Handmade: Southfield mom develops skincare product
When Jasmine Matheney gave birth to her now 4-year-old daughter, she had no idea little Brooklyn Barnes would give her reason to start what has become a successful business — “Brooklyn Body Butter.”
When Brooklyn was just 2, Matheney took her to the doctor because she had a severe case of dry skin. She learned her daughter had eczema, an inflammatory condition that causes red, dry itchy skin. It sent her on a search of store shelves in hopes of finding a product that would help moisturize Brooklyn’s sensitive and irritated skin, but she was unable to find something to relieve the symptoms.
“I was using a lot of products from stores and they weren’t working. They were pretty much all water-based, so they were keeping her skin dry. Someone recommended shea butter. It was stiff and solid, so I had to put her in the tub and lather her up to make it creamy,” explained the Southfield mother. “I wanted a more creamy texture, so I started researching all the natural oils to use, and then I started experimenting in my kitchen.”
Matheney, 28, spent the next six months blending natural oils together, using a Kitchen-Aid standing mixer, with hopes of finding the perfect combination to render the type of skincare treatment she needed for her daughter.
Finally, after much trial and error, Matheney, developed a product — made with shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil, apricot oil, avocado oil and grapeseed oil —which gave her the results she’d hoped for. Although it offered relief for Brooklyn’s dry skin, it would need further testing before being put on the market to share with others.
“I basically tested it out on my family. My mother, who’s a licensed hair-braider, used it on her customers. It moisturized their hair. My father is a building contractor, and his hands are often very dry, being exposed to different elements. I trusted them to give me their honest opinion about the product,” said Matheney. “They gave me rave reviews, and it was actually my mom who said, ‘You could start selling this!’ So, it was definitely my mom who added the fuel to the fire!”
Just four months later, in April of 2017, Matheney, with her mom’s encouragement, launched a skincare product business which she named after her daughter.
She said, Brooklyn Body Butter can be used from head to toe, and is available in 10 different fragrances, including almond coconut milk, baby powder, and strawberry milk shake, currently the biggest seller. It’s also available unscented (natural). The cream can be purchased in either a 3-ounce ($5.98) or an 8-ounce jar ($14.98), and is sold online at brooklynbodybutter.com, and at the Pnk Elephant (18248 W. Ten Mile), a clothing and accessories boutique in Southfield.
In less than a year, Brooklyn Body Butter has been shipped to customers in “about 40 of the 50 states.” Matheney knew she had a winning product because Brooklyn hasn’t had “a flair-up at all” since she was 21/2, when she started using it on her skin.
The savvy young entrepreneur promotes her product through social media (Facebook and Instagram) and with a large billboard at the corner of Eight Mile and Greenfield in Detroit which went up Dec. 4, 2017.
Matheney says she’s gotten “a lot of requests” for a soap product, something she plans to develop in the near future. “And,” she said, “coming from a family with a cosmetology background, I do want to start offering hair products.”
“I can say business is definitely booming,” added Matheney, who also promotes her product by driving around town in a “(Volkswagen) Beetle” that bears the Brooklyn Body Butter logo on both sides. “I call it the ‘Love Bug’ because we’re spreading our love the Brooklyn Way!”
Detroit News Columnist Jocelynn Brown is a longtime Metro Detroit crafter. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150, firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/DetroitNewsHandmade.
Contact Brooklyn Body Butter at brooklynbodybutter.com. Email: email@example.com.