Dr Safeeya Mohammed
“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
Celebrating 20 years as a dental surgeon, a proud graduate of St Stephen’s College, Princes Town, Dr Caroline Singh fearlessly expanded her portfolio and allowed life experiences to enrich and guide her entrepreneurial journey.
Following her passion for beauty and fashion, Dr Singh decided to channel her analytical science background and creativity into the formulation of a successful skincare brand, Buttered Up in 2015. Powered by plant and fruit extracts that were gentle, yet effective in treating common skincare conditions, the brand is now available across the Caribbean.
Over ten years ago, after she experienced adult acne and frustration in trying several skincare lines and recommended spa treatments with no success, the need for a more natural approach was birthed. On her travels, Dr Singh obtained skincare products with fewer chemicals and natural ingredients as the base, which resulted in the desired improvements in her acne. Her entrepreneurial appetite kicked in.
“I realised there was a void then in the market for quality local skincare products and I researched several options. My friends also became part of my focused market group, along with professionals trained in skincare formulations. I realised everyone had some skincare concern and solutions were needed, Singh said.
“Now, Buttered Up has approximately 30 products for face, body, and hair including essential oils, facial cleansers, facial scrubs, toners, shampoo, body butter, and soaps with the reassurance of no parabens or formaldehyde and widely available across T&T. Expanding throughout the region, Buttered Up is also retailed at EC Makeup Bar in Kingston, Jamaica.”
Dr Singh shared that with these successes, there was a fair share of hiccups and difficulties along the way. But she added that “one must enjoy the upward journey, cognisant of the fact that there will be challenges. The obstacles are inevitable, they make you stronger. I believe that we must not settle for mediocrity but have the hunger to pursue our dreams with excellence.”
Innovative steps that propelled a local brand
A local brand that stood the test of time, strategic innovations allowed her brand to grow, even during the COVID-19 period.
“We realised, with spas being closed for a significant period, persons were pressed to try at-home facials, DIY masks, and at-home skincare routines. We provided online options and sales continued despite stores being closed. That led to the development of the country’s first skincare mixing bar, launched in 2021, a space where you can visit, create and customise body products to your liking. Visitors at our mixing bar are wowed by the concept of creating their own products, adding their own scent to a body butter or shower gel, adding an extract to make their body scrub more effective, or simply sitting and appreciating the aromas … Created by two, me and you!” Dr Singh excitedly shared.
Now more than ever with the increased cost of living, Dr Singh encouraged people to be forward-thinking and think outside of the box.
“Take that bold step and dive into more fields that would not only supplement your income but would teach you lifelong skills. The journey was no easy one, it took a lot of sleepless nights, attending many markets, and delivering to retailers after working at my dental practice.
“Not forgetting, waking up on Sundays at 5 am to exhibit in the local up-markets, answering online messages from 6 am till I go to bed, dealing with delays in shipping and clearing of raw materials, unavailability of packaging when we need, the list of challenges goes on, but it is all worth it! Today I feel proud of my achievements!”
Her advice to young entrepreneurs
“I encourage young persons to learn as many skills as possible, do not be conventional. Whilst it is important to have a tertiary level education it is not necessarily going to find you that dream job. We need to build our own empires.”
• Persevere, don’t give up, and gain your financial independence!
• Support and collaborate with other entrepreneurs!
• Do your market research!
• Be willing to work hard!
• Be brave and bold!