Fancy: Welcome back, Kim! We are excited to have you. What is new with you?
Kim: I’m so glad to be back with you. It’s been an amazing four years with SwagHer Magazine, and I’m stoked to see where we’ll go next! Zhi has blossomed since our last conversation. To compliment my goat milk skincare & candle line, I’ve started teaching soapmaking and candlemaking classes as well as landed in a new store in Collinsville, VA (Gourmet Keto Express). I write e-books that coincide with my new membership program that allows me to help others be intentional with practicing self-care through encouragement, accountability, and outstanding products. Did I mention I designed a coloring book, started business coaching, and I write self-care articles? There’s so much-we’d have to sit another day to cover it all.
Fancy: What inspired your skincare brand, Zhi Bath & Body, for those not as familiar with you?
Kim: Zhi was inspired by my need for skincare products that did not agitate my skin. I left military service with the beginnings of a skin condition that progressively got worse over 20 years. When I first started looking for options, natural skincare products that smelled fantastic and didn’t agitate my skin were hard to find. In the twenty-plus years since, I’ve honed my craft of being a hairstylist–where I also learned to formulate. Couple my experience in haircare with being too stubborn to quit trying to find a solution for my skincare, I began crafting my own products. I was a disaster at first, but the lessons were priceless. I’m now 16 years into formulating and crafting natural skincare and home fragrance…I’m soooo excited about the future of Zhi Bath & Body!
Fancy: Since you are former military, did you ever think that you would be working in this industry?
Kim: Absolutely…for the most part. I knew I would be in the beauty industry at seven years old when I braided my doll’s hair myself for the first time. I did all my friend’s hair throughout middle school and high school (and in the Navy). I tried it, had it, duplicated it, messed it up, and everything in between if it was a fun, funky style.
I also came from a military family, so service was also engrained pretty deep. There was something so normal about being in JROTC that being in the military was just right for me. Thinking on my time in the Navy, I can say with certainty that it prepared me to be the dedicated formulator and business owner I am today. I’m unafraid of hard work, tough working conditions, dumb things going wrong, and even pushback for being a woman. I have no doubt that the drive to succeed came from serving in the military. It changes you…makes you better. It feels amazing being back to my first love with know-how and drive to keep going.
Read the rest of Francheska “Fancy” Felder’s interview with back cover story feature Kim Cross in our Favored & Fit issue.