I wouldn't be holding true to the name of my company. Plus my Grandma will visit me in my dreams and set me straight :).
TC: I'm a forever learner and enjoy sharing what I have learned as well. Is there anything else you would like to share with our audience?
CB: Absolutely. If you ever have any questions about an ingredient or thinking of starting your own business feel free to reach out to me. I will help as best as I can. Also, a huge Thank You to you for inviting me to share a little bit about Hazel's Soapery with your community.
TC: You're very welcome! I'm so glad we got an opportunity to connect. I definitely feel like we have kindred spirits! Where can our audience find out more about your business and services?
CB: They can shop for my products at www.HazelsSoapery.com and send me questions at Camille@HazelsSoapery.com. They can also like/follow Hazel's Soapery on social media at links/handles below:
Accented Glory Family, I hope you enjoyed my chat with Camille of Hazel's Soapery! What was your take away from her natural hair or entrepreneur journey? Share your response in comments below.
Tonya Cross - Accessory Designer
Cierra has been a part of Accented Glory since its launch in June 2013. Outside of being an "Accessory Diva", she's a millennial who's currently navigating adulthood. Click Not One Of Your Little Friends to check out her podcast!