There’s a light that follows Taina Parker.
Reflected vividly in her optimism, the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of TENDER Organics says her light comes from simply being a fighter.
“I’ve been through so much, losing my father at three years old. I grew up in the Bronx and I’ve seen so many people give up on themselves, their dreams, their families and they have this deep rooted sadness that they can’t shake. I try to be the light because there’s so much sadness in this world.”
A self-proclaimed Do-It-Yourself beauty junkie, Taina credits her love for creating natural products to her upbringing. An advocate for saving money by doing things ‘the old school way’ , Taina says she would often create homemade facial scrubs and hair conditioners. Unbeknownst to her, Taina’s creative talent would soon make way for an all natural skincare line inspired by the women in her life, her culture and her community.
“I met my husband 7 years ago and he had very weird skin. My husband is chocolate and beautiful with a gorgeous complexion and out of nowhere he started to get [breakouts] and we didn’t know what was going on. So I started paying attention to what he was putting on his skin and he was using Suave Men’s body wash, I was surprised he even had skin! So we threw it away and I was like no, I’m going to make soap and you’re only going to use my stuff. I’m going to experiment on you until I figure out the perfect recipe.”
Out of a necessary yet pure act-of-love experiment, Taina says the flame to her purpose was ignited. With love in one hand and creativity in another, Taina would then launch TENDER Organics.
“My first soap was my oatmeal, milk and honey one. The first bar I’ve ever made and it’s the number one seller because of its raw oats! It’s an exfoliating bar. I wanted to make a comforting bar.”
For Taina, creating products hasn’t always been a walk-in-the-park.
“It really is a perfect science. I’ve made batches where I changed one measurement and the whole thing was a bust!”
TENDER Organics has expanded since its claim-to-fame, winning bar of oatmeal, milk and honey. Now, with an array of body butters and a soon to launch baby product line (TENDERbaby), Taina says if she doesn’t love it, the consumer will not see it.
“I make products that I love. If I don’t love it, you won’t see it. [For example] A lot of people ask for lavender, but I feel like everybody and their mother does lavender. I may do it when we release our baby line which is coming soon, TENDERbaby.”
With one year under her belt, Taina candidly admits that the biggest challenge of having her own business has been: learning the business.
“Knowing what you’re doing is the biggest challenge. I had no idea what I was doing. My husband studied business in college and I knew that I needed his help. I’m the creative. I just wanted to be the innovator, I didn’t want to be the one with the calculator and pen. So luckily my husband has helped me but that’s the number one thing: learning the business. Having a business when you don’t know how to run one.”
Since the launch of TENDER Organics, Taina says she’s greatly appreciated the support of her peers.
“[My friend] Chaz Green is the owner of Trill Tea . One of the main things he told me, which sounds cliché is ‘don’t listen to the naysayers and haters’ because they are everywhere! Whenever you want to take that leap, that’s when they come out. When you’re a minority woman in business, you already have so much against you and that was the best advice I’ve been given.”
While fond of the support of her peers, Taina says it’s the reviews from her customers that directly inspire her to keep going. A supporter of many businesses, Taina admits to at times, ignoring the power found within what many entrepreneurs dread: product reviews.
“Lately, we’ve received so many reviews from people about how much the products have helped their skin and how they’ve had surgery and nothing was helping with scaring. Lately, we’ve been getting a lot of that and its like God giving us the push that we need. We have our tough days! [The reviews] have been making me proud to know that not only are we making cute stuff that smells nice but stuff that’s helping people. This is bigger than the business, this is my purpose.”
As a new entrepreneur, Taina says her story is still unfolding, adding that sometimes life gets the best of her passion. However, whenever the creative is feeling discouraged, she draws motivation from that inner light that follows her so evidently.
“The thing that makes me the most proud aside from my business is my optimism.”
Be sure to connect with Taina L. Parker for all of your natural skin product needs!