The chief of staff and strategic project officer for cybersecurity with Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) by day and beauty entrepreneur by night, Tracy Rookard is mastering the body care business one day at a time. In a one-on-one interview, Rookard spoke about what makes her organic, handmade body scrubs and creams special, the impact of launching during a pandemic, and what inspired her to begin this journey.
How did you go from the cybersecurity business to the business of body butters? What was that journey like for you?
I was already pivoting into it once I started working there [Metro]. As far as the journey goes, the journey continues. It’s a lot of work. You have a primary occupation and then you have a business that you’re trying to keep moving also. A lot of this activity happens on the weekend and the evenings. That’s basically how I get it done.
Walk us through why you decided to launch The Naked Face?
We started a couple years ago. It took about a year to develop the first product. I actually developed the product out of a personal need for them. I’m a person that loves the sun and I started paying the price for it with hyperpigmentation. My dermatologist was like “Tracy, you need to exfoliate, go whip up your own exfoliant,” instead of telling me to buy a product, so that kind of threw me off a little bit. Fast forward I came up with a formulation of initially shea butter and sugar and created the scrub. I wanted something that was natural, I could pronounce the ingredients, and something I could use on my face and my body. That’s how the NakedFace came to be birthed. I wanted to do a beauty bar at a town center or maybe a mall…that was the original idea and here comes COVID. So, it became a complete online thing. I opened up a store in December with three products: a hair creme, face and body scrub, and face and body creme.
Speaking of COVID, how has it affected business for The Naked Face? Any supply chain issues?
Business has been pretty good. A lot of it is grassroots, word of mouth. So we’re still trying to build that base out, so that we can get as many people as possible to experience NakedFace. There is a major issue with glass, if you’re a company like us that uses a certain type of glass. So, we’re pivoting into different packaging because you have to. We still have a decent supply on-hand, but trying to get those back filled, because of the supply chain with COVID is a true nightmare.
What’s it been like for you juggling a career and also a business, especially in the beauty and cosmetics field where Black ownership is few and far between?
It’s tough, but it’s a blast. I’m one of those people that truly believe you follow your dreams. If you do nothing, you get nothing. It’s a lot, and it’s the reason why you have to be passionate about what you’re doing. You have to believe in it. There’s a lot of times when I’m up at two or three o’clock in the morning, plotting and planning and I have to be at work at 9 a.m.
What’s next for the brand?
We’re finding that there are people who want very specific oils inside of their face and body cream. I’m of the belief that you should have them. We will allow the customer the option to go online and say, “I want to have jojoba, shea butter and a vitamin E mixture, this does wonders for my eczema.” We just brought on an esthetician, we consult with a dermatologist, this is not all just Tracy in her kitchen mixing stuff. There’s a lot of research that goes into these products. We’re about to introduce a men’s beard cream. It’s going to be called “man priddy” by The Naked Face. We love dual products so this is going to be a beard and body cream for men. And it’ll come in three different scents. We got all sorts of testers and samples out there and the men are loving it. It’s going to be a welcomed addition to The Naked Face.