Beauty Behind the Brand: How SunKiss Organics is Harnessing Self-Love as a Beacon for Women of Color
Hello, Beauties! We are back with a whole new line up of our series, Beauty Behind the Brand! This series is dedicated to featuring clean, black+brown-owned beauty brands, and amplifying the critical stories of minority entrepreneurs; who are helping women of color reclaim their joy and belonging in the beauty industry.
We're talking to beauty brand owners, medical professionals, estheticians, and everyone in between about entrepreneurship, caring for pigmented skin, what vegan, non-toxic, and cruelty-free actually mean, industry trends, and how to keep our melanated magic glowing from the inside out!
We are honored to kick this new year off with a beaming brand, and beauty, SunKiss Organics by Jessica Jade.
"I am comfortable in my own skin.” This is a mantra that Jessica Jade, founder, and CEO of SunKiss Organics, used to remind herself that even at the height of her skin troubles, everything is temporary and that she had the power to heal her skin. With painfully itchy rashes, scars that quite literally took over her body, and medical treatments that seemed to make it worse, Jessica remembers “begging to God to heal me.”
Before founding her own skin-healing solutions, Jessica worked in the healthcare industry, working with companies like New York University Hospital. She has served in a variety of different roles; a Production Assistant in the film industry, a Holistic Health Coach, a dog walker, and was even in the retail industry; as a buyer at a major retailer. Eventually, Jessica’s mantra to self-healing and self-confidence prophetically led her to recipes from her great grandmother.
Ten years later, Jessica still uses this mantra, but now as the main ingredient to her deliciously sun-kissed line so that other black and brown women can feel comfortable in their own skin too.
Feeling comfortable in black or brown skin, especially in 2020, seemed like an impossible task for most. Jessica recalls having “…many conversations with Women of Color from around the world about colorism, acne-shame, and self-hatred; which always went so much deeper than skin. Empowering women of color to set their own standard of beauty is at the core of our values at SunKiss and being able to do so in 2020 is definitely my definition of success.”
When you meet Jessica, it won’t take you long to absorb her radiant energy, be warmed by her tenacity, or to understand that SunKiss Organics is more than a non-toxic, organic skincare line, but a beacon for black and brown women to remember their divinity, reclaim self-love, indulge in decadence, step into their power and rescue their own joy.
Just like the sun itself, rescuing joy is one of Jessica’s many super-powers. When she’s not concocting the perfect glow up serum, or providing free skin consultations to essential workers, she’s stepping into her self-proclaimed “favorite” suit. As part leader and part activist, Jessica has the honor of harnessing and inspiring joy within young women, through her philanthropic venture, Joyous Girls.
Instead of in-person events this year, Joyous Girls and moms gathered virtually to talk self-care, wellness, and mindfulness. “At Joyous Girls, we teach girls of color from underserved communities, that caring for our wellness is RADICAL, that nourishing our bodies from the inside out is our birthright, and that speaking out and showing up for what we believe in is essential to our existence!”
We got to connect with Jessica to learn a little more about what success means to her, the skin myths she wants to bust, and a sneak peek into some new SunKiss products for 2021!
Getting to know you…
If you had to write a short poem about “your people” what would you say? Consider your family, ancestry, current community, whatever “your people” means to you!
We are the women you believed would not birth greatness,
The men you thought would fall, sink and drown,
The children of the people you believed were defeated,
We are the descendants you did not envision surviving,
And yet we have, we will and we continue to THRIVE.
Do you have a mantra? If so, what is it and why is it important to you?
“I am comfortable in my own skin.” This mantra is important to me because there was a time when I physically was not comfortable in my skin. I itched, scratched, cried, and begged God to heal me. I developed eczema as an adult and hit rock bottom! I stopped dating, hid from society, and even stopped looking people in their eyes because I feared that if I drew any attention to myself they would notice the large, circular patched that covered 50% of my body. In those times, saying “I am comfortable in my own skin” was a mantra that reminded me to love myself, that everything is temporary and that I would heal my skin.
Running your own business is a full-time job. Are you ever able to fully “log-off”? If so, how do you spend your time when you’re not working?
I have not mastered fully logging off from SunKiss. Partly it’s because I am so passionate about empowering Women of Color to heal their skin, and partly because I deeply enjoy researching, formulating, and innovating for my brand. However, when I do take time for myself and no one else, I paint, I read, and I journal. I also have a delicious ritual of getting completely naked and taking long, alarm-free naps! I let my body awake when it’s ready and it is by far my favorite self-care activity.
What does beauty mean to you?
What are three skincare products [serums, moisturizers, exfoliates] that everyone should have in their arsenal?
I believe less is more in life, and in skincare. My top three skincare products are a great gel-cleanser, toner, and facial oil. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this moment to implore you to wear sunscreen!
Can you share some of your tools for battling negative thoughts?
AFFIRMATIONS, AFFIRMATIONS, AFFIRMATIONS! When I have negative thoughts, I never banish them- I try to understand why I’m having that thought in the first place. Once I’ve given myself that space to fully experience my emotions, I then move onto my affirmations. I have a few that I recite to myself whenever I am feeling down and it always helps. I’ve recorded myself reciting them on my phone and play them to myself in those moments of depression and defeat. There’s just something special about hearing yourself, tell yourself that you are that B***H!
If you can only use 4 words to describe what wellness means to you, what would they be and why?
To me, wellness means being powerful, healing old wounds, and feeling joyous. Being well impacts every aspect of your life. Your mind, body, and your soul. When I feel well, I always feel powerful enough to conquer the world.
In addition to your products of course, what are some things that make you feel confident and beautiful?
I’ll be 100% honest with you. I do not believe skincare products can or should make anyone feel confident- not even SunKiss! What makes me feel confident and beautiful is when I feel at peace with life. When I can look in the mirror and genuinely be joyful about my decisions. When I’m able to have that level of faith, compassion, and love for myself, even when life isn’t perfect, that’s when I feel the best!
In what ways do your products specifically serve black and brown skin?
SunKiss is formulated specifically for Black and Brown skin! All of our products are individually tested for efficacy and real-life functionality by real women. I believe that is why SunKiss is unique, and why Black and Brown women love our brand so much! Some of the skin ailments and concerns we see that are prevalent in Black/ Brown communities are dark spots, dry skin, and sensitized skin. When SunKiss first started, many of the products were formulated by me with recipes passed down by my great-grandmother. From their inception, those products were meant to work for Women of Color. We recently started outsourcing some of our products and deliberately chose a chemist in the U.S.A. that is a Black woman! Our formulations have always and will always treat skin ailments in Black/Brown communities first! Periodt!
What trends are you seeing in the beauty industry that excite you?
The End of the Shelfie as Jessica Delfino calls it, is one of my favorite beauty trends of 2020 that will undoubtedly extend to 2021. That might sound bizarre coming from a skincare brand, but I do not believe people need 100 products in their medicine cabinets to have healthy skin. The beauty industry has caused many of the sensitivities and ailments that I see running rampant in Black/Brown communities by allowing ingredients in their formulations that cause more harm than good. Thinking specifically about the SunKiss Squad, which is my pet name for my customers, I am thrilled to see that the level of understanding, care, and thought around skincare has increased exponentially in the last year.
What misperceptions about black and brown skincare do you want to clear up here and now for our readers?
The main one I hear often is that Black/Brown skin does not need sunscreen 365 days a week. Yes, we produce more melanin which affords us a minimal amount of protection from UV rays. However, it is not nearly enough to protect you from skin cancer and hyperpigmentation. I like to take in a few minutes a day of sunscreen free sunlight because I do believe that exposing yourself to the sun can be extremely beneficial for your skin. I then immediately apply two fingers worth of sunscreen to protect my skin. Please know that if you are using active ingredients like glycolic or salicylic acid, which slightly thin your skin, you should definitely wear sunscreen.
Tell me about your new Aloe Rose Water Cleanser. What is it and why is it so great?
SunKiss has recently launched a spectacular Aloe Rose Water Cleanser that takes many of the skin ailments in Black/ Brown communities into consideration. The Aloe Rose Water Cleanser is a hydrating gel cleanser that gently cleanses your skin while nourishing it with key ingredients like aloe vera juice and rose water. The Aloe Rose Water Cleanser also targets dark spots by brightening skin and it also soothes sensitized skin! It comes in a 4 oz glass bottle that can last up to 3-months, and you will enjoy every last drop of it!
What business accomplishment are you most proud of and why?
In 2020, SunKiss was featured on Good Morning America! For any business, a feature of that stature is phenomenal but to be able to secure that kind of publicity during a pandemic was truly incredible.
Getting funding is competitive for any entrepreneur but especially for black women. How did you get the financial support needed and what advice do you have for other black women trying to do the same?
Like many Black/Woman-owned businesses, SunKiss has been solely funded with my savings. In 2019, I was able to acquire angel investors amongst family, by creating a pitch deck and lean business plan that specified the exact areas where funds were needed for growth. The pitch deck included
projections for SunKiss for the next 5 years; as well as tools, products, and merchandise, which would allow SunKiss to be more profitable as a whole. Most notably, SunKiss secured the FaceBook grant for small Black-owned businesses, which has moved forward the launch of the Aloe Rose Water Cleanser in December 2020, and the Kojic & Papaya Dark Spot Cream in January of 2021.
What’s next for you? Can we get a sneak-peak into any new product launches?
In 2021, we will be launching an array of nourishing products and merch for the SunKiss Squad! The launch of the Kojic & Papaya Dark Spot Cream is our #1 priority and will be out in January 2021. Our dark spot cream will allow women’s skin to heal naturally and without causing any damage to the skin. I understand that Black/Brown women want products to heal their dark spots, and for me, it is important to provide a product that uses natural ingredients like kojic acid from shitake mushrooms, and the enzymes in papaya extract, to do so. We will also be releasing a limited edition sweater for Black History Month! As I have mentioned before, affirmations are a huge part of my healing process, and I even recite them to myself while doing my skincare practice. I cannot wait to bring more of that aspect of SunKiss to the forefront, and see my SunKiss Squad rocking affirmations I’ve said to myself countless times!
Right now SunKiss Organics Bright Face Kit and Hydrating Body Duo are both on sale! A portion of all SunKiss sales supports programming for girls of color like Joyous Girls! If you are a Woman of Color in the wellness field, Jessica is looking to collaborate with you to host the next virtual event! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your pitch, to get started!