When it comes to sustainability, beauty products are probably not the first things that come to mind. Especially for curly and Afro-textured hair, searching for sustainable hair products is not something we tend to prioritize. But when you really think about it, finding genuine sustainable and ethical products for textured hair is near impossible to find on the market. That’s why Terre & Botanique is here to make an impact in the beauty industry.
Terre & Botanique is a black owned, upcycled textured hair care brand based in Brooklyn, New York. Their products are 100% sustainable with plant based ingredients along with upcycled fruit and vegetable scraps. Terre & Botanique serves more than creating sustainable products for textured hair. It is a brand that can also be used as a tool to educate and inform people of color on how to become more sustainable, to protect black and indigenous tribes, and educate future black generations on the importance of living in a harmonious ecosystem.
I had the opportunity to interview Stephanie Moody, founder and creator of Terre & Botanique. She dove into her passion for sustainability, her journey on starting a business and where she sees Terre & Botanique in the future.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your background?
Growing up I was constantly mixing things together and making “experiments”. My family assumed that I would follow in my grandfather’s footsteps (he was the first Black man to work for the FDA in pharmaceuticals) and work in STEM, but I went into fashion instead. It’s really funny that I am now doing what my family always thought I would do!
What inspired you to start Terre & Botanique?
Terre & Botanique was born out of my own hair struggles 3 years ago. I was 5 years natural, my scalp was dry and flaky, my hair was brittle and breaking. I followed so many YouTube tutorials and was spending a lot of money and time on finding the right hair care for me. On top of that, I never had a good relationship with my hair. I had a lot of disdain for my texture and wished it was anything but what it was. I didn’t like feeling that way and decided that the best way to combat my issues was to make my own products. The first product I made was awful but it gave me the confidence to keep researching and trying! About a year later, I had the line that’s available today and loved my hair for the first time. I decided that I wanted to start selling the products to help others struggling with their hair and knew I had a unique opportunity to be a sustainable business from the ground up!
Explain to us what the research process was like when searching for ingredients and creating formulas.
I always start with what problem I want to solve and what the ideal solution would look like. For instance, our new mask is called the Bitter Melon + Matcha Restorative mask. I needed something to help treat split ends, strengthen hair and revitalize the scalp after coming out of a protective style or not washing for a while. I knew that the solution would be best in a mask format. I did a ton of research into Ayurvedic ingredients and found that bitter melon has so many vitamins and minerals that help prevent hair loss and increase hair shine, as well as treat split ends and hair follicle issues. Matcha helps stimulate new hair growth and the ashwagandha and licorice root kombucha soothes your scalp and adds a ton of shine to your hair.
I play around with the ingredients and the formula for about 6 months to a year and use the new product each time I wash. Once it’s in a place where I am seeing wonderful results, I open up testing to customers and others! A product does not move into wider testing until I love using it. Plenty have been scrapped because they just didn’t live up to my own standards.
What has been the biggest lesson learned since launching Terre & Botanique?
Kendrick said it best, “Sit down and be humble”. Your ego has no place in running a business. Of course I think Terre & Botanique is the greatest thing since sliced bread and deserves everything. But that’s not the way the industry works. It took me much longer than it should have to let go of the outcome and appreciate that I cannot control what will happen. All I can do is work hard and champion Terre & Botanique.
What has been your proudest moment since starting your own business?
This is a hard one! Starting a business is a lot like learning how to ride a bike, but without training wheels or guidance. Even with those things learning to ride a bike is hard, but without them it feels nearly impossible. I have made so many mistakes in this past year with this business and I am undoubtedly going to make more as time goes on. But I’m still getting up, brushing off my knees and getting back on the bike, and that is what I am most proud of.
Sustainable beauty products, especially for curly hair textures, is not something that’s seen often. What impact do you hope Terre & Botanique has on the beauty industry?
That the beauty industry does not need to be synonymous with excess! We have grown accustomed to sharing overflowing shelfies, our drawers upon drawers of make-up and buying full size products for single use events. There is a huge opportunity to teach customers about what it means to be an ethical consumer and how to live more sustainable lives and I think companies need to be on the forefront of that. For so long, we as consumers have been taught more is more!
We sell our products in smaller sizes, so that you can better customize your wash day, and you don’t need to hold on to a hundred different full sized products that do a hundred different things!
What does the future of Terre & Botanique look like? Do you plan on creating more products?
Terre & Botanique’s future is very bright! We are releasing 3 new products: a Shampoo, hair mask and conditioner this summer, and I have so many other products in the works. We will also have a recycling program launching along with our new packaging and will continue to push our Testers program as new formulas are created. Finally, our community will get to share how much they love T&B products with a new, exciting referral program!
What other words of wisdom do you have to share?
I firmly believe that the universe opened up the door of opportunity for me and Terre & Botanique. So many different areas of my life aligned in order for me to start this business. My piece of advice is when your door opens up, always step through it. You may end up falling flat on your face but you may end up shooting for the moon!
Was there anything else you would like to mention?
Terre & Botanique will be celebrating our first “birthday” from June 15th through the 19th with a 30% + 1 sale! Customers will be able to take advantage of 30% off their order plus they will receive a free 3 oz mask of their choice. We will also be releasing our shampoo, new mask and conditioner on that day.