We had the good fortune of connecting with Arraina Oquendo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Arraina, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Just being honest, the concept of starting a business was not on my radar when I was making our products. I simply wanted to share what I learned about natural care with family and friends. As the “sharing” increased so did our vision. From there our business grew organically into what it is today. Our vision includes our community in the pursuit to care for their skin and hair naturally, free from harmful toxins. Our thought process as we started was to share and educate our community about the benefits of natural care. We believe we are doing that through community events, blogs, and creating high quality natural care products.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Helping others has been a passion of mine for a long time. I became a Registered Nurse (RN) 18 years ago to pursue that passion. As the years have passed, I gained a better understanding of the toxins our bodies absorb through skin and hair. Which started a personal journey to eliminate toxins from our everyday use, like commercial soaps and hair products. Being a RN was not an easy fete, especially when I pursued my masters degree. It was challenging at that time because I was still creating products for my family and friends. I overcame those challenges with the support of my family and tons of self care. My advanced degree requires me analyze facts and data. Combining my data background with years as a RN helped me prove the benefits of natural care. For instance, I found that women (particularly Black women) experienced increased rates of hormonal imbalances and rates of cancer. This change is associated with the increase use of beauty products that contain harmful ingredients. It is our aim to spread the word about caring for our body naturally. I understand that some people are loyal to their brands and transitioning to natural products could be challenging. I have learned that the best way to aid in that transition is to educate by highlighting benefits of natural care products. At MINK natural care products, we use natural ingredients and enhance them using what nature provides. For example, our plant based soap bars are accentuated with botanicals and essential oils. These products do not only make our soaps smell and look amazing, they also have beneficial properties. We are purposeful about the products we create because what you put ON your body, is just as important as what you put IN it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As a transplant from Tennessee we get visitors very often, we have lived in South Florida for 7 years now. When we have visitors we make sure to show them the best time a Floridian could have. We are more familiar with the local spots and try to keep their visit as authentic as possible. South Florida is rich with different cultures and that is what we absolutely love about it. We take our meat – eating friends to El Mejor Batido de Hialeah. I can tell you from my meat eating days, that El Mejor has the best pan con lechon! Pair that with a mamey shake and you are in business. Treelion has become a favorite of ours since changing our lifestyle. Anyone would appreciate the food here. Everyone there is helpful , the atmosphere is cozy, and the food is great. In addition to awesome vegan options, they have a great range of drinks. My favorite is the lemon ginger. Continuing with the foodie theme to experience culture, we have to make a stop at Joy’s. When we first moved here we went to their Jouvert “after party” and had the best time. Joy’s is more than food, it is a continuation of the Carib vibes that Florida has to offer. After we have filled our bellies we want to make sure we show our friends a little Florida night life. The best place to experience culture and night life is Wynwood. Right before the sun sets, we visit the art galleries and of course EAT! When the sun goes down, we have our pick of numerous lounges to choose from. It does not go without saying, a visit to beach it a must. When we want to relax and engulf in nature, the best beach is John U. Lloyd. To experience a more lively atmosphere, we take them to Haulover Sandbar, South Beach, Fort Lauderdale, or Hollywood beach. South Florida has many things to explore that we have not experienced yet and look forward to enjoying them with our friends and family.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
We receive tremendous support and encouragement from our community. However, at the inception of our company, Ericka Harris (my younger sister), gave a us a strong push to spread the word of the product I created in my kitchen. I only saw myself as a Registered Nurse trying to help my family and friends and not a “salesperson”. Ericka saw something more, she saw that this was a product that could help people. This helped me visualize our company as one that helps people and not in the business “selling” to people. Each step of the way she has been there. From our infancy of a “no name” whipped shea butter in a jelly jar to MINK a natural care provider.
Other: TikTok: @love.mink413
Juma Bush of 1301 Productions