By Kelly Harris, Founder/Editor of BrassyBrown.com
Sénica retails some of the best skin care products, candles and gift items that you can find online or regionally. Sénica is carried by Whole Foods and in the New Orleans French Market. Founder Benardett Jno-Fin was accepted into a pitch contest at this year’s Essence Festival where she’ll make a presentation to Walmart. I am grateful for the opportunity to talk with her.
1) How long have you been in business and what inspired you to launch Sénica?
My name is Benardett (Ben.ar.dett) and I founded Sénica in 2007 after a long and costly journey of searching for effective products to treat my challenges with eczema and dermatitis. My struggles with these skin conditions began after moving from the Caribbean to the US to attend Syracuse University where I studied biochemistry. Using my background in biochemistry and my knowledge of herbs and oils from my home in the Caribbean, I was able to create my first product, the Koko Kwèm Shea Moisturizer and have grown the brand from there. My passion for natural products, which was birthed out of a personal need, has materialized into a thriving small business that not only meets my needs but the needs of many people all over the world.
2) What have been some of your challenges as a woman of color business owner?
I often find myself explaining, “Yes, Sénica is my company. Yes, I create all the products, etc.” This crosses all levels. But, once people realize that I’m legit, they usually fall in love with Senica, our story and our natural skin and hair products.
I will say that I have an amazing network of mentors which have helped me overcome many of the challenges I have faced over the years. I’m a trained biochemist, I took a few computer science classes and a business class in high school and college. Most of what I know now, I’ve learned by doing, researching and doing the work needed to perfect my craft.
3) What’s your advice to a woman that may be afraid to launch her own business?
If you are truly passionate about your business idea, take small steps to accomplish it. Make a plan and put it into action. You’re not going to get everything right out of the gate but you will learn a lot along the way. And, if you find that passionate is what you really want to pursue, don’t be afraid to change course. It’s your life and you only get one chance to live it.
Check her out at www.senicanaturals.com
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