Luxe beauty at low prices
Local businesswoman sells homemade body butters
Not all entrepreneurs want to grow and scale their businesses — some, like Natasha Williams, founder and CEO of Natasha’s Homemade Organic Body Butter, keep them intentionally small.
“I choose to keep it small. I don’t want to risk the integrity of my product,” she says. “I want to keep my prices affordable so everyone in my community has access to natural, organic products.”
Williams is the sole employee of her company. “I do everything,” she says. “I make each product, mix it, cool it, hand pour it, and distribute it. It’s very personal to me.”
Natasha’s Homemade Organic Body Butter line consists of 14 different body butters, including natural scents like passion fruit, vanilla chai, lavender rosewater, cherry blossom, cocoa butter and mango kiwi. Williams also makes body scrubs, natural teeth whitener and peppermint hair serum, which stimulates the hair follicles, she says.
Williams says her products can be used by men and women, from head to toe, and the all-natural formula is especially beneficial for people with sensitive skin. “I feel like I’m helping to contribute to the health of the largest organ of the body,” she says. “I help people look their best in a natural way.”
Williams started her homemade beauty business five years ago and it has remained a side hustle. The entrepreneur also works a full-time clerical position at Harvard University and serves as vice president of a labor union at Harvard.
In the evenings and on weekends, Williams finds time to work on her buttery creations, making an average of 30 butters a week. Those she sells at prices ranging from $5 to $20, depending on the jar size. Her sales volume is typically 300 customers per year, says Williams, a lot of them being repeat customers, family and friends.
Her body scrubs run between $15 to $25 and her natural teeth whitener runs between $20 to $40.
Williams takes online orders and individual local orders from her regular customers, as well as selling at various pop-markets and offering at-home “butter parties” where potential customers can sample her product line and buy it in person.
“What separates mine from other body butter products is they honestly smell really good,” Williams says. The mixture of ingredients such as shea butter, mango butter, olive oil, hemp seed oil, coconut oil and avocado oil tends to leave behind a pleasant waft as the body-butter-wearer walks by.
Williams says she is a recently divorced single mother, and although she keeps her business intentionally small, she has been able to supplement her income and help finance her son’s college tuition at University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
“I love my job at Harvard too. It involves advocacy,” she says. “I can do both. It’s not about generating a bunch of profit for me. I can’t live off of it [Natasha’s Homemade Organic Body Butter] alone, but it adds to my life.”
According to Williams, it took a $3,000 investment to start producing, selling and marketing her products in earnest. She has been making her own beauty products at home for 20 years, for her own personal use as well as for her family, including her daughter who has eczema.
To make her products for consumers, Williams invested in jar containers, labels, clay bowls to make her products in and a second refrigerator to store the products, which she keeps at home. She gained her first customers by walking into salons on Blue Hill Avenue and through references from friends and family.
“I’ve always been economical and frugal,” says Williams. “I’ve always been making my own beauty products, doing my own research, learning what’s best for my skin.”
Having done six holiday pop-up markets around Boston this season, Williams finds she enjoys selling her wares at small community events. “It’s a chance for me to talk to customers and educate them about the importance of using organic and natural products,” she says.
Access to organic and natural products can be pricey, Williams says, but she hopes her own beauty and skincare line changes this. “Right now, natural and organic is ‘in,’ but we shouldn’t have to pay more for those things that are better for us.”