Stacey and Martin Clarke have long used their sales and business development skills to help clients create successful companies across South Florida. Now the husband and wife team have used their expertise to work for themselves as the new owners and operators of Asili Beauty and Wellness store located in Hollywood, Fla., where they offer cutting-edge, sustainable, carbon-neutral beauty and wellness products from around the world.
“You can’t have real beauty without wellness,” Martin said in defining the philosophy behind Asili (pronounced Ah-sill-lee), which means “natural” in Swahili.
“What makes us unique is that we have combined beauty and wellness in the same space with equal focus” Stacey said.
“Nowhere else can you find beauty and wellness products presented as cause and effect.”
It’s a natural pairing, Stacey said, one reflected in the products sold in their 5000 square foot flagship store located at 2014 Harrison Street, in Hollywood, Fla., just north of Miami.
“We carry products that are good for you,” Stacey said.
“We incorporate a wellness aspect in everything we do. In our buying strategy, we source products that are clean, made with social responsibility, and have a limited carbon footprint.”
“Ninety percent of the products we offer are one hundred percent vegan.”
Asili carries the Clarke’s own luxury lines, including 15 fragrances of herb and oil based natural soaps, an all-natural skin care line featuring cleansers, daily cream moisturizers, and wrinkle recovery serums fortified with vitamin A and vitamin B.
In July 2022, Asili will debut a luxury raw human hair line including cranial prostheses and custom, glue-less hair units (wigs) that can be cut and styled to the customers preference.
Asili products are sourced from the U.S. and countries around the world.
“You can find products here that you can’t find anywhere else,” Martin said.
“Many are made by up-and-coming companies that have devoted themselves to producing a quality, one hundred percent natural product.”
Asili’s men’s department features a range of personal and professional hair care products, skin care and shaving creams, as well as sunglasses, high-end, vegan leather laptop cases and water bottles that can hold credit cards during workouts.
“We made a conscious decision to carry men’s products that are vegan and cruelty free,” Stacey said.
“Our men’s care inventory has been outselling many other products.”
One bestseller — the self-explanatory men’s “Crown Jewels Dry Balls Powder.” Asili Beauty and Wellness carries yoga mats, personal care products for expectant and new mothers, and other hard to find maternity and nativity items, including belly lotions and creams to soothe sore, breastfeeding moms.
Many of their items have informational notes or videos fixed to the display case, so the customer can learn about the product before they buy.
Seeing the large number of dog owners walking pets past the store prompted the Clarkes to offer a range of natural pet products.
Married in 2011, the couple said they are committed to providing exceptional products and customer service customers of all races will appreciate.
“Too often people think a Black-owned store caters only to Black people,” Stacey said.
“We are Black-owned, but we carry products that cater to all people.”
“A lot of beauty supply stores that target Black or ethnic women do not cater to the customer,” Stacey said.
“It’s almost like they think you have no place else to go so we don’t have to work for your dollars.”
And because many of these stores are not Black owned, “they don’t care about the products they carry,” Stacey said.
“There is no social responsibility. No matter how toxic the product might be, they’re selling it if people are buying.”
While some Asili products are made by companies that may not be well-known, that doesn’t reflect the item’s quality, Martin said, but only that they have yet to claim enough market share to attract attention from the big box stores.
“The Black dollar is a major driver for the beauty industry internationally, and the number one trend setter,” Martin said.
“Black people buy up-and-coming brands when companies are still selling the products in unmarked jars. Once the big companies take an interest in them the local, independent Black-owned beauty supply stores can no longer sell these brands. Then the customer has to take their money to these big box stores to buy a product our community helped develop.”
“That means dollars that were circulated in our community through that business and those Black-owned beauty supply stores are no longer available. We wanted to create a space where established brands could feel that they were working with a black-owned retailer that fit their brand ethos.”
Asili has a well-trained, knowledgeable staff, and the Clarkes are proud that the store’s esthetics provide a luxury shopping experience and show customers they are welcomed and appreciated.
The Clarkes have scheduled monthly in-store consultations and demonstrations by vendor partners to increase community engagement and awareness.
The couple has a long personal and business history in South Florida, combining solid careers in marketing and advertising, Stacey’s master’s degree in healthcare, and Martin’s years of experience in mergers, acquisitions, and business development.
In 2016, they left the corporate world to launch Clarke Smart Solutions. Their clients included the City of Miami, Aetna, the Small Business Administration (SBA), and more.
Asili Beauty and Wellness is open and doing business in store and online at AsiliBeauty.net.
This article first appeared on Blackbusiness.com.
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