Silktáge Founder, Robin Emtage, Shares Her Insights & Challenges to Being a Beauty Trailblazer
Robin Emtage, tell us a bit about Silktáge.
Silktáge is a clean beauty brand that is black/female-owned and inspired by beauty traditions from around the world. Based in Beverly Hills, California, made with love and care for all women, everywhere. The brand was born out of genuine passion and commitment to providing organic, multi-cultural, age-defying, and rejuvenating natural beauty alternatives. We provide pure, luxurious, and rejuvenating face, body and hair oils, rose quartz beauty tools and CBD-infused beauty oils for women of all ages and ethnicities. Silktáge’s 100-percent pure, natural, organic, cruelty-free and vegan products support women empowerment — we source many of our ingredients from women’s cooperatives around the world.
When and why did you start your company?
As a professional hairstylist and makeup artist dedicated to making actresses and models look their best, I became frustrated with the lack of hair products that delivered any lasting benefits. Most styling serums and oils available were full of harsh chemicals, preservatives and silicones instead of nutrients. About eight years ago, I was given a very popular hair oil by one of my clients. I stopped using it after a few days when I realized it gave my hair an artificial shine without contributing to its underlying health. That’s when I decided to create my own hair oil, and Silktáge was born.
Having grown up watching my grandmother make coconut oil for hair treatments, I saw an opportunity to create a completely natural, organic product to improve the health of the hair and make it silky, smooth, and shiny. In 2012 I launched Silktáge Rejuvenating Styling Serum, drawing inspiration from ancient beauty traditions and sourcing ingredients globally from Morocco, Japan, India, Africa, Chile, and Jamaica — places where women are renowned for using pure botanical oils with beautiful results.
It was quickly embraced by Whole Foods Market in Southern California, private clients and word-of-mouth fans, which spurred me to expand my natural approach to face and body care. Silktáge now spans over 15 luxury beauty oils and tools, and a new collection of organic CBD beauty oils. Each product is dedicated to providing age-defying, rejuvenating, calming, and organic benefits for face, body, hair — and mind.
What have been the benefits to being your own boss?
I’ve worked for myself ever since graduating college, first as a freelance makeup artist and hairstylist, and then as a headshot photographer; but creating a beauty brand is what I always wanted to do. I love and appreciate what I get to do every day.
One of the great benefits of being the founder of a small brand is having control of everything from the creation of each product from conception through execution — I source ingredients, design packaging, and market our brand. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction and motivation. I’m also able to control how I spend my time and balance my work life with my personal life.
What are some of the challenges?
Although handling all aspects of the business gives me great satisfaction and control, there are times when it can be challenging to juggle everything and I long for the day when I can have a big team to take on some of the responsibility. Self-discipline is crucial. You have to motivate yourself to focus and stay on track. And of course sales, marketing and securing retail shelf space are always a challenge in any small business that isn’t yet a household name.
What is your personal favorite?
I create all the products that I would want to use, so I love them all. Two of my favorites right now are from my new CBD beauty oil collection. They’re dedicated to self-care, which makes them feel especially relevant right now. Our CBD beauty oils have no THC, so they don’t produce mind-altering effects — just very potent calming and beauty benefits. And unlike many CBD products, they smell amazing!
PEACE OIL — CBD SKIN CALM: Peace Oil relieves minor aches and pains, soothing and calming sensitive, tired skin and promoting overall well-being and restful sleep. It’s a wonderful way to de-stress and renew body and mind.
ARGAN ROSEHIP CBD GLOW EYE AND FACE SERUM: It treats under-eye bags and puffiness, dry skin and redness, and eases facial pressure and discomfort.
How has your business adapted to the global pandemic?
As with most small business, it has been challenging, but we remain flexible and open to opportunities that might otherwise not exist if not for this unfortunate time in history. There is a heightened awareness of the lack of diversity in the retail space and elsewhere that I hope Silktáge and other black-owned brands will benefit from.
We’ve also pivoted to focus on the many self-care benefits of our products. Also, we’ve shifted our marketing efforts entirely to partnerships with Instagram influencers, and are pleased with the results so far.
Would you recommend entrepreneurship?
Absolutely. You have full control over your destiny. You have the freedom to pivot and make adjustments as you go. You report to no one. It’s very fulfilling to be creative and innovative and think big. You get giddy when you accomplish a milestone and you do the happy dance when someone buys your product or raves about it. It is never boring. You have the opportunity to impact and change someone’s life with your product or service. You have the opportunity to support and give back. And in the moments when it’s not so dreamy, you think, “at least I am still my own boss, and I’m doing what I love.”
What’s on the horizon? What new products will you be launching?
We have some new business opportunities we are exploring right now, and are always open to new partnerships. And I’m really excited about some new products we have coming in the fall, which include new additions to our CBD Beauty collection.