Today we’d like to introduce you to Sandra Mullings.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Sandra. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Have you ever heard of a person who has been pregnant for Longer than 10 months? I have. I am not sure if this really is physically or medically possible (I am no doctor), but sometimes it feels like I was born pregnant. Pregnant with the desire to create. Like those parents who decide not to know the gender of their child until it is born, I just didn’t know that my creative outlet was going to be Karibu365 – a brand focused on creating natural skincare products for everyone, and creating authentic self-care opportunities and experiences for women.
I have, at various points in my life, “launched” businesses. The two that come to mind immediately are creating gift baskets containing a popular line of body products, and the selling lingerie products catering especially to women with large breasts. The lingerie business was especially close to my heart, but I eventually got side tracked because I wanted to actually MAKE the products, instead of purchasing and reselling. You see, creating with my hands has always coursed through my veins. The first thing I ever wanted to be when I grow up was a carpenter.
Growing up in Jamaica, I was always fascinated with the work of carpenters, who made furniture with their intricate designs and perfect grooves and curves. If you have seen handmade Jamaican furniture you will know what I am talking about. I was also that little girl hanging around the construction sites when new housing developments were being built. I loved watching the mixing of the “mortar”, the pouring and the cementing of the “building blocks”. We called them building blocks, which seemed more fitting than the Americans cinder blocks. Here’s a little trivia – did you know that back in the day, homes in Jamaica were built using concrete blocks, stacked one upon the other around steel poles, cemented together, then a mixture of cement and gravel was poured in to each opening and filled to the top? This was repeated until the desired height was achieved, then the roof was added. What this created was an almost indestructible structure. This was even done for the interior walls! I found the process fascinating, and it cemented my desire to also create something of substance.
I did not grow up to be a carpenter, or to even work in the field of construction, but the desire to create was always there.
Fast forward many years later. I experienced a certain medical condition and the solution recommended by my doctor was an injection. I jumped at it, without conducting my own research. As a result, I experienced side effects that were almost debilitating. The problem was, there was no way for me to stop these side effects since the injection was irreversible. Once the substance gets into your system, there is no way to remove it. It has to run its course. So, for eight brutal months, I suffered, every single day!
You may be wondering how the desire to create and my medical issue connect. Quite naturally, in fact. I finally started to think seriously about the things that we put INTO our bodies, and how they affect us, which progressed naturally to questioning the things we put ON our bodies, and how those affect us. Everyone knows this basic fact: the skin is the largest organ we have, and it could potentially absorb, to some extent, everything that is applied to it. I decided to be more conscientious about what I consumed internally, and topically.
Many of us check labels on our grocery items without fail. This is not always true for the products we use for our beauty and skincare routines. I began checking, and realizing that many of the ingredients of the products I was using could be record-breaking scoring words on a scrabble board, but I had no idea what they were! Upon research, I found that many of these ingredients, were in fact either proven to be harmful with continued use, or could possibly be. I decided to take control by starting making my own products. While I may not be able to completely eliminate all product with potentially dangerous/carcinogenic ingredients immediately, I could begin my process to do so. My first creation was soap. Have you checked what is in the bar of soap you pull off the shelf in the store? Compare them to a bar of artesian, handmade soap and see the difference. Artesian soap makers use the same process to make soap that has been used since soap was invented. In fact, according to the FDA, a soap cannot be called soap unless it follows this exact ancient process. This is why companies have become creative with names such as “gel”, “cleanser“ , “body wash” etc.
While making soap has been, and always will be my first love – the process is actually very relaxing for me – I eventually branched out into other types of skincare, again out of necessity. In 2018, I began experiencing hormonal acne breakouts for the first time in my life. It was a very disheartening thing to experience at over 40 years old. Naturally, I went to the dermatologist and was prescribed a popular medication to fix the problem. After using it for maybe a week, I regained my senses and decided that, since I was already making skincare for the body, I would research ways to help my newly acne prone skin naturally. This was the birth of Karibu365’s line of 100% natural facial skincare products. They are formulated to help achieve and maintain healthy skin. They are 100% natural: 95% plant based, 5% honey/beeswax used in two products only. With the help of my new product line, my acne cleared up in only a couple months, and the resulting scars were beginning to fade. The line consists of a powder cleanser, mask, facial mist and facial oil. A four-step system is that can help anyone achieve healthy skin, naturally.
I was finally able to combine my hunger to create, with my new passion for natural skincare with the birth of Karibu365.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road to entrepreneurship has not been easy. I am lucky in that I have had a core group of supporters championing me on since day one. Sounding boards for bouncing ideas off of, human testers willing to try all my formulations, family members and friends who show up to help prepare, set up and break down at markets and pop ups, and support by encouraging me, and purchasing products, as well as connecting me with the necessary professionals to help me along my journey.
One of the biggest struggle for Karibu365 however, has been the balancing act of having a 9-6-day job, and trying to run a successful business simultaneously. The day job pays the bills, and provides a safety net which can be hard to give up. It’s great to have days off and vacation days that can be used to work on building my brand, but ultimately, they were not enough to take my brand to the place I envisioned it. In addition, accessing funding beyond my own bank account is a significant challenge. See, the 9-6 doesn’t just pay the bills, it also serves as the main source of funding for my dream. It is necessary to see grants, etc.to be able to take Karibu365 to the level I envision, without compromising the values o the brand.
I am excited for my next challenge, which is to tackle full time entrepreneurship, and take karibu365 Skincare and Self-Care to a place where it will help everyone achieve healthy skin, naturally, and help women to once again recognize the value of, and practice self-care with intention.
Karibu365 – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Karibu is the Swahili word for welcome. This one word embodies the act of warmly welcoming a special guest into a space prepared especially for them, or a genuine response to gratitude expressed by someone for whom you have performed an act of kindness. We believe that everyone should practice the same warmth and gratitude towards themselves in some way, 365 days a year. We believe that we should treat ourselves as our own special guests!
Karibu365 is a natural skincare brand. We formulate and manufacture skincare products by hand from 100% natural ingredients in small batches. We are an environmentally conscious brand, and we make every effort to use sustainable practices to create sustainable skincare.
Karibu365 is also a Self-care brand. We host luxury, self-care sessions in exclusive locations, with very small groups of women at a time. Our self-care sessions are focused on providing women with a space to focus on themselves for a minimum of a few hours for 1-2 days. They leave feeling refueled and reenergized, mentally and emotionally, after sharing the experience with other like-minded women, who will support and uplift them through the experience. Again, we believe selfceare should not be just a soak in the bathtub, or a face mask, or even just a nap. When we do things with intention, we reap the rewards for a more extended period. We deserve to make time for ourselves, in spaces away from our daily responsibilities.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The thing that I am most proud of is not actually a moment. I am most proud of the fact that, as a brand in its infancy, we have been able to build up a loyal base of repeat clients and guests. There is validation in someone deciding to incorporate Karibu365 Skincare and Self-Care into their lives, but the ultimate validation is when someone does so repeatedly
Pricing: Self-care Sessions range from $99-$350 and can include some or all of the following depending on the level selected:
- a few hours/an overnight stay in an exclusive location (Occupancy determined by the group)
- use of any available amenities for a few hours, based on location
- Wine/Champagne and small bites
- Makeup Artist (add on)
- Photographer (add on)
- Self-care Facial using Karibu365 products
- Karibu365 products
- Website: Karibu365.com
- Phone: 9545995525
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @karibu365
- Facebook: Karibu365_Skincare
Product photos taken by Akeem Francis – @keemsxfgsx
People photos taken by David Ramos