Student businesses to follow is a three-part mini-series at the Mancunion Fashion & Beauty section which intends to highlight students that balance their uni work while also managing their own business. This last instalment is centred around Rebecca from the beauty and jewellery brand Embody Natural.
Rebecca is a fashion design student from Manchester currently living in London. She owns a skincare and jewellery brand, Embody Naturals.
Like many others, her brand started during lockdown. She describes her start: “I was trying different recipes in the kitchen. I gave away lots of products as gifts”. Not only did this plan allow her to launch her business, it also allowed her to get sincere reviews. Starting in lockdown has its advantages: she slowly got used to the system that the pandemic changed forever. In fact, lockdown might have been the perfect time to start a business since she had all the time in the world to dedicate herself to her brand. “When lockdown ended, I had less time and things became more difficult as I’m also a full-time uni student and work part-time.” Returning to ‘normal’ life has taken a lot of re-adjustments.
Rebecca started her skincare business because she couldn’t find products that suited her needs. “A scrub that I loved had been discontinued and I often found that scrubs either didn’t have the correct scent, were too drying or didn’t smell right”, she explains. She also wanted to have products that could be used either alongside or completely separately from a skincare routine which you often cannot do because of products’ overcomplicated ingredient lists. All her products are handmade and her range includes hand-whipped body butters, scrubs, lip oils as well as eyebrow serum.
Supporting other women and specifically women of colour is at the very core of her brand: “I source my skincare ingredients from a UK supplier, the shea butter is particularly important as they source it from a women’s cooperative in Africa, who source Shea butter the traditional way and are dedicated to empowering women!”. Finding suitable suppliers for her skincare range has taken a lot of time and research and with her new jewellery branch, the research is far from over: “I’m still learning”, she laughs. However, she likes to support other small businesses by buying her beads and wires, notably from Etsy: “ I find Etsy to be a key resource for buying raw materials!”, she exclaims.
Nature is also central to her brand philosophy. Not only are all her products made from natural ingredients she also includes, with every order she sells, a package of bee-friendly seeds so that her customers can re-use their containers after they finish their products.
Once her skincare brand was well-established, she also started making and selling handmade jewellery. The range includes sculpted wire rings and earrings. Using gemstones such as rose quartz, aventurine and clear quartz, she also makes crystal healing jewellery. “Now I think the brand really stands for self-care and adornment”, she says.
Although she often finds herself wishing for 48h days so that she could spend more time working on her brand, Rebecca really enjoys running her own business. “I always have plans and ideas. The business has opened so many opportunities for me and this is only just the beginning, so things have been great!” she exclaims.
In the near future, she hopes to get a bigger space to work in and hopes to start making and selling clothes once her studies are over. “I think it would be the perfect way to expand the brand and really be a positive challenge” she muses. She is also working on expanding her customer base, notably through social media presence. “I think that with time and effort things could really begin to take off in a positive way and I’m really excited to see what’s to come!”
We certainly hope so too!
Take a look at the second installment of ‘Student businesses to follow’ centered around fashion brands.