Today we’d like to introduce you to Gwendolyn Chambers.
Hi Gwendolyn, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I began making whipped shea butter just over 15 years ago when I decided to stop chemically processing my hair. There were not as many options for natural haircare back then and I learned about shea butter from message boards. Over the years, my technique and recipe improved and I began to use it on my skin as well. It was never meant to be a business.
Each fall, I would make myself a large batch to last through the winter. In the fall of 2014, I shared a photo on Facebook and I got a lot of comments from friends saying they would be willing to buy it. I laughed it off that first time, but the same thing happened the following year. That time I said “gimme a week to figure it out.” I spent the week looking into vessels, figuring out what to charge and sourcing ingredients. I’ve been growing ever since.
The company name, Dope Life Essentials, comes from my Make A Dope Life philosophy. So often, we put our happiness in the hands of others. I have come to understand that whatever my life is going to be is completely up to me. I always say, “Life is what you make it. Why not make it dope?!” My products are an essential to your outer beauty that complements your inner beauty.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Is any road ever completely smooth?! Not always smooth but absolutely worth it.
I had never seen anyone in my family start a business. I had one close friend that was an entrepreneur in a totally different industry. I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I was afraid of failing or that people wouldn’t like what I was making. Fear was what made me laugh things off the first time I was told people were interested in buying my products. I was clueless about everything from what it would cost to start the business to what kind of containers I needed. For my personal use, I was using a hand mixer and storing my batches in Tupperware. I started printing my own labels and using glass jars I purchased at Michael’s. I took a class for women interested in starting a business and that helped although I was starting a completely different business at the time (birth photography).
My job was also very busy and there were times I stepped away from being consistent with the business to focus on my full-time job. It took a couple of years to find a balance that worked for me. I’ve come a long way!
We’ve been impressed with Dope Life Essentials, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Dope Life Essentials is a lifestyle brand that supports your pursuit of the life you desire. We do that through personal care items including body butters and oils, soaps, and bath salts and candles. We also sell some accessories and will be adding apparel soon. I love personal touches. One thing that sets me apart is the handwritten thank you note that I include in new orders.
In September, I will be relaunching my website www.makeadopelife.com and my podcast, The Dope Life Podcast. Both encourage and support you in your journey toward the dopest life of your choosing. I recently earned my certification as a Personal Development Coach. I’m a communicator by nature and profession. I love to encourage people to go after what they want and need. That is what I am most known for and proud of.
Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
That’s a really good question. I’m not sure. Maybe how much I LOVE big hugs. I prefer them to the air kiss and side hugs people politely give to one another. My dream is to produce documentaries and that I’ve been writing since high school. I’m working on my first book and have been sitting on ideas for a few series.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.dopelifeessentials.com
- Instagram: dopelifeessentials
- Facebook: dopelifeessentials
- Other: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-dope-life-podcast/id1492654381
Solomon Ade Photography and Gwendolyn Chambers