Humble Beginnings 

My family and I have loved aromatherapy for as long as I can remember. Our home was filled with the good smells of jasmine, vanilla and patchouli. We didn’t have much, but our home environment lacked nothing in natural beauty. We borrowed from the surrounding environment, and decorated our living space with woven baskets full of dried stems, wooden reeds, and cattails. I loved collecting sea glass, agate and shimmering quartz from our lake shores. The healing power of nature surrounded us. 

As a child, I dreamed of becoming a massage therapist when I grew up. My grandmother and aunts grew plants and vegetables in their yards and canned for the winter. Natural health remedies were commonplace in my household. Midwest winters were harsh, so I was so excited to move to California as an adult and finally live in an ideal climate to start my own Garden Grove!

A Family Affair

When my husband and I settled in the East Bay Area, I chose a home with a large, level backyard lacking in any pre-existing landscaping. That first spring it was a wild jungle of weeds and invasive flowering plants! My husband and I pulled, cleared, built raised beds, and planted in every square foot available. Even our toddler helped to cultivate! Eventually, we tamed the land, and good things started growing. We never looked back!

I blogged about the evolution of my Garden Grove on social media. A friend became inspired by what she saw, and approached me about soap making. Having plenty of botanical material on hand it seemed like a good fit. At the time my son was very young, so I didn’t want to work with anything chemical or toxic in our home. I decided to do some independent research and development.  

Joining the Natural Movement

During my research, I focused on natural ingredients, plant-powered aromatherapy and essential oils. Initially, I developed vegan candles and plant-based aromatherapy products. At the end of my research and development time it became clear that my friend and I had differing visions of the future, so we parted ways.

I entered into a period of deep reflection to focus on turning my research and inspiration into a purpose-driven brand. I fine-tuned what I wanted my brand to stand for, how it would improve lives, and add value. Soon after, Vibrant Shea Co. was born!

Vibrant Shea Co. motto is: Simply, Naturally Beautiful. Our hair and skincare formulas are naturally made with 10 ingredients or less, and focus on beneficial raw plant ingredients and earth clays. We add no chemical, or synthetic ingredients to our formulas. In our water-based formulas that require additives (for your safety) to keep bacteria from growing, we use only natural preservatives that are not harmful to you, your home or the environment. Every raw ingredient used in Vibrant Shea Co. products has a purpose and benefit to you!

Why Shea

My husband was born and raised in West Africa, where ancient shea tree groves still grow sustainably today. Have you ever noticed how beautiful the skin is of our West African brothas and sistas? It’s as if the skin is radiating light! Vibrant Shea was birthed from the knowledge that raw West African Shea Butter is an ancient ingredient that has kept skin healthy since the dawn of civilization. 

Western skincare moved away from using natural ingredients, opting instead on developing cheaper chemical-filled skincare formulas to artificially force our skin to look and feel a certain way. The issue with using chemicals on skin is that the result is artificial. Which means, it trains your skin to continually need an increase in those chemicals to maintain the desired result. Long term use of chemical-based skincare is damaging to your skin.

Shea butter, alternatively, heals your skin, restores a natural balance, and creates a long lasting vibrancy that continually heals while building a natural defense to skin aging, dehydration and sun damage. With regular use of shea butter you can reverse skin damage, and achieve a natural vibrant glow. That is the inspiration behind the name, Vibrant Shea.

Key Ingredients

At Vibrant Shea Co., we love to use the same five core ingredients as the base of our hair and skincare formulas. We engage in conscious consumerism by selecting ethically sourced raw materials that contribute to the economic vibrancy of our local economy. Take a look at the skin benefits of our key ingredients.

West African Shea Butter

The concentration of natural vitamins and fatty acids in shea butter makes it incredibly nourishing and moisturizing for skin. Shea Butter contains 60% fat, making it highly emollient. Beneficial ingredients in shea butter reduce stretch marks, scarring and cellulite while alleviating sunburn in the summer and winter chapped skin. Shea butter aids in the skin’s natural collagen production and contains oleic, stearic, palmitic, and linolenic acids that protect and nourish the skin.

West African Cocoa Butter 

Africa is the largest grower of our second plant-powered ingredient, cocoa butter! Cocoa butter is high in antioxidants, which help fight off free-radical damage to the skin. It contains oleic, palmitic, and stearic acids, all of which nourish the skin.

California Aloe Vera

Fresh aloe vera grows naturally in the Bay Area. We have several mature plants in our Garden Grove. The hydrating benefits of aloe vera keeps the skin moisturized without adding any oiliness. The soothing, cooling properties of aloe vera help in freshening up dull, oily skin. The glycol-proteins present in aloe vera have anti-inflammatory properties.

California Cannabis Sativa

Vibrant Shea Co. uses California organically grown cannabis sativa in oil form and as CBD in our pain relief salve. CBD has well researched anti-inflammatory properties. Dryness can cause your skin to overproduce oil, which in turn, can stimulate acne. Hempseed oil can prevent dry skin without clogging pores. What makes hempseed oil so beneficial to the skin is that it’s rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to moisturizing and soothing the skin, hempseed oil has anti-aging properties. The linoleic acid and oleic acids found in hempseed oil play a crucial role in skin health. 

California Lavender Honey 

Many of the traditional cattle lands in the Northern Bay Area have been modernized and transitioned to grow natural herbs such as lavender. Lavender not only moisturizes skin, but is also antibacterial and can kill bacteria that penetrate your pores. Lavender’s anti-inflammatory properties make it great for soothing and healing skin that’s irritated or reddened from the sun, insect bites, or bacteria. Lavender is also a potent source of antioxidants and other beneficial phytochemicals that fight free radical damage.

Lavender Honey is produced by honeybees that use lavender as their pollen source, passing the skin benefits of lavender into their honey. The phytonutrients in honey are responsible for its antioxidant properties, as well as its antibacterial and antifungal power. Full of antioxidants, honey is great for slowing down aging. It is extremely moisturizing and soothing, so it helps create a glowing complexion. 

Evolving: the Journey Continues

In the past couple years Vibrant Shea Co. grew from a humble Etsy shop, to launching our online store, then offering our brand in local artisan markets. Last holiday season, we explored a couple new opportunities that presented themselves.

The first opportunity was to offer our brand in retail stores! We feel very fortunate to partner with like minded brick and mortar shop owners who wish to further the natural skincare movement. We continue to offer our products online and locally in markets, and we envision expanding our retail pop up shops in 2020 to offer our brand as a regular feature for customers to shop locally.

Our next big adventure in 2019 was to teach natural skincare classes to small groups. In the local artisan markets where we sell we were approached by customers interested in learning how to make their own natural products. We loved the idea! 

Part of our brand’s purpose is to share natural skincare knowledge with others. Vibrant Shea Co. is more than a beauty brand. We strongly believe in self-empowerment through education, collaboration and community. Vibrant Shea Co. organized a small group of local women entrepreneurs who desired to collaborate to share resources and information. In the same spirit of our East Bay Sista Circle group, we realized that teaching classes is a fantastic way to empower women to join the natural movement. We hosted our first small group Sip & Soap class in 2019, and have expanded in 2020 to include candlemaking Sip & Pour classes!

The economic slowdown of 2020 has helped us appreciate how important it is for family-owned businesses to have multiple streams of income. In order for businesses like Vibrant Shea Co. to continually thrive, we have to evolve with the changing times. The health and safety crisis of 2020 has forced many small businesses to close. It is a scary time, but we don’t live with a spirit of fear! 

Part of the Solution

With the statewide California shelter-in-place order we, like everyone else, were forced to make a sudden and drastic pivot in how we offer our products. Artisan markets, and non-essential businesses closed in a matter of days. My family quickly took stock of our raw ingredient inventory and jumped into action. We began by formulating an all natural hand sanitizer with the ingredients we had on hand.

Vibrant Shea Co. is a purpose driven brand, and we realized that hand sanitizer was an essential item for people, and we fortunately had all the ingredients needed to create this suddenly hard to find item. It was an easy decision to make that we should offer all natural hand sanitizer to our customers. 

We took it a step further to pay it forward during this economic slowdown, because we believe in the strength of our community to rally during trying times. Vibrant Shea Co. offers all natural hand sanitizer at cost! What that means is that we calculated the cost to create, package and supply our sanitizer, and that is the price you pay for this essential product.

Giving Back

We didn't stop there! Hand sanitizer is an important defense to essential workers who cannot stay home during this crisis, and need a safe way to cleanse hands when a sink is unavailable. We, at Vibrant Shea Co. recognize that nothing replaces the cleansing effectiveness of soap and water, so we offer a free hand sanitizer with every soap purchase, and ship the entire order for free! We custom make our products in small batches. The first week Vibrant Shea Co. offered our soap and sanitizer deal we sold out. . . four times! Luckily, we had plenty of raw ingredients to make new batches.

We continue to donate a free sanitizer to every customer who orders soap from us. We have also donated Vibrant Shea Co. all natural hand sanitizer to local delivery workers, who are risking their health to bring all of us the essential items we need to survive at home. 

With the expanded shelter-in-place order we recognized that many families would need to stock up on quantities. In response, Vibrant Shea Co. is offering multiple quantity soap and sanitizer packages at a deep discount, so price is not a hindrance to our customers during this time of need. There is a Healthy at Home Essential Bundle size to fit every household. Please visit our webstore to purchase. Click to shop. 💚

Thank you for evolving with Vibrant Shea Co. We deeply appreciate how each of you has encouraged us along the way. When you have a moment, we invite you to visit our social media @vibrantshea to like, comment and leave a review to spread the word. Stay healthy at home, and be encouraged- this too shall pass! We miss your conversations at the local markets. We look forward to serving you online, and in the future, again in person.

Be well,

Gianna

Founder, Artisan

Vibrant Shea Co.