As a teenager, Ayo Ogun-McCants spent a lot of time dabbling in natural DIY beauty treatments. Through that experience she learned how to take care of herself and discovered that having a personalized self-care regimen was “one of the best things one can do for their spirit.”
Over time, Ogun-McCants found that the reality of maintaining a full-time job while taking care of her husband and four children meant that sometimes, her pampering rituals would have to take a back seat.
It was this challenge of “never having enough time,” that formed the seeds of Soultanicals, the toxin-free, vegan hair and body product company she launched this past November.
Now, at 34, Ogun-McCants has finally gone back to her roots and prides herself on embracing her passion for taking high-quality botanical ingredients and turning them into a business that produces products that are good for the mind, body, and spirit.
Here, she talks about the inspiration behind the line, how it’s different from other products currently on the market and where she hopes to take the company over the next five years.
Hashtags + Stilettos: How would you describe your Soultanicals line to someone who is hearing about it for the first time?
Ayo Ogun-McCants: Soultanicals is an Afro-vegan, hair, body, soul lovin’ brand. Our goodies are not just another body lotion or hair cream in the marketplace; we’re all about producing handmade [products] that awaken the spirit.
H+S: What made you want to create a hair and skincare line?
AOM: I’ve always been a DIY beauty girl. [Since I was a teen], I’ve dabbled in at-home facial scrubs, hair care preparations and played with natural and organic herbs and ingredients. Self-love in the form of pampering myself became a ritual that I didn’t even know I was creating! The result was beautiful skin, healthy hair and an unintentional sensation of confidence that people seemed to notice about me growing up. After years of allowing the rigors of life to overwhelm me, I got back to [the basics] aligned my childhood passions with creating a brand that complemented what I love, which is celebrating my me-time!
H+S: What makes Soultanicals different from all of the other hair and skincare lines that already exist?
AOM: Soultanicals is truly a new generation of products that speak to the beauty conscious, self-loving and playful spirits who like to stand out with timeless, soul-centric originality. And because we believe that beauty is skin deep, we honor everyone’s inner beauty with a “Soulffirmation”: positive declarations that awaken the beauty within your body, mind & soul, which are included with each order!
H+S: What is your most popular product?
AOM: Our most popular product today is our Knot Sauce, a serious coil detangler that eliminates the can knots, will knots, and the absolutely knots of difficult to manage hair.
H+S: What was the inspiration behind the name Soultanicals?
AOM: Like our ancestors, I believe that we can achieve holistic well-being if we speak to our soul, so I was inspired to create a brand that nourished the body with botanical ingredients, while making room for the soul to take care of itself! Ultimately, my mission is to use our products to enrich lives while also promoting holistic well-being!
H+S: Did you have past experience in the beauty industry before launching Soultanicals?
AOM: Yes. I was a former consultant with Warm Spirit, a self-care and wellness company. Working with Warm Spirit gave me the experience to represent a brand that empowered the very essence of myself through a nurturing spirit, love, and wellness.
H+S: What was the biggest obstacle you faced while launching your company?
AOM: Coming up with a logo that would reflect my love for different cultures, traditions and the natural richness of mother earth. I decided to stop racking my brain and call on the very talented & creatively brilliant, Andrea Pippins of the Fly Blog.
H+S: Who or what are you inspired by?
AOM: I am inspired by spirit, drive, culture and joy because they are the essence of our beings!
H+S: Do you have any mentors?
AOM: I don’t have one particular mentor in my life. I choose to learn from everyday individuals like myself, who live, breathe and are enlivened by their passions and joys!
H+S: What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve received?
AOM: Now is the time.
H+S: The worst?
H+S: Where can people go to purchase your line?
AOM: Our line can be purchased from www.soultanicals.com (For a limited time only, readers can save 15 percent off of their first order by using the code: mnsoul).
H+S: What is one goal you’d like to accomplish with Soultanicals over the next five years?
AOM: To be a solid brand in hair, skin, and body care that fulfills beauty and soul needs everywhere, becoming the world’s first truly “Soultanical” brand!
A version of this interview first appeared on MadameNoire.com