Born with a hereditary skin disorder, Nadira Chase was 11 when she started formulating her own beauty products.
“I was making it with something called golden seal herb,” she says. “I heard it was a blood purifier. I blended it with coconut butter and hoped it would work.”
It didn’t, but she kept experimenting. Her persistence paid off. First, she learned how to naturally keep her symptoms in check. And second, it led to the launch of Adiva Naturals, an organic line of skin and hair care products.
Chase started the business out of the basement of Tropical Soul Café, a former culinary mainstay and cultural hotspot in Jackson Ward. She co-owned the restaurant, and says it wasn’t uncommon for customers to come in and order jerk chicken and a bottle of cherry-pineapple hair conditioner.
Chase closed the cafe two years ago to focus on her beauty products, which she says are carried across the country and internationally.
She’s also earned a reputation locally as a mentor for girls and young women who are struggling with image and self-esteem issues. She’s active with Camp Diva, a local program that aims to instill self-confidence in young black women.
Chase also has worked one-on-one with dozens of girls — many of whom live with their single fathers. She talks to them about her life experience, entrepreneurship, and, naturally, teaches them how to make beauty products.
“They watch me do my own thing — paying my bills and taking care of my life,” she says. “It’s good for them to see. … A lot of them are from impoverished communities and I let them know that’s where I’m from — maybe even lower — and this is what’s possible.”