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Meet She’Neil Johnson of Base Butter

Today we’d like to introduce you to She’Neil Johnson.

She’Neil, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
BASE BUTTER is the culmination of our real life personal and professional experiences. We are our customers. When we see you, we see us and vice versa.

During our unofficial skincare journey, Nicolette and I found ourselves self-educating and actively piecing together information to create solutions for our unique skin types and concerns because we were continuously running into barriers as a result of the gaps that exist for Black women in the skincare industry.

Between balancing the day to day of building a career and life, implementing health and wellness in a way that resonated with our reality felt almost impossible.

For years we would share new knowledge, experiences, and more with each other and our larger group of friends. After reflecting, we realized it was a similar experience for our counterparts. We had been identified as the ones in our community excited to always share our findings, go the extra mile to read and research, and reluctantly push through our trial and error process. Soon we began discussing and becoming transparent about our skincare journey and struggles through not only our friend groups but a larger community online. So we decided to use the feedback from our community, knowledge gained unique skills, and work experiences to build our own formulated solution, BASE BUTTER.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
At the end of the day skin is skin, therefore, the problem we seek to address is not due to the lack of products or information but the lack of cultural relativism, context and depth in the product experience as it relates to Black women.

In a recent survey we conducted with over 3,000 Black women 86% said their routine is still lacking, but 73% expressed the desire to keep their skincare routine simple with essentials they know and trust will work.

Based on this data and additional research, BASE BUTTER has identified clear problems. Due to lack of representation, an overwhelming amount of product options, information, and little to no industry regulation Black women are stuck in a trial and error phase when it comes to finding skincare products, routines that work and distrust the larger skincare industry when it comes to proving and understanding why a product will work for us.

We’re currently sitting on a wealth of knowledge-centered around our customers but don’t have the financial resources to test, iterate and produce in a capacity that reflects the in real-time insights we’re receiving from our customers. Having the capital scale with our formulation partners, manufacturing partners, and invest in marketing would allow us the room to focus on building a strategy while more rapidly, meeting demand for more (and better) solutions.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Base Butter story. Tell us more about the business.
BASE BUTTER is a skincare company with a vision to create a world in which women accept and love their skin so much they’ll do anything to protect it. Our mission is to help make skincare easy for oily and combination skin types. We do this through our easy to understand products, simple to follow routines and expert information that can be easily applied.

Since BASE BUTTER’s birth in December 2015 our community has grown immensely. Since the early days of BASE BUTTER, we have been fortunate enough to have a hyper-engaged community with a strong desire to build with us. This is reflected in our organic social media engagement, sold out IRL events in cities like NYC, Philly, Atlanta, and Washington D.C, and in our customer data. It’s because of this tribe that we’ve even been featured in Essence, The New York Times, Elle, and Cosmopolitan to name a few.

Since our facial moisturizer, Radiate Face Jelly, hit the market in late 2017 it has made it into the hands of over 2,000 customers over 200+ reviews and a 4.9 average star rating.

How’d we do that?

In 2017, we raised $10,000 in a six weeks crowdfunding campaign on with an initiative to re-brand BASE BUTTER and develop our hero product Radiate Face Jelly.

This re-brand was inspired by a community research project we launched called Skin Struggles that is still on-going till this day. The Skin Struggles survey has captured the profiles of over 3,000 Black women highlighting their specific skin wants, needs, and frustrations. The data captured in this research gave birth to our hero product Radiate Face Jelly and continues to be our guiding light in continuing to create crowdsourced skin solutions for Black women. (We have a waiting list of 130 Black women who have signed up to be product testers now and in the future.)

The Skin Struggles survey shows us that 88.8% of Black women with an average age of 30 told us that they suffer with skin concerns and 86% struggle to manage and find products that work for their skin type. In addition, this in-house research gives us access to data that lets us know what products our customers are currently using and how they rate them, skincare shopping habits, skin types, and personal perspective about the skincare industry.

We believe this information allows us to better develop a targeted skincare system that can accurately meet the voiced needs and concerns of customers and our community.

Our goal is to invest in deepening our relationship with our customers and community in order to enhance our Radiate Face Jelly formula and expand our product offering to develop skincare routines that meets the voiced needs and concerns of Black women and other women who have oily or combination skin types.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
At BASE BUTTER, we do not believe in luck! We put our trust in God and owe it all to him. We are thankful that God has provided us with a strong community and network of supporters throughout our journey which has truly aided us in our growth.


  • Shop Radiate Face Jelly! $21

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Image Credit:
Tamera Darden and Roy Handy III

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