Artisan Spotlight: Kara Knox - Moka Chic

“Formulating recipes and mixing different butters and oils takes me to my uber happy place”, posts Kara Knox, of Moka Chic.

Keeping up a presence on Facebook is an important aspect of her business plan. “You have to update, but not inundate”, she says, about the need to stay in touch with her customers and fans. “It’s great to see when people share your link, or bookmark to your site. You know when you are doing something right.”

Doing it right is very important to Kara, who engaged in a lot of research and spent a lot of time in forums—talking to other Soapers—while developing her recipes and creating new products for her ever-expanding line. When she first began, she was surprised to learn that many of the ingredients contained in commercial products that consumers were buying to improve their skin could actually be detrimental. So, she set out to take control of the situation – starting with the products her own family used. She admits to staying up all night, mixing and testing—to get her formulations just right—and enlisting countless friends and family as testers. It was a recipe for success.

She started making her creamy bubbly soaps, luxurious body butters, delicious body scrubs in 2003, almost by accident. She’d wanted to make gel candles, and was researching suppliers on line and found Wholesale Supplies Plus—and all of the other wonderful supplies and products they offered. When her first order arrived, she stayed up all night creating, and then called in sick to work the next day! The rest, as they say, is history!

This year she’s servicing her first wholesale accounts, and has revamped her website. Taking care of the “business” side of the business is just as important as the quality of the products, she says. The focus is on finding her niche: refining her labeling, tweaking her logo, and generally upgrading the “look” of her business and her product line and navigating her pursuit of the “Bath-a-nista”.

What’s next for the “Moka Mistress”, as she calls herself? She’s enrolled in coursework to become state board certified in Aesthetics, and plans to expand her skin care offerings and add a line of mineral makeups, such as eye shadows. Down the road, she hopes one day to open a retail location, from which she can also offer classes on making skin care products.


ROBIN M LENHARD is a freelance business writer and craft artisan, based in Buffalo, New York, and is a board member of Artists in Buffalo, Inc.. Robin wrote this feature article exclusively for Debbie (, an organization dedicated to helping small businesses succeed.