Skincare by Feleciai – The Art of Bathing
(Scroll to the bottom for a video of Feleciai displaying her products!)
Feleciai Favroth was always destined to be an entrepreneur. Many members of her family including her mother Pearl and sisters, Daphne and Cheryl have followed a path to owning their own businesses. Her mother always loved providing quality housing and purchased rental properties while still working for Lockheed Missile & Space on their assembly line. Daphne, Board Certified in pediatrics and internal medicine opened a successful practice several years ago while Cheryl is an aspiring stand-up comedienne and promoter.
Prior to launching Skincare by Feleciai in 2008 she had a varied professional past life. Upon graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1993 she spent 4+ years in corporate America doing brand management and promotions. Never feeling fulfilled because she was not following her passion for beauty she left New York where she was living at the time working for Brown Foreman Beverages and went to the Vidal Sassoon Hair Academy in Santa Monica to study cosmetology. Though being a Hair Stylist was vastly different than brand management she thoroughly enjoyed her new lifestyle and profession. Returning to the San Francisco Bay Area upon graduation she joined the salon Architect & Heroes as a hair stylist in training.
At the time, real estate – especially in California – was heating up. Though she loved being a stylist, she came from a family that had operated rental properties since 1973 and the call to get involved in the housing industry was too strong to ignore. She left the hair industry in 2002 and became a Real Estate Broker. Working for Coldwell Banker and then finally opening her own company Next Level Real Estate Company in 2004 she worked as a Broker helping families purchase homes in the Bay Area. Even though helping individuals realize the American Dream, she always had a passion for beauty. Turning 40, she knew if she did not follow her passion for beauty now, she may never do so, and so she began the journey of developing the right opportunity for her.
She started her journey at Women’s Initiative for Self-Employment with the idea of opening a beauty salon. Four women in her class had the exact same idea, so she decided to continue looking for an opportunity where she could really differentiate herself. In 2006, she took the 14-week Business Planning Class with Paul Terry at the Renaissance Center for Entrepreneurship. At that time she planned to start an image consulting business, and even won their business plan contest with that idea. As she began the process of building an image consulting business, she found it did not fully fulfill her passion.
In 2007, she realized that making products that help people look and feel their best was what she wanted to build her business upon. Also, she realized that offering a product would allow her to follow her dream of celebrating diversity in beauty by offering products that work on many types of skin. She took classes on how to make natural bath and body products at The Nova Studios, a place that draws people from all over the world, because she wanted to learn from the best. Over the next few years, she took classes on essential oils, soap making, skin cream making, etc.; she took almost every class the studio offered.
During this time she still continued to work as a Real Estate Broker. As she made more and more soaps, lotions, scrubs and other products, she spent more time doing that and less time selling houses. In December 2010, the time came to renew her broker license; she decided it was time to leave the real estate market behind. It took her three years to get to the point where she could follow her dream full-time.
In August 2010, when the soap business became more serious, she decided to reboot professionally and immerse herself in the soap and entrepreneurship world. She was approached by the founder of Centro Community Partners Arturo Noriega. She didn’t need the basics, but was looking for a professional support network that knew her only as a beauty products entrepreneur. She told Arturo, “I have completed a lot of classes and already have my degrees. I am looking for an effective support system that is not going to waste time rehashing the basics of business. I don’t have a lot of time to waste.”
She took Centro’s business planning class in August 2010, pushing her to focus on her professional development and creating a fundable business plan with sound financial projections. In April 2011 she received a $7,500 loan from the Oakland Business Development Center at 7% interest and a 3-year repayment. Taking the class was a requirement to getting the micro loan. Centro now works with various alternative lenders, including Kiva, which recently launched a new program called Kiva Zip. Earlier this year, as she was looking to further grow her business, Centro endorsed Feleciai on Kiva Zip for a one-year interest-free loan. She still consults with Arturo and his business partner Naldo Peliks on a regular basis for professional and personal support.
Business has been really good for Skincare by Feleciai. From 2010-2011, her business tripled; from 2011-2012, it is on plan to at least double. If everything goes as planned her business should be profitable by the end of 2012. In 2013 she plans to continue growing her business by focusing on social media, Internet sales and, most importantly, growing the number of wholesale clients. To support this growth she is looking for a bigger space for production, to host potential buyers and retail products. She’s physically maxed out her production studio at HIVE, an artists’ collective in Oakland. The plan is also to hire at least one part-timer to assist with production and marketing.
Feleciai is extremely happy now that she is able to follow her dream of celebrating diversity in beauty and making the world a better place one “soft skin” at a time.