The term self-care has been getting a lot of attention recently, and rightly so, but it’s not usually something you think of when you think of an entrepreneur – someone burning the candle at both ends to build their business is what usually comes to mind. But for Kayla Carter, founder of Aunt Colyce, a line of health and beauty skin care, self-care has always come first.
Kayla started Aunt Colyce during her master’s program in health sciences at the York University. After feeling challenged mentally and emotionally, Kayla began to make body butters and scrubs for herself as a cathartic coping practice. But it wasn’t long before word of her herb-infused home-made body butters spread, and she began getting requests from friends for their own batches.
“The act of making products for yourself and putting products on your skin and taking ownership of yourself,” Kayla explains is what makes the process special and even beyond self-care, activates self-healing.
Initially, Kayla happily shared her potions but as the demand grew she struggled with the decision of whether she should monetize her service – until she received some sage advice from a close friend to allow herself to value her time and effort for the work she was doing.
“I don’t own a bunch of blazers, I have tattoos and I swear a lot. I care deeply and I cry at the drop of a hat, but I’m really passionate about this,” says Kayla referring to her business.
Kayla has also had a very strong connection to her Cuban-Jamaican culture and believes that “creating is a way to record our ancestors’ histories and our past in many ways.”
With this sense of pride and duty, she decided to launch into a full-fledged business naming the company after her great-great grandmother Colyce, a recognized healer and matriarch of her family.
“Part of this has been about how can I breathe life into her story and how can I live out and fulfill things that can only imagine that she would have wanted. And how can I do it still honouring her and maintaining that respect and giving her a second life,” says Kayla.
It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon of buzz words and brand a business accordingly to make a buck – but Kayla Carter is the real deal. Her approach might seem counterproductive to some, but with entrepreneurial burnout being a very real concern to anyone starting or running a business her approach ensures longevity and a definite advantage. It’s not the most popular approach in Western culture where blind sacrifice is most lauded. But, ensuring your health is in check ensures that you’re able to sustain the health of your business.
“Aunt Colyce isn’t about revenue and profits and how much I’m making but making sure that it’s something that’s affirming and grounding,” says Kayla assertively.
Aunt Colyce has continued to grow since its launch in 2015. For her latest collection, launching May 2017, in addition to body scrubs and butters Kayla will be offering tinctures for individuals with anxiety and depression.
When she’s not mixing love into a bottle she also produces zines and podcasts focused on opening up conversations and providing information on mental health and self-care. Most recently she hosted a vendor event entitled “The Black Artist Market” where 14 hand-picked vendors displayed their work to over 300 attendees.
Kayla sees the business growing eventually into workshops and retreats where she can offer a safe space for individuals to practice self-care.
“Self-care to me means everything. Self-care is how I remind myself that I am worthy of all the things that this world has to offer. Self-care is how I remind myself that it’s not my fault. Self-care is how I remind myself that I will never settle less than what I deserve from anyone but also from myself. Self-care is how I have the courage to start something like Aunt Colyce,” explains Kayla candidly.
There’s such a scarcity when it comes to business where people are emotionally open and genuine that it’s refreshing to know that there are businesses out there, like Aunt Colyce, who truly have your best interest at heart.
Check out Aunt Colyce @auntcolyce.