News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE:
 February 16, 2024
CONTACT: Kathy Sautter
716 635 5577

   
PASSION FOR CLEANER SKIN CARE PRODUCTS HAS TWO LOCAL FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS, THRIVING
(Williamsville, NY) – For 15 years Jill Miller proudly spent her days taking care of others as a nurse, which she said was where God put her, until he set her on another path by way of her infant daughter who was born with infant eczema. As a mom, Jill was intent on finding a solution that didn’t involve steroids or antibiotics. “I was just being a mom, doing research and trying to help her naturally.” But that research, consultation with doctors, and skin care classes lead Jill to the line of thinking that if this can help her child, why not help others. It didn’t dawn on her at first that the product she had created to care for her child would one day evolve into a thriving business. It was simply a solution. Today its better known as Skincare Essentials by Jill. Once she mastered the formula using all natural ingredients like shea butter and oils, she took that product from her kitchen to the public. “People like knowing what they’re putting on their skin. I think because it was simple and contains very effective ingredients people liked it. It’s made to help improve your skin because it’s supposed to help heal versus using chemicals. When you’re working with natural ingredients it’s just easier.” Jill’s products are 100% organic, small-batch, hand crafted, high-quality skincare that she takes tremendous pride in. She prides herself on providing products that are relevant to all skin types, races, and genders. “A lot of times women of color want to stick to specific products-but I’ve made a product for everyone. Skin is skin at the end of the day.”

When the business started to take off Jill knew she needed to expand from her kitchen to a bigger space so her business took over the other half of her house to run a storefront to keep up with demand. Then Tops called, launching her product line first at Tops on Jefferson Ave. in 2023 and since having expanded to four additional Tops locations. “Tops has been a blessing. When I was meeting with Kristen Hanson (vice president of center store, Our Brands & pharmacy, for Tops), my mission was to help people with dry skin, acne, dark spots, and eczema. I wanted to offer people chemical free, not water based products. Just quality skin products. Tops took a chance on me and I’m so grateful.”

She values her partnerships, her team, which is a strong but mighty team of three, and those who believe in her. “I won’t change the quality of my product just to get to the next level. Whatever is coming to you will come. I just have to pace myself. One step at a time-one foot in front of the other.”

When asked if she ever thought this would be what she would be doing she responded, “Not in my wildest dreams. This wasn’t even a dream. I love being a nurse. I love helping people and I take pride in that. If it wasn’t for my daughter, I would have never started doing this and I love what I do. I know I’m just touching the surface!”

She said the most eye opening part of the journey was seeing what a need there was for her product and seeing how it helps people. “It is so rewarding to see how my line has helped people and to see my own growth. Knowing that this is my purpose-my calling-what I am supposed to be doing in life and being of better service to people allows me to go to bed satisfied and excited to start the day.”

The same vision and drive was also what inspired Zandra Cunningham of Zandra Beauty to develop her own line of natural skincare products. At the young age of nine, Zandra was already experimenting on how to make a lip balm that was moderately sweet and sticky, but made of natural ingredients. After a lot of trial and error, she finally made her own and from there her passion for business continued to grow and so did a full line of plant-based skincare that is now available not only at Tops, but world-wide.

Her wide array of products from lip balms, scrubs, and body washes, to lotions, soap bars and soufflés all promote a positive message like “Be true to you”, “B. Confident. Strong You!” and “You’re perfect just as you are” really strive to empower young women.

When asked what has been the biggest reward going into business for herself she said meeting other young people and helping to inspire others at a young age. “It’s great to see them become more confident, that they can do it and not wait on something until they are older. You can see the wheels turning. I felt like I was one of those kids. You have to utilize the opportunity that is given to us and I’m working on building up generational wealth now and prioritizing being happy.”

Success didn’t just fall into her lap though. She started very early going to entrepreneurial classes at the college level well before her time. She tells a Tops representative they thought it was her mom signing up for the class, not her mom signing HER up for the class. “You have to be passionate about it. Do your research. Ask the questions. I started to realize that my options were not limited.”

And those options and opportunities started knocking on her door when Tops connected with Zandra and her father, James, through Chairwoman April Baskin’s, Level-Up program.

“Partnering with Tops was very welcoming. I never really thought about partnering with Tops initially. I always want to be making sure things are a good business move and when the opportunity came through the Level-Up program it made sense. Tops is really on the rise.”

To learn more about Jill’s products stop by select Tops locations or visit her website at Home | Skincare Essentials By Jill.

To learn more about Zandra Beauty visit her website at www.zandrabeauty.com or look for her products at select Tops stores. ###

About Tops Friendly Markets Based in Williamsville, NY, Tops Markets currently operates 148 grocery stores in New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont, including five that are run by franchisees. As the largest private, for-profit employer in Western New York, with over 14,000 associates, the company is dedicated to providing sustainably sourced, high-quality products, while helping its communities flourish via support for programs that eradicate hunger and disease, educate youth and reduce environmental waste and energy consumption. For more information, visit www.topsmarkets.com.

 

Press Room Archive