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An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

The Boards target for 2023-2024 was 32.5% of schools needing Tier 2 or Tier 3 support. They have exceeded this goal with 29.2% of schools reported needing the support.
School board focuses on innovation growth in district
Penelope KeenanFebruary 29, 2024

The Atlanta Board of Education reviewed Guardrail 4, which is focused on innovation and accountability in the district, by examining the progress...

Wilhelmsen and daughters create Wazuri Cosmetics

Wazuri+Cosmetics+owner+Charlene+Wilhelmsen+poses+with+politician+Stacey+Abrams+at+the+Atlanta+Arab+Festival.
Courtesy of Angel Wilhelmsen
Wazuri Cosmetics owner Charlene Wilhelmsen poses with politician Stacey Abrams at the Atlanta Arab Festival.

While experimenting with different ingredients, Charlene Wilhelmsen created an accidental success. In January 2019, Wilhelmsen created Wazuri, an all-natural cosmetics company, after she and her two daughters spent time together mixing ingredients.

“We played around one day in the kitchen and decided that the products we came up with should be called Wazuri, which means ‘collective beauty’ in Kiswahili,” Wilhelmsen said. “I wanted a brand that truly represented the beauty of wellness.”

Wilhelmsen has a personal passion for using all-natural cosmetics, and noticed a significant lack in local stores, so the trio decided to use ingredients that are naturally beneficial to the skin, such as shea shea butter and essential oils. 

“I had a really good mentor who is a shea butter importer, so we had access to a lot of materials,” Charlene Wilhelmsen said. “Wazuri Cosmetics is all natural and we specialize in body scrubs. I pursued cosmetics because I wanted to make products better and I wanted to come out with a product that was actually natural as opposed to just claiming that it was natural.”

Wilhelmsen’s daughter, Angel Wilhelmsen, said the experimentation process was lengthy because her mother was adamant about using the most beneficial combination of ingredients possible.

“It was really hard finding the right formula to use,” Angel Wilhelmsen said. “We had to go back and redo it a bunch of times, but we still have that first scrub we made. We used shea butter, granulated sugar, jojoba oil, Vitamin E, things like that; it took a while to decide those materials were exactly what we wanted to use.”

At first, Wazuri started as Charlene Wilhelmsen’s passion project where she and her daughters gave their friends and family homemade body scrubs as gifts. Over time, people began offering to pay for the products because of the effect the body scrubs had on their skin.

“We gave it away a lot, but then people started asking me to make it for them, and they were willing to pay for it,” Charlene Wilhelmsen said. “We love for people to try our product because there are a lot of products that are similar in name but dissimilar in feel and the composition. We still give gifts, but now that Wazuri is an actual business, we focus more on the branding because people want our product.”

Charlene Wilhelmsen created a website for Wazuri and began selling the brand’s products through advertisements on social media in 2019. Since then, Wilhelmsen has broadened her clientele by selling Wazuri products at local stores. 

“We have all of the social media down pat and I do a lot of pop-up shops, so on the weekends I’m popping up all over the city,” Charlene Wilhelmsen said. “Our products are located in Sevananda in Little Five Points, and we have a few stores in the West End as well as an E-commerce platform.” 

Wazuri Cosmetics owner Charlene Wilhelmsen advertises her handmade products at a market hosted by Effect Fitness. (Courtesy of Angel Wilhelmsen)

As the brand has grown, Charlene Wilhelmsen and her daughters have adopted a routine to produce, package and distribute Wazuri products.

“My workday consists primarily of producing scrubs, but I have days where I produce shea butter; it’s typically every other day,” Charlene Wilhelmsen said. “The labels are done by my daughters, so they get those done on the weekends when they have time. We designate certain days for certain products.”

Although entrepreneurship is no easy task, Charlene Wilhelmsen and her daughters have put hard work into keeping the business running.

“My entrepreneurial experience with this business is like a Rubik’s Cube—every time I get one side completely done, the other side is ruined,” Charlene Wilhelmsen said. “If one thing works with the labels, then maybe the exact size jar I want is not being produced anymore. We do all the hard work; my two daughters are in charge of the production of our bags, so they do the labels and help out whenever necessary.”

Wazuri products are carefully formulated to give consumers a noticeable difference in the texture of their skin, Charlene Wilhelmsen said. Junior Melina Welch said she has seen a change in how clean her skin feels after using Wazuri’s body scrub.

“Wazuri is amazing; I’ve never felt so clean in my life,” Welch said. “I’d compare it to scrubs like Treehouse from Target because it really gets into your skin and you can feel yourself getting clean. It doesn’t leave rashes or marks, because sometimes sugar scrubs are rough on your skin. Wazuri is completely different; it rubs into your skin so that the water runs off and locks in the moisture.”

Charlene Wilhemsen said that she appreciates the community of devoted customers and supporters of Wazuri. She said that both the composition of their products and their promotion of physical and mental wellness keep their customers coming back.

“We’ve really created a community around Wazuri that’s focused on health and wellness,” Charlene Wilhelmsen said. “Working out is a big part of my life, so we incorporate staying active and taking care of your skin in our branding. First and foremost, you’ve got to start by getting physical and then take care of your skin to achieve mental and physical wellness; it all works together.”

Because of her personal success in entrepreneurship, Charlene Wilhelmsen encourages those who hesitate to pursue their interests to share that passion with the world.

“I want to emphasize the importance of dreaming and believing in yourself,” Charlene Wilhelmsen said. “Whatever you’re passionate about, you’re free to share that with the world because no one can do that like you can. Never mind how much competition you think exists; in whatever thing you do, no one can do it like you because no one is you. Everything that you do will be your magic.”

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About the Contributor
Meredith Bell, A&E Section Editor
Meredith is a junior and this is her third year writing for the Southerner. Outside of school, she runs Midtown's film discussion club, acts in theater productions, and participates in Midtown Votes as well as the Plantlanta composting club.

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