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Antonin .B is a compact and minimalist line of salon quality hair products that everyone can use at home and that is created exclusively with 100% naturally sourced ingredients. Their formulas are a balance of traditions and modern green science in a very Caribbean mixing bowl.
What inspired you to start your business?
By the time I started working on Antonin .B as a project, I had been in the hair industry for a few years: first modeling, then working backstage and moving on to writing about the industry. The idea of Antonin .B came to me at a point in my life when I wanted to get some green back into my practices and incorporate nature in my everyday life (just like I was taught as a child in the Caribbean). But I made it a challenge. I wanted to create a brand that had professional grade formulas with 100% natural ingredients..
What were some roadblocks/issues that you have faced? How have you prevailed?
“Sometimes, customer information is a bit of a challenge because people are used to using products in a certain way. For instance, some people don’t want to believe that you only need 2 to 3 drops of our hair serum so they use more and feel it’s too heavy. It used to happen a lot at first. It took constant reminders and the help of other customers just like them who had used the product correctly and could attest that all you need is less.
As a small business producing in small batches, sourcing can be an issue. Working with ingredients that are a bit rarer in the beauty space and that are of higher quality leaves you vulnerable to price fluctuations: there are minimums to order and some suppliers will only work with high volumes; that means less choices and that also means much smaller profit because everything is more expensive.
Still on the topic of sourcing, going to trade shows as a youngish Black woman is not a plus. They’re a great place to find out about innovations or new suppliers but I’ve stopped going to those a few years ago because the atmosphere is not very welcoming. You can’t just go with your objective in mind. You have to take on an extra mental charge and develop strategies to be noticed or taken seriously. It’s exhausting to me (especially so because I’m an introvert).
I have decided to do sourcing from my desk, with my computer and my phone. I go through databases, search engines and proceed to make calls and send emails for product information, quotes and sample requests.”
What is one of your favourite products? Can you tell us more about this product?
Everyone’s favorite from Antonin .B is the Ceramides Enriched Desert Serum. It works on all hair types and all you need is a few drops: for shine, conditioning and stronger hair (without the potential crispiness of proteins).
What are your favourite ingredients and why?
In our latest styling products collection (Backstage Cocktail), I’ve formulated the products with rum from my island (Guadeloupe). Over there, women add a little bit of rum to their homemade shampoos or hair masks to add shine (and a delicious smell) to their hair.
Share your brand ethos and how you demonstrate credibility as it relates to your formulation and ingredients
When it comes to formulation, my standards are quite high:
– All ingredients must be naturally sourced;
– No GMOs are allowed;
– Whenever available, the ingredients must be certified organic. That means we have very high concentrations of organic ingredients in the formulas (from 68 to 88% depending on harvests); that’s much higher than Ecocert and COSMOS requirements;
– The end formula must be of professional quality: the products are actually used in the salon and I personally use them on set or backstage at fashion shows;
– And of course, the ingredients must be cruelty-free.
What are some myths in the clean/green beauty sector that should be debunked?
It’s important to remember that green beauty is also science. A formula that has been carefully designed is not the same as a product whipped up “real quick” in the kitchen. Both are valid but they’re not necessarily comparable. Synergies between ingredients have a role to play; sophistication in the texture of the formula is also a significant aspect. When we aim for higher quality, green science really is at the center of green beauty.
BONUS: If interested, add your own question and answer as you know yourself best. The spirit of this is to highlight you and your hard work – and how you and or your brand are incredibly unique.Tip: provide content that has more depth or emotions!
Where does your name come from and what does it mean to you?
The name is in honor of my family. The B stands for Bourguignon, an old family in Guadeloupe dating from the 1700s. Antonin was my great-grandma’s grand-father and he’s the reason the family name is still alive.
My family and my lineage are important to me. We have a rich history and a presence in the Caribbean since the beginning of the European colonization of Guadeloupe in the 1600s and much knowledge about plants and nature has been passed down from generation to generation. I like to honor that.
Thank you Kendy Bourguignon Sencée for sharing your powerful story behind Antonin .B Your dedication for creating top quality products that are kind to the earth and kind to people is absolutely inspiring!