Zhi Bath and Body is a small business based in Mint Hill, NC, owned by veteran Kim Cross. Kim has lived with dermatitis and severe psoriasis for over twenty years. As she was looking to relieve her skin ailments with custom skincare blends that included goat’s milk, Kim began to create products that helped others with similar problems. Having spent years working in salons as a stylist, Kim was already familiar with creating solutions. Thirteen years later, Zhi is a dream that is continually becoming a reality for the owner and chief crafter. The company’s vision is simple: Help others by making skincare painless. Being an example of a disability like Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis doesn’t disqualify one from success and leave a legacy. The company now offers goat’s milk soaps, skincare systems, soy candles, and home fragrances. Kim also provides white-labeled services on demand for those interested in creating product lines and will soon teach others to start skincare businesses. Zhi exists to be of service to any and all by providing skincare products and soy candles that promote healthy skin, healthy lives, and a healthier environment. Their purpose is simple; to make skincare products and candles made of natural ingredients for all to enjoy–even the most sensitive skin. Kim firmly believes that hard work, a giving heart, and passion can touch the masses. Her motto is, “Keep pushing; the easiest job is the one you love most. Mine is handcrafting fantastic, high-quality goat’s milk skincare products and soy candles.”
What does success look like to you?
Success looks like Zhi being an active and working example to my two teenage boys of what it looks like to genuinely help people by selling them toxin-free skincare options that will be good to and good for them. Then taking that the revenue from that to be of service to the least of us. There are so many homeless veterans we want to care for on a larger level…success is teaching my kids to help others and make a living while doing so.
What kind of impact do you want to have on the world?
My dream for Zhi’s impact is simply to take my corner of the world and provide an alternative to harmful skincare products for as many as I can. I want the masses to say, “You helped me, and I’m thankful.” I believe in my soul that is my purpose.
Have you authored a book? What is the title and synopsis for your book? What do you want readers to gain from your book?
I HAVE!! I just penned my first e-Book; Natural Self Care for Depression and Anxiety. It’s an expansion of an article I wrote for Swagher Magazine several years ago. It covers a part of my journey with being anxious and depressed due to physical ailments, the research for relief that I use, and resources for my readers. I want my readers to know symptoms of depression are not always the severe ones you hear about and that you MAY not know you’re affected. If you are, here’s a few things to know and try.
What is the name of your business? What type of business is it?
My natural skincare line is Zhi Bath & Body. My adult coloring book line is NEW; the initial book and name of the business is Be Still & Color.
What made you choose this type of business?
I’m a hair stylist at heart. I spent 22 years behind the chair before leaving the salon because of my skin. I had been in search for skincare that did not irritate my skin condition for years, so being the creative I am, I started making my own. Somewhere along the way, my mom gave me an adult coloring book for a birthday and I was hooked! So relaxing, so centering when I’ve got my mind running in 10 directions. I love design, so I in my desire to help somebody else, I designed my own…hoping SOMEONE would gain what I have from these books.
What hurdles did you personally face in getting ready to open your business and how did you overcome them?
Self doubt has and many times still is the biggest hurdle. The ability is always there, the desire and passion is definitely always there. But getting over ‘me’ was the worst hinderance to what I knew I wanted to do. There are two things that help overcome that–one I just heard today. 1) Do it anyway, baby. Do it because you are scared. (Thank you to my husband for that) 2) Money is good in my hands. (Thank you Nicole Walters for that nugget). These two things are how I overcome my self doubt…they’re the reason I even feel great about being here right now.
Does your company help the community where it is located?
Yes, and I’m so glad COVID should all us to get back at it later this year. Every year, we host a coat drive for homeless and transitioning military veterans. As a Navy veteran with a Navy veteran for a husband, we see how critical it is to help the community that helped make us who we are today. It’s critical that we help those who have served and protected this country so honorably. And we’re excited to continue to do that. With the expansion of Zhi, my prayer is to partner with a local, black-owned farmer to help establish community gardens in area food deserts.
Why did you choose entrepreneurship?
As I got older, I found I don’t like working on someone else’s clock. I felt like I was out of alignment with what I was supposed to be doing. I know how to do all these things, why am I making someone else millions instead of me? That’s what I’d ask myself repeatedly, then never do the work to make it happen. But when you’re tired of a thing, you make changes. So I stepped out.
What would you say is your most driving motivation to keep doing what you to do?
My kids. My legacy. When I leave this world, I want my kids to have the same spirit of hard work and spirit of giving. And I want others to be inspired to be and do better based on the legacy they see in me and the company.
Have you ever turned down a client?
I have not. I’ve continually prayed that God puts the right people in my path–the ones what are good for me and I for them. I pray that anyone with intent to do my family, my business or me harm would pass on by. He’s given me great insight on who I should and shouldn’t work with so I’ve not had to turn anyone down who wasn’t for me.
What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business? What are the goals that you hold personally?
For Zhi, I desire to build a million dollar company that will allow me to send my boys to school (or the military) AND provide a full scholarship for another young person who wants to be an entrepreneur. Wouldn’t that be awesome!? I’m so excited to do that! Personally, I just want to make an impact on my boys that whether I’m alive or dead, they know (without a doubt) they are loved and they can do and be anything because they are just that amazing.
Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.
Oh for sure! Some I’ve worked with directly, others that don’t know they’ve mentored me. Most recently are Donna Maria and Nicole Walters. When I tell you these ladies are no nonsense and no excuses. When we were done, I had my marching orders and was STOKED to be someone better and build an even better business. I love that they continue to nurture me and so many others in the way that they do. They help me to see and believe what they already know about me…that kind of mentoring is priceless. Adeea Rogers has mentored me but may not know she still does with how she carries herself.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Don’t quit. Do anything you want to, just don’t quit. Write that book if you have a story to share…someone will read it. Make that candle that you LOVE…someone else should know how amazing it is too! But PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, don’t quit. You cannot fail if you don’t quit, you only succeed or learn.
What’s next for you in your business/brand? What can readers look forward to from you?
Next for my brand, next is branching off into teaching and starting my next coloring book. Readers can look forward to new, easier ways to purchase Zhi products with the subscription program on our goat milk soap and lotion and new products like our Natural Intimate Foam Cleanser Our membership program is in the works….REALLY excited to launch THAT! I’m soooo looking forward to writing more guides and e-Books for Inner Zhi — because they’re so awesome!
Is there anything else you would like to share with me?
I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share about Me & Zhi with you and your readers. This did my heart real good and I’m grateful for it. If anyone would like to connect with me to chat about what I do, how I do it, or even get a different perspective on a project they have in mind to launch (such as book cover designs, website layouts, etc), my calendar will open for more appointments mid-April at a reasonable rate. My coloring book will inspire you and will be available mid-April as well.