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Baltimore couple’s business expands to Target stores

Stacy M. Brown | 4/4/2014, 6 a.m.
A variety of all-natural body-care products from Oyin Handmade, which are available at Target Stores. Oyin Handmade is owned and operated by Charm City husband and wife team Pierre and Jamyla Bennu. Jamyla Bennu began creating homemade hair and body products in 2001. Oyin Handmade products are designed with a focus not only on aesthetics and styling, but the nourishment and health of hair and skin. Courtesy Photo/Oyin Handmade)

— Pierre and Jamyla Bennu have reached one of their primary business targets.

The Charm City husband and wife team who own and operate Oyin Handmade, all-natural body care products, have agreed to place their items in Target stores.

“Target has been actively cultivating this kind of segment for a while,” said Jamyla Bennu, who started creating homemade hair and body products in 2001.

Bennu says that it was a slow process, first having to test various ingredients in her kitchen on relatives and friends. She then began selling her natural line of products at various craft fairs before launching a website in 2003.

She hasn’t looked back, either.

Not long after they moved from Brooklyn, New York and settled in Baltimore in 2008, things began to pick up.

“My training was all on the job. It was through trial and error and experimentation. At the time we started out, there were not a lot of lines that catered to natural hair,” she said. “It was kind of an interest that was in its infancy and many of us who were into the natural side of things began to talk on Internet bulletin boards and in personal blogging communities.”

Target Stores officials ultimately invited Bennu to present her line to their executives.

Oyin Handmade has since grown into a business with nearly a dozen employees and the Bennus have invested plenty of finances into their company. They also feature products for men and babies, as well as T-shirts and natural juices. As the business grew, the market for natural hair and other products rose exponentially.

So, when Target approached again, Oyin Handmade proved ready. Now customers have another outlet in which to purchase Bennu’s products, which she says are designed with a focus not only on aesthetics and styling, but the nourishment and health of hair and skin.

Bennu says many of the family-owned company’s products utilize the power and sweetness of honey, one of nature’s most versatile beauty products.

“It softens and moisturizes skin and helps the skin to retain water,” she said.

Consumers and others have flocked to the Oyin Handmade’s website and have written numerous testimonials about their pleasing results from the products.

For Bennu, today she is in Target Stores and tomorrow she is likely to conquer the world.

“What’s next is to rock it. We definitely want to do well there and continue to serve our customers with more convenience,” Bennu said, noting that the company has a small boutique on Charles Street that is open on Saturdays.

“Our focus is on community and we are letting our core products be sold in more places and serve our customers better,” she said. “We are on a big push to expand and we will expand our line next year. So, please, enjoy.”