We had the good fortune of connecting with LaKisha Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi LaKisha, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I had no intention of creating a business. I was just looking for a solution to solve my dry skin problem. I tried many different products and none of them were effective. I began researching remedies for dry skin and found articles about solid lotion bars. When I saw the ingredients list, I decided that I’d try to make a few for myself. I fell in love after the first batch! Lotion bars were the perfect solution for my dry hands. Slowly, I began to explore making body butters, lip balm, and soap. My friends and family were also pleased with my creations because they offered to pay me to make products as gifts for them. Then they encouraged me to make this a business. Initially, I fought the suggestion because running a business can be intimidating. But, after a few heart-to-heart talks with my family and friends, I decided to go for it and I haven’t looked back.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Tru Esscents Bespoke Body Care specializes in made-to-order body care products. With the exception of soap, everything is made when ordered. Quality and freshness is guaranteed. We strive to keep body care simple: cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize. We offer natural artisan soap, moisturizing body polish, and nourishing body butters for men and women. We also offer lip balm, bath salts, and body oils. If a customer requests a certain fragrance or butter combination, our aim is to make that happen for them. After all, we’re Bespoke Body Care!
At Tru Esscents, we encourage self-care. In such a fast-paced society, we’re constantly on the go. We need to learn to slow down, be present, enjoy the now, and just be. The FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) mentality can be exhausting and there are some things that just aren’t worth our attention. Be present and focus on those things that make you feel like you.
As Tru Esscents has evolved and grown beyond what I could have ever imagined, I’ve learned so much about myself and about business as a whole. Personally, I’ve been stretched way out of my comfort zone because this is a one woman operation. I’m HR, payroll, research and development, product development, administrative support, manufacturing and customer support. I have had to learn time management and scheduling my priorities to make sure that I’m giving the ‘TRU CRU’ top notch customer service. The majority of my business comes from word of mouth and that means everything to me.
Something that I’ve learned along the way is that every business owner should have business besties. I’ve been blessed to have people in my circle who understand the ups and downs of being a business owner. They’re my sounding board when I’m frustrated, my counsel when I need advice, and my cheering squad to help celebrate my successes. I encourage business owners to find a circle of people who can relate to what you’re dealing with. If there are fellow business owners out there who need a business bestie, I’m here for you!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend came to visit, I’d take her to places that she would not find on her list of ‘Places to visit while in L.A.’ I love museums, so museum-hopping would definitely be on the intinerary. The California African-American Museum, The Huntingon Library, and the Museum of Latin American Art would be on the list. We’d have to go downtown to the The Last Bookstore. Food is life, so we would go to a few of my favorite spots: Yamashiro’s, Mastro’s at Newport Beach, and Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill for some live jazz and tasty eats. I like to get out in nature, so I’d have to take her on my favorite hike up to Inspiration Point in Altadena. Of course, you can’t come visit and not go to one of the many beaches, so I’d take her to Redondo Beach Pier. It’s my favorite beach!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family has been extremely supportive of my endeavors. Entrepreneurship can be lonely and tough, so it helps to have a strong support system to keep you focused and also who understands that the undertaking can be difficult. The unwavering support and understanding of my family makes this journey easier to bear. I’m so blessed and thankful for them.