Our Meet the Maker series spotlights the amazing makers behind the brands that we love. The interviews focus on self-care and wellness and what it means and looks like for each maker. We hope this series educates, informs and inspires you on self-care and how it can look and be different for everyone.
This month's Meet the Maker features sisters Naana Boakye, Abena Slowe, and Akua Okunseinde from the brand Karite. Karite is a skincare company based out of New Jersey that makes the most luxurious raw shea butter moisturizers. They use all natural ingredients sustainably and ethically sourced from the US and Ghana (where the sisters are from!) and give back to their communities through 3 giving initiatives (#sheaforsoles, Black Lives Matter & the Global Shea Alliance). Their backgrounds in dermatology, law, marketing and finance make them a powerful and knowledgeable trio in skincare and business - Naana is a board certified dermatologist with her own practice, Bergen Dermatology, in northern New Jersey (just outside of New York City), while Abena has a background in law and Akua has a background in marketing and finance.
I discovered their products from a clean beauty store here in Santa Monica and immediately fell in love, so it's a dream to now carry their products! Their creams are so rich and luxurious and a little goes a long way, which is always helpful. I regularly use their Creme Mains Hand Cream, which I love because it immediately moisturizes my hands without feeling oily or too heavy on the lotion. I keep one in my purse for on-the-go (ha, remember those times?) and one on my nightstand to use before bed - ensuring I wake up with super soft hands! Check out my interview with these fabulous ladies below!
Where are you from originally/where do you live?
Our family is from Ghana (two of us were born there) and we currently live in New Jersey and New York.
Please provide some background info on Karite, such as how you got started and what inspired you to start.
We grew up using raw, unrefined shea butter (also known as “liquid gold”) as a moisturizer all the time, and if you are familiar with it, you know it can be pretty hard to spread. We would try mixing it with other over the counter lotions to try to make it more spreadable. As we got older and started thinking more carefully about what we were using on our skin and the ingredients in different products, we decided we wanted to make our own all natural version of liquid shea butter. Based on what Naana has learned in her practice, she knew the type of formulation that would be needed but knew it would take time to perfect it. It took about 4 years from the time we started brainstorming until we launched our first product in 2017. Our products contain a high concentration of raw, unrefined shea butter, along with other plant based botanicals - so our products are non-toxic, antioxidant-rich and able to soothe even the most sensitive skin.
What is your definition of self-care?
Taking the time, whether it’s for an entire day or only for 5 minutes, to focus on yourself. This year, more than ever, people really need to focus on self-care. It’s been a very difficult and stressful time for many people, so it’s essential for all of us to focus on things that bring us joy, no matter how small.
What does your self-care routine look like? Feel free to share small practices you do regularly and/or a set routine.
Naana: Taking time to exercise and move my body every day. It gets me in the right mindset.
Abena: I recently started using the Calm app and I really love it. I also run a couple of days a week too.
Akua: I try to go for a long walk every day. The fresh air is needed more than ever these days.
In the evening, Naana got us all into the practice of being intentional during our face washing/moisturizing routine. Instead of rushing through it just as another task to do, we slow down, give our face a little massage - pretend we are at a spa getting a facial! Just that little change makes it so much more relaxing, which helps as we are heading to bed.
What is your skincare routine?
Fairly simple - in the morning first wash, then use a vitamin C serum followed by a moisturizer and sunscreen.
At night we may change it up depending on how we feel: wash and use raw shea butter; or wash, use a retinol serum and then moisturize; or wash and then use facial oil.
What is your favorite self-care activity for when you have…
5 minutes: Quick meditation
30 minutes: Diving into a good book, listening to a podcast or catching up with friends and family over the phone/Facetime
60+ minutes: Exercise or really nice bath
How do you center yourself when you’re feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed?
The calm app has been wonderful for this!
What do you think are some misconceptions about self-care?
People think it takes too much time or think it has to be a grand gesture for it to count.
What is a tip you have for someone who is interested in self-care but doesn’t know where to start, or they feel overwhelmed by the idea of self-care?
Start small. It can be as simple as doing one minute of deep breathing with your eyes closed. The most important thing is to try to incorporate it into your routine.
What’s a mantra you live by?
“It’s about balance, not perfection.”
This has been a year! What has this year taught you?
That you have to learn to be flexible and just take things day by day. It’s almost impossible to plan ahead too much these days.
When do you feel your best/most bliss’d out?
Sometimes the best part of the day is when you wake up early to a quiet house. It gives you time to think and to set your intention for the day.