Maya India Spa
Hey MayaIndia Sweeties! Yesterday, I talked about how inspired I am by so many delicious sweet treats I see everywhere I go. I try my absolute best to create a product that looks and smells authentic. There is an extra special effort made to keep a close eye on the children who usually run to my table because, after all, once they see something yummy they naturally want to taste it. We also engage them in conversation and explain how our products are used and receive one of three reactions: 1. Disappointment: "Awwww man, (insert sad face) I can't eat it?!!" 2. Disbelief: "No way! You're making that up." 3. Further intrigue: "For real? How do you do that???" However, I must confess, although one would think the children are the ones who would eat my products, wouldn't you know that EVERY time this has happened, the culprit has been an adult! The chocolates pictured above were the first item ever "sampled" by a customer. Even with signs prominently displayed asking the public not to eat my products, there have been incidents! After the second time someone ate one of my products (see the brownie pictured below), one of my customers, who also happens to be a graphic designer, made a beautiful sign for me. I think she felt my frustration and thought that if the sign was very colorful it would stand out and be noticed, and so far, it's working- thanks Sue! It's not uncommon for guests to visit my home, see a display of treats and hesitantly ask, "Is this real or is this soap?" At this point, everyone knows they need to ask before tasting! I suppose that's why it baffles my mind that a customer would help themselves to a hearty bite of Brownie Soap, and then look astonished when they realize it wasn't for human consumption! Well, on the positive side, I suppose I should be happy that I am meeting my goal, to provide a quality product that looks and smells authentic and is also good for your skin. Mission accomplished! What are your thoughts? Do you think a dessert line of bath products is too confusing to the public? Until next time, Stay Sweet!
Hey MayaIndia Sweeties! Often when selling our products at events, our customers are so intrigued by our dessert line of soaps they want to eat them! (Maybe we can talk about that tomorrow). Of course, you know I'm just fooling around with that Banana Pudding Soap, right? After I establish the fact that our products are for external use only, I usually get a barrage of questions. The number one question my customers ask is, "Where did the inspiration come from to create soaps that look like dessert?" As we established yesterday, I am a foodie. What I didn't tell you yesterday is I am especially fond of delicious homemade desserts. As a young girl, my mother taught me to bake and she even passed down some coveted secret family recipes. I lost my Mom almost two years ago, but I am comforted by memories such as these. Here's a photo my Dad took of me learning to bake with Mom. Well, at five, I was probably perfecting the art of licking the bowl! Eventually I will pass these family recipes down to my daughters too. Although right now, they don't seem to be interested in learning to make the cakes, just eat them! I can't begin to explain how I loved eating her cakes. Each buttery piece literally melted on my tongue as soon as I ate it. The burst of vanilla, sugar and butter would totally delight your senses, and if I close my eyes and concentrate, I can almost taste her Butter Pound Cake right now! I believe I channel my love for (real) baked goods when making my soap creations. My husband calls me a "mad scientist" as I blend fragrances to achieve the most authentic scent to accompany the most realistic looking desserts. Whenever I walk into a bakery, I am overwhelmed by fragrances, colors and designs. Every little detail draws me in and I try to find ways to incorporate them in my products whenever possible. Here's a photo I grabbed off of the internet of some pretty yummy looking donuts. On the top are actual (edible) donuts, below are my (soap) donuts. My goal is to always create a quality product that's great for the skin and looks as authentic as possible. How did I do? What type of dessert soap should I try next? Until next time, Stay Sweet!
Hey MayaIndia Sweeties! I'm not sure if I've actually said this out loud to you before, but I am a foodie! I enjoy delicious foods and can be somewhat adventurous when experimenting with various types of cuisine. In my younger years, it really didn't matter what I ate or how much of it I ate, I was able to maintain a fabulous figure without even trying. Then something happened. Sometime after I gave birth to my last child, it became more and more difficult to maintain my perfect size 8 frame. Like many people in our society, I became increasingly aware of my weight and watched it do incredible things like make my face look fat, create a little pouch where I once had nice abs, cause my pants to feel extra snug- you get the point. Isn't it interesting how I blamed the issue on the weight and not what I was doing to gain the weight? So I adopted a new philosophy- if it has vegetables in or on it, then it's healthy. That sounded good to me and I rationalized that my favorite pizza- tomato and mozzeralla with a balsamic glaze, was a healthy lunch. (Are you laughing at me?) Well, I think deep down in my heart of hearts, I knew this wasn't really factual, and decided this week I was going to do something different. Yesterday, I purchased lost of fruits, yogurt, spinach and I plan to make a yummy smoothie for dinner. My goal is to have one healthy smoothie each day for a week and increase to two smoothies by next week. In two weeks, I will be on vacation for the summer and I suppose I need to begin to exercise also. I must admit, I am motivated by an invitation to attend a wedding in sunny Jamaica, in August. I am determined to wear a bathing suit without feeling self conscious. That gives me a little time to make a little progress. I hope you will cheer me on as I attempt to take control and begin my new healthy eating regimen. It's ok for you to hold me accountable, I always work better with a partner. After all, I guess just because it has vegetables on it, that doesn't really make it healthy. Until next time, Stay Sweet!
Hey MayaIndia Sweeties! This morning, I spent some time reflecting on my pastor's Sunday message, which was about children. The girls smiling in this photo represent two of my three children. You see, yesterday we celebrated Children's Day in our church and the youth ran the program. The pastor's sermon was based on the scripture John 6:1-12, a story many of us know about the miracle Jesus performed with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread that fed five thousand people. In reading the text, the pastor brought our attention to the fact that there were thousands of adults present, yet Phillip suggested they consider enlisting the assistance of a young boy, who was in possession of the food that ultimately fed the masses. The child had what they needed. When I went home and reflected on the message and how it applied to my life, I thought about my own children and how much of a blessing they have been to me. For as long as I have been their Mommy, they have had what I needed. Parenthood comes with many joys and challenges, but I am quick to remind myself that there are lessons to be learned in each new experience, good and not so good. I have three children, and I truly believe I have sharpened my skill set while rearing each child. When I reflected further on the Sunday message, I had to acknowledge that, if it wasn't for them, there would be no MayaIndia. My daughters had a condition (eczema), that was the catalyst behind me deciding to create a remedy (Body Frosting) to alleviate their discomfort. Hence the birth of MayaIndia. Now that they are older, they have the ability to provide me with assistance in the areas of fragrance selection, new product launches, marketing, sales and of course, technology. I can't deny that they have what I need. As I look back on this journey called motherhood, I can say it's been an honor and a privilege to be the person they call Mommy. It is my belief that we are all God's children and He hand picks us to parent our babies and do the best job we can with them. I've watched them grow into smart, respectful, caring individuals that have so much to offer. I know, without a doubt, they have what we need. Until next time, Stay Sweet!
Hey MayaIndia Sweeties! This is Joseph, pictured with MayaIndia's namesakes, Sade Maya and Ayanna India. We met him last summer while the MayaIndia Crew was enjoying a fabulously relaxing and rejuvenating cruise aboard one of Royal Caribbean's AMAZING ships. What was most impressive to me was Royal Caribbean's phenomenal staff. From the time we arrived onboard, we were pampered and extremely well taken care of. The ship's staff was a constant reminder of something we strive to provide here at MayaIndia and that is exceptional customer service. Everyone offered service with a smile, and they practiced what I call the art of anticipation. They went out of their way to anticipate our every need BEFORE we even knew what we needed! It was great! Each morning, our server, Joseph brought us fresh squeezed orange juice, without us asking for it- and free of charge. After we ordered our favorite frozen drinks at dinner our first night on the ship, our drink server arrived at our table each night with a Mango Daiquiri for my older daughter and me, a strawberry margarita for my youngest daughter, and a pina colada for my husband. We we very well taken care of and MayaIndia would like to offer you the same quality of service. In addition to being pampered on the ship, we traveled to beautiful islands including Jamaica, The Grand Cayman, Mexico and Haiti. Each destination inspired us to bring you something fresher and sweeter than we have offered in the past. I foresee some juicy, tropical fragrances on the horizon in our summer product lineup. So hold on to your cupcakes- there's something new and exciting being whipped up in the MayaIndia Body Bakery! Until next time, Stay Sweet!
Hey MayaIndia Sweeties! Your MayaIndia Crew was busy during the Memorial Day weekend at a 3-day African Street Festival sponsored by the Brooklyn Academy of the Arts (BAM). This was my first time participating in this event as a vendor and it was a beautiful weekend full of music, art and LOTS of food! I always enjoy seeing old friends and meeting new ones and this event did not disappoint. Some of the hot products most loved by our customers this weekend were our Body Frosting, Bath Syrup, Shampoo Bars and, as always, our Handmade Soaps. I was so excited to see several members of my beloved sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, and many of them stopped by to say hello, take a picture and support my table. I met sorority sisters from as far away as Washington D.C, Virginia and Florida. On the last day of the festival, I was introduced to Mr. Chuck Davis, the founder of Dance Africa. I wasn't able to snap his picture, but he gave me a warm hug and thanked me for participating as a vendor. I also received a visit from an old friend who is an accomplished poet, artist and all around good person. I know him as D-Cross. Here we are pictured with his lovely wife, Zakeia, and their daughter. Over the next 12 months, there are plans to move MayaIndia in the direction of product placement in existing retail establishments and less vending activity. Although there are certain events we participate in annually that we hope to continue to attend, I believe we can better serve our customers by making our products readily available in the community while increasing our web presence. I love the face to face contact with old and new customers. I love telling our story and hearing what our customers have to say about our products. We look forward to finding a balance that allow us to still enjoy that interaction while we continue to grow. Until next time, Stay sweet!
Hey there MayaIndia Sweeties! It's been awhile since I've posted and I'm attempting to get back on track! I want to tell you about a wonderful evening Sade Maya and I spent with some phenomenal business women. We had dinner with the lovely ladies of LBU. LBU, also known as Lucky Break University, is the led by none other than the awe inspiring Lela Barker. This woman has been single handedly transforming the lives and businesses of women all over the world! (No really, she has). Her wisdom, experience and willingness to share, guide and offer gentle kicks in the pants have been instrumental in helping women build their empires with confidence and loads of new found business savvy. The other ladies present at this dinner soiree are doing big things as well. I had a chance to talk shop with Lynn Elko of Emma's Friends Soaps and Lotions. She makes great products and we talked a little about business, but, as moms, we were also chatting it up about her sweet daughter, Emma, and how our children seem to grow so fast. We were trying to make sense of the fact that Emma is officially a teenager (Woo Hoo!) I also learned that Lynn is from the same town my Mom grew up in, Wilkes Barre, Pa.! Such a small world! Lisa Buteaux of Comfort and Joy Soap Co. was there as well, and let me tell you, she has some beautiful handmade creations. She talked about being in business for herself and how isolated one can feel when you don't know other makers in your area. Clearly that's not stopping her from cranking out some absolute beauties- check out her website and you'll see what I mean! A sweet lady carrying an equally sweet little baby named Milo also joined us. Her name is April May and her business is called Everything Little Miss. She makes stationery and all I can say is you need to see her work to believe it. So fun, so cute, and so I WANT IT ALL!! I suppose it's safe to admit that I was once a paper junkie. Before the days of email and text messaging, I lived in a stationery store in my area called World Imports and every week I bought beautiful stationery with matching envelopes. I had lots of cousins and pen pals I wrote to regularly and ALWAYS sent letters on pretty paper- NEVER loose leaf!! There's a little known fact about me :) Anyway, check out April's site and see if you don't have a hard time controlling yourself when you view her collection. Of course, I love meeting with women entrepreneurs and brainstorming ways to improve our businesses as well as just enjoying their company in a social setting. But do you know what I love even more? Exposing my daughters to these events so they become more comfortable with how thing work and what business looks like behind the scenes. Networking is such an important aspect of any business and when women work together and support one another, everyone wins. Until next time, Stay sweet!
Hey MayaIndia Sweeties! I am often asked where I get inspiration for our soaps and other products. This week, I had the pleasure of taking 36 children to the Long Island Aquarium. It was lots of fun, but also the source of inspiration for me. There were so many beautifully colored sea creatures and they made me think of how I could incorporate those vibrant colors into my products. Inspiration is all around me and I am especially inspired by nature. Very soon, I will share some of the soaps I have created as a result of this trip, but for now, I'll just share some of the photos that I took. Which one could you transformed into a beautiful soap? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Until next time. Stay Sweet!
Hey MayaIndia Sweeties! As many of you already know, I am a Clinical Social Worker by profession. I am currently employed full time in a Long Island high school and I love what I do. People often tell me they don't know how I do my job because it seems so difficult. Honestly, there are some pretty tough days, but there are also days when it all totally makes sense. Today was one of those days. Over the years, I have met people who have had such a negative high school experience that once they graduated, they never looked back. I have been blessed with the chance to develop great relationships with the students I've come in contact with. These kids actually WANT to keep in touch with me and come back to visit whenever they can. One of my former students, Marquise Chess, returned to school today as a speaker during our Human Relations Day program. He spoke about his journey developing a business as a young entrepreneur who is fusing his passion for cooking with his love of music. He has been courted by Hell's Kitchen, Spike TV and Food Network. He was even a contestant on the Great Food Truck Race. Each time I speak to him, I learn something new. I can't help but offer words of support and encouragement and I am sure he will reach his goals- he's got that "it factor". If you don't believe me, check out his debut cooking show. It's days like this that I really appreciate my position even more and I only hope I can continue to have a positive influence on my students. You can connect with Keese on Facebook and Instagram at KookingWithKeese and on Twitter @DJKeese. Supporting our youth is extremely important- after all, they are our future. Until next time, Stay Sweet
Hey MayaIndia Sweeties! This month I bring you Coffee Butter, a rich, creamy butter that emits the intoxicating fragrance of fresh brewed coffee. For all of my java lovers, this butter is for YOU! I know lots of people who can't seem to get their day going without coffee. Personally, I never acquired a taste for coffee, but I absolutely LOVE the aroma! So what's so good about Coffee Butter you ask? Well, besides the wonderful fragrance, this smooth, creamy butter can be blended with other butters to create a delicious, skin loving all over body moisturizer that has lots of great benefits. For instance, did you know that besides being a very luxurious butter, Coffee Butter also adds elasticity to dry skin by assisting with moisture retention and it's becoming a poplar ingredient in sunscreen? Sounds pretty good, right? Let me tell you how I like to use my Coffee Butter. I love to add it to my Handmade Soaps, Smoothie Scrubs and of course, my special Body Frosting blend. I even add some coffee grounds to the scrubs for additional exfoliation! If you're curious and would like to add Coffee Butter to your daily routine, shoot me an email at MayaIndiaSpa@aol.com and let's talk about your needs. Until next time, Stay Sweet!