By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer
Report for America Corps Member
Cynthia Rumph became a nurse in 1994. In caring for her patients, she witnessed what stress was doing to their hair, skin and mental health. Although Rumph wanted to provide more wellness services to patients, she needed to abide by hospital guidelines. In 2006, she launched her first business that would set her on a path to make self care more accessible.
“Nursing allowed me to care for people by what healthcare insurance standards would allow,” said Rumph. “Being an entrepreneur allows me to be more proactive on the wellness pathway for people.”
Rumph struggled with eczema so her first entrepreneurial endeavor was Anasa Life, a luxury vegan skincare brand. During this time, she was working as a nurse in the cancer unit, and the hospital did not permit the use of products with fragrances because it would trigger nausea.
Many of Rumph’s patients had lost their hair and were insecure about their appearance. She determined that there must be a way to formulate scented skincare products without causing allergies or adverse reactions.
Anasa Life’s products now come in seven different fragrances that range from emitting fruity to floral notes. The brand also supplies haircare and beard care products. Rumph was able to employ her training as a nurse to choose healthy and safe ingredients.
In 2010, Rumph set out on her next business venture, Serenity Wellness Studio, after realizing that many customers did not understand the ingredients in their personal care products and the reason behind their skin and hair conditions.
“We worked with healthcare professionals, bodywork professionals and nutrition specialists to take care of the whole person,” said Rumph. “We wanted people to learn how to effectively embrace wellness all the time so that stress could be reduced.”
During the daytime, her husband, a massage therapist and personal trainer, would manage the staff and take on clients. When Rumph returned home from the hospital, she would handle the administrative side of the business. After a couple years of running the wellness studio, Rumph launched PRITYTEES, a t-shirt line that features self-affirming statements.
In 2015, Rumph transitioned into entrepreneurship full-time and quickly after, she opened Fashion Spa House, a lifestyle brand that merged all of her enterprises into one place. All of the clothes she sells are curated from small, woman or Black-owned local businesses, and they are made to fit the five different body types.
The specialty retail store now has two locations, one in Baltimore and the other in BWI Airport, and, on Saturday, Rumph will host the grand opening of her third location in Owings Mills.
This new spot will serve primarily as a manufacturing space but will be open for retail on Saturdays. There, Fashion Spa House will produce shampoo, conditioner, body wash and moisturizer for local hospitals, and soon, Rumph will turn out the products for her Amazon store.
At the grand opening, Fashion Spa House will kick off its Black Friday sales, which include 50% off of individual skincare products, 30% off of product bundles and five PRITYTEES for $100.
In each endeavor, accessing capital was the predominant challenge for Rumph. While Black women entrepreneurs comprise the majority of rising businesses, they are also the least likely to receive funding. Rumph said that if this inequity was addressed, Black woman-owned businesses would have more opportunity for success and expansion.
In the future, Rumph intends to add facial serums to her skincare line and expand PRITYTEES to an entire athleisure wear brand. Fashion Spa House will also host self-care retreats for consumers once it is safe to do so.
“I would like for people to take away from our brand, if nothing else, the importance of self care,” said Rumph. “It is so important for you to put yourself first [and] to find time for yourself in the day.”
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