By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
ONE local entrepreneur is harnessing all of her creativity, skill and passion to produce a line of customised skin care products that is as desirable as a Victoria Secret fragrance. One step at a time, she is confident about reaching her goals.
Aketa Smith, founder of the Spa Smitten line, spent years training in the field of international business and finance. The profession was simply out of step with her true calling.
Her true ambition was to one day own a spa that would sell products from her very own skin care line, Spa Smitten. In the near future, Aketa hopes to open a retail store for her products.
In an interview with Tribune Woman, Aketa spoke about her success, challenges and the drive behind her three year old business.
"I started making the products in February of 2009. I wanted to create a line of products that could be used for a spa operation. The response to Spa Smitten has been wonderful," said Aketa.
Talking about the evolution of her brand, Aketa said she encourages all Bahamian women to follow their dreams and strive to "work for yourself". While she agreed that this does not happen over night, she said you must allow yourself enough time to actually let your dreams come true, and the rest will flow.
"First you have to tell people about your ideas and what your goals are. You have to speak it and you have to know that it is going to be difficult. You have to anticipate the challenges so that when you are faced with them, you are not just going to give up. Putting out a product is one thing, but creating that business behind it takes time," said Aketa.
From body scrubs, body butters, and body oils to bubble bath, shower gels and body milks, Aketa's products come in a large variety of scents, shapes and sizes. All are hand made with natural ingredients. With the assistance of a kitchen blender and a grater, she said it is her customer's support and faithfulness that keeps her going.
Speaking about the raw materials and ingredients used to create the scents for her products, Aketa said she use mixtures of shea butter, mango butter, cocoa butter, almond butters, olive butter, oils-G rapeseed, avocado, jojoba, Bahamian sea salt, natural cane sugar and fragrance oils.
"I've had many sleepless nights preparing products for an upcoming event or trying to create that perfect aroma for someone. It takes a lot of dedication to the task. I'm creating products that people are putting on their skin, hair and body, so I have to make sure the products are of great quality and actually deliver healthy skin. I love the creation process and making customers feel awesome," said Aketa.
With a fan base of nearly 300 followers on the social network Facebook, Aketa's clients know how to show their love for her locally made products.
One client said: "I must say you're doing a great job. Still got some products left over from the gifts I received from my birthday last year but I will be checking you out for some salts soon. I see you added some new fragrances, nice."
Another stated: "I love my Spa Smitten products. The sensual essence shower gel and bubble bath is fabulous. A little goes a long way and it smells great. The peaceful paradise body oil is great as a body moisturizer but it's also an excellent massage oil. The scent is so relaxing you truly feel like you have been at a spa. It's a personal aromatherapy session with each use. I am so smitten, and the best thing is it's all natural and 100 percent Bahamian, thank you so much Aketa. This product line is long overdue."
According to Aketa, Spa Smitten is also used for various pamper parties in Nassau and it can also be found at Total Bliss Spa on Prince Charles drive.
"To me, it is important to have the Bahamian market. My main clientele are Bahamian woman and I know that no matter what is going on, I am going to have the support from the Bahamas. And it makes me feel good to know that they don't need the Victoria Secret or the international products. I know that I have a market I can always cater to," said Aketa.