Nashonta McDowell on creating a business and a home in Nashville
We want to welcome a new purveyor to the Batch community!
Meet Nashonta McDowell, the maker behind Kiia Bath + Body. This native Nashvillian has been creating customized lotions, soaps, candles, and other self-care products for eleven years. She was selling her local craft goods at the Nashville Farmers’ Market before Batch even existed! Read on to learn more about this Black female-owned business and the talented entrepreneur behind it.
How did Kiia Bath + Body get started?
I always wanted to have my own business, but I originally thought I wanted to open a boutique to sell clothes and shoes. Then, I decided I wanted to create the T.J. Maxx of bath and body, selling others’ products. It was never my goal to make my own products.
But, I woke up one morning after having a dream that told me to make my own products, so I started with body butter. That was in 2009, when I was still working a full-time day job. Then, I added body oils, and eventually I started making candles. After that, I learned how to make soap. Just four or five years ago, I started making lotion. I thought it would be difficult to make the products myself, but I learned that it wasn’t so hard.
I have a medical billing background, and I did that for around 15 years. In 2010, I left my job to focus on Kiia Bath + Body. Currently, I am in school to become an aesthetician and hope to finish the program in September 2020. I am excited to be learning more about how to care for skin and will bring that into my work with Kiia Bath + Body.
Tell me about the Kiia Bath + Body products from Batch!
Batch now offers the Kiia Bath + Body Goat Milk Lotion in Unscented and Vanilla-Lavender. The great thing about my lotion is it doesn’t contain a lot of fillers. If you look at the back of a typical lotion label, there will be about 25 ingredients listed. Mine only has about 10. Goat milk has the same pH balance as our own skin. The lotion is creamy but not greasy.
I make all the Kiia Bath + Body products in my own kitchen. I have special tools, including an emulsifying blender, and a special process just for making the products. One day I’d like to get a small place just for the business and beef up production!
There are so many people in Nashville now who are new to town. What is it like being a native Nashvillian?
I was born and raised in Nashville and went to McGavock High School. I grew up in both East Nashville, where my mother lived, and North Nashville, near the Nashville Farmers’ Market, where my grandmother lived. I’ve seen the changes that have happened in Nashville over the years, and I’m excited about the growth. I can't complain! I lived in East Nashville before it was cool to live in East Nashville, and I still love it. The growth is great—I just learned about a new bakery that’s opening up.
Now, I live in Antioch with my 21 year-old son, and we have been here around 15 years. I have a great family.
Your products are all about self-care. What’s your favorite self-care ritual?
I’ve learned to take time to have a good bubble bath. I love to lay in an epsom salt bath and read a good book. It’s so good to spend some time being quiet and still.
Check out the locally made Kiia Bath + Body Goat Milk Lotion from Batch and add it to your own customized self-care Batch box today!