This Oakland Brand Is The 1st US Beauty Manufacturer To Popularize Fair Trade Amazonian ingredients In Hair/Skincare Products

Stevonne Ratliff founded the Oakland-based natural beauty brand, Beija-Flor Naturals in 2008. The brand attributes the quality of their products to the amazing fair trade botanicals from Brazil, thus paying homage with the Brazilian name - "Beija-Flor" meaning hummingbird in Portuguese. With a fully functioning handmade manufacturing line and 2 retail stores in the Bay Area, this indie brand is quickly growing into a household name. 

 Photo by MelaninASS

Photo by MelaninASS

All of the Beija-Flor Natural's products are handmade and containing the basic formulas of shea and coconut oil. However, the star ingredients of Beija-Flor Naturals products are the vitamin rich, fair trade botanicals (oils, herbs and butters) from Brazil that are in many ways unique to their handmade line. This brand is the first US beauty manufacturer to popularize Fair Trade Amazonian ingredients in hair/skincare products. Additionally, they source ingredients from Morocco (argan oil) and North America (hemp butter and herbs such as rosemary and lavender). They proudly buy from and support other small businesses and sustainable growers from around the world. 

 

For Stevonne, sustainability is about finding balance.

 Photo by MelaninASS

Photo by MelaninASS

Balance for the environment (getting the resources we need to sustain life and live abundantly without destroying Mother Earth), It could also mean finding balance within your own personal life (family, work, love, money etc-not having any one of these things takeover and strangle the others). I believe a balanced ecosystem is prepped and ready for forward movement and growth.
— Stevonne Ratliff

The Bay Area has always been home to conscious activists, style and beauty entrepreneurs and innovative sustainable brands. Sometimes however, the negative socio-economic pitfalls overshadow the beauty and growth inner cities like Oakland. But one this is for sure, the Bay Area has been leading the way in eco-driven initiatives. 

I think the Bay Area has always had a history of natural beauty product manufacturers. The Bay tends to be “crunchy” in our lifestyle routines so clean beauty goes hand in hand with clean eating, eco-conscious transportation etc. The rest of the country is definitely following suit as they see the healing properties in a natural skin/hair care routine as opposed to petroleum based mainstream products. Natural beauty brands are definitely trending worldwide.
— Stevonne Ratliff
 Photo by MelaninASS

Photo by MelaninASS

Stevonne believes that the most beautiful people are those that are humble, selfless, and have an inner peace that is contagious. Using such luscious and well crafted products are a catalyst in bringing out one’s beauty. Beija-Flor Naturals' are meant to be enjoyed by everyone but as a woman of color, Stevonne feels most comfortable creating/formulating from her perspective and world view.

If I personally can’t use or value one of my own creations, it doesn’t make it to market. For example, the “hero product” in the Beija-Flor Naturals line was made because I wanted only ONE product for my kinky-curly hair that would moisturize and give a light hold as opposed to using multiple products to tame my mane. Although it was designed for my hair type, women from all ethnic backgrounds who have dry/corse/color treated hair love the Creme Brûlée. 
— Stevonne Ratliff
 Photo by MelaninASS

Photo by MelaninASS

The beauty of Beija Flors Naturals is that it has a founder who is always inspired by building, sharing and learning from other entrepreneurs, creatives and thought leaders regardless of their industry. She prides herself on being a mentor to young women and sees the journey as a constant learning opportunity. The future of the brand is expansion into larger retail spaces while continuing to support local designers, makers, artists and artisans via the Concept Forty-Seven retail stores in Oakland and San Francisco.