It’s a fact that Black women are more susceptible to painful, and often overlooked conditions such as Fibroids, Endometriosis and Diabetes. But what do you do when you don’t want to succumb to western medicine for treatment? You roll your sleeves up and create your own range of holistic, natural pain relief and that’s what Shanay Smith, founder of EmpressBody, did.
Shanay Smith, like many entrepreneurs, launched her business after discovering a gap in the market for a practical product that she needed. Since launching her business in 2016, Smith has gone on to source the finest herbal, vegan and organic remedies and harnessed the wisdom of ancient African practices to put together a collection of feminine care products that have helped women all over the world suffering from a wide range of feminine conditions and fertility issues.
Detox pearls, vaginal steaming and colon cleanses are just some of the products that she offers through her online shop. In addition to her practical products, Smith has also created a much-needed safe space on her Instagram page for women to discuss and share tips about these conditions which sadly, too often stay under the radar of popular mainstream discussions.
We recently interviewed Shanay Smith to find out more about EmpressBody and how she came to create her wonderful brand.
Can you briefly share the reason why you created EmpressBody?
Confused by my irregular or non-existent periods, I went to the doctor who confirmed I had cysts on my ovaries. I was disappointed to discover that there was no natural or holistic means of relief. The doctors pushed chemical moderation with the contraceptive pill, but when I spoke with my friends who also suffered from similar issues, they too were looking for a natural way to find relief from PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome), endometriosis, bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, fibroids and much more. We wanted a solution that was ours and didn’t homogenize our unique symptoms.
What does “EmpressBody” mean to you?
“Empress” means regal and royal. We want women to feel this way when they regain balance and find a new love for themselves with our products. EmpressBody is more than a brand or company; it’s a lifestyle that we want more women to incorporate in their day-to-day.
What personal experiences did you have that the products helped you overcome?
EmpressBody products have helped me with my PCOS and they allow me to feel at ease because my fertility worries aren’t constantly at the back of my mind anymore. When I am ready to have a family, it won’t be an issue.
What industry support have you had?
I haven’t had any industry support yet, but I’m open to working with others and especially supporting other emerging entrepreneurs in similar circles who have a meaning and cause behind what they’re pursuing.
What’s been the toughest part of your journey? And the most rewarding?
The toughest part was definitely when I was trying to convince my family and friends that leaving my very secure job and taking a break from my architecture degree at university to pursue the idea of helping women and being able to save up enough to build specialist architecture schools in the Caribbean and Africa, was a good idea! It was a battle, but I have no regrets! The most rewarding part is by far the stories that women come back with; real, life changing stories. Whether it’s regarding their revived fertility and being able to conceive after years of trying or having been told they can’t, or women who suffered with odours and a discharge that would affect their sex life and day to day activities. To hear that they’re lives have been enhanced by EmpressBody products is extremely rewarding.
Your promo says “harnessing the wisdom of ancient African practices”, what does this mean?
This is in reference to my focus as an Herbalist. I source the finest herbs from around the globe to create Yoni Steam bags and Detox Pearls. Yoni or vaginal steaming has been a staple in African and Caribbean households for centuries. It is a practice that encourages female bonding and has great holistic benefits on a wide range of intimate feminine health issues. It is done from the first menstruation, helping to recover from childbirth and to aid with the transition through menopause. I use my own special blend of herbs that have been passed down through generations of female wisdom.
“‘Empress’ means regal and royal. We want women to feel this way when they regain balance and find a new love for themselves with our products.”
How do your products help with fertility issues etc?
I have built specially tailored bundles with the right amounts of each of our products to help with specific issues, like fertility. I often recommend the fertility bundle or that women complete a full detox (six pearls), try to conceive the next month and then use two detox pearls a month until they conceive. This is the usual procedure we ask our soon to be mothers to follow. Also, we advise them to take Spirulina which is a well-known super fertility boost. We only sell raw organic spirulina. Most of the ladies who have conceived with our support have said they felt that steaming sped up the process. Steaming is proven to assist with fertility by helping to unblock any tubes and regulate the blood around your perineum, but this is for women to do at their discretion.
What are some of your most popular products?
One of our most popular products is the EmpressBody Detox Pearls, as described above. They are a selection of herbs wrapped in a cotton meshing with a cotton string attached. They can help with endometriosis, PCOS, Fibroids, they can help break down cysts, ease irregular, heavy and painful cycles, help with fertility issues, help prevent BV and yeast infections and generally create a healthier environment in the womb.
What’s next for EmpressBody?
I’m in the process of integrating EmpressBody to the US market so it’s more accessible to women in the states too. EmpressBody will have a sister company launching soon along with many more products, including a range for pre and post-menopausal women.
Visit the EmpressBody website