By Jenny Taylor
Jessica Batista is the recipient of a Fueled by Purpose micro grant. Fueled by Purpose is the nonprofit sister company to My Founder Story and is dedicated to providing resources to female-identifying founders. Since 2018, more than $220,000 in grants and services have been donated to women business owners. To learn more and apply, visit our grants page.
It should have been the summer of her dreams. Jessica Batista was 21 years old and living in New York City. She was eager to experience all the city offered: nights out on the town, brunches in the best restaurants, Broadway shows, concerts, evening strolls through the park. But suddenly she found herself staying in, canceling plans with friends—she even stopped dating. The reason for this sudden change? Her skin had become unbearably itchy and painful, with rashy patches covering more than half her body and keeping her awake at night. When a doctor diagnosed her with eczema, Jessica was shocked. She’d never had any problems with her skin, not even acne as a teen. The steroid-based cream the doctor prescribed made her skin so sensitive to sunlight she found herself covering up with turtlenecks even on the hottest of days. Before long Jessica sank into a depression. She knew something needed to change.
Jessica recalled hours spent talking on the phone with her great-grandmother—whom she affectionately calls Mama Teresa—learning about plants, oils, and herbs to treat various ailments. Women in Jessica’s family had been handcrafting beauty products made with organic ingredients they grew themselves for generations, and Mama Teresa was a skilled healer in Puerto Rico. When Jessica called her great-grandmother to share her woes, together they formulated a cream to heal her skin. It contained natural oils, butters, honey and turmeric, and worked so well that Jessica felt compelled to share it with others. She decided to call it Floral Body Balm. That’s when Sunkiss Organics was born.
Over the past 10 years, Jessica and Mama Teresa have been formulating products for Sunkiss that are nontoxic, organic and effective. A firm believer in holistic health, Jessica acts not only as a product developer for the business, but also as a health advisor to her consumers, teaching them how lifestyle changes paired with organic skin care products can improve their well-being. She also shares recipes for foods that are nourishing and healing, provides exercise and meditation tips, and gives advice for maintaining healthy relationships and a balanced life.
As her skin care business has grown, Jessica has worked hard to ensure the company reflects her personal values. The Sunkiss Organics brand represents Black and Latina women like herself, and all product development is centered on safe skin treatments to properly nourish and hydrate these underrepresented groups. All ingredients are responsibly sourced and organic to minimize the company’s environmental footprint. Jessica is passionate about working to empower women of color to joyously heal their skin, whether that be through her blog, workshops, social media platforms or Sunkiss Squad newsletters. She also launched Joyous Girls, a pro-bono coaching program for girls of color, which reflects the value Jessica places on community and investing in youth. The program empowers teens by providing tools to help them thrive as leaders and understand the connections between wellness, activism and leadership.
Sunkiss Organics’ success stories are both plentiful and heartwarming. Customers share how the products have changed their lives by treating ailments they’ve suffered with for years. Many enjoy a newfound confidence in their improved skin. For Jessica, this is exactly the difference she hopes to make in the world: reminding people of their value by providing them with the products and resources needed to better care for their physical, mental and emotional health. By sharing her inherited gift for handcrafting natural beauty products, Jessica is helping to lift up women of color everywhere.
About the author: Jenny Taylor is a marketing strategist and freelance writer who enjoys bringing inspirational stories to life through the written word. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and three kids.