Zuri Handmade to Open First Shop in OTR

Posted on October 21, 2014 by jrudemiller

New Shop to Sell 100% Handmade, All-Natural Beauty Products

CINCINNATI (Tuesday, October 21, 2014) – When Zuri Handmade opens the doors of its first retail shop this Saturday, October 25, 11 a.m., at 1419 Vine Street, it will be the culmination of a nearly 10-year journey for owner Lauren Davis.

Following a path similar to that of many entrepreneurs, Davis had a personal need that wasn’t being addressed in the marketplace, so she created her own solution, eventually turning it into a thriving business selling handmade, all-natural beauty products that now serves as her primary source of income.

“I have really sensitive skin, so most products didn’t work on my skin – they made me break out,” Davis says, recalling what prompted her to start developing her own, 100% natural beauty products. “I needed something that smelled good and didn’t irritate my skin. So, I tried to figure out how to make lotion and perfume by playing with different ingredients and seeing how they worked. I started making products for myself in 2005.”

Following the successful creation of various products for herself, Davis began doing projects for her family and friends in 2009, just for fun. But the products were such a hit that everyone using them began encouraging her to open a business. She dismissed the suggestion outright for years, before finally starting to consider it in 2012. One of her most vocal advocates was her cousin, Rachel Adams, a licensed cosmetologist who happened to be contemplating starting her own line of homemade shampoos and hair products around the same time. After discussing the possibility of a joint venture, the two ultimately agreed to take the plunge together in 2013, and Zuri – Swahili for “beauty” or “beautiful” – was born.

For more than a year, Davis maintained her full-time job at Children’s Hospital, where she worked as a Certified Professional Coder, while moonlighting at Zuri, which she ran out of her home. Then, in March 2014, she realized a decision needed to be made.

“Eventually it got harder, and I had to pick which one I was going to do,” Davis said. “I worked all day, and in the evenings I’d come home and I’d be up until 1 or 2 in the morning doing orders. So that’s what told me, ‘You can do this. It’s not just for fun anymore.’ It’s definitely still fun and fulfilling, but it’s also bringing in income.”

After choosing to commit to Zuri full-time, Davis next turned her attention to finding a location for her first retail shop. Without a specific area in mind, Davis wasn’t even sure where to begin looking. That’s when a trip to Over-the-Rhine piqued her interest.

“OTR has such a diverse atmosphere, and that’s basically who we cater to,” Davis said. “We don’t target just young kids or the older crowd – we have a very big mixture of clients, people from the ages of 18 to about 65, because we have so many different products that cater to so many different ages and so many different demographics.”

Zuri’s product line truly runs the gamut – from lip balm to lotion to laundry detergent, and even beard oil and deodorant cream for men. But Zuri’s top-selling products are its eczema cream, which Davis originally developed for her niece, as well as whipped soaps, and triple butter body cream.

Despite the wide variety of offerings and broad customer base, one common trait shared by nearly all Zuri customers – as well as Davis – is a love of natural products.

“For me, it was important to use all natural and organic ingredients because of my skin,” Davis said. “I needed ingredients I could pronounce, that I could look up and understand – in layman’s terms – what they were. And my customers are pretty much the same way; it’s very important that they get ingredients that don’t have any sort of chemical or unnatural preservatives.”

Zuri’s new shop on Vine Street will be open Monday through Friday from Noon to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.zurihandmade.com.