This month we sit down for a chit-chat with Chicago-based entrepreneur duo JC and Angela to learn more about their wonderfully vegan, organic and sustainable beauty brand called The Best Kind. The unlikely, yet charming pair spoke openly about their journey and JC’s unquenchable drive to explore and experiment with new and effective formulations (of which their heavenly Body Butter, this month’s feature, is a result). Law graduate Angela divulges how she reconnects with her creative-self and develops her skills in social media management to help build their brand. Read how they sculpted their brand philosophy, formed their company culture and defined a caring relationship within their community and the environment they live in.
This is their story…
Give us a little background info into how this company came to be?
We were founded in May 2017 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn by John-Charles (JC) Baucom, a chemist by trade and horticulturist by passion. Soon thereafter, Angela, an almost-lawyer from Chicago, joined to make our humble company a powerful two-person team. Together, we have worked hard during the last several months to build our brand ideology and to create products that are affordable, potent and wholesome.
“At The Best Kind, we believe self-care is something everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy and that making time for one’s self is vital to recovering from the stresses of everyday life.”
Our products are meant to impart the feeling of indulging in luxury skin care while maintaining an economical and accessible price. We develop vegan, non-GMO, organic, and fragrance-free items.
“What makes The Best Kind particularly different among our peers is not only our commitment to making clean beauty and self-care accessible to all, but also that we are a black and Latina-owned company.”
Having this type of representation is immensely important and much-needed in the clean beauty world, where we have an opportunity to offer a different perspective and approach to skin and hair care.
Our products are unique because they are rooted in traditional body care practices while integrating modern scientific research.
We are in love with your Body Butter that is currently featured in Nourish Beauty Box in April. How did you come up with this gorgeous formulation?
Even though our company was founded only recently, we have been making natural body care products for years. JC first began formulating body butter as a teenager in order to treat his acne and eczema, which worked wonderfully. He refined his recipe for the body butter to help his partner, who suffered from a severe skin disease that required the use of corrosive, expensive, and potentially carcinogenic topical medications. The body butter helped alleviate the irritation and worked effectively to repair the skin. After seeing how much this product helped his partner, JC decided he wanted to do more and share his experience with the world. Having received his degree in chemistry, JC began conducting extensive research about skincare and improved on the formulation of the body butter.
“After diligent study and numerous trials, JC came up with a powerful formula that was true to the original butter, derived from tried-and-true natural ingredients, and which contained no extra fillers or fragrances.”
JC and Angela are excited to showcase The Best Kind to the world. Our customers have been incredibly supportive of our humble company thus far and we thank them for being able to continue in our endeavors. We always strive to deliver the best we can from nature’s bounty, all while keeping you and your needs in mind.
Your backgrounds and heritage are so different, yet you somehow found each other and became business partners.
Yes, it’s truly fascinating. JC grew up in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. His mother, who owns a nursery and garden center in Brooklyn, instilled in him the care and love that goes into working with plants as well as how their inherent properties can be harnessed to heal our bodies.
He even conducted his own covert science experiments in the family bathroom!
Fortunately, though JC did not burn down his home during these antics, he did ignite a lifelong passion for the sciences.
Angela grew up in the ethnically and culturally diverse Albany Park, Chicago. Coming from a Guatemalan household, attending a Korean pre-school, being obsessed with baking and arts, moreover pursuing a degree in Law make her the polar opposite of JC. The amalgam of our unique diversity, culture and upbringing makes The Best Kind a brand to watch out for!
It is no surprise that a company that is based on such love-infused principles is sensitive to social and environmental issues.
We like our products to be as universal as possible. We also try to be conscious of the world we inhabit, particularly with respect to the environmental and community impact of our actions.
“This is a privilege that we always want to uphold : the ability to find ingredients that are sustainable and friendly to the environment while also making a concerted effort to minimize the amount of non-reusable materials in our packaging.”
As far as why we have chosen to create natural, cruelty-free, and vegan body care products, we are a company that values transparency, knowledge, and accessibility. The truth is that the beauty and personal care industry is almost completely unregulated and requires barely any safety testing, which can be scary to think about. For this reason, we take the responsibility of diligently curating our ingredients and caring for our customers very seriously.
As everyone knows, your skin is the largest organ on your body and can easily absorb almost much of what is applied to it. Ensuring that you only apply the best ingredients to it is thus vitally important to maintaining your first line of defense against the environment. Ingredients that are all-natural and plant-based are simply the best you can use to repair and strengthen your body.
“There’s really nothing animal-based products can do better than plant-based ones.”
Raw plant oils and butters are packed with a bevy of nutrients and beneficial properties that are amazing for your skin and hair.
“Why reinvent the wheel when you can use what nature has already provided?”
Our products are sourced from vetted companies and local producers. For every ingredient we use, we have personally contacted the company to speak in-depth about their sourcing processes. Because we only use ingredients that have had as little processing as possible, it is important for us to know concretely where our ingredients are coming from, who is responsible, and how the ingredients are handled. Moreover, we consciously research the employment and environmental practices of our vendors to ensure that their company values align with our own.
Where did your name ‘The Best Kind’ come from and what does it symbolize?
Truthfully, it was originally inspired by a Pokémon Go reference! From there, it grew organically and became a symbol of what we want our company to be. We always want to provide the best kind of body care, one that is affordable, powerful, and good for you.
“Every product that we make is simply the best at what it does.”
Our Body Butter, for example, has been specifically formulated to penetrate, moisturize, and restore your skin. Containing an excellent emollient (cocoa butter), well-known humectant (shea butter), and antioxidants (candelilla wax), these wholesome ingredients work in unison to deliver the antiseptic, toning, and cleansing benefits of our original rosemary and basil infusions.
Who would you want your products to be for?
Fundamentally, we strive to create products for all bodies and all budgets. Our target audience is any person who has an appreciation for science- and tradition-driven body care.
“We aim to be a reliable resource for conscious consumerism and want folks to come to us for their skin and hair care questions.”
We envision fostering a community that is always informed about what is going on their body and can articulate why certain ingredients are good or bad to incorporate into personal care products.
Surely there were enormous challenges you faced when launching your business?
Before launching our company, we knew that the clean beauty space was very crowded and fast-changing. This did not dissuade us, however, because we truly believe in our mission, expertise, and the quality of our products.
“Marketing and creating the look of our brand has been the toughest challenge.”
No tea no shade, but a lot of clean beauty companies promote very similar aesthetics, which can alienate communities who don’t identify with that particular style of branding. With this in mind, we have tried very hard to come up with a look that feels both luxurious and is widely approachable. Setting yourself apart in anything that you do is always going to be a challenge, but we embrace it and will continue to learn from our experience. Most importantly, we’ve come up with a company culture that we are proud of.
Another major challenge is the upfront and operating costs that go into starting your own business. Unlike many of our competitors, we founded The Best Kind without access to much start-up capital or financial support.
“We have only invested our own money into this business, even looking under our couch cushions to make sure we had every penny available to invest.”
Though we are a small, two-person company, we are proud of where we have gotten so far with the resources we have. We hope to keep expanding and inspiring people to work with us.
“We are grateful to Nourish Beauty Box as well as our amazing community of friends and family who have helped us along the way in consulting with us about our business, brand mission, and generally supporting our dream to become small-business owners.”
Apart from Nourish Beauty Box, where else can our customers meet and try your products?
If you are in New York, you can maybe bump into JC on the A train handing out samples. But the best way to check us out is through our page at thebestkind.etsy.com. We always send free samples with each order! We also appear at neighborhood pop-ups and are working hard to create partnerships with local stockists in Bed-Stuy.