We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda Materre and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Amanda, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
In September 2016, I found myself undergoing pre-cancerous treatments for Cervical Cancer which left me feeling like medicine failed me. After being diagnosed with PCOS at a young age, I relied on birth control to help regulate my hormones, only to find out it made things worse. From that day on, I started switching to a more holistic lifestyle. It was at that moment that my mom named me Apothecary Annie. Fast forward to 2018, I’ve always struggled with sensitive skin, and, as a pharmacy technician, I knew first-hand how dangerous steroidal medications could be. I searched for “natural” skin care products that were on the market, but due to the severity of my skin sensitivities, nothing seemed to help. During this time, I made my first scrub, “It’s an Avocado” to help with ingrown hairs and eczema flare-ups due to seasonal allergies and stress.

Additionally, I started creating my first hair tonic, Flax to the Max, to help my hair grow because it began to thin due to stress and hormonal changes. After conducting more research, I would play around with the recipes to improve efficiency and overall results. I mainly gave them to close family and friends, but 2021 was the catalyst I needed to start my business. My aunt went into cancer remission for lung cancer and needed something to help rejuvenate her skin, hair, and nails. So I offered her my It’s an Avocado Sugar Scrub and Flax to the Max Hair Tonic. After seeing how soft and moisturized her skin was and her hair growth within the first two weeks, she made me promise to share my gift with the world. As they say, the rest is history!

We often think that the challenges or difficulties we face are just a bad hand we’ve been dealt. But in actuality, we have to learn how to repurpose the pain. The discomfort can provide clarity to reveal your purpose and remind you of your strength. Understanding your purpose ignites your passion, and that passion can be profitable, not just financially, but by helping others to do the same.

Now, almost a year later, I have a gender-inclusive skin and hair care company that offers sugar scrubs for the face, lips, and body; body butter bars; lip balms, hair tonics, beard shampoo, beard oil, and therapeutic roll-ons.

I didn’t know that my great-grandfather used to do this about 100 years ago for his community. He was known for his fragrant soaps, salves, and moisturizing creams. Almost three generations later, I can continue his legacy and help people from all walks of life feel seen, understood, and more confident about themselves.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve always said, “Authencity is the bridge to vulnerability.” Deciding to live my truth unapologetically and not be ruled by it has contributed to my professional success, but most importantly, my growth as a person. In 2019, I was diagnosed with severe high-functioning depression and anxiety. I had known for years that I had this, but I was in denial. I did not want anyone to look at me differently or as if I was less than. However, I knew that if I wanted better for myself, I needed to acknowledge it, address it, and hold myself accountable for overcoming it. Then and there, I decided to face it head-on holistically and write down all the lessons I learned through the process. My “journal” during this time became a book and now a podcast called Full Disclosure.

The biggest challenge I had to overcome was humbling myself and making the conscious decision to pursue my purpose. I discovered my true purpose is to change the world while educating, mentoring, and supporting others. However, I did not have a strong foundation in education, so I decided to build one. I learned that you are never too good or too far gone to start over. My friends thought I was insane because they knew my previous path, and it felt like I was starting over, but as Steve Jobs said, “You can never connect the dots looking forward, but you can connect them looking back.”

My career as a teacher helped me through a very challenging time; however, I felt that I was exactly where I was supposed to be for that season. Being a teacher forced me out of my comfort zone in a million ways and provided me with the financial stability to pursue my current and future endeavors. This career taught me the true definition of leadership because I learned it is not about titles and accolades but about serving and growing others to reach their full potential. The greatest lesson I learned was the importance of building, nurturing, and sustaining excellent relationships.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Houston is a city of variety, and each side of town has its personality. On a Monday, we will have to check out the Museum District. My favorite is the Health Science Museum and the butterfly center. Monday night, we would go to Moxies. Tuesday, we would spend our time at the Arboretum, head to Postinos afterward, and then Simone’s at Sunset! Wednesday would be a great day to go to Mo Better Brews and catch a pole class at Inner Me Studios. Afterward, we would go to Pearl & Vine for an early dinner, then roller skating at the Dairy Ashford Rink on Thursday. Friday, we would have brunch at Cyclone Ayana’s, then head to Face Foundrie. Friday night, we would have dinner at Vic & Anthony’s, then head to the Foundation Room at the House of Blues. On Saturday, we would head to Kemah for the day and do a little shopping at Baybrook Mall. Sunday Funday, we would begin with Brunch at Brenner’s on the Bayou, then Bar 5015 and Chapman & Kirby.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost, I have to thank God who is the center of my life, for all that I am and all I will be. My mom for teaching me how to be a woman of substance and nicknaming me, Apothecary Annie. My father for making me steadfast and unwavering in the face of adversity. My sister for being my audience, critic, biggest fan, and best friend. Great-grandfather for passing down his gift for making organic, skin-care products. My aunt for being the catalyst for Apothecary Annie. Ravi Brahmbratt, Patrick Woock, and Amy Henry for their mentorship and challenging me to be my very best. Tania Daniels for her recommendation!

Website: apothecaryannie.co

Instagram: amandamaterre

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/amandamaterre

Facebook: facebook.com/amandamaterre

Other: IG: @apothecaryannie

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