On A Mission To Solve Sensitive Skin Issues
Dami founded skincare brand À M I after she and her baby daughter experienced skincare issues that left her reluctant to medicate. Dami is passionate about using her brand as a force for good. A champion of the black community, the brand supports shea butter producers in Ghana.
Dami, we love the brand name, is it inspired by your own? Yes and no. The name À M I means nation, my people, trustworthy or reliable in Hebrew. It also means “mark” in my native language, Yoruba, as well as being the second, third and fourth letter of my name. Our brand name represents our brand values and our ethos.
So, what was the inspiration behind the brand? À M I was actually born in 2015 when I randomly decided I wanted to start making candles. I spent hours researching, bought the ingredients and that was the start of it all. After trial and error, I finally perfected but I didn’t take that business seriously.
The rebirth of À M I came about in April 2020. I had been making shea butter for my 3 month old daughter since January. She developed eczema two months after she was born and I was very uncomfortable with the cream she had been prescribed by the GP which contained steroids. Around the same time, my daughter started losing her hair, and I was suffering from a condition known as the “pregnancy mask” which developed while I was pregnant, only to worsen after I had my daughter. I was prescribed steroids to use on my face that said “apply on affected area only” but decided to apply it all over my face which left me with severe discolouration and burns. I tried bleaching cream to help lighten the scars but it only made things worse, my skin began to flare up. So I began using the same products I was using on my daughter on myself and started experimenting with essential oils to help with my skin and general health.
Wow, that’s quite a story. And at what moment did you decide to share your creation with others? In April, after the pandemic began, I felt God call me to help somehow. I didn’t listen straight away and kept saying to myself “no, he couldn’t have been speaking to me” but for some reason, I wasn’t able to shake the thought of helping out somehow. Then it came to me. I now had a 6-month-old baby and I understood how expensive babies were. I decided I wanted to help families in need to provide for basic necessities. I wasn’t in the financial situation to give as I had just come out of a relationship that had left me emotionally and financially drained. I had hardly any money to my name but I realised I had a product I could give in exchange for money, which I could then donate to charity without hurting my pocket. I also had jars and labels lying around from making candles the previous year so didn’t need to spend much on the initial orders.
A moment of epiphany! Did you start straight away? The next question was more ‘how’ to start, as I wasn’t in the financial position to do so. I told my sister what I wanted to do and she bought the rest of the things I needed. I decided that 50% of the revenue would go to Virtual Village via The Good Exchange - a platform that brings together a community of funders, fundraisers, donors and the public. I set up a fundraising page, but brushed it aside for a couple more days. I then felt compelled to post it on my Instagram page one Saturday afternoon and shortly after, messages of interest and support began flooding into my DM inbox.
Where do you see À M I in 5 years’ time? I see my brand going global. I hope to have stockists worldwide and a flagship store in the next few years. Pop-ups will also be paramount for me to get the brand out there but my main aim is to keep it online and to have various stockists around the world. I co-founded a brick-and-mortar store for 5 years and it just wasn’t worth the stress of having to deal with the day-to-day issues.