More Than Skin Deep
How Soul-Searching and Holistic Health Inspired Island Girl Natural Beauty

When Island Girl Natural Beauty Founder Tawny Brown was laid off from the corporation where she had worked for nearly 25 years, it stung.

“It was unfortunate news, to say the least, and I had to do a little bit of soul-searching,” the California native says. “But one day I brought some skin care and beauty products to a local health event, and they were a pretty big hit. I’d been making natural products for myself and friends and family for years, but never sold them. After that experience, though, I started to really look at it as a business.” And she hasn’t looked back.

After starting the business nearly three years ago, Brown partnered with a local massage therapist, Shacara Wynn, to open a location in May 2018 in the Cocoa Village El Charro Plaza selling a limited array of products and scheduling massages by appointment only. But Island Girl Natural Beauty quickly expanded and needed a larger, second home. So, at the end of October 2018, the flagship Island Girl Natural Beauty store opened in Merritt Square Mall. “We sell natural and organic bath, spa and skin care products, including a huge array of handmade soaps, whipped body butter, salt scrubs, and essential oils,” Brown says. The store often hosts pop up spa parties, “Wine and Wash” hair care parties, trunk shows, and the store also carries jewelry made by local artisans, accessories, gift baskets, Turkish towels and blankets, and clothing.

A Personal Touch

For Brown, the products are personal. “I’ve been making these natural products since I was very young, because I have a history of eczema and very sensitive, dry skin,” she explains. “So I figured out how to create natural and nourishing products for myself, and then, when my grandson struggled with eczema as well, I worked on purifying formulas even further. All of our products include unscented options, and what’s great about making our own line is that we can customize products to suit customers’ individual needs and preferences. I did this for my family first, and always enjoyed giving products and even candles as gifts. So it’s really a passion for me, as well as my business.”

As a first-time retail entrepreneur, Brown has also found a lot of support in the Cocoa Beach Chamber of Commerce. “It’s like you become a family,” she says. “It’s nice to connect with other small business owners, meet new people, and get out of your comfort zone. It’s so important to be actively involved in our local business community.” Brown took the initiative to host a “Coastal Christmas” event at the Merritt Square Mall store showcasing their product lines, supporting other small businesses, local non-profit agencies, and honoring the state champion Merritt Island High School volleyball team.

“The management at Merritt Square Mall has been proactive about reviving the atmosphere and getting more energy flowing through the space there,” she says. “I’m in support of that. So Island Girl Natural Beauty will have some wonderful upcoming events at the mall.”

By Carrie Stevenson