They say necessity is the mother of all invention and that sentiment could not prove to have been more true for entrepreneur and doting mother Aisha Crump.
As the mother of three multi-racial children, Crump routinely found herself going through product after product while tending to their hair. “The products that I personally used did not work well on their hair and I couldn’t use the products meant for their textured hair,” she says. “Like every other mother, I also wanted products that were natural and free from ingredients that weren’t good for their hair and skin, but I needed them to work and make my life easier.”
And thus, Honey Baby Naturals was born. The collection of Hair & Skin Products is made with natural and safe ingredients that encompass purity, innovation, and effectiveness. N’Digo recently sat down with Crump to discuss the origins of her product line, where it is today, and where she looks to take it in the future.
Tell us a bit about your background and what led you to where today?
I went to college and studied chemical engineering because people said when I graduate I’d make a lot of money but I was bored out of my mind. Ive always been into beauty and fashion and music but here I was studying chemical engineering. So when I graduated and it was time to get a job, I didn’t wanna do ANYTHING in engineering. I said to myself ‘There’s nothing here for me. What do I look like in a working my life away in a lab?’…and then I found beauty. I realized that I can develop and engineer products and use my know how to mix my worlds together. So I could mix beauty and fashion and product development. So that’s what I did. I went into product development and got a chance to work for a number of major companies on multicultural projects as well as consulting on the development of their brands. In total, I’ve been in the beauty industry for about 15 years.
What was the genesis for Honey Baby Naturals?
After a while I decided it was time for me to develop my own brand. I wanted to develop a line that really spoke to my life. I’m Puerto Rican, my husband is African-American, and we have three multiracial children. They’re my life and everything revolves around them. Whether it’s doing their hair, picking out clothes for school or whatever, I’m essentially doing everything. Even though I had every single product at my fingertips, I didn’t have the right product for my family. The products that worked on their hair were too heavy for mine and I found myself buying 15 different things and nothing worked. And that’s how Honey Baby Naturals was born. I wanted to have a shampoo that was light enough but it cleansed the hair properly. So I started mixing ingredients and I used honey because my grandmother in Puerto Rico used to take honey and put it on her skin to protect it from the sun. She would put honey on her hair to make it shinier. So I knew that I wanted (as my kids called it) my honey butter to based off of honey. So HBN was born and I made seven essential products for both body and hair care.
When did the first product come to fruition?
The first product was the Honey Butter and I put it together about two years ago. The point I when I realized that I had to turn it into a brand and went into full fledge production came about a year and a half ago. That’s when I decided HBN is real and I’m gonna start formulating. It took me about a year to develop and perfect the formula in the first collection.
I understand there are two branches to the Honey Baby Naturals line. Please break down the hair care collection and tell us a bit about each product?
Honey Child Moisture Shampoo – My daughter is a swimmer. As you know it’s so rough on the hair so the shampoo is sulfate free but it also has the properties to balance and moisture your scalp. If you wash your hair enough, it actually strips the moisture from your scalp so this shampoo will actually put moisture back into your scalp and it’s gonna balance the pH levels. The shampoo is gentle but cleansing and it foams even though it’s sulfate free.
Honey Sweet Conditioner – It’s interesting when you think about conditioner…most people think ‘Okay I put it in, rinse it out, and I can comb my hair.’ But this conditioner was designed to soften the hair fibers. The technology actually came from fabric softener sheets. A lot of my products are food based as well as mixing technology from other industries. So the conditioner is the honey sweet softening conditioner. I use milk protein to bind to the hair to strength it but also soften the hair so when you use it, the comb is just gonna glide through the hair.
Knot My Honey Detangler – When I tell you I have three curly haired babies whose head are full of tangles and knots… I literally spend an hour and half every morning doing hair so I wanted to create a lightweight leave-in conditioner that didn’t weigh down the hair, but it also helps to remove the knots and tangles easily and leaves a light film on the hair to coat it, protect it, and give it shine. I get lots of testimonials about it that say “You have made my life so much easier” and that was one of my primary goals in creating it. It’s turned out to be my top seller so far.
Honey Shea Butter Hair Smoothie – This one is specifically for curly hair. My oldest daughter has extremely curly and textured hair. We do a lot of twist outs and braid outs so I developed this hair smoothie with that in mind. The shea is gonna penetrate the hair to give it moisture and it has a a hold while giving you elongation. So for curly haired women that are out there searching for a cream that is good for styling without the crunch, you’re gonna get that in this product.
And what about Honey Baby Naturals’ skin care line?
Now I definitely didn’t forget about the fellas. My men aka the honey daddies, LOVE this collection. This collection is about family bonding. It’s not just a product line that you buy and use and it makes your hair look better. It’s about loving the product and sharing the product with your sisters, brothers, mom, and dad. Children feel like ‘This is the first time there is a line that was created for me’. A lot of the multicultural lines have the brand and the parent brand and then they branch out and do a me too kid line whereas this line was created for children and their families.
Mama’s Magic Moringa & Honey Body Oil – This is definitely one of the honey daddies’ favorite products. This is my bath and body oil and I developed it because my kids are too lazy to put on lotion. So you throw it in the bath and they come out with their skin hydrated because it leaves a soft film without extensive greasiness on the skin. It’s like little droplets of honey you can see and then it disperses easily into the water because the oil that I use is a primary oil. Also you can apply it immediately after leaving the shower and it leaves a nice film on the skin and then you can add honey butter later.
Bee Sweet Face & Body Butter – Remember when mama used to put Vaseline on your face and leave you greasy all day? I know it was for protection but it was too much plus petroleum doesn’t really penetrate the skin. It just coats the skin as opposed to actually healing the skin. So our face and body butter has a heavy oil load and it actually does peneterate the skin to hydrate it and leave it supple and smooth. It’s not very heavy so it wont leave the skin feeling greasy.
Honey Nectar Body Jelly – This is for everything that is too dry to imagine. We’re talking elbows, knees, I mean everything here. My daughter recently had sunburn and we’re loading up the skin with it. One of my girlfriends says she puts it on her feet to help heal her dry skin. The fascinating thing is that honey has healing properties. There are actual scientific journals that say honey cures psoriasis and other conditions. I cant claim it but honey has such amazing moisture binding properties that its actually going to bind moisture to your skin. I have another girlfriend who told me that her feet don’t get caught in the covers anymore because she’s using the honey nectar body jelly. I wanted it to feel like honey so all the products have a light natural honey scent. So it’s more like a grease without the grease. It’s shea butter, coconut oil, sunflower oil and I found a way to actually gel it together into a solid form. When I developed the line I wanted to make it free of parabens, free of sulfates, free of anything that can be potentially harmful to your children. No petro-derived chemicals. There’s no mineral oil or petrolatum. It’s also free of artificial colors. Everything is made with nature ingredients and oils that are good for you and your children.
Is it safe to say that your children were a big inspiration in your creation of Honey Baby Naturals?
This brand to me is about more than just having a brand on the shelf. It’s my family. My kids are really a part of this. They give me ideas. They help me create the products.They help me package and ship the products. It’s really a family business and it’s teaching my children about being business owners and entreprenuers.
Ultimately how much did your background in chemistry contribute to the line?
When I tell you that my team and I worked a full year on this stuff and we went through so many trials. And everything had to be right from the texture to the color to how it feels on the skin. I engineered these formulas to be the best formulas imaginable and that’s why I came out with seven essentials. I wanted products that spoke to everyone in the family and multi-cultural families. I wanted them to work on all hair classifications whether you’re Type 2, Type 3A, Type 3C, Type 4 and on. It looks like our hard work is paying off as I’m proud to say we recently won some editors choice awards from naturallycurly.com, Our shampoo won Best Shampoo. We snagged Best conditioner, overall. And we also won best emerging line and best kids line.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting Honey Baby Naturals?
This entire process has been about learning new things and discovering more about myself. However, the biggest lesson that I have learned since starting the brand is that you can’t do everything yourself and you need the right team behind you. I have always tried to take on so much myself and I spread myself too thin, and that will never work in this business. I just focus on my area of expertise and have a team to help me with the things I don’t know
How do you balance being a wife, mother, and business owner?
I am still trying to figure it out! I am so passionate about everything I do and I want to be nothing short of the best at everything I do, so it is so challenging to devote so much to each aspect of my life. I have to bring them all together to make it work. Honey Baby Naturals was inspired by my family and they are my “Honey Babies”. My husband and children are so supportive and help me to build the brand and our business. It is truly a family business and it brings us closer together.
Best advice for budding entrepreneurs?
Take risks. Take chances. Don’t ignore your passion! If you don’t try, you will never know… Answer the what if and follow your heart with the right team behind you. There are so many problems that need to be solved, so many products that can be better, so many innovations that can change our lives; we need to keep searching, innovating, discovering and making our lives better.
Favorite quote or affirmation?
“You only live once and I just don’t want to waste a minute of my life”- Richard Branson. I had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with Sir Richard Branson when I was a contestant on his reality show, and I truly admire his passion for life, willingness to follow his heart, his desire for adventure and his lack of fear of trying anything no matter how huge the obstacles.
What’s next for Aisha Crump and Honey Baby Naturals?
The first year for Honey Baby Naturals has been nothing short of amazing. We are growing quickly and expanding our retail outlets and product offerings. In addition to over 40 independent retailers, we just landed on shelves at Meijers stores and our products are available for purchase on Target.com. Honey Baby Naturals is looking to expand distribution and sales throughout the US and internationally in 2017, so that more families can experience the Honey Baby Naturals Love. We will be launching new products early next year and exploring new brand categories. We are also currently planning back to school initiatives and partnering with local organizations to promote natural products, healthy kids and healthier lifestyles.
For more information on Honey Baby Naturals please visit www.honeybabynaturals.com
Kindness knows no shame. – Stevie Wonder