When I stepped onto the rooftop wine vineyard of the Brooklyn Navy Yard venue where the Brown Crayon Project launch event took place, I knew there was something special about that moment. I was surrounded by some of my favorite boss moms, one of which I met for the first time – Sudanese-American wife & mom and creator of the Brown Crayon Project, Selma Idris.
We toasted to mommy life, talked deeply about everything from mainstream beauty products to “Black Lives Matter” and ultimately celebrated the birth of a new brand for us, by us. Now, just a few short months after the official launch of the brand, I sat down to chat with owner Selma Idris about everything that makes her a BBS Mom. As the creator of the beauty industry’s first Certified Organic collection of hair and skin products for brown babies, I had to find out more. From her determination to leave her children a legacy, to her love for making music – Selma Idris is a BBS Mom who knows best. Check out why:
What inspired the creation of Brown Crayon Project?
Purely necessity. I created what I needed. My background Is in creative and product development. So that [experience] definitely put me in a position to mass produce this line. I started making it because it wasn’t on the shelves. And then I started getting angry, because it wasn’t on the shelves. I didn’t understand how or why, considering we [African-Americans] spend so much money on beauty and really are the market that should be spoken to and taken care of, we weren’t being served. I felt like I had to. Especially taking care of 2 boys, with everything that’s going on on this planet right now. Not just the USA but throughout the diaspora. It was just one thing that I could do that was positive and that I felt that could make a positive impact for my kids.
How is life, balancing a new product line and also being a mom of two boys?
Nuts! I definitely have become more organized, but its not like I feel better. I can put every system together to make sure that everybody’s dressed, pants on, their faces washed and everything but I am still exhausted. I’m always looking over my shoulder, always trying to make sure everything is done, there’s always a checklist going on in my head. But I’m happy. I love my kids and doing something that involves my kids feels really good.
Do you have any specific tips for mommies who might be considering starting their own product lines or businesses?
My biggest tip would be to figure out what you want your life to look like. What do you want to wake up and be? What do you want to wake up and do? Often times we make decisions and say “I want to be CEO of a Fortune 500 company”. But you may not want to stay up all night long, and you may not want to be on a plane constantly, and you may not want to NOT see your kids. So make those decisions about who you want to be, and what you want to do. Then work backwards from there.
What legacy are you hoping to leave for your children?
I would love to leave a legacy of creation. As a cultural foundation, we’re makers, farmers, growers, carpenters. So that legacy of “making” is something I want my children to have. I want them to know that if they want something they can design it, they can make it, they can fabricate it. You don’t have to depend on anyone, and you don’t have to listen to anyone else’s story. You can make your own.
What do you hope to achieve with your brand within the next 5 years?
I hope that I’ve helped to answer the need for moms to have a good, safe product that is great for skin and that helps soften and manage the hair. I actually offer these products for moms and dads of children of color, as well as standing by our mission of nurturing and nourishing the ego of the brown child. By putting messaging out there of positive images of brown families and brown boys and girls, we’re trying to humanize them so that the good people out there can get comfortable with us and know that we’re here.
If you had to choose – what are 2 products from the line that are absolute must-haves?
That’s hard! Especially because this is my system and the products work together. I’m going to go by what everyone is going crazy for which is the Everyday Skin Whip. Its for mommy, daddy, and baby. You can’t find Skin Whip in my house. I’m always like “Who took the Skin Whip?!” A close second would be the Everyday Hair Food. For me, it’s what hair grease wanted to be. You wanted it to be light, you didn’t want that horrible “burnt hair” smell. It’s quick-absorbing. I really love Everyday Hair Food.
What do you suggest to moms who want to be more conscious about products they put on their kids?
Know what your kids are sensitive to. You should be looking for natural products and clean ingredients. Learn the ingredients. Beauty ingredients are pretty standard. The ingredients and the information on what they do is out there. Within the first 6-7 ingredients you should be able to identify if something is not necessary in a product for your kid. The list of avoidables are the parabens, petroleums, sulfates – those are important to stay away from. Then, just chill out. We get so crazy, but its okay. Just know what to avoid.
When you’re not working on the Brown Crayon Project what are you doing?
I have a boy that just turned 3 and a 4 ½ year old. It’s a new company so before I hand it off, I’ve been doing it all. I sleep in my free time (that’s really nice), I look terrible. [laughs]
If I had more free time I would make music. I miss that. I got the opportunity to create music for my Brown Crayon Project commercials and so that’s the last time I recorded a full song.
Anything else you want us to know about the Brown Crayon Project?
It’s sincere, its fantastic, and I really love our products! I find that most people who use them find at least a couple that they really really like – from grown men to babies. I’m sincerely trying to do something good here and support others along the way. We are out here so let’s support each other.
Check out the Brown Crayon Project now on sale on their Website. Products retail starting at $15.99 and I have tried and LOVE the entire collection. Follow @thebrowncrayonproject on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter