Dave Rodney, Contributor
Susan Randall is a licensed Jamaican cosmetologist who has just created a new hair and skin serum that is flying off the shelves of her New York-based hair studio and skin care lounge, faster than the sale of medical marijuana in California. The serum is being marketed under the brand of NBI (no bootleg ingredients) and its main ingredient is Jamaican black castor oil.
Randall, who is originally from St Andrew, tells Flair she has had an interest in hair as long as she can remember. She recalls that as a child, friends would come by her house and she would be in their hair creating all kinds of styles and patterns. When the New York operations of the Fortune 500 company she had worked with for almost two decades closed, she declined the offer for a transfer, and opted to start her own business in an area that she has been earning additional income in on weekends and her lifetime passion. She vowed to use her skills as a logistics manager to build her company, providing affordable high-end hair and skin treatment for multi-racial women at a hair studio in Bloomfield, New Jersey she calls Bersubriz.
"When I opened the doors of my business over two years ago, I knew there were immediate issues relating to hair and skin care that I wanted to fix," Randall confessed. She said many of the products that were being used, did not deliver on their promises. With evidence that Jamaican black castor oil had healing and rejuvenating properties for skin and hair care in rural Jamaica for generations, she set about creating her product. "My challenge was that Americans would have no interest in the black castor oil in its natural form due to the colour, thickness and the unpleasant aroma, so I set out to develop and fine-tune an effective, inviting and mildly fragrant serum that would use the castor oil as a base but with a range of other enhancements to bring out healthy, beautiful, magnificent hair and skin," she said.
It took her almost two years of research and experimenting with various formulas to perfect her NBI serum, but new devotees of what some are describing as a 'miracle potion' testify that it was worth the wait. Vitamins, almond oil, essential oils, fragrances and other ingredients have been added to the product to facilitate easy absorption and use. It is used to treat chronic dry scalp, flaking, thinning hair, to restore body and sheen, and to promote the rapid growth of bouncy, healthy hair, regardless of ethnicity. Additionally, the product is said to enhance the circulation of blood in the scalp. Her skin-care line is used by both men and women as a daily, all-seasons moisturiser. But its real magic comes out fully when used for the treatment of skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis and alopecia, among others.
"NBI is amazing and I am shocked by the bounce it gave my hair," said Chrismae Singh, a Jamaican in her 40s from Spanish Town who started using the product recently after it was recommended to her by an Italian-American friend. And Lisa Perkins, 50, an African-American from Maplewood, NJ, agrees, though for entirely different reasons. Perkins has had bouts of chronic eczema and itchy dry scalp for over 20 years. She tried the product out of desperation. "This is magic for me and I won't ever be without it," Perkins affirmed.
Randall is currently selling all the serum she can manufacture and bottle from her salon, but she has her eyes set on bigger dreams. She wants to go national, then international and she knows this is a long-term plan requiring capital. But come January 2014, with the help of her husband Courtney, who is also her business partner, she will expand her efforts, taking her brand in 4oz and 8oz sizes to selected retail stores in the New York tri-state area. Snappy new labels with a broad appeal are being created by a branding designer. She plans to do some marketing, promotion and giveaways in the new year to spread the word, but in the meantime, she is also developing a new product - a massage oil, utilising the same Jamaican black castor oil that is bringing her so much success. A limited edition body butter will also be available. "Look at the glow of my skin", Randall beamed. "I am living proof of the effectiveness of my product".