Dr Rei-launya Amsterdam’s Eden Clay changing the local beauty industry one product at a time

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By Lakhram Bhagirat

Eden Clay is a holistic personal care brand that aims at enriching one’s self-care routine. The handcrafted body care products are all-natural and produced locally by the dedicated Dr Rei-launya Amsterdam.

You can be assured that the products are a result of years of experimenting with various kinds of butter and oils and research by Dr Amsterdam.

Dr Amsterdam recently spoke with the Inews where she shared the journey from Dental School to the world of entrepreneurship.

Dr Rei-launya Amsterdam

The 29-year-old Dental Surgeon grew up in Georgetown and has always been encouraged to excel. She attended Queen’s College and then Nations University where she did Sixth Form studies. Having always been interested in the sciences, she enrolled at the University of Guyana where she began studying Pharmacology.

However, after two years of pharmacology studies, she decided to switch to Dentistry. In 2016, she graduated as a Dental Surgeon from the University of Guyana and is now employed with the Ministry of Health.

“I have always been interested in the sciences…Probably around 2011 when I started university I looked online and saw there were many women and girls who were playing with shea butter. I think that was the popular ingredient back then and I was always intrigued as to how they could have made this butter get into this smooth consistency. How they were able to manipulate it and add oils that had all these benefits.

“Around 2012 I started to play with those ingredients. I was able to find those ingredients here locally, you know coconut oil, crab oil, mix them see how it felt on the skin and even at that point I had friends and family impressed with the presentation, how I was able to create the mixes, the oils I would put together and they encouraged me at that time that I should have pursued it but I didn’t,” she recounted.

The reason for her not pursuing that hobby was that she was very focused on her studies and never really thought about venturing into business.

In 2017, she visited the Women in Business Expo at the Pegasus Hotel with her boyfriend and it was there she saw how women and girls turned their hobbies and passions into a business. Her boyfriend then encouraged her to start marketing herself but still, she felt as though she was not up to the task as yet.

“It wasn’t until the end of 2019 and leading into 2020 when we were in the middle of the pandemic that I started to take the projects that I was working on and turn those into actual formulations with lots of research and the science background that I have I understood the mixing of certain oils, the chemical reactions that would have taken place. I did a lot of stability testing and I shared what I would have come up with persons around me and they were very impressed. I made sure to register the business once I finalised on the name and it all just went from there,” she said.

Amsterdam registered Eden Clay in September of 2020.

Initially, Amsterdam wanted to focus on just body butters so the name “Buttercup” was played around but she did not “feel it”. With the scope of products, she envisioned for her business, she felt that “Buttercup” did not fit so she spent a few months playing around with names and one Saturday morning she came up with “Eden”.

“I called my boyfriend right away and I told him the name of the business is going to be Eden and I remember telling all my friends that it would be Eden. I was so excited because I felt so sure for the first time about a name and through our conversations and he (my boyfriend) said you take these ingredients, you mould them just like people would mould clay, why not add clay and I really liked that element and I put clay to Eden and Eden Clay was born.”

Currently, Eden Clay retails two products – butter bars and whipped body polish in the scents of “Bare” and “Blume”.

The butter bars are solid lotion bars that are meant to give moisture and emollience to the skin. Similar to your body butters that would be in a whipped consistency this is in a solid form so it is meant to be rubbed in the hand so you can get products on and then it is rubbed into the skin. Amsterdam chose the bar because of how compact and convenient it is.

She packages them in reusable tins so once your bar is finished, you can always contact her for a refill for that tin you already have.

“When I did my market research, I knew I wanted to start with a product that would moisturise and provide lustre and sheen to the skin but I wanted [something] that would stand out – something that was not popular or seen on the market and solid lotions are pretty well known overseas but nobody was offering it here. I had to ensure that with our hot climate the bar wouldn’t melt or get sappy or goopy and messy and I was able to perfect that formulation and we now have the butter bar that lots of people love. Persons that have bought it said it has assisted them with their hand especially with all the handwashing and sanitising we are doing,” Amsterdam explained.

She said that there are no advertised benefits of toning the skin or getting rid of dark marks even though with consistent use and because the bar is all-natural, that may occur. The main benefit is to bring moisture back into the skin and to leave the skin soft and supple. The scents, “Bare” and “Blume”, are not overpowering but it leaves a very nice scent that lingers on the skin.

Persons would be familiar with sugar scrubs; however, the whipped body polish is not your average sugar scrub that is just made with sugar and oil. This is made with a whipped base that includes shea butter, sweet almond oil and that is mixed into a very fluffy butter base that sugar is added to. So once you apply it to the skin, it tends to produce a lather on the skin and once you rinse it off, it rinses completely off your skin leaving no residue.

Amsterdam, like many small business owners, is heavily reliant on the importation of ingredients to make their businesses economically viable.

“I had to import everything I needed from the cocoa butter to the tins. As a small business owner, I do feel the brunt of the taxes we have to pay on things we import and all of that adds up to your costs.”

The entrepreneur is also heavily invested in creating the ultimate experience for her customers so she would keep in constant contact with them to get feedback. Since she began officially selling her products just about a month ago, the response has been positive and the market is rapidly expanding for her.

“I love dentistry. Dentistry is still a very big part of my life but I also had a passion for the natural skincare realm and I wanted to share that gift as well with those around me. So, it wasn’t easy balancing both because it takes a lot of preparation and time management but so far it has been really good.

“We are eco-friendly. We’re sustainable. We’re a handmade business that provides products that will give your skin deep moisture and lustre and we will create an experience in your self-care routine. It’s something you’ve never seen before, at least not on the market here in Guyana, and I can assure you that once you try Eden you will fall in love.”

You can connect with Amsterdam via Facebook and Instagram – Eden Clay – to place orders.