Kim is the owner of Zhi Bath and Body in Charlotte, NC. For the last 13 years, she has formulated and crafts goat milk skincare products as well as home fragrance. She uses the proceeds from her business to craft hygiene products for the annual coat drive she holds for homeless veterans along with her husband. Her love of fragrance and a deep desire to give people a nontoxic option for skincare has motivated her to continue pursuit of a degree as a certified aromatherapist. She hopes to use her knowledge of aromatherapy with her product line to educate people on living lives free of topical toxins and teach new entrepreneurs on the ways making ‘clean’ beauty products saves lives.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I’m a mom, a wife, a daughter & sister, a Navy veteran, and a business owner who loves life and loves making folks feel wonderful. I have a pretty diverse background that I believe allows me to do and be many things. My military experience helps manage a home full of testosterone with some ease. 22 years as a hairstylist fuels my creativity as a maker while 17 years in customer service and tech support allow me to navigate an increasingly technical world and connect with my customers on many levels.
Tell us about your business.
Zhi is a resented a reflection of who I am as a person. I’ve always loved and gravitated toward ANYTHING different…unique. So my business, in turn, caters to people whose skin needs something different… something unique to solve the exact issue they need…a soap with extra hydrating properties that can calm nausea in cancer patients, or one that gently removes blemishes. AND is safe for folks with no issue at all. I’m always in awe of what God has buried in me to craft for people. 🙂
What prompted you to start your business?
Shortly before I got out of the Navy, I noticed my skin changing… it started with a dry place on my pinky finger. Over the years it progressed into psoriasis. Anyone who has issues with eczema, contact dermatitis, etc knows how challenging finding skincare that works well without irritation. When I got out, MANY of the popular brands out now were nonexistent, so I toughed it out. Until I was introduced to Carol’s Daughter. I was enamored with Lisa Price’s story and how natural her product is. And yes, being handy and creative, I figured I could do it too! 13 years later and much trial and error, Zhi is still here as an online store, a custom product creator, and in the private label market.
Have you always aspired to be an entrepreneur? Why or why not?
Yes and no. I have loved doing hair since I was 7 and I always knew I’d be in the military. What I knew early on is that I like working in a team… never the boss. But what I’ve learned as each year goes by is that being a stylist and an aviation tech each set me up to want to be an entrepreneur.
What’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?
I make the rules. There’s an independence that comes with being an entrepreneur. Freedom to work with (or not) who I choose… thank God for sending amazing people my way. I love that I’m in a space where I’m free to hone my craft to better serve those I formulate for.
What’s the worst part of being an entrepreneur?
Deciding when to transition from soloprenuer to hiring help. It’s the space I’m in currently but the economic situation isn’t conducive to success. But I digress….it’s fear. Second-guessing oneself will stop you from growth, from success. Not second-guessing is a skill to be learned.
Who’s your inspiration? Why?
My girlfriend Dee Dee inspires me. Her feisty nature, fierce will, and ability to overcome baffle me. I take from her more than she knows…her knowledge of raising black boys, pushing through pain, and NEVER EVER giving up. That chick is amazing… you hear me!?
List some of your greatest achievements
Being featured in SwagHer Magazine, Huami Magazine, and Fashion GXD Magazine made me feel like a star. I know it’s pennies to some but the first month I made almost $1000 was HUGE!! The absolute greatest is the feedback I get that I helped make skin one less thing to worry about.
Name a time when things didn’t go right. What happened and how did you get past it?
Quite a few years ago I was sending samples to Canada to be in a subscription box with a huge following in the US. One particular month, my car fresheners went to a blogger and her review was scathing…I immediately went into trying to figure out what went wrong. I was devastated…it was my first experience with someone not loving Zhi as much as I did. Long story short, lesson learned…. your product is not for everyone.
Where do you see your business in 3 years?
Zhi will have 10 private label clients, 3 employees, enough funding to continue to expand, and have my husband take over Zhi for Him full time.
What advice would you give a new entrepreneur?
Stop second-guessing yourself on the right time to start working your passion. Find a tribe that will support you in the good and the bad. Oh! And make sure to have an Archie in the mix. I learned at a veterans conference to have someone in your corner you can call Archie. That person that is honest no matter what and will help keep you reigned in from time to time. There are some things that are a good idea, but not really. Archie will save you lots of wasted time and money.