When I was growing up, Whitley from a Different World taught me that if I wanted a bright smile, I should put Vaseline on my teeth. Girls today (and not too far back ‘yesterdays’) have found another way. They use lip gloss instead. Lip gloss is such a popular thing for pre-teens and teens alike that the local public high school has banned it on campus, tooting that the young girls are spending too much time applying and reapplying it when they should be listening to the lessons. The thing is, adults too are into lip gloss. For me, it’s what I most often wear if I will wear anything at all. In my arsenal of ‘smile brightening’ toolkit is a cherry-colored lip gloss from C’Novia Toussaint’s line of lip glosses.
At the age of 10, C’Novia came up with the idea to start her lip gloss business. She felt she was too young to be an entrepreneur and delayed the launch over and over. Instead of launching, she spent those four years researching and perfecting her product. She spent the time sourcing out vendors and planning. And she spent the time being too timid to jump! She doesn’t regret the delay. Rather, she feels the time was used to better prepare herself. If she could change one thing, though, it would be to be bold in what she wants to accomplish. C’Novia doesn’t want ANY young people to feel like they can’t do what they set out to do.
One thing C’Novia shared was that it took FOREVER to get her production products on island. She’d nearly ran out of patience when the items finally arrived. C’Novia believes that if it were less complicated to get goods shipped, there would be more entrepreneurs. “I wanted the goods to hurry and get here. I was finishing Form 3. It was a little bit too much at the time. It was a very long process. I was anxious to get started. I spent four years researching. It was finally time!”
C’Novia was only 14 years old when she launched her line of cosmetics at the Transformation Church International JAM (Jesus Anointed Ministry) Fun in the Sun event on August 5, 2019. The JAM was her opportunity to show what she had been working on for some time. To prepare, C’Novia created a fresh batch of lip glosses and checked and rechecked everything to make sure everything was perfect. She worked with Joycelyn Garcia, Graphic Designer/Owner of Diamond Designz, to get her brand just right. On the day of the event, she applied her lip gloss, calmed her nerves, and stepped out to begin her entrepreneurship lifestyle.
Today, business is booming. She has added a lip balm for men and lip oils to her arsenal. “There is a big difference between lip gloss and lip oil. The gloss may give you shine, but a lip oil is mainly for moisturizing the skin of your lips. ” Men can also order skin moisturizer from the men’s product line because what man doesn’t want moisturized skin!?!?
C’Novia disclosed to VIL&S that with her products, the products developed for men have a distinct scent from a woman’s product line. For men, C’Novia uses mango and coconut. She shared that her mango scents are derived by either getting mango scented oil or just buying it. To make her mango scents, she takes the skin of the mango and soaks it in vodka for at least six months. When she looked at the cost to purchase it versus buying, she found the upfront cost was drastically lower if she made it herself.
During this pandemic, C’Novia saw a need and quickly sought to fill it. “C’Novia Cosmetic Hand Sanitizer was just another way of diversifying my business. As a cosmetic brand, is important to stay on the cutting edge and current trends. Due to COVID -19, hand sanitizer was in great demand. As we look for new ways to reduce our imports into the BVI, I believe it’s important for us to look at our resources and begin to produce. Most of the ingredients for the hand sanitizer were found in my grandmother’s garden.”
During the 24-hour curfew period, C’Novia also felt the need to give back. Seeing so many people struggling to make ends meet, she decided to help the Family Support Network (FSN) restock their pantry. “I donated $100 from my sales of the hand sanitizers and another $50 from cosmetic product sales to help them. The hand sanitizers retail for just $5.”
On February 16, 2020, C’Novia was featured at Trefle’s Whispers of Summer Collection launch. “Some of my lip glosses were sold at the Seagrape Boutique on Cooper Island. I am grateful to the owner of Trefle, Kristin Fraser, for giving me this unique opportunity to showcase my product.”
To date, C’Novia gets excited when she reviews her ‘books’. “I am making a profit that is significant for someone my age. It’s exciting. I write down everything. At the end of each week, I tally money made. I pay my tithes, put some in savings, pay myself and put the rest back in the business. I know the cost it takes to each tube of lip gloss. I have it down to a science.”
C’Novia is a science student at the Elmore Stoutt High School. “I want to be a doctor. I haven’t decided which one I want to do yet, but it’s either a gynecologist, a marine biologist, or an obstetrician. Biology is my favorite science right now. I also love algebra. In my spare time, I like sports. Currently, I am part of the ATC, Ambassador Throwing Club, track club where I do shot put and discus. I also enjoy playing volleyball.”
C’Novia’s radiant personality has her looking towards the future. She is excited to launch her hair product line. She can ‘get to know your hair’ and create a product specifically for your hair type. She loves speaking to people about and educating them on loving their hair. “All people have good hair. If you use the correct product in the correct way, you will see your hair ‘pop’. You may not have curls. You may have coils but knowing what to do with your hair unique hair type will help you earn to embrace what you have been blessed with. I can educate my clients on their hair type and help them pick the correct product for their porosity and hair type. My first product will be a shampoo because most shampoos are too drying. Then I will move to a conditioner. I want to work with many people to determine what would work best for the vast majority of hair types.”
C’Novia is currently juggling school, making products, making a profit, sports, and creating new products. “I think I am doing well, but I can do better if I managed my time better. I would tell those who want to get in business to ensure you have time. Time is very important for a business for a young person. For those who do don’t have school to contest with, it’s the same. Time is everything. If you are already in business, have faith in yourself and the business, spend time with your business, and expand your business.” She wants to eventually have a skin and hair cosmetic line in the future.
To order, call or WhatsApp 284-499-1611 or visit her social media accounts on Facebook (C’Novia Cosmetics) and IG (IslandGirlCiCi)