What started as frustrating hair problems of her own has turned into a thriving business for Denise Benjamin, who opened her second Miss Naturalista store Saturday in Yacht Haven Grande on St. Thomas.
“Miss Naturalista started because of my struggles and my lack of finding products for my hair and having access to products for my hair,” said Benjamin.
“Sure, you can order, but it’s a different thing when you can go in a store and speak to someone who knows what they are selling and be able to have that instant gratification. Natural hair care can get great results.”
Benjamin, from St. Croix, created the Miss Naturalista brand in 2010, catering to natural hair and the natural lifestyle. She started offering the brand at events in the community and became known for educational workshops for natural hair.
The company grew, and six years ago, Benjamin opened her first brick and mortar store in Mt. Pleasant on St. Croix.
“The whole thing started from knowledge, sharing information in our community that was lacking,” she said. “We were hoping for 50 people at our first event, but when almost 200 showed up, we knew we were on to something and we were filling a particular void. We have never stopped since. This doesn’t feel like work to us. We love it and we live it, so it’s very empowering.”
As Benjamin explains, Miss Naturalista is a conscientious brand catering to natural hair and natural lifestyles, a beauty supply store offering a different type of beauty experience, with products that are 100 percent natural for hair care, body care and all your wellness needs.
All the products in the store are made by people Benjamin knows and represent the values of Miss Naturalista rather than more generic products from a large chain store. Because so many people struggle with natural hair care, including men, women and children, they offer an array of products specific to different hair textures. Miss Naturalista offers hair consultations to recommend the best products for each customer.
“We support you in your struggle,” said Benjamin.” So many times, you can’t find products for your right texture to help you along your journey. Possibly you’re transitioning. That’s where we come in. Our selection includes some of the best in the market for natural hair, brands that are proven. We bring them all together in one house, with tools, to make your journey one that is an exciting, one that’s an experienced one, that you’ll see results from. That’s what we strive for.”
At Miss Naturalista, they are constantly researching new products that can help their customers, no matter what their race, to avoid the lengthy and often frustrating process of trial and error. Their products go far beyond hair care to include natural soaps, an oil bar with custom blends, therapeutics, detox bars for psoriasis, skin care covering a range of skin issues, sunscreen, feminine washes, fragrances, deodorant, toothpaste, shea butters and more, including tools such as detanglers and combs.
They also carry a line of bags made in Swaziland, Africa, that help support the women in that country, and each bag has on it the name of the person who made it.
Although they encourage natural hair, Miss Naturalista realizes there are some who may sometimes want to cover their natural hair. They offer high quality, custom natural hair wigs and extensions at their wig bar to give customers an additional option.
“We have our flagship store on St. Croix, so this is our second store, much overdue. We wanted to make ourselves accessible to our community where we live. It’s very important for us to have people have a new beauty experience,” Benjamin said. “We had a lot of challenges along the way, like COVID, but what kept us going was our consumers. It’s important to communicate. Conversation, that’s something tangible that they can take away to inspire their journey and it’s good to conversate with others along the way.”
Miss Naturalista is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. The St. Thomas manager is Lasherna Provost.
Call 340-713-5465 on St. Croix, 340-423-5465 on St. Thomas, visit www.missnaturalista.com or view their Facebook and Instagram pages.