By Patrice Smith
Abenaa Moore, a Johns Island native, is so proud of her Gullah Geechee heritage that she named her skin care company Naturally Geechee. “Naturally Geechee pays homage to who we are as a people and it says who I am,” says Moore whose product line was developed because of a medical condition she has.
“I was born with a lymphatic disorder and had to change my diet. I started eating more natural foods and checking food labels. Then I started checking the labels of everyday products I use and found that everything has a lot of chemicals that are harmful.” So 6 years ago, Moore, who has a degree in science with a focus on chemistry, decided to develop a natural hair and skin care line.
“I come from a long line of entrepreneurs so owning a business is in my blood. My father is one of the owners of Freeman Farms on Johns Island and I’m inspired by him daily.” Moore did extensive research and discovered that shea butter is great for a number of skin conditions. “I get it from a company that uses the women in Ghana to produce shea butter and the proceeds go to the village. There is a tree that yields a nut that is cultivated into shea butter. I use it as a base for a lot of my lotions.”
Her method of preparing the shea butter makes it creamy and fluffy. “Whipping it changes the consistency and the look of the shea butter and you can use less. I also include essential oils to give the products a nice scent. I make a black soap from plantain, cocoa and palm oil. My hair and body oil has sweet almond avocado oil. I infuse lavender, sage, rosemary and lemon sage essential oils so they smell nice and give customers a variety of scents to choose from.”
Moore’s product line includes two body scrubs, one made from whole rolled organic oats and another made from Ethiopian coffee beans. She says she really benefits from using her own products. “They took me away from grocery stores so I save money plus my products are healing. My skin is much more nourished and I don’t have cracked heels or rough elbows. Shea butter is good for blemishes and evens the skin tone. I have customers with eczema who say my shea butter lotion has stopped their itching.” Moore is always pleased to hear feedback on how well her Naturally Geechee products are working.
“I am currently home based, but in a few weeks I’m moving into a natural hair salon off Cosgrove Avenue where I’ll have an office and space to set up and make my products.”
Naturally Geechee products are priced from $3.00 to $20.00 and available in four and eight ounce containers.
Naturally Geechee is available at Gullah Roots at 4391 Dorchester Road in North Charleston, at Body Bronzing by Becca in Savannah and at the Black Dot in Atlanta, GA. Moore displays her products every Friday at the MUSC horseshoe on Ashley Avenue in downtown Charleston. Visit her online store at NaturallyGeechee.com or call (843) 471-4819 for more information on purchasing products.