November 28, 2019, marks the birth of the Healing Body Shop. Carefully handcrafted and made with holistic tendencies, creator Lounda Charelus was inspired by traditional Haitian herbs used by her parents and grandparents to rectify skin and health issues. With beginnings in her small, collegiate scholarship house shared with other peers, the root of this company's foundation is her story and the people she first shared it with.
"I always say I was chosen to become an entrepreneur. When I first created products in 2018 for myself, I did not think this would come out of it. I was set on having healthy skin again after dealing with acne, discoloration, and hyperpigmentation. My process spoke for itself, and people became intrigued. I found myself sharing my story and making products for others ever since." Lounda recounts.
The Healing Body Shop's name exudes its mission by selling a range of ethically sourced products, from body butter moisturizers to potent herbarized teas. The shop empowers people to embrace their inner beauty and self through holistic body care, hailing from mother nature's natural, healing properties.
"My company started as a hobby, as a way to learn how to heal myself inside and out, and then it became something bigger than me. It provided me with a platform to share my knowledge of herbs and culture. In 2020 when the pandemic hit, I thought about closing my shop, but my lovely mother and mentor became terminally ill. She could not use store-bought toiletries, so she became dependent on my products. I created natural soaps that were free from chemicals and paraben. There was now a need greater than my desire to give up. I make products for the person hiding in their own body, the invisible person, the person that became a mother and did not think that they could glow again." she shares.
Lounda grew up in the garden watching her mother--also an herbalist--prepare natural ingredients and curate remedies for conditions like headaches and cramps. "Under my mother's expertise, I learned about exotic fruits and herbs to create safe and effective products for people with sensitive skin, psoriasis, eczema, hyperpigmentation, and acne. Before I became a businesswoman, I was an herbalist and student. Within two and half years, I have created face oils, face wash, body wash, soaps, teas, lip balms, and more! Not only do we offer effective products using garden herbs, but we offer variety." Lounda explains.
Lounda tells Haitians Who Blog that the best part of running the Healing Body Shop is spreading the knowledge she has accumulated as an herbalist, and in five years, she sees her business expanding. Born and raised in Port au Prince, giving back to the country whose natural resources have played a prominent role in her business is a goal Lounda holds close to her heart. "My vision for the Healing Body Shop in five years is to be out of the kitchen and into a permanent location. I would love to have a farm in Haiti to give back to my roots and provide jobs to Haitians in Haiti. It's not only about taking from my country, but also giving back where I can." she envisions.
To aspiring entrepreneurs, Lounda gives the following advice: "As a creative and entrepreneur, there is always something you are learning and unlearning. Keep practicing your craft and remember that you don't have to be perfect to start."