Black-owned businesses are important. They create jobs and provide goods and services to their communities. But there aren’t enough of them. Fortunately, the number of black-owned businesses is growing. According to Robert Fairlie’s (a research associate at the University of California in Santa Cruz) analysis of census data, the number of Black small-business owners was 28% higher in the third quarter of 2021 than it was before the pandemic. However, starting a business is not easy, so I interviewed Endora Guillame, the owner of a body care brand, to learn more.
Who Are You?
My name is Endora Guillaume. I am a junior political science and Afro studies double major from Haiti, raised in Florida.
What is Your Business?
I have an all-organic vegan and sustainable body care company called Endora’s Organics. We have body care products like body scrubs, face washes – all types of body care stuff.
When Did You Start?
I started it when I was 17. One summer I threw out all my products when I found out about the stuff that was in them. I just threw away everything and started making my own. And then six to seven months later people started asking me like “Oh what are you using blah blah blah” and they gave me the idea to start selling them. Well, there’s just so many chemicals and fertilizers and sodium lauryl sulfate and stuff in body care products. Because I personally didn’t want that and knew that it was dangerous – like it can affect your reproductive system and it can have serious effects.
So, for those reasons, for health reasons, I wanted to share that with other people because not many people knew that. So, it’s also like educating people on it and getting them to connect more with what nature gives us, the raw things that nature gives us.
What Inspired You to Start?
Well, there’s just so many chemicals and fertilizers and sodium lauryl sulfate and stuff in body care products. I personally didn’t want that and knew that it was dangerous; it can affect your reproductive system, it can have serious effects. So, for those reasons, for health reasons, I wanted to share that with other people because not many people knew that. It’s also like educating people on it and getting them to connect more with what nature gives us, like the raw things that nature gives us.
Did You Have People Helping You Along the Way?
No, I didn’t. I still don’t. My mom kind of helped me package them because there was a time where I had like so many orders. She helped me package them, but really, it’s just with me.
What is Something That You’ve Learned Since You Started?
I guess I’ve learned all the factors that go into running a business because you think it’s just selling stuff and customer service, but there’s just so much that goes into it. Designing the website, getting your logos, making sure the package is nice, shipping, having a relationship with your customers, because a lot of mine are repeat customers. So [it’s] just building that relationship. Yeah, just learning how to run all the aspects of it.
What is The Most Difficult Part of Running a Business?
I would say the time and the finances are probably the two most difficult. It’s a lot. My products are made to order, so because some of the ingredients have a shelf life, I don’t want to just make in bulk [and] give people older products. So, making the products; all my stuff is USDA certified organic so it’s more expensive. Plus, I ship only in glass, so it’s heavier, so that’s also more expensive.
What is Your Favorite Part of Running Your Business?
Seeing my customers happy, sending me pictures of the products, and [them] coming back. It feels really good.
What is Your Advice for Other People Who are Thinking About Starting a Business?
I would say just go ahead and do it. I was 17 – some people would say like I was inexperienced or “What am I doing starting one?” But I have a lot of older women who even buy my products, like in their 40s and 50s, who really trust them and stuff. Even though you might be young, or you think you’re inexperienced or you just don’t think that it’s for you, you can do it.
Black-owned businesses like Endora’s Organics are having a significant impact. When businesses are created with good intentions and have good practices, it makes a huge difference. It is important to support Black-owned businesses that aim to serve and aid their communities.
To check out her products and support this young black entrepreneur, click here: Endora’s Organics.