In 2016 Bella Nail Lounge opened n downtown Newark, NJ. There was a gap of time between when I stopped working and Bella opened and I'm horrible with idle time coupled with my ADHD and ADD one of the many things I decided to do was research ways to make the soaks and scrubs for Bella. I watched days and days worth of videos and read article after article on how to do this. I researched ingredients, suppliers, recipes, etc to make a quality product.
I began to order products and create draft goal fragrances and product recipes. I tested multiple brands to obtain my goal scent which were mostly geared towards cocktails, I thought with the Bella having lounge and bar in her name fragrances named after cocktails would be cool and we could consider them skin cocktails because what your skin drinks is important.
The first scent was for me, I love sweet and fruity drinks and scents and I thought it only appropriate that the scent be a Bellatini.
I expanded what I wanted to create to include butters and lotions (and based on requests eventually body oil and body mists). Because our products are handmade, it's easy to honor custom requests, its actually helped us grow our product line.
I started to create the products and have my friends, associates and classmates (during nail technician school) use the products and give me feedback. I walked around with testers in my bag (or in my car).
For the soaks I took lots of baths, I wanted the right balance of detoxification, fizz, hydration and scent that would translate well in our manicures and our pedicures. Ms. Lulu always wants the scents potent.
For the scrubs, I wanted a good exfoliation but not a rough scrub. I wanted a good balance of exfoliation and hydration. I wanted my skin (and ultimately your skin) to feel soft, smooth and silky after each use. I wanted the scrubs to be a key step in our pedicures. Our scrubs not only exfoliate you'll love how it hydrates and how moisturized you feel after you use.
For the lotions I really wanted to make sure that a little went a long way, I wanted the lotion to be absorbed by the skin not just sit on it (if that makes sense).
For the whipped body butters I wanted them to be light , healing and hydrating but not oily/greasy and I definitely wanted it to be absorbed easy. Picking the right blend of butters (we decided on cocoa butter, mango butter and shea butter) was critical to meet this goal. All of the butters have at least seven botanicals added to each batch with endless skin enhancing properties such as evening primose, aloe, dulse, buckthorn, vitamin e, chamomile, cucumber, etc. Our butter literally melts on your skin.
For all of the products I wanted the scent to linger or last beyond and hour after use.
As time got closer for Bella to open I think I had a list of 35 goal fragrances but I stuck with about 15 (its up to about 20 as of 3/19).
Once Bella opened (10/16) I was absolutely overwhelmed by the demand for product for use at Bella and based on customer request for personal use. I underestimated how much product we would need to provide our services and how much people would like them (and want to buy them) and I decided to make our cuticle oil (I think Ms. Lulu made me).
The same thought went into the cuticle oil and body oil as the butters , we wanted to make sure it was light and absorbed easily. This happened after we open, I still remember Lamont and I using Michelle's arm as our tester. A little definitely goes a long way.
I’ll never forget the first request/demand for some scrub, I was unprepared for and she (Fianah) didn’t want to wait she told me she was getting her money together and she suggested that I get my scrub together she was on her way. I’ll never forget her saying if I could handle the stress of creating Bella Nail Lounge I could handle the stress of creating her a scrub.
Trying to manage and adjust to owning a nail salon required me working 80 hour weeks and balancing a lot. I decided if Bella Bath and Body was going to be successful I needed help. So, one day (3/17) I made a random call to someone that had become a regular at Bella to see if he wanted to help me meet the demands of Bella Bath and Body. Not knowing what that meant or what that would take he was absolutely open to talking about my ideas, goals and needs.
The product line has grown and evolved since 2016, thanks to Ms. Lulu, Fianah and Lamont.