Yolanda Owens, owner of iwi Fresh - the garden day spa located in the historic Castleberry Hill Art district - has been making her own natural skincare recipes for fourteen years. Inspired by her grandmother, Owens developed the hobby of creating skincare products and beauty creams for her family and friends. Nicknamed “The Skincare Chef,” Owens went on to open iwi Fresh in 2010, where clients can purchase their farm-based, raw ingredient products and enjoy spa treatments.
With the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Owens developed several innovative ways to adapt, such as creating “Uber Self Care” which delivered products to customers’ doorsteps. “Another pivot that we did was Quarantine Selfcare Curbside Pickup,” Owens explained, where customers could pick up products safely from outside the store. Additionally, Owens has taken to social media to promote their products and services and hosts an Instagram Live program about self care.
The new product packages that iwi Fresh launched in order to serve its clients during the pandemic also came with extra expenses, such as packaging materials and ingredients. The Business Continuity Loan Fund (BCLF) was able to help the company with these needs. “With the [BCLF] money I was able to take care of staff, and I was able to take care of inventory,” said Owens. “Invest Atlanta seems like the central hub for small business owners in Atlanta,” remarked Owens. “It’s the go-to place.”