Karen Tappin l Karen’s Body Beautiful
Entrepreneur and educator Karen Tappin-Saunderson is one of the billion-dollar beauty industry’s rising stars. In just seven short years, Karen, the founder and proprietor of Karen’s Body Beautiful, has transformed her organic body care line from a modest home-based business to a blossoming enterprise with robust internet sales, a luxurious store and a chic spa. Karen’s foray into the rarefied world of beauty happened by chance. In 2003, Karen, an astute businesswoman, was successfully marketing custom gift baskets during the holidays. Alarmed by the presence of preservatives and possible carcinogens in some conventional bath and body products, Karen decided to create all natural alternatives to incorporate into her gift baskets.
After researching the cosmetic and therapeutic properties of natural ingredients, Karen developed recipes for a full spa line made from all natural ingredients, including lotions, soaps, scrubs, oils, candles and bath salts. Karen’s products were immediately a hit-so successful in fact that the following year she and her husband decided to focus their entrepreneurial efforts on selling bath and beauty products. Karen’s Body Beautiful was officially launched in November 2003. Buoyed by an immediate loyal and cult following and a great grassroots marketing campaign, Karen’s first store in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn opened three months later. Karen then created an all-natural hair care collection that quickly developed a cult following. The business grew at a rapid clip and Karen installed a kitchen in the store to make her products, which streamlined the production process, increased capacity and drew interested bystanders from the street, who often became customers.
In February 2006, Karen’s Body Beautiful moved to a larger store in Clinton Hill where she was able to expand her merchandise display and the size of the kitchen, which is still visible to the public.
Karen is a highly sought after speaker and has participated in a number of business related lectures and panels. She’s also an active community volunteer who has worked extensively with urban youth, particularly teenage girls. Her company and products have been profiled in a myriad of publications, including New York Times, New York Daily News, Black Enterprise, Ebony, Essence and Vibe Magazine.