Aromatic, conscious, therapeutic. These are the three philosophies that Cassandra Tucker lives and practices every day at her start-up business, Divine Purity.
Divine Purity is a family-run company that produces natural self-care products that aid the user in their emotional and physical well-being. Tucker, with the help of her husband and two teenage sons, left her old life as a high-risk loan processor and built her business from the ground up.
With what started off as some family and friends' interest in a few of Tucker's homemade self-care products, her client base slowly and steadily grew. Today, Divine Purity has more than two dozen different products ranging from candles to lotions to essential oils, and can be found all around Chattanooga.
In 2009, Tucker and her husband took in her ailing grandmother to live with them. After a few weeks, Tucker's grandmother was diagnosed with a multitude of terminal illnesses, including cancer, kidney failure and congestive heart failure, along with high blood pressure. She was given a mere six months to live.
Tucker wanted to help in any way she could, and the first step was to change her grandmother's diet to help lower her blood pressure. And that simple, natural remedy helped extend her grandmother's life. She lived an extra two years.
The realization that natural intervention could be so beneficial was what helped plant the seed that grew to become Divine Purity.
During that time of helping her grandmother, Tucker had personally decided to stop using any chemical hair products, and instead used homemade, nature-based products to moisturize and maintain her hair. Her friends started asking if she would sell them her concoctions, and the seed of Divine Purity began to plant its roots deeper.
"This was something that just organically happened," said Tucker. "I didn't wake up one day and say 'you know what, I think I want to own a business.' Being an entrepreneur is the hardest thing I've ever done It definitely chose me."
By 2011, Tucker began selling hair care products, such as leave-in conditioner, apple cider vinegar rinse, and "Coil Essence," a moisturizer for naturally curly hair. Most of these products were geared toward women with "ethnic hair," as Tucker put it.
"A lot of what I do is God-inspired," Tucker said. "God deals with me through my dreams.and God told me that I wasn't supposed to be just [helping] one particular group of people - that I was supposed to have an impact on all people."
It was from that moment that Divine Purity was born, and Tucker began to expand her natural self-care products to a wider range of clientele. She started to make sugar scrubs, lip balms, soaps and candles.
Creating and Expanding
As Tucker grew her business, she decided to quit her day job and focus solely on Divine Purity.
Creating new products takes time and research. She joined a group called the Indie Business Network, a mentoring service for home-brewed entrepreneurs, and was able to get some inspiration and tips from this community for new products and recipes.
Every product is made with all-natural ingredients and are all organic and plant-based. Everything is handmade in small batches in Tucker's studio. In a single batch of coconut wax, she can produce 28 candles. In one, 80-ounce batch of natural lotions, approximately 10 bottles can be extracted.
"There are no harsh preservatives," Tucker proudly says.
Besides the candles, all products are produced only when their stock gets low. This is because without chemical preservatives, items like lotions will have a shelf life of only about six months. "We want people to be able to get the freshest products possible," Tucker says.
Every Sunday, she and her husband and kids would set up a stand at the Chattanooga Market to sell Divine Purity's hot, new items. Their latest self-care products are CBD rubs made to manage pain and to stimulate relaxation.
Their topical CBD products include Migraine Synergy +, an oil-based headache relief treatment, a warming muscle balm for soreness and pain, and Utatu Balancing Oil. (Utatu is Swahili for "Trinity" - referring to the mind, body and soul. It is aimed at moisturizing, easing pain, and curbing anxiety, among other benefits.)
"I refuse to make anything that is not healing or beneficial," Tucker says. "I'm not selling fads, or just doing things because I can. I have a purpose. And my purpose is to heal."
Building the future
Starting out as selling some homemade hair products to friends, Tucker has taken Divine Purity and turned it into a holistic, mind and body healing experience for herself and her clients.
"I went through a process of emotional healing - really growing and nurturing myself," Tucker says. "[Divine Purity] now has become tools for people to use on their own journey of healing."
Tucker's ultimate goal for Divine Purity is to morph into a Wellness Spa, hopefully within the next five years. But for now, she is content with continuing to grow and expand her business across Chattanooga.
Divine Purity products can be bought in stores such as Nutrition World, Locals Only, Hemp House, and at the Chattanooga Market. Items are also available for purchase through their website at divinepuritynatural.com, where prices range from $5 lip balms to $36 CBD oils.