With the rise of more and more black women breaking away from traditional 9-5s to become their own bosses, the CEO is getting a revamp as the SHEeo. In the Meet The SHEeo series, we talk to melanated mavens leveling up and glowing up, all while redefining what it means to be a boss.
Candera Thompson launched Bask & Bloom Essentials as a remedy to postpartum hair breakage and shedding. Using high-quality ingredients free from harsh chemicals and toxins, Bask & Bloom offers a full hair care line, including herbal infusions that protect against breakage while providing intense moisture. Within four years, the company has built a loyal customer base thanks to their wide range of product bundles that cater to various hair textures for a more simplified hair regimen.
Meet Candera Thompson of Bask & Bloom Essentials.
Photo courtesy of Candera Thompson
Title: CEO of Bask & Bloom Essentials
Year Founded: 2015
Location: Saint Louis, MO
# of Employees: 3
30-Second Pitch: Bask & Bloom Essentials is a rapidly growing brand in the hair and skin care industry serving all members of a household. We offer a full hair care line that includes herbal infusions to protect against breakage while providing intense moisture and our skin care line promotes a basic, 3-step regimen to maintain a natural glow.
What inspired you to start your brand?
I was transitioning to natural after having my first daughter and experiencing lots of breaking and shedding. While some postpartum shedding is normal, I wanted to find a remedy once I got past that phase to strengthen my hair and give it a fuller look. A few ladies in a Natural Hair Facebook group I was in suggested black tea rinses and I started researching herbal teas that were beneficial for the hair. After trying and seeing some of the issues subside, I wanted to research further to add these ingredients into a line of hair care products.
What was your a-ha moment that brought your idea into reality?
My a-ha moment came while on a vendor's website where I purchased my herbs from. They updated with how-to videos and a few of them showed how to infuse herbs into an oil or liquid extract. A light bulb went off, this is how I would include them into my products. After research and testing for a few months, I was more confident it bringing a line to market.
Who is your ideal customer?
[My ideal customers are] 24-45-year-old ingredient-conscious women seeking to solve issues with dry, brittle hair and sensitive skin. They are college educated with an annual income ranging from $60-$80k. They prefer access to a unique, full line of products and love being educated on different natural remedies for beauty through demos and tutorials.
What makes your business different?
Seeing that we use unique herbs in our products, we spend a lot of time educating our audience on the multiple benefits of each ingredient. We create challenges that are unique to a group of customers to participate in that demonstrates overall healthier hair and skin and the end of that time period. We offer a range of bundles based on hair texture and solutions to make it easier for consumers to have a better regimen. This has allowed us to create a loyal base of customers who have shared our company to everyone they know, making them a believer in our brand also.
What obstacles did you have to overcome while launching and growing your brand? How were you able to overcome them?
Funding, resources to effectively launch a beauty brand and great recommendations for manufacturers, time management with working a full-time job and being a mother. I saved a lot of my paycheck to put into my business so I had to become very frugal in the beginning to create excitement around my products and launch. I incorporated the mindset that "done is better than perfect" and if I can at least get started, the business will eventually fund itself. I decided against working with a manufacturer in the beginning to mass produce and instead had everything tested by a lab to ensure all ingredient levels were ideal for launch. As far as time management, I just had to say no to a lot as there is no such thing as balance. I built my brand to the point where I could leave my full-time job, even though I got laid off before I could resign.
"I incorporated the mindset that 'done is better than perfect' and if I can at least get started, the business will eventually fund itself."
What was the defining moment in your entrepreneurial journey?
When I got laid off from my full-time job, I was three months pregnant with my second child, planning to not return after I had her. At three months pregnant, many would've have been afraid to not have a steady paycheck but I took it as a sign. I got what I asked for and was preparing for even if it was premature.
Where have you seen the biggest return on investment? (i.e. marketing, ads, vending, social media)
Social media and email marketing and Facebook/IG ads.
Where do you see your company in 5-10 years? (The ultimate goal?)
On the shelves of big retail stores, international pop up shops to meet and greet customers, a few boutiques where customers can test products and get one-on-one recommendations and shop, launching a nonprofit program for teenage girls interested in entrepreneurship, making it to eight figures in revenue and investing into other black-owned beauty brands.
Biggest lesson you’ve learned in business?
Do it afraid and unsure, everyone else is and are making fear look good.