Cari Phelps an award-winning designer and branding expert

Cari Phelps, an award-winning designer and branding expert

It all started with a dream.

Cari Phelps, an award-winning designer and branding expert based in Savannah, dreamed that she designed a package of bath salts for a client with an emphasis on environmental sustainability. When she woke up the next morning, she started doing research and decided to make her dream a reality. She soon learned that Tybee is the Euchee Indian word for salt. This history inspired Cari to develop this natural bath and body care line using the scents of regional botanicals and natural ingredients, including Atlantic sea salt, to create a unique line of bath and body care products.

Cari founded Salacia Salts in 2012, armed with a commitment to environmental conservation, natural beauty and holistic health. Under her leadership, Salacia Salts creates top-quality bath and beauty products using environmentally responsible ingredients and packaging.

So what makes Salacia different?

There are a lot of other players in the “environmentally responsible” space in skin care. I never really wanted to start a skincare business, but my passion for natural resources, desire for smoother skin with less breakouts and a knack for packaging lead me here.

Salacia started from a real dream. I’ve always been drawn to the ocean for it’s powerful healing properties. As a teen, I would go to the beach just to wash my face in the salt water because it would clear it up overnight!

I seek real, raw elements for my skincare and do not add chemicals because I know firsthand the powerful effects of natural ingredients. Since this business started from my love for the sea, the last thing we’ll do is to put contaminants or packaging back into the waste stream. So my connection with the ocean is the first unique component. Then you layer in the sustainability elements.

We founded the business with our signature upcycled bottle of salts. We packaged salt soaks in bottles we source from local suppliers. I like to encourage the motto of “reduce and reuse” instead of traditional recycling. Many things can’t be recycled and most “wish cycling” away their purchasing decisions.

That also means we have a goal of eliminating any plastics and encourage refilling the containers from past purchases within out business. We offered a replenishing beauty bar where many of our products could be purchased bulk and placed in any container you brought to our shop with the ability to purchase on site. However, another business owner who operated a mobile refillery is opening a brick and mortar, so now we work together. I provide her products and she offers ours as well as many others for a full offering.

So while we aren’t profiting from packaging, we’re keeping costs lower for consumers and reducing waste. I think that’s a unique combination for a business model.

We are always looking for new and unique ways to use everyday ingredients or crops from the region. We use grits as an exfoliator. We use pecan granules in our products to add oil to our formulas. Both of these food based products are beneficial to the skin but I’m not familiar with any beauty companies making anything with them. Why not? They are shelf stable, chemical free and naturally occurring.

Skincare Routine Challenges

I think a lot of women (and men as well), especially those with “sensitive skin” in all the

ways that skin can be sensitive are very wary of what they put on their face. The skin care journey can be frustrating and confusing; there’s a sea of beauty solutions in every category.

What we recommend is to understand what might cause your sensitive skin for starters. Maybe it’s too much makeup, chemicals in products or just too many products can cause issues for your skin?

Starting with a detox and removing products from your routine is the best way to start. If you see your skin continues to have issues with redness, acne, dry spots, or the like, seek products that are naturally derived to help with those issues.

Salacia Salts Skincare Solutions

We created a skin care line that uses fruit enzymes, oils from nuts and seeds, and nutrient rich seaweed that is loaded with vitamins and minerals that attract moisture to the skin. All plant based. We call it VibranSea. More vibrant skin from sea sourced ingredients.

When your skin gets the nutrients it needs, it stimulates the skin to improve texture and its appearance since your skin is getting what it needs for new cell growth.

Your skin is living and breathing so just like a plant, you can’t keep adding chemicals and think it’ll prosper. It needs nutrients.

Challenges in Business

Building a brand around your passion is key.

The biggest challenge for a small brand without lofty Fortune 500 goals has always been exposure. Getting in front of buyers and retailers. There has been a major shift in the past two years of how we are reaching new audiences and we’ve seen so much growth thanks to innovative wholesale and retail platforms. In terms of advice, building a brand around your passion is key. Follow that drive and interest to create a compelling and bold story that shares the WHY. Why are you doing this? What motivates you? You’ll attract like minded people who support and love what you do as much as you do. Be niche. Create something like no one else has so it is uniquely yours. No other brand can own something you’ve concocted from within.

Opportunities in the Skincare Industry

Clean beauty is a booming industry. Blue and green beauty products are on the rise and Savannah has identified as the nucleus of the movement. 

We have been fortunate enough to land into this niche naturally about 10 years ago. Alongside a few other Savannah-based brands, we seem to have created a sector of the industry right here in our historic town of Savannah. In 2020, Vogue Magazine even named Savannah the Green Beauty Capital of the US. Incredible to have beem included among several other innovative skincare business that focus on clean beauty as the bottom line; we’re all in this together!

Barbara is a freelance writer and a sex and relationships adviser at Dimepiece LA and Peaches and Screams. Barbara is involved in various educational initiatives aimed at making sex advice more accessible to everyone and breaking stigmas around sex across various cultural communities. In her spare time, Barbara enjoys trawling through vintage markets in Brick Lane, exploring new places, painting and reading.

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