An interview series of creative women building community, establishing brands and changing the game.
I’m so excited to launch my lady maker series with Kimberly Waldropt, the founder of TERRA-TORY. Kimberly started her natural soap line out of a desire to bring real ingredients to those suffering from eczema and other skin issues. She comes to her work with knowledge about commercial brand skincare products and creates hers with truth and community in mind. Read on to learn about her and her brand!
Where did your interest in understanding the ingredients and chemical reactions that go into commercial soap making come from?
Many people fear the unknown. Many people are ignorant. The ingredients are written right there on the label and Google has a wealth of information. When you google “Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate - What are its risks?” The result is, “Sodium lauroyl isethionate can pose skin irritation depending on the individual's susceptibility and concentration used.”
Now…there are hundreds of thousands of people on this earth that suffer from skin allergies, sensitive skin, and eczema. And this commercial brand is selling this “detergent” every single day.
I created something different because every time some new soap is put out into the market, there’s nothing “new” about it. They’re all just using the same “bullish*t” ingredients to fool the public. And sadly, they fall for it.
You are a one-woman run, person of color founded company. You’ve said how there’s a need to show the face behind your business, and that you have created a brand for all types of people. You focus on inclusivity and not marketing to one race, gender, etc. while also sharing that there aren't enough black owned beauty brands. Could you speak more about this?
I find that wellness and beauty is a luxury space. Not many WOC products are welcomed in that space. We mostly have Shea Moisture or Carol’s Daughter, but that’s only in the healthcare/skincare realm. And more black businesses are surrounded by that. Not only black people struggle with eczema and dry skin. All races do!
So why not cater to all? I'm here to 'serve' anyone. God didn't put me on this earth to be selfish. I'm simply a vessel, using my formula to help others.
So it sounds like I'm not the only one who has an initial temptation to try and eat your soap! And we know all of your ingredients are edible. Can you share the reasoning behind this?
My formula is inspired by the foods I eat. As a vegan, I must load up on fruits and veggies everyday. That’s my protein. It's what feeds my skin from the inside. So I cut eating “bullsh*t” out of my diet…and my skin improved on its own. Now, let me use that same idea of eating avocados, and incorporating it into my soap recipes. Now l tried papaya, then aloe, then cucumbers, then carrots, etc. Next thing you know, there’s an entire line of soaps inspired by the way I eat. And you can feel the difference in one shower.
You bring us, as the consumer, on the journey of creating your products with you. It sometimes feels like you're gently nudging us into the education side of understanding skincare. Why is this important to you?
It’s so frustrating not knowing what’s wrong with your skin and thinking of a million ways to fix acne, scars, eczema break outs, hives, etc. Don’t get me wrong, not all of it is caused by other soaps. It’s a number of things. Our diet, our environment, our biological makeup, in addition to the products we use. So to make it easier for everyone, why don’t we just weed out the nonsense soap, and actually tell you what’s in the product? So you can know for yourself that it’s simply not for you. I have no interest in selling anyone a dream, I simply don’t have the time haha. If something works for me, my sister, my boyfriend, why not share it with the world?
What's next for you and your brand?
I have so many ideas, haha! I'm collaborating with a small organization in NYC right now (I can't say who), about soap making classes! It's pretty exciting. Also, I want to expand and get on as many shelves as possible to let people know about my Coconut Oil-Free Option to skincare. Expand, Expand, Expand! The people NEED this stuff! But more importantly, to cater to a market that aligns with my core values/lifestyle.
What is your biggest dream for TERRA-TORY?
My biggest dream is to have my product on shelves around the world. I want TT to end the assumption that skincare is just for the face. It’s also for the body. That fighting eczema doesn't have to be so clinical.