Puff Apothecary Owner, Bethany Ramsey Shares How She Launched a Growing Natural Hair & Beauty Business in the Midwest
If you’re like us then you probably have become a (PJ) product junkie, which means that you have spent a lot of money sampling different products. As women we take pride in the way our hair and skin looks and feels. With so many products out there it becomes cumbersome to find the best products for textured ethnic hair like ours. There either isn’t enough products to select from or there is too many and it’s very difficult to know which ones will actually work best. Well ladies you’re in luck, Puff Apothecary removes the guesswork, by providing a one-stop shop for all your natural hair needs.
What we liked most about Puff Apothecary is that you not only fall in love with the products but you enjoy the atmosphere the moment you step inside the boutique. The owner, Bethany Ramsey, has created a space that empowers women. She makes you feel like a friend, someone who wants the best for you; instead of someone just trying to sell you something. We think that makes all the difference.
To learn what it takes to launch a beauty business in the midwest, the impact it has on the black community, and tips for aspiring entrepreneurs - keep reading.
All About Puff Apothecary & The Owner Bethany Ramsey
Puff Apothecary sells salon quality products with natural ingredients like argan oil, jojoba oil, honey, mango butter, shea butter, coconut oil and more. All products are sourced from African American businesses. Some of the best-selling products include Puff Fluff (shea butter essential oils for body & hair), Room Mist Spray, Mini Soy Candles, and Head Wraps.
Puff opened in April 2017, in downtown Dayton, Ohio; and the owner has over 10 years of natural hair care experience. Bethany, the owner, thought the location was ideal because there wasn’t anything similar to Puff downtown. To build clientele and get the name out there, she started hosting hair happy hour in the shop. Bethany believes in collaboration and community building. She often times will partner and collaborate with other businesses. A few examples are the Small Business Saturday event hosted by LaKeisha Nicole, owner of Ambition Magazine, and well as other businesses, such as Brim on fifth , CrownMe Coil Care, YLS Fitness and Exercise Coaching and many others.
Bethany’s inspiration and determination come from many sources. She tells us, “My daughter is my biggest inspiration. My husband is my biggest supporter. He has such high expectations for me. He believes in me and I’m fortunate to have him. With him, it’s more real and I’m more accountable. And my mom’s style and essence are all throughout the shop, from the black and white decor to the intimate heartfelt feeling you experience when you walk in the door.”
Bethany is a creative and witty woman, she says, “I’m so inspired by local articles, pop-up shops, textile designers.” She feels so grateful every time someone walks into her shop.
The Impact of Women-Owned Businesses in the Black Community
Black women have long been community leaders and are now moving from being the emotional backbone of the country to becoming a greater economic force. In a recent report, black women are the fast-growing group of entrepreneurs. By starting their own companies, African American women are reinvesting money back into the community by creating jobs, providing much-needed services and products, and serving as role models of business success.
Bethany understands the struggles of black women, as well as their power. She says, “Black women always have to be ‘on’ and strong and hold things inside and keep everything together. I think we have to do better about speaking our truth, talking about our problems, and supporting one another. I’m creating that place with this space.”
The Keys to Building a Long-Lasting Business
Incredible things happen when women support each other, and Bethany agrees. She regularly partners with local entrepreneurs to empower and collaborate with them. This helps her business further establish a brand presence. Puff is always hosting networking opportunities for women in the area.
Bethany stays competitive by focusing on customer experience. At Puff Apothecary, you get to talk one-on-one with someone that has used every product. She explains, “I do miss going to the hair salon, because that’s where black women gather and connect. I wanted to create a space that helps women feel recharged, refreshed, connected, educated and happy - that their are products here just for them.”
She goes on to say, “When customers come into my shop they feel stronger and more empowered. I am also a consultant, helping women to discover the beauty in their hair. Customers need a full understanding from start to finish of what to do with their natural hair. I’ve been natural for over 10 years. I tell women it doesn’t start with finding your curl pattern, it starts with understanding what type of hair you have and how to treat that hair. I talk with my customers and really get to know them. I’m creating a positive, happy place for them to talk and just be themselves - even if the discussion topics are tough.”
Instagram has been her primary online marketing tool. She explains “I love using Instagram for my business. I’ve been able to collaborate, and capture the essence of the brand. I’ve had people even out of state contact me about my products and are so excited to try new things. My advice for other businesses using Instagram, would be to do you. Focus on creating moments.”
Advice to Other Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Bethany encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to start with the basics. She explains,“My advice to other entrepreneurs, is first start with a creating a business plan and be intentional in all you do. Find out what is the core business, and do that very well. Once you understand your core, make that your foundation - so that when you’re making decisions you can ask yourself, does this fulfill my mission? If it doesn’t, then leave it alone. I recommend a bullet journal to write down your goals. And remember - everything doesn’t have to have a space. You can be online and grow your business that way too."
The Future of Puff Apothecary
One word describes the future of Puff Apothecary, and that is EXPANSION. “I see myself having more locations in the Midwest. That is something we are lacking in this area. There are lots of natural hair businesses on the coasts and in the south but not so much in the Midwest. I want to be known for natural hair in every location I open a store. And each store will have an essence or a sense of that city. I want my customers to have a certain type of experience,” says Bethany.
“In cities like Dayton, small businesses can dominate the market. I love Dayton, it’s growing. I want to push more events towards women empowerment - and leave each event with an action plan.”