Mother & entrepreneur Sheree Fletcher debuted her new organic beauty line Whoop Ash last night at the GEORGIA Salon in New York’s Lower East Side. [CLIQUE for event photos] Making its first bricks & mortar retail debut, the budding beauty brand was originally launched exclusively online at WhoopAsh.com. Now loyal customers and new interests can find Whoop Ash products lining the shelves at the downtown NY salon and more locations on the horizon. UPTOWN sat down with the founder (and ex-wife to Will Smith) to talk about the inspiration behind Whoop Ash, her decision to start a beauty business and future plans for the company…
Is this your first entrepreneurial venture?
No, it’s not. I’m actually from New York and I went to school at FIT in Manhattan for fashion design. So when my son was 3 years old, I started a business with a partner. And I realized it was like having two babies. You know a new business is just like a baby; it’s so much work. So I had to make a choice, and of course I chose [Trey]. I said you know what, “I’ll have my career later” and here I am. He’s 18 years old, so now is “later”.
What was the inspiration behind the name?
Well I can’t take credit for the name, really. Because I named the product, I was already done with the naming phase of the process and “Whoop Ash” just literally dropped into my spirit. So I think it was God-given. And then once the name came, of course the direction for the packaging was just on the heels of that.
Have you always been passionate about beauty products?
No [laughs]. I’ve always been passionate about taking care of myself, but this is something that really kind of evolved. I read a book The Secret Life of Bees, way before the film came out. And I liked to cook so I started researching some honey recipes, and spa recipes kept coming up. And I just started to order ingredients in bulk and I played around and the rest is history.
It whoops ash! It’s an amazing product, really it is. It’s 99.9% organic – we take a natural approach. There’s 31% organic shea butter in all the products, in the lip balm, the whipped and the original.It’s mild and lightly fragranced. It’s a family product so men can wear it. They’re not intimidated by the fragrance because it’s not floral or heavily perfumed. You can put this on your babies, it’s very mild. It’s paraben-free, preservative- free. It just has a ton of integrity.
Do you have plans to reach other retail outlets?
I absolutely do. We have an online presence and following at WhoopAsh.com. We have alot of faithful customers but they always ask, “When are you putting it [here]” and they send me messages with cities and locations where we should sell. So we definitely have plans to make it more accessible to the customer because when you order it online, you have to pay for shipping which is an added expense. And some people need to touch it, and want to smell it and see it.
What about plans for brand expansion?
Absolutely. There’s so many different directions we can go in. I definitely would like to maximize body butters you know, we’ve got a great base so we’ve got a great start. I want to add different ingredients to it, maybe different fragrances. And do much more with that.