Psyche Terry, the CEO and co-founder of UI Global Brands and Urban Hydration, has shown such resilience and determination through her story of building Urban Hydration and bringing it to where it is today. From facing moments where she was extremely close to quitting to moments where she looks at her company and journey in gratitude, her story is packed with many ups and downs that define who she is as a person and how she overcame many challenges to bring Urban Hydration to where it is today. Urban Hydration is a skincare and haircare company that works to bring affordable, all-natural products to the world while also doing its part to give back to those in need. The mission of the company is based on what Psyche experienced in her life and how she was able to put that all into her company.
The birth of this company actually began back when Psyche was a child. Although the idea of the company didn’t come to her when she was a child, Psyche has shown entrepreneurial interests and efforts since a young girl which directly influenced what she is doing now. As the daughter of two teen parents, her parents felt that getting a good education and going to college was more important at the time than having a family. Because of that, Psyche was raised in a single-parent household by her Great Aunt who encouraged her to put herself out into the world as much as possible. Psyche was involved in many community and church activities where she was given the space to learn and grow as an individual.
Psyche started work at a fairly young age, 14 years old to be exact. Working at a hamburger stand, she was too young to make the food so she was given a cashier position to take customer orders and keep track of the money. Through this experience, she learned how exactly customers spend their money and how their mind works when they have to buy something. Apart from her job, she was allowed to start multiple different side hustles that taught her so much about the same ideas. For example, she would do catalog sales to people at her church where she would take orders to buy items from a catalog. She would save all the money she raised and order the products requested at her church. When the products arrived, she would give the products to those who ordered them and send the money to the catalog organization. Although she didn’t get money for this in return, she would get small goodies such as toys and other fun things. Through both of these experiences, Psyche learned how to manage money, take customer requests, and ensure customer satisfaction (what is known today as the consumer goods industry). The business and consumer experience that Psyche got from a young age has taught her a lot about honor for people, money management, relationship skills, showing up for others, and much more.
As she was raised to always make the most of opportunities, Psyche continued to do this throughout her college life as well. As a college student, she took part in internships and other experiences to learn more and keep growing as an individual. Fun fact – during one of her internships is where she met her husband and co-founder of Urban Hydration, Vontoba Terry!
After graduating, Psyche started working at a corporate job and did that for 12 years before she realized that it was not for her. Throughout her time at her company, Psyche did not like the way she was being treated. She worked in construction sales and marketing at a job site and was treated horribly. There were times when she would come home in tears because of what she was going through. However, every time she went through something tough, she thought she could just get over it and it wouldn’t happen again, but that was not the case. Psyche knew that every journey has its ups and downs, but she didn’t see how this job and going through these tough times would ultimately help her achieve her dreams. She knew that at some point during her journey, she wanted to do her part to make an impact in the world but if she worked at this office and faced the same thing every day, she would not be able to make her dream come true. Additionally, when she had the biggest sales arrangement at that company, she felt that she received validation from herself that she can do this by herself and that she doesn’t need to work in a company for it. Once she came to this realization, she started experimenting with what she could do to make her dreams come true.
At the start of her entrepreneurial journey, Psyche experimented with different types of businesses that she could start. She tried a flavored popcorn company idea but soon gave up on that after she made a lot of popcorn with plain flavor that turned out to taste bad. Next, she tried a chocolate strawberry business but couldn’t keep it up because it was too yummy and she would eat a lot of the inventory :).
Through many trials and errors, Psyche came across the idea of starting a skincare and haircare business through a nonprofit she was working with. At this nonprofit, they were making sugar scrubs and body butter. She helped there often and later asked if they could make products that she wanted. As they made some products based on her ingredients, she started seeing that there was actually an interest in her products and a market that wanted to buy them. However, this really didn’t register with her as a business idea until a retailer later bought a bulk amount of her products. When they bought the products, they later called back to say that some of the products were working but others weren’t. However, instead of just leaving her with that, they were willing to work with her to try out different solutions and get the product to work the right way. Although she might not have “won” the first time with the products, the experience of going through the products with a consumer who was actually interested got her to realize that there are people who are willing to work with her through this and were interested in her ideas. Thus, she began the process of starting her dream company, UI Global Brands, and its daughter company, Urban Hydration.
When she first started the company, she was uncertain about if she would even be able to go through with it and make it a successful company. Just like any other new business owner, she didn’t know if she was doing the right thing and if she would be able to make her company successful. But the worry never went away. Even after looking at what Urban Hydration has become today, she is still uncertain about various different things that pertain to the company and its success. She learned that the problems and worries never really go away but what is important is faith that she has put her best into the company and she will receive what she deserves.
One of the hardest moments that Psyche faced after she started Urban Hydration caused her to almost shut everything down and stop the company altogether. She and her husband decided to start a new factory because the factory she was with had canceled the order she placed. They had very little resources at the time but they were able to start something with what they had. Once they started this factory, they experimented with making different types of sugar scrubs until they found the perfect recipe. Once they were able to perfect it, they started making the product in bulk so that they could deliver the products to the retailers. Because they were very low on resources, they had to hand make over 50,000 sugar scrubs with the help of a small team and package each of them carefully, by hand. When they got the products all delivered to the retailers, they realized that the box handlers had turned all the boxes upside down, causing the jars to expand and open, spilling them everywhere. About 90% of all the product they sent in was sent back and because the ingredients and everything were already pre-paid for, they had lost all the money they put in. To make up for the cost, their family went through a really tough time. They sold their cars, ate from the dollar store, and lived day by day saving as much money as they could. During the interview, Psyche told me that she could pretty much recite all the edible items at the dollar store because of what they had gone through at that time.
Coming out of this event and period for their family, Psyche learned what she is really capable of. She learned that she can do almost anything to make ends meet and survive. No matter how tough the situation got, she was able to get through it and survive. It taught her to think positively and be creative in her ways to solve problems.
After years of hard work, determination, grit, and perseverance, Psyche molded Urban Hydration into the brand it is today. Today, Urban Hydration gives back 1 gallon of water for every product purchased, living Psyche’s dream of creating a change in the world. Today, Urban Hydration is building its own clean drinking water well in Kenya, after contributing to the building of two others in past years. Today, Urban Hydration is proof that you can come out of anything and still make things happen.
You can achieve anything and everything you set your mind to