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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Yolanda Owens, Skincare Pioneer, Passes Away

Mar 01, 2023 06:00AM ● By Staff

Yolanda Owens (Photo: iwi fresh)

Yolanda Owens, founder and owner of Castleberry Hill’s iwi fresh, a holistic day spa, passed away on January 11. She is survived by three adult children, Maya, Jordan and Austin Johnson; her parents, Ralph Hill and Murry Henderson; and two brothers, Corey Henderson and Berald Hill. 

Owens called herself the “skincare chef,” and she created 80 natural recipes, 20 of which are currently sold at iwi fresh, which she founded in 2003. According to Owen’s daughter, Maya, co-president of the spa, Owens’ favorite product was 14-Carrot-Glow Face Cream, the first one she created and the most popular of her products. Others that are popular include Squash-It-Out Face Cleanser and Lettuce-Face-It Hydration Mist. 

“‘iwi’ stands for ‘it is what it is,’” says Maya, and the saying applies to her products, as well.

Maya and iwi fresh’s community engagement director, Shantae Robinson, describe Owens as someone who was “always dancing,” “always approachable,” and “always welcoming anyone who came into her space.” To those at iwi fresh, she emphasized organizational ownership: “putting your all into it.” 

One of Owens’ frequent pieces of advice to her children was, “You do you and be true to who you are.” Maya says, “She has a quote in her house that says, ‘Plant the truth and grow free,’ and now we use that at iwi fresh.” 

Business partner, Tassili Ma’at, founder and owner of Tassili’s Raw Reality Café, called Owens her “business twin.” She says, “We started our businesses right around the same time and encouraged each other constantly. She would gift me with opportunities to rest by inviting me to come and get facials in exchange for food.”  

iwi fresh is planning a celebration of Owens’ life on April 29. Details will be provided in next month’s issue.
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