In 2010, Tracy Gunn, a former animal pharmaceutical sales rep, started UR Bath & Body in her kitchen. After a devastating layoff, a single mom with 2 kids, she invested $32 into making soaps to support her family and turned that into a seven-figure business. All the of products are handmade by those transitioning out of crisis. The company offers a place of employment that empowers and promotes women's independence from challenging family and abusive circumstances. The mission is too help uplift, reshape and rebuild the lives of those looking to regain their independence.
The Bronx isn’t just the birth place of hip hop – It’s the inspiration behind the UR Bath & Body brand. While visiting a women’s homeless shelter in New York City, Tracy noticed the director greeted each woman that walked through the door with a “UR” affirmation. "You are strong", "You are brave", "You are fearless", that inspired Tracy to create products to inspire a sense of self, naming each product after an uplifting attribute. UR Bath and Body products can be found online www.URbathco.com
We had a chat with Tracy, here are the excerpts.
- What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
In 2010, I was laid off from my job as a sales rep and I needed to provide financial stability for my children but also needed to be mom first. Being an entrepreneur was the only option to be able to control my time as well as my financial independence.
- What do you like about being in health and beauty business?
Growing up, my grandmother made soap and I developed my passion for making soaps from her. Producing products that people can identify with and gain some fulfillment is one of the things I enjoy most about being in this business. I make It a point of emphasis to interact with our customers as much as possible, and hearing how much they value our products and our mission drives me to keep going and pushing further.
- Why is it important for you to focus on women empowerment, through your business?
Women have far been overlooked for many years. Women are very capable of accomplishing so much more than most women realize. Single mothers left to manage children and life often feel the options are few. I want women to know what they are capable of. If I can accomplish success from soap they can do it too in whatever outlets they choose to pursue. Many of our employees come from different backgrounds but strength is something they can all identify with. Every women is strong and capable of achieving, and we are all shining examples of that.
- Any products for men? Any upcoming exciting products, news etc?
We are planning a men's line coming in the near future along with a children's line.
- What's your most favorite and least favorite thing about NYC?
New York City is where my heart is. It is true that if you can make it there you can make it anywhere. There isn't one thing that I dislike about NYC. My absolute favorite thing about NYC is how it helped me create a business with a mission. Susan's place in the Bronx gave me the vision for my company's core values. The city as a whole possess a unique energy, I love the pace, people and the opportunity that being in a melting pot such as NYC can present. If not for NYC, I would not be where I am today!