We had the good fortune of connecting with Keneisha Malone and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Keneisha, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I started ziya soul after I noticed hair breakage when I removed a set of braids I was wearing. I wanted to figure out a way get my hair to a healthier state and prevent the breakage from happening again. After doing a lot of research, I became super interested in skin care recipes, and my small business started from there. I realized there were many clean beauty brands, but there weren’t a lot created by black women. I may have made one hair care product at the time, but I was much more interested in skin and making cruelty free skin products with simple, and aesthetically pleasing packaging.

I also co-own a small nursery + maker market in Memphis called Terra Cotta. That began as ziya soul grew. I was finding it difficult to expand my small business and to find stores willing to carry my products. A friend of mine, Meghan Paige, and I teamed up and decided to created a place where makers could easily have access to shelf space.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I make vegan skin care products with packaging that brings light to racial inequity. I started ziya soul in 2018 after experiencing hair breakage. After researching and developing a few products, my brand became more skin focused. I shifted my brand towards plant based self care, and using my products to bring awareness to social injustice. I started including statistics related to mass incarceration on my packaging and developing apparel designs that also touch on racial inequity. 13% of ziya soul apparel sales are donated to bail funds, representing the the African American percentage of the population.

It’s been a long, super informational road. I make my own formulas, design my packaging, and take my own photos. I enjoy having creative control over my brand. I think the hardest thing was staying encouraged in the beginning. Even when sales aren’t where you want them to be, you have to stay mindful of your brand’s purpose.

I’ve learned that what your ideas become isn’t necessarily what you initially imagine, and that’s okay. I’ve also learned that failure should be embraced – it most often leads to new opportunity.

I’d love for the world to know that social justice is a form of self care, and we all have the capacity to work to change injustice.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I definitely want to visit the Dallas Museum of Art. I love art and art galleries. I’d also make sure to go to Bruchaholics in Dallas.

Website: www.ziyasoul.com

Instagram: @ziyasoulco

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ziyasoulco

Image Credits
Emily Holmes

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