Suds for Social Justice: Young entrepreneur promotes self-care, awareness

Moving the observance of Black history beyond the shortest month to be recognized 365 days a year is a desire shared by many who are proud of our culture and heritage. Brooke Starks, a 23-year-old Indianapolis resident, decided to join her love of Black history with a recent entrepreneurial endeavor, 12months Soaps.

“I’ve always been really interested in Black history and minored in it in college,” said Starks who graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Arts Management last spring. “I went to a lot of protests and wasn’t practicing self care. I just really wanted to educate and encourage self care at the same time.”

Starks is currently seeking her masters in urban education from IUPUI.

The 12months Soaps product line currently features naturally fragrant, colorful bars that honor Civil Rights activists Ruby Bridges and Huey P. Newton, legendary soul and funk band Earth Wind and Fire, and several African-American sororities. Each soap is accompanied by an informational postcard.

Starks shared that her intent is to not only help folks get fresh and clean but to promote positive portrayals of Blacks in America.

“It’s important to see more positive portrayals of African-American life,” she said. “A lot of media focuses on Black on Black crime, slavery and other things that aren’t so joyous and prideful. It’s important to have positive things highlighted and give people role models to look up to.”

The business owner also gives back to the local community. Since starting 12months Soaps this past fall, Starks has taken all the excess soap from her batches to create bars that are then donated to the Julian Center.

“It’s a cause I value and believe in. Often times they don’t get the supplies they need in terms of body care and feminine hygiene. I wanted to give them the pick me up feeling of having a luxurious shower or bath,” she said.

She shared that eventually she would like to have her product featured in museum gift shops and have the brand be on par with other natural beauty brands like Lush.

This month, Starks started a Kickstarter campaign to help raise money for the business. The funds, will go directly toward buying supplies and booth space at trade shows across the Midwest.

Supporters of the fundraiser will receive a signature 12months Soaps calendar, exclusive scents, and handmade art. To learn more about 12months Soaps, search for the company on kickstarter.org and check out the products available for purchase at 12monthssoaps.com.