Black Enterprise: URBAN HYDRATION FOUNDER PSYCHE TERRY IS USING HER BEAUTY EMPIRE TO BUILD WELLS IN KENYA
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" Former Whirlpool executive Psyche Terry used her entrepreneurial talent to start Urban Hydration, a skin and body care line that only uses fruit and plant-based, natural hand-picked ingredients in her products. Urban Hydration products are sold in over 7,500 retail locations across the country and with every product that is purchased, the beauty company donates a gallon of water to a community in need. As a result of Terry’s partnership with WATERisLIFE, they recently funded two wells in Kenya that helped provide 1,300 families’ access to clean water. Terry was also recently awarded a Retail Excellence Award by Drug Store News.
Black Enterprise spoke to Terry, who also owns Urban Intimates, a lingerie and apparel company that caters to plus size women, about her business endeavors.
How did you come up with the concept for your company, Urban Hydration?
Right about year 11 of working at Whirlpool, I was sitting as a board member for a nonprofit that needed help designing personal care items for a fundraiser. With that, my love for beauty was erected. A year later, I found myself pitching what I had later crafted into Urban Hydration to a mass retailer.
What makes your products innovative and how did you decide what goes into your products?
Our Urban Hydration products are trailblazers in natural oil, plant-based ingredient bath and body care at affordable prices. I was going for being fair with consumers and having more transparency in pricing and costs to produce products. I like to eat natural foods without GMOs or pesticides, and I want my skincare and haircare to be just as natural. We take a holistic approach to deciding what goes into our products by way of what issues [I] and my friends want to resolve. I quickly researched all the natural oils—recognizable and some not recognizable—that could help combat the problem. That’s how we decided on Aloe; I had a friend from church tell me to drink aloe juice and put it on my baby’s eczema. I bought a full gallon of it and decided later if it’s good enough for me to do all of that with it, it deserves to be in an Urban Hydration product.
How important is having clean water and what made you decide to donate toward that issue?
When I realized that kids in Kenya were not drinking water because their tank was stolen and that we could have a hand in making life easier for them, I was all in. I learned that months later, the kids were selling the water to the newly grown community and raised enough money to build two additional schools. The fact that Urban Hydration partners me with so many other people around the country and world to do good is simply brilliant.
What do you think is the most important aspect of entrepreneurship that helps you succeed with your endeavors?
When we realize our own personal giftings and use them for the betterment of ourselves and mankind, doors and windows seem to just open in our favor. I’d say additionally, women, when we get there—to that place we’ve been striving to get to when the door is finally opened—put your shoe in the door and hold it open for another woman.
Where can we purchase the products and what are the future plans to help expand your business?
We love growing into new categories and proving to our very own family that a natural ingredient-based brand can brush your teeth, deodorize your house and your feet, so who knows—the possibilities are endless. Urban Hydration products are available at select Target, Sally Beauty, Walmart, Macy’s, JCPenney, CVS, and HEB locations and online at www.urbanhydration.com.
What are some of the pitfalls you’ve overcome to get your product to the consumers?
I can remember having a customer require products before our co-packer could fill the order and having to open up a factory myself to fulfill the orders. I was 8 months pregnant. My then co-packer told me to just drop it, that I should just give up. I remember looking that guy in his face and saying “looking like me, being young, being black, and being female, I can’t afford to quit.” I demanded they give me all the names and numbers of who they would have made our product through and with one employee we found people from church and other friends and family to help us pull it off. It took us 6 weeks longer than we expected but we pulled it off. We shipped out all 75,000 units to Target and other customers the following week.
What goals are you aiming to achieve in the near future?
I’ve got a pretty lofty goal ahead of me. I want to do more in philanthropy. I want to have built 10 clean drinking water wells in Kenya by the end of 2020. "