This entrepreneur's personal struggles with skincare were the foundation for a business that caters to dark skin.
Kelley Walker’s nephew introduced her to Chia seeds, a superfood he used to sustain himself during a busy law school schedule. When Walker looked up the benefits of Chia, she had an epiphany. In late 2010, she established Chia Derm+, a line of anti-aging skincare products derived from the miracle seed. Walker spoke to us from her home in sunny Texas about her passion for all things Chia and aging gracefully.
We know Chia seeds are good for your body, but why are they good for your skin?
I can’t find something you can’t use it for. It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal. It improves redness. The ancient uses [of Chia seeds] were for scarring and for cuts and burns. [When] I discovered it nutritionally four years ago, I looked at the nutritional ingredients and I read all about the omega 3s and the antioxidants, and I thought ‘This is all stuff for anti-aging.” It just clicked.
When it comes to skincare, what do you personally want from your products?
I’m in my fifties and I want to maintain. I want to be smart, I want to demand quality, but, you know what, I also want to see a visible difference. And if I can’t eat it, why would I want to put it on my skin?
When you go to the spa, what different expectations of the products they use on your skin?
Now that I’m more educated, I expect more and I’ll ask for more, and I’ll say “Don’t use that on my skin.” With the chemist [who helped formulate the Chia Derm+ products] I said “I want no controversial ingredients.” I don’t want chemical preservatives for those people who, like me, that want natural. Prior to this journey of mine, I think I succumbed to what everybody else does: “Oh, does it smell good? Does it feel good?” Well now I know better. I know that if it smells good, it’s probably something fake and processed.
What’s your advice to those looking to get into the skincare business?
One thing at a time, go slow, and have quality control. Growing too fast can kill you. You lose quality and you don’t have a hand in it. And you have to be prepared for the best that could happen and you also have to be prepared for the worst, and everything in between.
Where do you see the skincare industry going in the future?
I believe that you will see a lot more product lines like [Chia Derm+] for men and women. The growth projections for [products with] ingredients like Chia is phenomenal. We are health conscious and our lifestyles are that way, so why wouldn’t we want to do that for our skin and hair? They go together, for me, and I think that’s the trend