SunKiss Organics’ Founder On Being At Peace With The Decision To Shutter The Brand

Going into its eighth year, SunKiss Organics was at a crossroads. Founder Jessica Jade could either raise capital to scale the brand and develop new formulas or shutter it altogether. She chose the latter. 

“I had to decide whether this was something that I wanted to continue to pursue,” reflects Jade. “The entire process of being a business owner and a founder, I know everything is not supposed to be fun, but it just wasn’t something that I was passionate about anymore.”

Jade had been considering closing SunKiss Organics for a year and only concluded she would close it a week before breaking the news to its customers on March 20. Simultaneously, she announced a 48-hour, 50% off sale on all of the brand’s remaining products. Already, SunKiss Organics’ inventory has been wiped clean.

“While bidding farewell is bittersweet, we’re immensely grateful for the memories we’ve shared and the profound impact we’ve made on the lives of so many,” wrote Jade on Instagram. She says, “I’ve gotten messages from people who have said ‘Oh, you closed, if there’s anything left over when you’re done sending out orders, let me know, and I’ll get it.’”

SunKiss Organics founder Jessica Jade

Upon closure SunKiss Organics had 17 stockkeeping units in its assortment, including bestsellers Aloe Rose Toner, Antioxidant Facial Oil and Rose Oil Cleansing Balm. The brand launched in 2016 with five products, which Jade created at the encouragement of her great grandmother, who herself had whipped up hair and skin products by hand.

The products were intended to calm Jade’s eczema. Prior to SunKiss Organics, it gotten so had it covered half of her body. SunKiss Organics’ Floral Body Balm in particular was a savior for Jade.

“Within three months of using it, maybe even less, you couldn’t even tell that I had a skin condition before,” she says. “I didn’t have any scars. I didn’t have any eczema. I didn’t have any marks on my body, nothing at all.”

Jade estimates she invested $100,000 from her personal savings into SunKiss Organics over the years. She also accumulated around $63,000 in funds from family and friends, grants, crowdfunding, loans and government support. By the time she decided to shutter the brand, she’d paid off all of her debt, a factor in the decision. Jade says, “I closed with zero debt at a profit, so I wasn’t really losing any money.”

Jade advises fellow beauty brand founders to seek guidance from industry experts on when it’s necessary to pivot. SunKiss Organics underwent a rebrand in 2019 at the recommendation of a mentor of Jade’s.

“I don’t regret a single day of it.”

“They told me to take my product and put it in store where I wanted to sell it someday and see how it compared to the products around it in that category,” she recalls. “In doing so I was like, ‘Oh my, nope, this isn’t going to work. It doesn’t stand out, you can barely see the logo.’ I would never see this if I was in the store just walking by, It would never catch my attention.”

SunKiss Organics was stocked at a handful of boutiques in New York City and Atlanta. It was carried by Shop Latinx and other small e-tailers as well.

Reflecting further on her entrepreneurial journey, Jade now recognizes the importance of hiring people to help. A born and bred New Yorker with a hyper-independent streak and a penchant for the hustle, she always had more than one job throughout SunKiss Organics’ existence. In tandem with running it, she worked as a manager in the radiology department at New York University.

“I would literally clock in one job, clock out, and then clock back into SunKiss and work until one, two, three in the morning. It’s kind of insane when I think about it now, but that’s also part of the reason why I decided that it was time to move forward,” says Jade, adding, “If I was starting over again, I would do so with a dedicated and talented team because I think that’s essential for success. I would not go at it alone again like I did the first time.”

SunKiss Organics launched in 2016 with five products and closed with 17 stockkeeping units in its collection, including bestsellers Aloe Rose Toner, Antioxidant Facial Oil and Rose Oil Cleansing Balm.

Jade is currently looking for positions that lean into the parts of SunKiss Organics she enjoyed the most such as digital and influencer marketing. She says, “I’m trying to find something that allows me to continue my creative pursuits as well as my analytical mind without having to divide myself between three different roles—and that’s really new for me.”

Jade’s at peace with her decision to close SunKiss Organics and is proud of the contributions the brand made to its mostly female customers.“I don’t regret a single day of it, not a moment,” she says. “I feel like I’ve connected with so many amazing people both mentors, industry experts and mainly my consumers, the people who love SunKiss as much as I did, if not more. I’m eternally grateful for all of the lessons that I learned and the changes that we were able to enact in people’s lives.”