Who knew that a business that started out in one woman’s kitchen, would turn into a full-fledged natural skin care product line with distribution through Whole Foods, and a manufacturing facility in Royal Oak, Michigan?
For Yolanda Williams, and her husband, Rick, they never imagined her love of experimenting with making soaps and lotions could turn into a money-maker: Cream Blends.
From body butter, to butter for natural hair, and bath teas and massage oils, Williams has experimented with it all, to perfect the Cream Blends that we all know and love today. And though the road hasn’t been easy, we can see that it’s clearly been worth it for the wife and mother of two.
Get to know more about Cream Blends through its founder, Yolanda Williams.
What year were you founded?
What inspired you to launch your business?
My husband and I have been in business since graduating from college. He is co-owner of Burn Rubber, a sneaker boutique in Royal Oak, MI (Entrepreneurship runs in our family). I started making skincare products to help alleviate dry skin and then I started giving it to friends and family (typical story for most brands). My husband then suggested selling the products.
I started making the products in my kitchen and then a few months later I was invited to a meeting with Whole Foods in Ann Arbor. I went and met with the buyers, and had them try the products–and they loved the brand. [Then] I was chosen to sell products in their stores. So what started out as a small idea turned into a big one fairly quick. Getting into Whole Foods caused us to develop the brand further.
What makes your brand unique?
We believe in creating products that have a clean visual aesthetic. We found that most all-natural products tend to look like they are handmade and we believe in a product that has clean branding with ingredients and a formula that proves itself time and time again. Handmade quality but commercial appeal.
Why should everyone #buyblack this holiday season?
Our money in the Black community needs to circulate more than it does. If I am able to buy ingredients from Black-owned suppliers (shea butter) and then sell products to my customers who continue to support every month then I am able to hire more employees, who are then able to support their families. We are not only fulfilling a need by providing products like body butters and soaps, that we have to use, but our company is also able to help support families. I support all businesses and my customer base is very diverse but there is a special love and affinity for my own people.
How do you pay it forward within your community?
One area that I support is making sure that the remote villages in West Africa, where I get my Shea Butter from, are paying the women who make the shea butter. Responsible growth is important and making sure that we support an ethical supply chain and help to fight poverty by keeping the more than 70,000 women who are involved in the Shea trade, each year, employed and paid well.
What is your business mantra?
To change the way that people view skincare products and educate the community on the importance of quality products that brings life back to their skin and environments by using simple ingredients from the earth. “What you put on your skin is just as important as what you put in your body.”