I used to struggle with dry and itchy skin during the wintertime and blend together different products to get the mixture “just right” – not too thick but not too thin. I was a fashion designer in NYC at the time, but started seriously experimenting with a Shea butter formulation using ingredients intended to soothe, repair, and nourish my skin. As a fashion designer, I had extensive knowledge of the ingredients that go into fast fashion and their negative impacts on the skin, so it was easy for me to apply my experience of researching and sourcing natural fiber fabrics to developing an all-organic skincare product.
One year later in 2017, I decided to fully transition into the beauty care industry and launch my small business with Shea butter as the first product.
I needed a name, one that was reflective of who I was and what my brand represented. The name “Ebaata” is actually a clever play on the word for “butter” in my native language, siSwati (from South Africa).
The word for “butter” in siSwati is spelled “iBhatha”, and in siSwati, the letter “i” sounds very similar to the letter “e” in English – and so, “Ebaata” was derived as the phonetic interpretation of “iBhatha”, and I felt it perfectly encapsulated both my culture and the business.
Three years later, Ebaata Skincare has expanded from Shea butter into all-natural, handcrafted soaps and other products, using the same principles of no harsh chemicals, synthetic fragrances, or toxic colorants.
With Ebaata Skincare, I have set out to create sustainable products that are kind to both the skin and the environment; educate customers on the ingredients they are consuming; and support families in making better choices. By developing products that are clean and beneficial to the skin, I am passionate about continuing to raise awareness of the ingredients in beauty and skincare products; and broadening perspectives around what is essential to building skin immunity. While I leverage my fashion design background to create cohesive and visually appealing products, Ebaata Skincare goes beyond aesthetics – our products span across the needs of the whole family, and provide the right consistency at a reasonable price, while staying true to our promise of no fragrance oils and unnatural dyes.
As a black-owned business owner, it is also important to me to help keep the circulation of money and opportunity within my local community and help to nourish and grow it in a sustainable and holistic manner. Through Ebaata Skincare, I have created a space that I am proud of and will continue empowering my customers to have more control and influence over their purchasing decisions.
---- Phumie Kunene