Brand new with Rae Marie
In 2015, sisters Corey Breneisen and Amy Ford decided to try their hands at making skincare products. Now two years later, they are making their mark in the beauty industry with Rae Marie.
After having her son, Breneisen started paying more attention to the things that she used in her home. He was "tiny and brand new", she recalls, so she did not want anything to come close to him. So she did her research and started making her own homecare line. She hadn't planned on making it into a business, but a friend nudged her in that direction.
A fine artist and lecturer at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, when her friend asked her to sell some of her products at her farm market she was a bit apprehensive because she did not know how art would blend with vegetables.
"Well, it was the cleaning products that she really wanted, and so I made them," she told Flair.
Breneisen remembered recycling old water bottles for packaging, and then it was just Rae homecare - Rae being her middle name. After having a discussion with her sister, Amy Ford, her sister revealed that she wanted a career change, and Breneisen encouraged her to join forces. Their skincare line was born in spring 2015.
They became Rae Marie - derived from the middle names of both sisters. Their first creation as a duo was the Nitty Gritty Bar. This was a saviour for Breneisen as it was a heavy duty hand cleaner. A natural alternative to the lava soap that she used to help clean her hands after working on her art pieces.
"As an artist, I wanted a soap that would get the goo off my hands without the harsh chemicals. I have found it makes a great kitchen bar as well - it takes the stain off your hands from yam and green banana, and it acts as a nice exfoliant for those tough areas like the bottoms of your feet," she told Flair.
In the past two years, they have been busy developing formulas - Breneisen in Jamaica and Ford in North America. Now they have a full-fledged skincare line which includes bath bars - The Charcoal Face Bar, The Bentonite Beauty Bar, The Modern Castile Bar and The Pine Tea Bar, plus The Nitty Gritty Bar, a natural deodorant, sun lotion, chopstick - a soothing herb balm and a raw lotion which is a body moisturiser made with organic hemp oil.
It is difficult for her to choose one favourite, but if she had to choose one, then it would be the bentonite beauty bar. "It smells like ylang-ylang, and leaves your skin feeling like silk. It's super luxurious," Breneisen admits.
She revealed that customers tend to love the charcoal face bar. It is one item that she and her sister find difficult to keep in stock. However, if customers could only pick one product, she recommends the soothing herbal balm. This balm is what she uses to treat her children's cuts, scrapes and insect bites, as well as burns she might pick up in the kitchen. It is also great for persons with eczema who has dry patches.
There is still more in store for Rae Marie and their products are now available at Devon House and Kerry manwomanhome, but she hopes that they will be able to establish a Rae Marie storefront soon. They are very detail oriented and believe in producing a high standard - down to their packaging.
While her sister works from North America, Breneisen lives in Jamaica with her husband, and her products which she creates for the Jamaican market are handmade locally. She tells Flair that they partner with local producers and growers to supply raw materials for her products.
She is elated at the growth, as this was not anything that she had set out to do. Yet, she took on the challenge and exceeded all expectations.
The Rae Marie family
- Corey Breneisen
Director of operations, Jamaica
- Amy Ford
Director of operations, North America