Georgia Woman Launches Shay Butter Body Shop During COVID Lockdown

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of stories featuring artisans and makers from the Augusta region. If you or someone you know makes and sells quality products, please email us with contact information for the person and details about the product. You can email [email protected]

When Shakailah Heard started Shay Butter Body Shop, she said she had no idea how much she would fall in love with the small business owner.

The Evans wife, 25, started selling handmade body butters and body oils on online marketplace Etsy during the COVID-19 pandemic. She makes all of her products in her own kitchen and is the only employee.

Growing business: Downtown Augusta small business incubator on the fast track with $2.35 million in federal funding

Internet search: Plus size clothing store shut down by COVID finds new life online

“During the pandemic, everyone was trying to be a business owner, but a lot of people I’ve seen on social media were doing eyelashes or lip gloss because everyone was doing it,” Heard said. “I came across someone who was making whipped cream and I was like, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen that before. That is so cool.'”

Learn as you go

Heard began researching how to make the products and deciding what ingredients to use. She said deciding on fragrances was difficult during the pandemic because she had to order them online and couldn’t smell them right away.

Making the product in the jar was “trial and error” and took about three months, Heard said. However, due to her background, she said she is most obsessed with packaging and marketing.

Heard has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in strategic communications. She previously worked as an education reporter for The Aiken Standard and now works as a marketing and communications specialist for Aiken Technical College.

“When I started, my parents and some other family members said to me, ‘Oh, just make the butter. Who cares what the glass looks like,'” she said. “I want it to be packaged a certain way. I want my labels from a specific location, my jars from a specific location. I want a specific look.

“Your name is on what you sell and if you want things to be done a certain way in your business, even if it takes longer, just do it that way.”


Video: Shay Butter Body Shop makes cosmetics in Augusta

Shay Butter Body Shop owner Shakailah Heard talks about her Etsy business, which sells lotions and other cosmetics.

Katie Goodale, Augusta Chronicle

Promoting products is important for any small business owner, but Heard said she can be a perfectionist when it comes to making sure her marketing campaigns are flawless.

“Sometimes I just sit and work on Instagram posts and I don’t even realize it’s been three hours,” she said. “I’m a bit of an overthinker, but I’m working on it.”

growth of the company

What sets Heard’s products apart from those sold in retail stores are the ingredients. While most mass-produced products have many ingredients, she uses few, which she says appeals to customers.

“I think my biggest order was probably five butters at a time,” she said. “I said, ‘Oh my God,’ because the way I make my butter makes a little bit of a difference. So I was really shocked when she ordered five at once, but I think she really liked that mango scent and wanted it to last. When someone says they really liked my product, it just makes me happy.”

Heard said she would like to build a larger base in Augusta as most of her business is currently online.

“A lot of my support comes from family, friends or friends of friends,” she said. “I want to build more customer base here.”

Preparation for the holidays

Because Heard’s products are great stocking fillers, she said she needs to dedicate a few full days to preparing for Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday.

“You have to melt the butter and put it in the fridge to harden, whip it, sometimes put it back in the fridge, take it out again and beat it again. It’s kind of an all-day process,” she said. “I’ve replenished my products and will be making more products this weekend.”

Heard plans to run a 50% off sale for Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday, which she hopes will attract new customers.

Her business can be found on Etsy or on Instagram @shaybutterbodyshop.