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didn’t know a lot about the beauty industry, but we loved working together, and we were determined to start our own business. Sometimes businesses start to solve a problem, and that is true for Sister Sky. My son Kevin was born in 1994 with severe eczema. My hobby turned into a quest to create a natural lotion that would soothe his skin naturally. As I created a lotion in my kitchen, I wondered what we used before we had stores. I asked, “What natural herbs from the earth did our ancestors use to treat and heal?” That became the anchor of our product line and blossomed into our trademark line, “Natural Solutions from Native Roots.” One of the first products we created was light and soothing lotion for dry skin. My son tested it, and it worked so well to soothe his extremely dry skin that I named the lotion after him: “Kevin’s Care.” Today, our heritage product remains one of our best-selling products and has guided us in product development. The health and beauty market is blossoming with Indigenous brands that resonate with consumers who want great products with compelling stories. What makes Sister Sky exciting, and what different story side does Sister Sky bring to the health and beauty market? I love that Indigenous brands are being resourceful, creative, and innovative with products. With social media, Indigenous brands can build a customer community. We are natural storytellers. It’s deeply embedded in our culture. As we share stories about how we started our companies and what makes our products so unique, it comes from a place of authenticity, and that’s the hook; that’s the exciting part because real authenticity can’t be faked. Consumers love a good story, but ultimately the product has to work for the buyer. They have to love something about the lotion, shampoo, or bath bomb. Products have to serve a purpose, solve a problem, or create an experience. Sometimes they do one thing or all three, but it’s the product performance that will get repeat buyers. What are some of the ancient herbal wisdom and ingredients Sister Sky uses in the products? Long before medical technology was available, pioneer doctors relied on Native American knowledge of nature to treat illness. Our ancestors freely shared their healing wisdom of plants, roots, and berries with earlier settlers. Native American herbal treatments were so effective; many have been refined into present-day medicine. Today, natural products are mainstream, but it’s essential to acknowledge that our Native American herbal legacy was the beginning of using natural herbs for healing: aloe vera for burns, willow bark for pain, witch hazel to soothe–those were all used hundreds of years ago by our ancestors. What worked back then still works today, and that’s what we share with our customers. How does Sister Sky incorporate meaningful

plant traditions concerning nature’s healing herbs from Mother Earth to showcase your Native heritage to your customers? Today, seven out of the ten most popular herbal supplements on the market were historically used by Native Americans to treat and cure illness. As Natives, we have always had a more holistic way and consumers today appreciate that. We aren’t formulating products with proprietary ingredients; instead, we choose to exclude harsh chemicals and incorporate herbs that have a benefit and can be traced back to our ancestors’ use, which we share that proudly. For example, horsetail herb serves as a natural protective barrier for the skin and is better than synthetic ceramides widely used today. Furthermore, our ancestors treated skin rashes with a solution made from pounded horsetail herb and water. Horsetail herb is an ingredient in Sister Sky’s Kevin’s Care Lotion for dry skin.

e-commerce platform that played in our favor; then COVID-19 hit in March. We didn’t have to rush to build a website or social media pages. People are buying online now more than ever, and our success in the future will be dependent on how well we engage and create inclusion with our virtual community. Online purchasing is a behavior that is here to stay. We strive daily to make a positive experience for our community consumers when they unwrap their order and use our products. Paying attention to small things like order packing integrity, order accuracy, and fast shipping is foundational for Sister Sky. Continuing to build social media content is also critical for our future. I am always reminding the team to create and post content, and they are still mindful of being culturally-authentic with posted content.

What are some of the creativity, techniques, and recipes you know of that you apply to your products today? We formulate products that are in alignment with our trademark line, “Natural Solutions from Native Roots.” “Does the product solve a problem, and how are we infusing natural ingredients and telling the story of historical use by our ancestors?” is what we ask ourselves when we create new products. There is a demand for natural products in the marketplace, and that plays in our favor. Also, we get to share with consumers how Native Americans have been the original herbal experts in this country. This is our aboriginal land, and we have always been connected to our environment. It’s honoring and impactful to remind mainstream consumers of our culture’s herbal wisdom. The Sister Sky team consists of Native women. How is this beneficial, and what’s the dynamic of having an all-Native American women team? Much of our work is both creative and strategic. It takes a tremendous amount of collaboration to create campaigns and messaging with heart, and authenticity is a process that takes deliberation. The Native women on our teamwork brilliantly together in this environment. We are supportive and respectful of each other. Also, my sister and I are mindful to mentor in a positive way. We are working with next-generation entrepreneurs, and we want to empower them to be bold, take chances, and learn along the way. Sister Sky is a family-owned company. Additionally, we care deeply about our employees and consider them family as well. I think Native entrepreneurs bring that cultural value into the companies we build. My sister and I make companies that sell goods and services, but we also build community with our consumers and family with our staff. Consumers appreciate this, and it resonates.

Sister Sky’s White Willow Body Wash and Body Lotion, both $12.50

@sistersky_

What does the future look like for you and your business? Sister Sky has been selling products on the internet for twenty years. We have always had an

NATIVE MAX MAGAZINE | 15

Profile for Native Max Magazine

Native Max Magazine - November/December 2020  

Welcome to the Native American Heritage Issue, featuring Muscogee Creek, Colville, Salish-Kootenai, and Cherokee tattoo artist and actress N...

Native Max Magazine - November/December 2020  

Welcome to the Native American Heritage Issue, featuring Muscogee Creek, Colville, Salish-Kootenai, and Cherokee tattoo artist and actress N...

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