Right now I’m just working, chopping aloe while my dog runs around creating chaos.
My family’s English background raised me and is very integral to who I am today, but I grew up on Long Island and went to FIT for design. I thought I was going to be an Apparel Designer and then as things progressed, I turned towards the Lingerie industry. It turns out that in this case, the warning about mixing business with pleasure rang true, because after six years in the industry I had begun to hate every minute of it.
My love for lingerie was still present, but the business side of things rubbed me the wrong way. This may come as a surprise to some people, but the lingerie industry is male-dominated. So, to be frank, as a black woman working under white men, I was not getting paid what I was worth. I actually found out that the person next to me was getting paid a heck of a lot more than me, even though we were on the same level. In fact, I actually had more experience than that person. So, I decided to take a step back.
While all of this was going on, I was commuting back and forth daily to Manhattan from Long Island for work, which led to my life becoming very stressful. It took a toll on me mentally and physically. It got to the point where I became ill, my skin’s health declined and my eczema became dramatically worse. I started using every over the counter drug available to try and heal myself, without any success. Eventually I got tested and found out that I was allergic to coconut oil, which was eye opening. So, I was in a bad place with my health and then mentally, I wasn’t in the right mindset, either. I felt like I wasn’t doing my part to contribute to society as a whole and that I was just on a cycle of building other people’s dreams and not my own. So, through all of this negativity is where my business, an extremely positive pillar, TERRA-TORY was birthed.
My mom ran her own soap business twenty years ago, so when I was around nine or ten years old she began teaching me the trade.
She would teach me all about different herbs and chemicals and I was constantly immersed in that botanical world. As I grew up and was out on my own in the free world, it’s surprising how quickly I forgot all of those childhood lessons and my values began to skew the complete opposite direction.
When I was concepting TERRA-TORY, I went back to my roots and reevaluated what my core values were. I wanted to break through all the noise of commercials and ads that are constantly telling us to buy ineffective products for the sake of consumerism. I wanted to create a product that elevated natural healing and herald back to the practices that my mom had mastered so many years ago. And as a lot of businesses begin, I wanted to create a product that I myself could use. I needed a natural soap that was coconut oil free and that would help get my eczema under control. And so far, it’s done just that.