By Brenda Alexander
Many successful businesses begin by chance and for IrieScents owners Yolanda Washington and Samyra Lyles, their journey was no different.
Both lost their jobs and sought career changes that landed them in the same massage therapy school in Atlanta. After meeting and finding out they both hailed from Baltimore, they clicked, and later discovered they were actually blood cousins! Through an assignment to create a dual purpose massage product, they discovered the benefits of soy candles, along with a mutual love of skincare, and began to explore a product line together. Eventually, IrieScents was born.
I spoke to both Yolanda and Samyra on the benefits of their products and how it even helped when both battled cancer! From our chat and after testing the products myself, IrieScents is definitely here to stay.
IrieScents Owners Samyra and Yolanda (left to right)
How did you come up with the name?
Yolanda: Irie is a Jamaican term that means good feeling and good vibrations. When on vacation in the islands, you feel amazing, which is how we want our customers to feel when they use our products. We put the best intentions into our products when creating them, I even pray that whoever uses them are given the best that life offers.
What’s IrieScents offering currently and the product benefits?
Yolanda: Our whipped body butters can be used on your full body for external moisture and depending on hair texture works great for natural hair styles, like twist outs. The brown sugar scrubs exfoliate the skin and we encourage clients to use while in the shower to make skin silky soft and smooth. We recommend you take our foot scrubs to your pedicurist versus using what they have at the salon because it lasts longer. Soy candles are dual purpose to scent a room and used on skin during a massage on areas prone to crack such as the hands, elbows and feet. Our wax melts have the same effect but can be put on oil burners and candle warmers. A couple of clients use them in their car for scents – when the sun hits them, they melt.
What ingredients are in your products?
Samyra: It varies by product. For our eczema butter, we use neem oil heavily. Both of our daughters eczema flare ups stopped with our products. For others, we use nut butter, almond, avocado, vitamin e, etc. We also stress that a balanced diet is taken because certain foods affect the skin differently. The idea of “you are what you eat” is 100% true. You have to work the skin from the inside out.
What are some outcomes you’ve seen?
Samyra: The greatest benefit is the decrease in dry and flaky skin. As people of color, our skin is more prone to that, specifically in the winter because we may not drink as much water as there is not much heat. We’ve also seen tremendous outcomes when dealing with severe skin disorders.
Could you share those testimonials?
Yolanda: My father was terminally ill and diagnosed with dementia which left him bedridden. As his caregiver, I used our butters after bathing him to prevent bed sores. His nurse was amazed at how even as his skin aged and began to break down, it remained soft. I was devastated after I put him in a VA hospital for 6 days when I traveled to Baltimore for a family visit. He came back with one bed sore after all the work I’d done to avoid that. Luckily, we cleaned it up in no time. His nurse began to use it on other patients of hers after realizing the healing effects it had on my dad.
Samyra: I was diagnosed with skin cancer during massage therapy school, which isn’t a common type of cancer within or community. The cancer was within the layers of skin and not the topical layer. Doctors had very little answers for my case. Radiation burned my skin, it was multiple layers darker. I was given a topical cream but opted out of using it because my skin was already vulnerable. I used our body butters instead and changed my diet. My color came back completely and my doctor was amazed. He attributed it to the cream and was shocked when I told him it was our products. My doctor said that my skin looked better than any other patient post follow up.
Yolanda: I went through breast cancer 3 years after Samyra’s diagnosis. I learned from her experience to not even try the topical creams given by the doctor during treatment and to use our products instead. As a result, my skin remained in tact as well.
|IrieScents Body Scrubs|
That’s phenomenal that your products worked that well!Samyra: We complicate things so much. Sometimes keeping it simple with natural remedies work.
How are you looking to expand?
Yolanda: We are working on perfecting the scents for our essential oil candles, they will be released within 60 days. Also in production are beard oils and beard balms for men and soaps. You can purchase IrieScents online.
is a Philadelphia native with a love for Marketing, Creative writing,
wine and Jesus. Her work has been featured on Mayvenn’s Real Beautiful
blog and she is the co-author of the book Christmas 364: Be Merry and
Bright Beyond Christmas Night (available for purchase on amazon). Follow her on IG @trulybrenda_ and trulybrenda.wordpress.com