It is Her Mission to Create Products That Are Nourishing to the Skin. Meet Body Butter Blends Owner, Nickol Crews
Q: For those in our audience not familiar with Body Butter Blends, tell us your idea about starting the business and how it took off?
NC: Body butter blends was created from a need to have a natural product to assist with my son’s mild eczema and my chronic dry skin. After finding a wholesale company where I could purchase raw shea butter, I began experimenting on making a shea butter cream. In the beginning, I had a lot and I mean a lot of horrible batches. They were too oily, too hard, of a liquid consistency…a hot mess! So, I began adding other raw butters to soften the product and to have it be just the right level of creamy. Now that I had the consistency right and it worked on both my son’s and my skin, I had all this material left. I decided to add fragrance and began giving them away to my friends. I knew I had something special when people came back for more.
Q: What are your most popular products?
NC: By far our most popular product is our body butters. People love the consistency and how the butters melt upon contact using their body heat to absorb all that goodness into their skin.
Q: Did you have business experience before you started Body Butter Blends?
NC: I had financial experience from my career in banking, but no business owner experience.
Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you?
NC: My first job was as a teller at a small inner city savings and loan bank. This experience shaped me in many ways but here are the top two.
- This was the first time that I was able to see African Americans who saved for the future. In my childhood I wasn’t exposed to this. Everyone was pretty much living day to day. We weren’t taught to save for a rainy day and here I was seeing people who looked like me doing just that. It was amazing and it made me proud.
- It was the first time that I saw a Black woman in a position of Corporate leadership. The branch manager was an African American woman. She was tough but she was fair and always respectful of everyone. It didn’t matter if you had $5.00 or $50,000.00 in her bank, you were treated with the same respect. That taught me the necessity of empowerment and the power of great customer service.
Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience?
NC: To treat people with care, concern, and respect. No matter if you are offering a million-dollar product, you have let people know that it is because of them, we are successful. People may forget your company name, but they will ALWAYS remember how you made them feel.
Q: Can you share with us which woman inspires you and why?
NC: I would have to say the woman that inspired me was my mother. My mom loved to make people laugh. You couldn’t be around her and not chuckle. As the elders say, “she never met a stranger”. She went through struggles in life, but she always kept it together for her two children. She always held her head high and found a way where there was no way. I don’t believe she knew the positive influence she had on my life. Her love and influence have giving me the me the ability to go through life saying, “failure is not an option”. She is no longer with us, something that I still struggle with. I’d like to believe that she is smiling at me and bragging to other spirits saying, “look that’s my love drop”.
Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to purse their dream and start a business?
- Look for someone who is where you WANT to be. Then ask them to be your accountability mentor. This person should be willing to not judge but to encourage you with your dreams. They should be financially and spiritually sound (you will know them by their fruits). This journey although rewarding, can be lonely. People won’t understand your passion, your decision, your drive but don’t let this stop you. Call on your accountability mentor, pray with them and lean on them when you need to. It is not a sign of weakness it’s a sign of strength to replenish your spirit.
- Do your research. Don’t just think because you have a money making idea that people are going to run to you to pay for your product/service. Get to know who would need/use your product or service, then find out how to get their attention.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. Have outstanding work ethic but when something doesn’t work out as planned, give yourself the credit of trying. The streets are paved with dreams that were let go of too soon or thrown away because someone mistook trail and error as failure. YOU GOT THIS!
Q: Can you tell us how you manage your work life balance?
NC: Horribly. I have to be so transparent. I do not, at this time have a good work life balance. I still work in Corporate America in which I manage two teams. I am a business owner, a wife, and a mother. I haven’t figured out how to balance these things where I get to relax. I feel there is always something to do. Luckily, my husband see that the family take at least two vacations during the year and it is during those weeks that I get to any real relaxing. We normally cruise and then rent a cabin in the mountains during Superbowl weekend. I must confess that I am a work in progress with getting my work/life balance…..um…balanced.
Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today?
NC: I feel that we still have a way to go with being taken seriously. If a man creates a business and get on the grind to make it happen, people often will say he’s an entrepreneur, a hustler, a mover, and shaker. When women do it, it is somehow seen as a hobby, a way to make a little money, or something to do. This isn’t just from men; you will get the same responses from other women. We fought so hard to be taken seriously in the board room of the Corporate world, but I don’t think we thought about the fact that we could “own the board room”.
We are not telling our young women that we can OWN businesses. I wasn’t told this either; my mom couldn’t give me what she didn’t have. No one told her that she could own a business. Women we are soooo strong, stronger than we often give ourselves credit for. Young women surround yourself with likeminded people, people who share the same desires, dreams, and who are tenacious in their pursuit to achieve them. You are more powerful than your looks, your clothing, your social media page, your bag…..or who you date. You are phenomenal!
Five Things About Nickol Crews
1. If you could talk to one famous person past or present, who would it be and why?
Michelle Obama would be the woman I would like to sit down and have a conversation with. She has a strength and resolve that permeates through her spirit. I would love to pick her heart and get some passionate advice on how to remain strong in the face of trouble times.
2. Who is your favorite author?
My favorite author is also a minister, T.D. Jakes. I read “woman thou are loosed” at a time in my life when I believe God was grooming me for some upcoming pain. It was powerful to hear that women can be loosed from all the hurt, pain, emotional distress, and abuse. I never really heard this before. Women were taught not to reveal these things but to pray it away. He addressed us as children of GOD. He let us wear our crowns but came up and said “I see you have a crack in it, let’s get that fixed”
3. If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to and why?
I would travel back to 2013. This is the year my mother passed away. I would hug her, kiss her, and tell her I love more. I would have the final “woman to woman” talk with her. I didn’t get to have that talk before she passed away.
4. What app can’t you live without?
T.D Ameritrade. I am always looking at what the stock market is doing. It’s addictive for me.
5. What motivates you to work hard?
Besides believing I have a product that can changes lives, I am building generational wealth. My company with also build societal wealth for African Americans. This motivates me beyond belief. I am blessed to be a blessing.