La’Crassia Wilderness has always had a creative flare. Her passion for caring for others paired with this special touch led her to create Butter Love by L.C. Since its foundation, she’s been working hard helping to heal, soothe, and inspire her customers through one natural handmade body butter, skincare product, and bath salt at a time.
When did you decide to start your business?
I started in 2014. It was kind of not really something that I was trying to do… it just kind of happened. I was making things for myself, I had gotten home from college and I was not in the best state emotionally and mentally. I was just drained from college and internships and working life. So, I moved in with my dad for the first time and I had been making stuff for my skin and my hair. I ran out eventually though, so I just started ordering stuff and started making body butters; but they weren’t like really body butters, they were just concoctions that I created for my hair and my skin. Then I just kept going and seeing what I could do with the experimentation.
Then, I went to New York for Afro Punk and a friend of mine who went to college with me was there, and I showed him my products in a little mason jar, it was nothing really to think of. But he was just like, “this is amazing”. I let him use it, and he was like, this is what you should be doing for a living. And I told him yeah, I’m just kind of playing around and he’s just like, no, I don’t think you’re hearing me, this is what you should be doing. So that kind of inspired me as well as the festival, like just all types of black creators and just music and people, it was just uplifting. I was really inspired by that trip and I came home and I hit the ground running and started a website. That website- kind of sucked. That was almost five years ago. I also created business cards and got invited to my first event. I did my first show and it was so ugly. I had little crates, and I had a dry erase board as a sign. I freaked out and I had an anxiety attack, but eight people bought my products that day. So, I’m like, if eight people believe in me when I look crappy, just imagine what I could do it if I take it up a notch and continue to take it up a notch. So, it’s just been a journey of taking it up a notch.
It’s just been a journey of self-discovery for myself, finding out who I was personally. Because I started when I was pretty young, it kind of molded me into who I am today. So, it just grew as I grew. So now I’ve quit my job and I’m doing this full time.
What’s your favorite thing about your company?
My favorite thing is the creativity part of it as well as the part that I literally control my success. Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes it’s a bad thing, it is what you put into it. The creativity, the marketing, the pictures, the products, the education that goes into it… everything. Connecting with my customers is also a really good thing that I really love doing. I like doing different shows and interacting because I feel like once they know about me they will buy.
What makes your voice unique?
I think that I’m definitely the face whether I like to believe so or not. But I think what makes Butter Love unique is the energy that I put into it, and the love that I put into it, because I see a lot of other makers and I see a lot of other people doing what I do, but what sets me apart is literally the aura, the energy, and the love that I put into my products. It sets it apart from everything. I’m not knocking anybody else’s business, but I just know what I put into it. It kind of goes hand in hand with myself, and reflects me as a person. I think it’s literally just self-taught, self-made peace and harmony. I am trying to create that within myself and it exudes in my products.
So how big is your company? Is it just you doing everything?
Right now, it is just me. I do have help from my family. My family is my biggest support system. My friends are as well, they come to my events, like the Grand Market. I just have a lot of support from my family and friends and we get it done. So, I’m at the point where I should be hiring, but my mom is just like, no. And I’m just like, yes! It’s a battle between that. But I’m definitely looking for someone to help out who is a right fit and understands what goes into each product.
What is your most popular item?
So of course, my body butters are the most popular. I have seven different fragrances that are seasonal, seven overall, and they are made with the basis of shea butter and coconut oil. So, they’re like the ultimate moisturizer for dry skin, Eczema, psoriasis, dark pigmentation, and hyperpigmentation, it’s really a good healing agent for your skin. I also make a detox bath salts that remove toxins from your body, and I make facemasks, like a detox bentonite clay detoxifying mask and I also make sugar scrubs. I also make lip balm and milk baths, if you want to condition your skin or just make your skin smoother, it’s a really good agent for that as well.
Who is your target market?
I would say everyone I know when it comes to marketing, I studied marketing in college and I know that you’re supposed to have a certain demographic, but my products are literally for everyone who suffers from dry skin.
It could be male, could be female, it could be older age or babies. It’s friendly for every skin type and healing for all skin types. So, I don’t really have a set demographic. If I were to look at demographics, I would say that women are my largest market when it comes to selling, but their boyfriends take it and they buy it for their girlfriends or their wives and they buy it for their kids who are suffering from Eczema. It’s really for everyone, everyone has skin. Men need self-care. Kids need self-care. Everyone needs to.
Are there any challenges that you’ve had to overcome?
Definitely. I am a competitive person by nature and I don’t know why, I think it was because I was raised with guys. I feel that with every business that is here, even if it’s not doing something that I’m doing, I feel like we have friendly competition, we’re both striving to be great. So, what I would say is that I do get down on myself sometimes when I feel like I’m not doing enough or I’m not going as far as I could be going, but I also have to remind myself that their journey or their success is not my success. So, I have to trust my process and trust my journey. And I feel like that’s my biggest thing, because of course people can feel complacent or stagnant or feel like I’m not getting like the treatment that other businesses get. But I literally have to remind myself like, that isn’t your story. It’s okay. You’ve come this far and you just keep pushing. It’s easier said than done.
Why is St. Louis a good area for your company?
Because there is a movement happening now more than ever and businesses are flourishing. People are understanding that products like mine are made to last longer, and [big box store] store bought lotion are not. It’s made for you to buy more lotion. They’re understanding the hardships and the energy that goes into creating a small business and creating something that you’ve created on your own, and that is something within itself. I feel like people are catching on and people are creating and people are taking things to the next level, and people are realizing it. So, I feel like right now that’s power. I mean a lot of people go into it thinking like, oh I’m gonna do this, everyone’s doing this, I’ll just do this to make money. But people who are really true to their craft, it’s a movement and it’s really something I’m proud to be a part of.
What makes you so passionate?
I think it’s really just a passion for healing and self-discovery. I think I went on a spiritual journey and I think everyone does at some point and this was a part of it. So, with that spiritual journey, it’s always evolving, it’s always growing. Just my passion for healing the world, for healing myself, healing my friends, healing my parents, trying to hail one person at a time so we can be a greater people altogether because it starts with you. I have friends, and a friend of mine was inquiring about like healing products and someone told him about my business and he bought like a crap ton of products, and ever since then he used my bath salts and they literally brought him peace because he’s a creator, he’s an artist. So now he’s one of my good friends and he’s also one of my biggest buyers. He takes it on his trips overseas, when he goes to New York for shows he takes it and shows his friends and then they buy it. So, he gets the word out and it’s literally just nothing else that I can describe, it’s just the love that he has for my products. He wants to share with everyone else that he encounters. So, I think that’s amazing.
What do you see for the future of your company?
My Tarot card reading today told me to dream big, so I’m going to dream big and I want to say that I want to take my company global. I want to be in stores, I want to be in Whole Foods, markets, boutiques in Chicago and L.A., I want to have customers in London and I want to be a global brand. I want to move around educate and I want to interact and show people that these products actually do really work. I want to take it to a global level.
If you could describe your company in one word, what would it be?
I would just take one of the words that’s in the product, love. I’ve put a lot of energy and a lot of love into it. And with that, kind of the seed that I planted, just grew out of love. I would say you plant a seed of love and you watch it grow and this is what happened.
Where do you sell your products?
I have an online site that I created through Squarespace and people from all over the U.S. can order online. I also do a lot of popups, last year. This year, I would have to count, but I tried to dial it back. But that doesn’t seem to be happening and now that it’s my full-time job, I have more time to dedicate to it. So, I do a lot of shows, I try to do a lot of interviews and Instagram for marketing, and word of mouth. My business grew from word of mouth. It’s crazy thinking about how big it’s growing. Like I have orders from New York and Texas and L.A. and Seattle and I’m like, how are you guys said even hearing about me?! I’m just thankful I have so much gratitude to give to this product. I feel like I’m not doing enough and I want to do more, but I’m just one person so I have to remind myself of that daily. I’m just one person, but you know, there’s me one day and then there’s Oprah, so I just keep goals in mind and I try to strive for those goals. I just keep pushing and keep moving even when it gets hard. I think the biggest thing for people who are trying to start a small business and are thinking about it and they’re not really sure… that’s the hardest part, just do it. Just do it because the more you think about it, the more you’re going to talk yourself out of it. The more you’re gonna contemplate what if this happens, I’m going to fail. The unknown can be scary, but it also can be comforting as well. So that’s what I gave my all to, just getting out there giving it a try.
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Photo Credit: Butter Love
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