Breakups are never easy. But, heartache aside, sometimes (emphasis on the sometimes) good things can come out of past relationships. This was the case for Yewande Masi. The launch of her brand, Ornami Skincare, was a "happy accident" that actually stemmed from an experience with a previous boyfriend. "Guess I can’t say he didn’t leave me anything," Masi tells TZR over email. While she and her former partner traveled to West Africa, they picked up a jar of shea butter. He thought the product was too thick and took a long time to absorb, therefore Masi began experimenting with it to make it easier. From this newfound love of the ingredient, she started creating batches at home, and soon had friends requesting jars. With word of mouth, her kitchen-based business started booming.
With an extensive career background in hair extensions and corporate sales, Masi says she's always had a vision of creating a unique experience for women in beauty, but just didn’t expect it to be in skin care. That may have been true, but it didn't stop the entrepreneur from playing around with her own beauty products in an effort to upgrade or improve upon them. Before launching Ornami (and before her shea butter experience), Masi would test out home skin care remedies often and even completed a course in Natural Skincare Formulation from the School of Natural Skincare.
When formulating Ornami, Masi focused on natural ingredients that are nourishing, hydrating, and soften the skin. For instance, she notes that one her favorite ingredients squalene not only renews the skin and helps it retain moisture, but also doesn't leave an oily residue. She adds that another brand regular, hemp seed oil, has "a long list of benefits, including repairing the skin barrier and regulating oil production." As for the hero that started it all — shea butter — not only does Masi love it for its soothing properties, but also because it's sourced from West Africa, and she likes being able to support the countries in that area.
And though the aforementioned relationship that inspired her business came to an end, the entrepreneur has no negative feelings about her business journey. "I thought about how Ornami could be a community centered around not only skin care, but self-care as a life practice," says Masi. "A community that empowers and encourages women to have fun through all the different seasons of life and notice the silver linings." In fact, the skin care guru even used her breakup to inspire the names of her products! In the early days of Ornami, the brand's items had generic names, like Mango Body Butter. But after separating from her partner, Masi started playing around with new names, and landed on “Let That Mango” and “No Scrubs." Beautifully put, no?
After selling to only family and friends for some time, Masi officially launched Ornami Skincare in April 2020. Currently, the Boston-based brand consists of five products:'Let That Mango Body Butter, 'No Scrubs' EX-Foliator Sugar Scrub, EX-Factor Illuminating Facial Spray, Take A Brow Sculpting Brow Soap Duo Set, and the Thrilla in Vanilla Candle.
Listening and reacting to customer comments is an integral part of Ornami Skincare's DNA. "I love receiving feedback, it’s the only way Ornami can meet our customers’ needs," Masi says. And some of the best responses from the brand's customers become ideas for new launches. "The body butter was our first product and after doing a few pop-up shops, we had a few customers ask for an exfoliating scrub," she explains. "We added 'No Scrubs' to our product lineup which is now our second best-selling item." The brand has also received feedback on its offerings' scents and consistency. "I keep listening to see if it’s a theme and make adjustments," Masi says. "I follow up with the customers who made recommendations after I implement them which they really appreciate."
The business owner plans on eventually expanding its product assortment to adding more custom facial skin care and personal care options. "There’s a lot of innovation happening in beauty, and we have some exciting stuff in the pipeline that speaks to our mission of being an inclusive community for women," Masi says. But the most important thing for Ornami Skincare is making sure its customer experience continues to deliver as the brand grows.
Ahead, shop the brand's product offerings. And keep your eyes peeled for more product launches in 2021.
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