All natural is all in.
Consumer consciousness is now in full force. Everyone wants to know what’s in their products, how they’re made, and who’s behind the brands that they’re supporting. It’s not enough to be on store shelves – the name behind the product must be both environmentally and socially conscious.
Thanks to the Shea Moistures and Kiehl’s of the beauty market, we hold skin and hair care products to a higher standard. I’m looking for cleaner, chemical-free, and locally-owned brands to tend to my skin and locks. With my luck and, quite frankly, only a few dollars in my bank account, this usually means I’m buying coconut and jojoba oil in bulk at Costco. But now, there’s a new brand in town!
VEGI is an all-natural, edible beauty brand offering hair and skin care products. Even better, it is owned and managed by a fellow black, female, Indianapolis native, Brittany Harvey!
There are plenty of companies that claim to be all-natural or even edible; however, many of these brands include synthetic ingredients that aren’t generally safe to consume.
I had to do my part in supporting Brittany and VEGI, so I chatted with the team about the development of their products and even tried a hair mask… on camera! Keep reading to learn about VEGI and watch the video at the bottom of the article to see the wonder for yourself.
Start of interview.
What was the inspiration behind creating VEGI? Were there any personal experiences that drove its development?
Yes, definitely! I went natural about 5 or 6 years ago – I stopped chemically treating my hair. When I decided to do that, I ended up researching a lot about my own hair as it began to change. My hair reverted back to its natural texture and I realized I didn’t know how to take care of or style my natural hair. Throughout this journey I’ve done a ton of reading, a lot of experimenting, a lot of haircuts when frustrated [laughs], and a lot of sampling of different products. About 2 years ago, a friend and I were talking about our edges and how we needed something that wouldn’t dry out our hair or damage our curls. I felt like I was being so “conscious” about my natural hair but none of the products that I was using were actually natural or contained many natural ingredients!
Tell me more about the creation of VEGI. Who is a part of the VEGI family and what are their roles?
Part of our team deals with production. I focus on writing the recipes and mixing the ingredients to create the product and also continually work on product innovation. My partner handles a lot of the marketing strategies and brand strategies. We have a great team behind us that handles social media, fulfillment, and much of the day to day operations.
I know that the process of launching a business is difficult – from ideation to execution. How long has this been in development?
Yes, it honestly involved a lot more work than I anticipated! I was present in every aspect, even down to finding and choosing the perfect fonts for the branding vision. I’ve had the idea for maybe two years now but I wasn’t actively pursuing it at all. Last October my partner and I took a trip to LA and came back to Indy extremely inspired to just take things in our lives to the next level. We decided we would stop making excuses or waiting for the “perfect time” and just go for it, so we did! We started grinding as soon as we got back home and we launched the site on February 2nd, so it’s been about 5 months.
Was the original intent to be a business owner or was there a genuine passion for organically produced hair/skin products specifically?
I definitely think it was a mix of both. I truly desired a lifestyle that would allow me to manage my own time and give me the capital to invest in things that I’m truly passionate about. VEGI has allowed me to do all of that already, which has been super rewarding.
I’m between two worlds currently due to where I’m at personally in life. I’m about half-way through my graduate program and I still have my career in the education field which is my biggest passion. I have realized that education, in all facets, is a huge part of people living the most fulfilling and healthy life that they can. VEGI allows me the space to align my work with my passion in an abstract but still very relevant way by providing these healthy and natural products at a competitive price.
Was it difficult to finally launch your first products? Did your team struggle with perfecting the formulas or consistencies of them?
There was quite a process when it came to perfecting the formulas for each product, especially the hair masks. Initially we struggled with a consistency that was far too thick and left the hair feeling too oily. We went back to the drawing board (I legit have one wall of my apartment that is a white board) and reformulated about 3 different times to get where we are now. I struggled getting to the point where I stopped comparing VEGI to other products I had used or seen, because there really is no comparison. I feel that VEGI is setting the benchmark for these all-natural, plant-based, vegan products so there should be an understanding in regards to consistency, shelf-life, etc. that VEGI is unlike any other product out on the market currently.
How’d you test the quality?
Thankfully I have great friends and family members that were willing to offer their hair up as test subjects. I also used the products on my hair but I know that my hair is only one type, so it was great to have other people willing to test the products out and give honest feedback about their experience.
VEGI has positioned itself as the “first all-natural edible beauty brand,” what exactly does that mean for VEGI customers?
It was our focus to make sure that VEGI products were made of all-natural and plant-based ingredients, which made it vegan. Once that happened, we realized that we had to make a strong statement because a lot of beauty brand throw these words like “natural” around and their products aren’t actually natural. So we said to ourselves, let’s make sure everything is also edible! We thought it was an awesome concept that had never been ventured into before. Of course, it is not required that our customers eat their VEGI products, we just wanted to assure that our products are natural and what better way to do that than making it edible? But most importantly, I think harmful artificial chemicals in products have become so normalized, that we don’t realize a lot of what we used is absorbed by our skin and into our bloodstream. Why should we risk putting chemicals into our bloodstream if we wouldn’t consume these chemicals? VEGI really eliminates those major safety concerns a lot of people have with beauty products today.
What’s next? You’re starting with hair masks, moisturizers, and scrubs. Will you venture into other hair and skin products? What about makeup?
We have every intention of expanding our product line and becoming a full beauty brand. If we approach the makeup idea, it will be in the distant future. We have a lot in store for our VEGI community and our conscious customers in the near future, but you’ll have to stay tuned for that 😉
End of interview.
VEGI was created with the sole intention of providing a clean, plant-based beauty product for all hair and skin types and making a strong and unconventional statement of it being edible. It’s added value that the product is affordable and owned by a black female from the Midwest!
Now, see for yourself! Here’s my experience with one of the VEGI hair masks as a female with locked hair.