By Ashley Benkarski
NASHVILLE, TN — B Natural is a local, family-owned and -operated health and beauty startup company created by Ralinda Brooks.
Brooks, along with her children Aaron, Ashley, and Ariana and husband, Anthony, are the faces behind B Natural, working together in every capacity of the operation.
Brooks, a chemist with over 25 years of product development and manufacturing experience, got the inspiration to start the business around 2010 after doing science projects with her children. “As consumers, they were under the [impression] that everything just came from a store,” Brooks said of her children. Taking that time taught her children to understand they could make something from scratch.
She began the process of creating a hair perfume that didn’t have chemicals and alcohol and that wouldn’t leave the hair feeling greasy or heavy. Eventually she stumbled upon the right ingredients at a natural market in Philadelphia and tried again.
Brooks tried it herself a few times, was satisfied and decided to tell family and friends, and eventually word of mouth testimonials began delivering a client base. She started taking the perfume to hair salons, trade shows and farmer’s markets and it sold easily, she said. It was then that Brooks knew she had something special.
This burgeoning business also gave Brooks’s children a crash course in economics and business. “From there … I have a product that I produced for my children, and my children actually were able to help me make it … and this is when I found out their skills early on … being able to actually sit down and organize the production of their own product,” she recalled.
Soon, she realized she had a product but not a company. When she decided to make the jump into entrepreneurship, Brooks said the help provided by her local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and other outlets was important to successfully navigating the complex realm of starting a small business.
Flash forward to 2019. B Natural finally gets incorporated, and shortly thereafter came the COVID-19 pandemic. “We had to look at where to go. On the front end, when you’re establishing a company … just as we thought we had figured it out … everything shut down.” Originally planning to sell her products to hotels and the like, Brooks’ brand-new company had to pivot as it got on its feet. “We had to really look at the feasibility of our product in the market, and that’s where we are today.”
Based in Nashville, the company specializes in all-natural body care products, each with five ingredients or less and currently offers four products for body care: Phumes, an all-over body spray; Grooms, a beard and body spray; Cool Ez, an after-sun body care product; and Fannie-San Ez, a personal hygiene PPE product that is natural, sustainable, gender-neutral, sanitary and portable option for hygiene that is gentle on skin and greatly reduces germs. Fannie-San Ez, which B Natural dubs as “a bidet in a bottle,” is one of two patents B Natural holds. A usage guide is featured at the company’s YouTube channel (https://youtu.be/aej0RJvkXOc).
You can find B Natural at bnaturalco.com.