June 29, 2021
In 2018, Sisters Kaltum and Shamsa combined their lifelong passions for health, wellness, beauty and skincare to create Afiya Beauty. Kaltum studied natural health consulting and believes nature is key to holistic healing. Shamsa formulated her own beauty products at home before completing a diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation. All their beauty products are manufactured locally in Quinte West, using 100% natural, locally sourced ingredients.
Afiya Beauty has two collections, plus standalone products. The Restorative Ritual Set is five products designed to promote restful sleep and peaceful energy. The Glow Daily Collection consists of cleansing oil, facial oil and a detox mask.
Afiya Beauty products are created by Afiya and handmade in small batches using 100% botanical ingredients. They source their ingredients locally as much as possible, and products are sustainably made.
Beauty Products for Black Skin More Toxic
In researching the market, Shamsa shares they discovered that “beauty products created for black skin had four to five times the paraben levels in toxicity. There were many products on the shelves, but the concept of wellness was “incredibly white centric.”
Creating a Culture of Trust
“With us, it’s not about similarities, it’s about a culture of trust. We want to provide access to beauty for everyone,” Shamsa says.
“Our customers are very conscious about what goes on their skin. They want cleaner products. They want to support small business. And they welcome conversations about equity, especially racial equity.”
Doing Business in the Bay of Quinte Region
Both sisters work in the business full time and they have hired one part time staff member. Renovations are almost complete on the existing studio and lab. Afiya received two small business grants that helped build studio space and the women have re-invested money from their growth from last year to help continue to build.
Shamsa says, “Eventually, Kaltum and I plan to host in-person skin care workshops at our studio. We want to do a virtual wellness studio as well, but the goal is definitely a physical space. Skin care lessons and wellness are topics people are very interested in.”
Agriculture and Natural Beauty
The Bay of Quinte has a strong agriculture sector, which provides many of Afiya’s source ingredients such as honey, clays and botanicals. “We try to stay as close as we can to the local product and not interfere with the natural product,” notes Shamsa. “We just mix them properly and help them complement each other.”
Business Support in the Bay of Quinte Region
As one of the highest performing economic development groups nationwide, the Quinte Economic Development Commission (QEDC) provides resources, support, and strategies to area businesses. QEDC helped Kaltum and Shamsa make their space compliant with municipal regulations.
Afiya Beauty also received grant money from the Small Business Centre through Trenval Business Development Corporation.