LUYA Is Transforming The Practice Of Consuming Healthy With The Start Of An Online Marketplace
There are more and more online marketplaces emerging to provide healthier alternatives to our community. LUYA , founded by Carlos Barksdale, is an online retail store for healthy and high-quality personal care, beauty, and grooming products. It was created so that consumers don't have to settle for subpar or chemically-based products that lead to skin irritation, hair loss, or illnesses.
Check out this interview of LUYA, a platform encouraging folks to consume healthier.
When and why did you start Luya? What inspired the name?
Originally, I started working on LUYA two years ago. Back then I didn’t even have a name and the idea was much broader. Over time I refined it and chopped it down to be what it is now – a online retail store for healthy & high-quality personal care, beauty, and grooming products.
Ultimately, I saw a need. It was too hard to find what products I needed, identify the right brands, and actually buy the product. Finding healthy products that cater to my personal care needs shouldn’t be hard. This needed to happen.
I actually came up with the name in Brooklyn. I was doing a naming workshop with a branding veteran and I listed all kinds of phrases, adjectives, and emotions that I wanted my company’s name to convey – like happiness, love, care, education, a sense of home, etc. Eventually, we landed on the work ‘hallelujah,’ and from that came LUYA!
You merchandise two brands - Kiroja and Trinity Hills - what's special about these brands?
They’re genuine. They’re founded by real people who are providing solutions for their community in personal care and beyond. Their products are made from the heart and with genuine intention. That kind of care can’t be manufactured. Either it’s the fabric of a brand or it’s not.
LUYA is building an experience that caters to consumers by providing products that speak to them because they are made for them – products that benefit them. We value self-love, self-care, and self-education. We are crafting a personal shopping experience. We can’t do that unless our brands share our values. These brands get it and believe in the vision of LUYA. All of the brands that we add will.
What shift do you see in consumer behavior and why do you think that is?
Today, more than ever, consumers are more conscious about what they consume. From food to media to education – everything is up for evaluation. Personal care, beauty, and grooming products are no different.
People no longer blindly accept what’s pushed to them, especially millennials. We question everything. Who is behind this? How did this get here? Why is this here? What’s in this?
The days of people buying into marketing schemes and targeted branding are quickly passing. We don’t blindly accept things as truth, because our pasts and experiences have taught us better. We need to connect to the person or story or mission behind it. We need to know the truth. Otherwise, you won’t get our buy-in. LUYA understands that.
Does being a person of color inspire your work? If so why?
100%! LUYA initially came about because, as a Black person, it was hard to find products that catered to me - much less products with healthy ingredients. It’s no secret that the Beauty & Grooming industry has pushed Black consumers to the back of the bus for a long time – promoting alternate standards of beauty, convincing us that what we have isn’t good enough, excluding us from imagery, pushing subpar products, etc.
As a consumer, I’m tired of the uphill battle. There’s a rising level of consciousness and self-love among Black people. A huge part of that is embracing our aesthetic. I want to provide folks like me with a go-to place to purchase products that support them and gives a premium shopping experience. LUYA is my solution.
Why are you so passionate about bringing healthier ingredient options?
We have so many touch points with products. Think about it – shampoo, soap, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, deodorant – just to name a few. Some people have five products just for their face! It’s such an intimate experience, and it literally affects every single person.
We have to remember that what we put on our bodies goes in our bodies. Many products are chemically-based, and research has shown that they lead to issues such as skin irritation, hair loss, and illnesses. It doesn’t have to be that way. I shouldn’t be taking a health risk every time I lotion or shampoo. Healthy ingredients don’t have to be a luxury. Every experience with a grooming product should be pleasurable and nourishing.
Unfortunately, many consumers just aren’t aware and don’t think to question these mainstream products. It’s especially important for me, because people in my community consume so many products. That’s a lot touch points and a lot money. We deserve peace of mind when shopping knowing that that out products will benefit and restore us. That’s what LUYA is doing.