October 2020

Keba Guilan of Butter by Keba - Part I: The Brand

Name: Makeba Guilan Lloyd AKA Keba Guilan
Brand: Butter By Keba
Established: 2008
Hometown: Harlem, NYC

What motivated you to start Butter by Keba?

I needed a product that would work well on my legs through the winter months. I couldn’t find anything that worked well after a day in the cold and smelled amazing all day. So, I recreated a homemade product that was given to me as a gift, adjusted the formula and added the perfumery component to it so that I could also wear it as a fragrance. My coworkers loved the product and told me it would be selfish to keep it all to myself. So, I branded it and started selling at local farmer’s markets, fairs and online.

What would you consider your hero product from your brand?

The body butter hands down, hence the name Butter By Keba ;-)

What standards/non-negotiables do you take into consideration when thinking about enhancing or developing new products?

They must be paraben, sulfate and phthalate free, plant based and as clean as possible. And, incorporate an aromatic synergy of essential oils.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges for "beauty/wellness" brands today?

Getting exposure to new customers and educating the consumer. There are so many options on the market but we may learn about just a few at a time. There are also many modalities when we think of wellness and beauty so we need to pick one and figure out a way to educate our customer about the benefits within very short stints of time. There is so much information being fed to us so grabbing and keeping the customers attention is paramount which can be very challenging. You have to me “on” 24/7.

What has been one of your proudest moments since creating Butter by Keba?

I had my biggest month ever in December 2016 when I did a radio spot on the Tom Joyner Morning Show with Jacque Reid for her “In Her Story” segment. Jacque has been a loyal customer for over 10 years. She called me the night before to ask if I would come on the show to share some tips on how to start a home-based online business. I thought “sure, how easy can that be”? Well, I forgot that TJMS is nationally syndicated with over 6 million listeners. We received so many orders I thought my website would crash. But, it didn’t. We filled every order and retained a good portion of those customers even though it took 4-6 weeks for us to ship every order. That experience taught me so many lessons.

What can we expect in the future from Butter by Keba?

When covid19 hit I started making aromatic hand sanitizer because I could not find any at the local drug stores. I used aromatherapy skills I had just learned after taking a certification course at the School of Aromatic Studies formerly the New York School of Aromatic Studies. I would like to continue to use those skills to formulate products that will assist us with keeping our nasal passageways clear of microbes and bacteria thus making it more difficult for airborne pathogens to hide out and make us sick. Aromatherapy is a wonderful modality for doing just that.

What advice would you give customers who want to make the most out of your brand?

Combine product categories and fragrances to create your own unique signature scent while leveling up your moisturizing regimen. I like to do this myself. My favorite combination right now (because I have so many, lol) is my Citruese Bath Salt Scrub in the shower. After I towel dry and lightly lather with my Green Tea Lotion, add a light layer of Georgia Tea Body Butter and finish that off with a few spritzes of our Citruese Organic Travel Cologne. Talk about an experience and the people around you will love you more! Everyone loves the smell of a sweet treat.