Entrepreneur moves family skin care startup to Cordova

Carol Cook-Scobey, owner of Essentially Divine Natural Skincare, is taking her business to the next level with a new storefront in Cordova at 7865 Trinity Road.

Cook-Scobey is a "third-generation botanist," she said. Years ago, her mother started making natural skincare products, and she and her sisters learned at a very young age how the process worked.

“As I got older and was in school, I loved chemistry, biology and botany, so growing up I continued to make the stuff that I loved, which was the rosewater soap – one of my mom’s best sellers,” said Cook-Scobey.

After high school and college, she continued making the products, mostly for herself and her children, who have sensitive skin.

Around 2012, she began selling her allergen-free soaps and lotions on the military base in Fort Bliss, Texas, where her husband was stationed, and she also started selling online. During her volunteer work taking refreshments to soldiers during field training, she discovered some of the female soldiers lacked basic personal care products.

“It just took off from there,” said Cook-Scobey, who eventually moved back to her hometown of Memphis with her family and sold at craft shows to build her clientele before deciding to open a brick-and-mortar location.

The 1,200-square-foot store offers soaps, lotions, shampoos, face creams, body moisturizers, baby care products, and men's products like shaving cream as well as jewelry and lipsticks.

Cook-Scobey had considered Downtown and Crosstown for her first location but decided on a spot closer to her home in Cordova as well as Shelby Farms, where she gets beeswax for her top selling product, Beeswax Body Renewal Cream.

She plans to hire one to two people, including someone to do facials and a masseur.

One of her passions is working with single moms in the community to help them to build their self-esteem.

“It’s just something I love to do. All of us want to be beautiful, and some are told they are not,” she said. “I help them with their resumes to help them get back on their feet and encourage them to get back in school for those who are not.”

Essentially Divine also touts a large customer base with seniors. Cook-Scobey’s future goal is to export globally to places including China, India and Australia.

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Read more articles by Michael Waddell.

Michael Waddell is a native Memphian who returned to Memphis several years ago after working for nearly a decade in San Diego and St. Petersburg, Fla., as a writer, editor and graphic designer. His work over the past few years has been featured in The Memphis Daily News, Memphis Bioworks Magazine, Memphis Crossroads, the New York Daily News and the New York Post. Contact Michael.