Welcome to another Brand of the Week feature! Last month, we told the story of a dope African-inspired jewelry brand (click here to read it) and this time around, we are giving you some insight into a skincare brand called Kate Lynn & Adwoa (KL&A) and the founder, Davida Shelby. Davida is a 36 year-old boss who has been investing in her passion, KL&A, since 2015. She popped up with us at our first Atlanta popup in 2019 and I fell in love with her soaps (especially the green tea and lavender ones, you need them in your life).
Read on to learn more about the BOTW, hope you enjoy! (This week's feature is in Q & A format)
When did you start Kate Lynn & Adwoa?
I started KL&A in October 2015.
Tell us about your life before you started your business? What inspired you to start KL&A?
Before starting KL&A, I was working very long hours at the world's largest PR Firm. I was working on most of the fashion and beauty brands, and loved it, but I always had aspirations of starting my own company. I knew I wanted to start a company that celebrated my Ghanaian heritage and Kate Lynn & Adwoa was the natural choice. I was already making Shea Butter and giving it as gifts to friends. At this point, it still didn't occur to me that I could monetize these gifts and actually start a company.
A friend had a free booth at AfroPunk in Atlanta and asked me to sell the Shea Butter at the booth. That was the first time I sold the products and they sold out! After that day, I registered the name Kate Lynn & Adwoa and started the business!
What was it about skincare that interested you so much that you decided to build a whole business dedicated to creating soaps, lotions, etc?
I've always been a skincare junkie! I knew I wanted to start a company either selling natural skincare products, tea or fresh pressed juice! I have very sensitive skin so making skincare products came natural to me. After the response from friends, family and customers, I knew I had enough to create a full business.
What was it like starting your own business? What obstacles/challenges did you initially face and which ones are you still facing?
It was a very scary process to start my own business. I was determined to never take any loans out to support the business, so many challenges have been funding everything on my own. Also, it has been extremely important for me to continue to source all of the shea butter and black soap used in the products from Ghana, so an obstacle that we are still working through is shipping large quantities from Ghana to the United States.
How do you measure your success as a business owner? How has your business grown over the years?
Being able to sell out each trip to Ghana and seeing the growth of the skincare products year after year is how I measure success! Based on that measurement, KL&A has been successful since I launched.
What are the most valuable lessons you've learned so far?
Customer service is key! People purchase your products based on who you are, your energy and your story. They have the option to purchase products/services from elsewhere. Always be very grateful that they are purchasing from you.
Tell me about the other activities/jobs you have going on in your life. How do you balance all that you do?
I have a full-time job as a marketing director at a national non-profit. I also curate group trips to Ghana and I consult with companies interested in visiting Ghana. Every morning, at 5:30 am, I attend Effect Fitness for a high intensity workout. I have the energy to get everything done thanks to my workouts!
Who/what has been your biggest support system throughout your journey?
My family 100%. KL&A would not be possible without my mom and my sister.
What advice do you have for people who want to start their own business, especially in the world of skincare/beauty?
I would suggest doing a lot of research on the industry. Pricing, creative assets, what permeates with your customers, etc.
What plans do you have for KL & A in the next 1-3 years? What do you want it to become?
I would love to see KL&A on the shelves of more boutiques! I would also like to create more travel experiences for KL&A customers looking to visit and vacation in Ghana.
Thank you Davida for giving us some insight into Kate Lynn & Adwoa! If you haven't tried her products, then you need to NOW. Trust me when I say they're high quality. To support, head to her website or Instagram to shop. Thank you for reading!
Until next time,