by M. Anthony Davis
When Dannett Cage, owner of Beyond Bodi, began a Black-owned business selling skin care and edible products infused with sea moss, it was in response to increasing requests from friends and family to try, and often buy, her homemade products.
“I was really only making it just for my family, like my mom and my household,” Cage recalls. “Then, I made some on a Friday evening as I was going out for a girls’ getaway that weekend, and everyone tried it and couldn’t believe the energy it gave them.”
So in the summer of 2020, Cage started posting her products on social media and everything took off from there. In the beginning, Cage didn’t charge for her products. She would make them as friends and family asked. But as people kept coming back for more and new people arrived, some even from different states, she quickly realized that she needed to start a business to keep up.
Cage is located in Renton, but sells her products online. She is often in the South Seattle community and likes to show up to community events where she distributes free product samples to people and provides them with information on the health benefits of sea moss.
“It kind of started off as an accident,” Cage recalls. “At the end of July, when my website went live, I remember within the first hour, I probably had 100 sales.” At the time, Cage had been working for a telecommunications company for the last 10 years. Within three months of launching her website, she quit her job and started selling her sea moss products full-time.
Sea moss, or Chondrus crispus, is a species of red algae that grows in the Atlantic coast of Europe and North America that became popular in the United States late in the pandemic due to its potential benefits for the immune system. When eaten, it is said to provide energy and lead to muscle recovery. When used on the skin, it acts as a moisturizer and helps with acne and rosacea.
Beyond Bodi offers both skin care and edible sea moss products. One of the most popular items is the lemonades. With fruity flavors like blueberry, strawberry, and pineapple, these lemonades taste great and have become a big hit with children, even though they are completely sugar-free.
“The lemonades are great because they’re an easy grab and go,” Cage says. “And kids love the lemonades because they think they’re just drinking mom’s lemonade. Parents will hide their lemonade from the kids so they don’t try to drink them all in one sitting.”
The lemonades each have two tablespoons of sea moss gel but the gel itself is tasteless. So when taking a sip, you only experience the tart sweetness of the natural fruit flavoring.
But one of the superior products on Beyond Bodi’s website is the sea moss salt body scrub. This peppermint exfoliating scrub, used in the shower, leaves skin soft and moisturized for hours. Cage had been making her own body scrubs for decades, long before she discovered sea moss, and she now says that using this body scrub has made her skin so moist that she rarely uses lotion.
“I love baths and I love my skin feeling soft,” she explains. “So, I started making sea moss body scrubs. And it’s really good for people that have skin issues like eczema. Sea moss has lots of essential vitamins in there, and it’s a soothing agent. … So if you have dark spots, blemishes, or anything like that, that’s where the sea moss body scrub comes into play. So it’s one of my favorites. I can use that entire jar in just one bath.”
While this business started in response to a growing trend on social media during the pandemic, Cage is a firm believer in the health benefits and quality of her products. “There is a lot of money in sea moss,” Cage says. “I feel that during the pandemic, a bunch of people started selling it, but I’m one of the last ones standing. I take my business seriously; I think including the educational parts of it are why I have been so successful.”
M. Anthony Davis (Mike Davis) is a local journalist covering arts, culture, and sports.
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