Marie Davis had suffered from skin issues her entire life. From teenage acne to eczema in her adult years, she couldn’t seem to find a product that would work with her sensitive skin. A few years ago Davis’ daughter encouraged her to make her own creams from natural ingredients. Davis found, at last, something that worked! Today her products are known as Ria’s Beauty Collection and are available on Amazon, Etsy and Walmart. Her skincare and haircare products include high quality shea butter with various oils, spices and flowers mixed in. While the Pandemic forced the Salisbury, North Carolina entrepreneur to move her sales online, the mompreneur has built her business to be adaptable.
Davis’ story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
What was your reason for starting your business?
Battling skin issues can be very depressing and stressful leading to self-esteem issues, lack of confidence, feeling unattractive, and relying on makeup for satisfaction. I’ve always experienced skin problems, due to my sensitive skin. During my teenage years, I dealt with acne. Later in my adulthood, I started experiencing eczema during the winter months which caused my skin to look unsightly. After the eczema occurred and medications didn’t seem to work, I decided to go the natural route for healing.
I began searching for products at various locations. After numerous unsuccessful attempts in locating products that benefited my skin, I decided to formulate my own products at the advice of my youngest daughter. This was the best advice ever. I knew that if I was having trouble in my search then others were going through the same thing also.
In 2013, I started creating my own products. Lots of learning, research, and preparations were involved. I began developing handmade, natural, scented and unscented skincare and hair care products for myself. I began using my products daily and it worked. It’s great to be able to create a natural product that works without using chemicals. When I first created the products, my intentions were not to sell the products. It was supposed to be for myself and family. Soon I began selling a few products at work. Others stated that I should start my own business, but at the time I didn’t have the confidence. I would often compare myself to others, and age (55) also factored into my decision. I delayed the thought of starting a business for two years.
How do you define success?
When I finally gained the confidence to launch Ria’s Beauty Collection in 2015, it was because of my three daughters and others supporting and believing in me, when I didn’t believe in myself. Ria’s Beauty Collection specializes in skincare and hair care products for those that may be experiencing difficulties with skin and hair issues. Our specialty is Ria’s Whipped Shea Butter which is a dual moisturizer for the skin and hair. All of our products are handmade, natural, unrefined and made with the best quality ingredients for everyone of all skin types.
We believe in getting the customer from their current self to their desired self. My products are not just about me. It’s about the customers, because they play an important role too. They are the ones that keeps Ria’s Beauty Collection successful by their constant interest, interaction, and satisfaction. Without our customers, there is no business.
Success is believing in yourself, completing your accomplishments, and aiming high for your purpose and goals in life where it leads you to a positive outcome. It’s as though you’re unstoppable, when you’ve arrived at this point. Also, I believe success is assisting others along your journey.
Tell us about your biggest success to date
Walmart is my biggest “wow” and success thus far. With the assistance of my oldest daughter Avnah’s referral, this became possible. It has been a huge success for Ria’s Beauty Collection. We have received additional customers, sales, exposure, flexibility, and more. It has eliminated constant traveling, restocking, bulk orders, etc.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Transitioning from physical retail stores to online sales due to COVID-19 has been a huge challenge. It was a difficult decision to make, but it was the best decision. Due to the lack of customers, decreased hours and days, and bulk orders, there was no other way around the Pandemic. Since the change, it has been a huge success for Ria’s Beauty Collection.
What is your biggest tip for other startup entrepreneurs?
It’s never too late to start a business. Believe in yourself. Make sure you have a plan. Be able to adapt. Have a strong work ethic. Don’t compare yourself to others. Be patient. Start small. There will always be constant changes in a business. It’s a learning process. It’s not easy. It is not perfect.
How do you find inspiration on your darkest days?
By creating handmade designs that brighten my day. This is my therapy.
Who is your most important role model?
My parents have always been positive role models for me throughout my life. Even though both parents are deceased, they are still here with me daily, spiritually. My mom was a licensed Practical Nurse, artist, and housewife, and my dad was the director of a drug rehabilitation center, ran for governor and was extremely involved in the community. The siblings consisted of 5 girls, 4 boys, and 2 still born. Life was not always easy coming from a big family, but my parents always instilled positivity in us. Regardless of what’s going on in life, there is always a possibility. Believe! Plan! Start! Never Give Up!