Before CARA B Naturally’s official launch in 2009, Booker worked as a marketer specializing in multicultural initiatives while Johnson was a news reporter ten years prior. Neither of them had aspirations of being an entrepreneur; it all sort of came together. Beginning research on how to go about starting such a business in 2006, the pair shifted into entrepreneurial gear when they settled on a formulation lab that could fulfill their expectations.
The founders’ biggest criterion was the ability to create a product from, of course, all-natural and plant-based ingredients. The ultimate motivation for making CARA B Naturally products spawned from Johnson being a new mother, becoming increasingly wary about the use of potentially harmful products made with sulfates, petrolatum, artificial preservatives and parabens. During the process of interviewing formulation labs, the sisters said narrowing the group down those who were willing to put in the work was an easy task.
“We first researched products, ingredients and their effectiveness. When we connected with a professional formulation lab, they were able to start testing with base ingredients and a mixture of natural ingredients,” said Booker.
Starting from scratch was a must, because there wasn’t a base product to work with that comprised what the founders outlined; all-natural ingredients especially ones with moisturizing properties.
“You never know what your first version is going to look like, but from there you start doing focus groups and you send out samples to family, friends and acquaintances and ask what they think. ‘Is it too oily? Is it oily enough? Does the shampoo lather too much?’ It’s really refining that formulation,” Johnson added.
Getting in front of the right people
In the second year of business, CARA B Naturally took off when Johnson and Booker began selling products online. Johnson says lots of consumers identified with the founders’ natural mission that encourages mothers to embrace not only the natural state and texture of their child’s hair, but positive images of them in the hair care realm.
Today, positive feedback from customers hangs on the wall of the company’s warehouse, headquartered in Charlotte, NC. Their satisfaction is what pushes Booker and Johnson to work toward growth.