We had the good fortune of connecting with Normadelle whittle and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Normadelle, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The thought process was initiated through conversations with my daughter Kristy who was living in Chile at that time. We both wanted to create a business together that focused on healthier, cleaner choices for better skincare as well as, a business that allowed us to use our hands and creativity to formulate our products and design our packaging! She wanted to focus on different types of body scrubs and I wanted to focus on soaps and body butters, the main ingredients being as natural as possible, organic and plant based. Sea Island All Natural Skincare was born out of our collaborative exchange of creative ideas! I had always had other side businesses going while I had my full time job as an Art Educator; Jewelry making; Banners; Hand painting and printing on fabric and many other creative practices but this one which is so different from all the rest has been my most consistent and considered “serious” business venture! I’m able to use all my personal, professional and business experience to manage Sea Island!
What should our readers know about your business?
What sets me apart from others are the add ons to making skin care with natural, organic and plant based ingredients. I care about the total well-being of the potential client; self-care; mind, body and soul care; the physical as well as, the mental status; educating and informing individuals about those topics, including ingredients used. I’m so proud of my Body Butters! All clients who have used them rave about them and are repeat customers. I get ideas from them about different combinations of scents, and it excites me! They’re a part of my team! I get many referrals from customers and it’s so rewarding to hear their feedback! I do a lot of research and reading and I’m a member of several Soapmaking, Skincare, Business and Body Butters groups! I’m constantly seeking ways to improve all aspects of my business, it’s a daily journey! Now that I’ve retired and I can devote much more time and energy to the business, I do! Initially, I took it very slowly, while creating one product at a time, until I could perfect it, I tried the product on myself, gave it to family members to test for quality control. I found some really good formulas and later customized further to create a premium product. With Soapmaking it is a creative process, and I love it! My training as a fine artist and art educator both have informed the creative aspects of my business. I’ve overcome challenges by reading and researching more to see how others in my industry do things and I learn from them, through their mistakes and their victories. So many lessons to be learned along the way! Know your discipline well! Study, be informed, practice, explore, experiment! It takes time! Be patient! Learn from others! Create reliable resources! Not everything out there is correct! I want everyone to know, that I take my work very seriously; these are products to be applied to the largest organ of one’s body topically! I’m aware of proper sanitization; sourcing of quality organic ingredients; presentation and packaging in a beautiful and respectful manner to the buyer. My brand represents me! I want my customers to feel safe, receive all the benefits of the sourced natural ingredients and to enjoy using the products to enhance their self-care. I want my brand to reflect consistently high quality products. My story started with an idea that has grown to social media; website; featured in a podcast; Painted Tree Boutique in Roswell, Atlanta; J’Can Candle Shoppe in Florida; Customers in several US states and International customers in Jamaica and it has a far way to go as it grows!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Omg! So much! Definitely a visit to see the High Museum in midtown, their Gift Shop, then hanging out in the Cafe! Then across to the Alliance theatre at the Woodruff Center to see a play or a musical performance. Bahama Breeze in Norcross would be fun to listen to a live band while eating Caribbean cuisine. A trip to Roswell Mill to see the awesome waterfalls and a hike on their walking trails would be excellent. Then kayaking down the Chattahoochee River would be exciting! The largest aquarium in the world, the Georgia Aquarium downtown would be an interesting sight to behold. Then the Coco Cola Factory has some interesting history about it’s origins. We cannot forget the MLK family home. So much to see here then a quiet evening of tea at La Madeline to complete the week!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I give a big shout-out to my daughters Kristy who peaked my interest in this direction, and Kandice who is a great supporter and designs my labels and other related technical work. Lascelles, my partner who directs me with the accounting and tax aspects. My mother who has shown keen interest and encouragement for my work. To Tamara Gammon and Sandy McIntosh; a Creative and Life Coach respectively. I thank them for their mentorship, recognition and support.