Octavia Maxwell is in her kitchen, whipping up some of her favorite recipes. But these nutrients only go skin deep.

She started her home business, Skin Deep Naturals, by experimenting with ingredients to create ultra-moisturizing skin and hair care.

“I wasn’t even on that career path. I was studying criminal justice and politics, but I realized over time experimenting with skin and hair care products, that I not only liked it, but I was really good at it,” said Maxwell.

She had planned to hire employees and move her operation into a brick-and-mortar, but when the pandemic hit, funds became scarce, forcing her to temporarily shelve that idea.

“With COVID-19 and it being such a scare for so many people, we are not sure yet that opening a location is possible,” said Maxwell.

That didn’t stop her from forging ahead and turning her business into a sole proprietorship.

Maxwell’s online orders have remained steady as she keeps up with sales, but she says there’s a need for more financing to keep minority businesses afloat.

“As a young black woman, I feel it’s important that we, too, have an opportunity to show our talents and what we bring to the community,” said Maxwell.

Applications for the second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are now open nationwide, and this round is putting an emphasis on getting more of that money in the hands of women- and minority-owned businesses like Maxwell's.

Maxwell hasn’t received any PPP funding yet. For now, she continues to pack her up her inventory and deliver it to various stores around the Capital Region, hoping to one day be in a store of her own.

You can check out her merchandise here.