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Young Entrepreneur with Antiguan Roots creates Irresistible Aromas in New Fragrance Line.

What’s your vibe?

The way you feel about yourself… the energy you radiate unknowingly into the world is often overlooked as you focus heavily on the physical, but those around you can sense everything you feel about yourself through your posture, eye contact, tone and even through the way you smell. Are you powerful? Are you seductive? Are you a peaceful soul? A fragrance has a transformative quality that awakens specific emotions in all of us. This is why a young entrepreneur inspired by her own love for heavenly scents puts so much time and effort into creating aromas that are simply irresistible to the senses. Ravon Kelsick, 29, grew up on the Island of Antigua in the village of Cedar Grove, but was born in Bronx, NY where she now resides. Upon her frequent trips back to her childhood home, she recounts always being complimented on the scents she used. The compliments were always welcomed with a smile, but little did her admirers know that these potions were concocted by Ravon herself using a mixture of her own fragrance oils. The constant admiration led her to spend more time brainstorming new aromas and she soon created her very own brand, Heavenly Auras. She began with perfume oils which were each unique and in high demand. The success of this inaugural product led her to begin producing perfume sprays, glitter fragrance oils, mini perfume sprays, home scents, Reed Diffusers and soon, car fragrances joined the line.

“The best sellers in the perfume department would be everything lol, literally. I mean Antigua has its favorite which is Luv Chloe’ but please don’t let that distract from the other scents that are just as lovely. An underdog would be narcissistic beauty, it takes a powerful woman to rock that scent. Then we have the very very unique Santal, only a special type of individual could appreciate the scent of Santal. “

Heavenly Home” is Ravon’s new home and car fragrance line, and it has its own category of fragrances. There are scents like Toasted Marshmallow for the vanilla lover and Paradise Vibes to please the senses of those with a love for the islands. “Paradise vibes is very popular in Antigua…but can you be surprised? Why not smell the scent of paradise while actually living in it?” There are many more scents in tow for the Home line and she is currently still expanding.

When Ravon isn’t busy in the lab, she enjoys spending time with great company, reading and manifesting success for her business. A successful entrepreneur understands the power of manifestation and the ways it can positively transform a business if done correctly and regularly. She has mastered this because in the past, Ravon has had her share of doubt and obstacles that literally threatened to put an end to her business journey. One of her biggest obstacles was operating Heavenly Auras while residing in New York, but she was quick to point out that God blessed her with an amazing team consisting of herself, supportive friends and most importantly, a business partner and mother who believes in her dreams. Ravon’s mother, Verlyn Kelsick is the heart of Heavenly Auras. “I would probably be a millionaire if I had a dollar for everytime I said “I quit, I cant do this anymore” and there she was ready to pick up the puzzle pieces and help me put them back together.” Smooth seas never made a skillful sailor, and through the painful lessons she learnt, she took the time to offer some wealthy advice to business owners like herself; “never give up but at the same time make sure to keep upgrading. Don’t settle, but don’t rush. Products may not look as aesthetically pleasing at first, but trust the process. Once you’re putting in that work, ALWAYS trust the process!”

“The idea of entrepreneurship at first is “cute” until things really start going. Then you’re like “omg, this is really happening?? “

BWM Entrepreneur, Ravon Kelsick

Ravon is a young black woman with a single mother, raised by a single Aunt in the USA. She was therefore taught what independence looked like at a young age. Independence was all she knew, but now it’s clear that there were many benefits to seeing someone you love face their obstacles, fight and succeed. “I now see the benefits of always having to be independent for it attracted genuine energy and a clan of people who want to see me win.”

One of her aspirations is for Heavenly Auras to become “everything scents” for Antigua. She’s on a mission to become a notable brand in the country she calls home and will eventually make her permanent home. Her mission is to someday add to that country’s greatness. Although Heavenly Auras and Heavenly Home are U.S. based brands, her service to Antigua is at the top of her list of priorities.

Heavenly Auras provides scents for all. The site features fragrances for the feminine, masculine and unisex. Her fragrances can be viewed on Facebook and Instagram and customers in the USA may visit the website to order directly on and Antiguan customers can fill out pre- order forms as well.

BWM asked Ravon to fill us in on some of Heavenly Auras most effective ingredients, but this entrepreneur knows how to keep the magic a secret! We are left to use our imagination as all we were offered was a general description of how her scents are created...in each fragrance you will find the confidence, strength and super magical aura that this strong black woman has within her!

“An alluring personality pairs well with an alluring fragrance.”

BWM

FUN FACT

Nefertum was the “god of perfume” who was originally thought of as a man with a pleasant blossom on his head. In ancient Egyptian history he was shown as a beautiful young man who had arisen from primal waters and had the delightful smell of blue lotus flower all around him.

Visit Heavenly Auras on Website, Facebook or Instagram

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Strength of a Black Woman: Divorce left her Heartbroken, but she ‘Kept it Moving’ and built her own Empire

Who would you be without struggle? We have all been shaped in some way by our experiences. At some point in our lives we can all remember at least one event that caused a shift in our paradigm; something that caused us to change the way we saw ourselves and the people around us. For Lia Abney, 54 of Hephzibah Georgia, that event was when her then husband after 15 years of marriage told her that he no longer wanted to be married. There is no quick fix to healing after a divorce, and Lia knows this all too well. However, she found the strength within herself to #keepitmoving.

After her divorce Lia moved from Korea to Georgia and started picking up the broken pieces of her life. She founded Victory Leadership Group Inc. a nonprofit organization preparing teens for success as they transition from high school into the workforce. She became motivated to do even more, and founded her very own consulting service, Lia Abney LLC aimed at empowering women (mind, body, and soul) to pursue their God-given talents. BWM visited her website and we were immediately captivated by her charisma. The passion Lia has for what she does is undeniable. During her career, she’s had the pleasure of sharing her knowledge and passion with nonprofit organizations (education, homelessness, and mental health), entrepreneurs, schools, juvenile court systems, authors/speakers and churches.

“When I moved to Georgia I did not have any family here to lean on. I had to open myself up to those whom God brought into my inner circle to create a tribe whom we all can lean on. I am thankful for families in Georgia who have adopted me as a daughter, sister, and confidant.”

When Lia isn’t out inspiring the world, you can find her reading scripture or taking in the soothing sounds of soulful Gospel or Jazz. Her studies at Capella University, where she is pursuing a Doctorate Degree in Public Administration also keep her busy. Busy is an understatement for this veteran as she is also a Management Analyst, Motivational Speaker and Published Author. She’s contributed to skillfully penned masterpieces including – Women in Public Administration: Theory and Practice – which is being used in colleges around the world, and – Perfectly Imperfect, Seeing Yourself Through the Eyes of God – which allowed her to share her story of God’s love for her after divorce. Both publications were realized during a time for Lia that was most challenging and affected her self esteem. However, she was able to persevere beyond the hurt knowing that God had a plan for her to prosper and not cause her harm…(Jeremiah 29:11).

This Black Queen wears multiple ‘hats‘, but they are all set in perfect alignment with who she is. She has fully embraced her anointing… an anointing to inspire and motivate others to achieve their highest.

In 2019, Lia was awarded the Shero Arts Award in support of local arts as an author and a finalist for the 2019 Indie Award. She is actively involved in various community initiatives as well as an active board member with the Greater Augusta Black Chamber of Commerce as the VP of Business and Financial Affairs. 

What motivates this visionary? She credits much of her inspiration to some strong female leaders whom she has admired for years – Ronic West, a prime example of an industry leader (a mover and shaker as Lia describes her), and Sojourner Truth who was a constant reminder to fight for those who are unable to make their voice be heard. Lia also credits much of her resolve to #keepitmoving to her daughter Chontele, aka Yum Yum, who is a perfect example of focus and determination.

Like many entrepreneurs and black women in general who are working toward creating their own path, Lia has experienced her fair share of defeating thoughts. For this phenomenal black queen however, giving up has never been an option.

“One time, I took a leap of faith and submitted a proposal to speak at a conference. Of course, I had people ask to come along and thinking of course why not. Well, lets just say it was the worse speaking engagement. Not so much because I had someone come with me but I was actually treated horribly by another speaker not to mention other things that did not line up. I left there feeling like man…your own kind treats you like this. It really left a bad taste in my mouth. But then as clear as day…God said I never told you to take anyone with you. So the next couple of speaking engagements I journeyed alone. And nothing but blessings…I share this not to shame or bash others but to say that in your journey there is a season where you may be required to do it alone. It won’t be for ever but it is a season that I believe God is grooming us for something beyond what others can understand. Going at it alone during that season is an opportunity for you to grow without distractions. So where ever you are in your journey KEEP IT MOVING.

— Lia Abney

One of Lia’s future goals for Lia Abney, LLC  is to outreach the business internationally and continuously build strong foundations for accomplishing strategic goals. “So many businesses get stuck in the process of building because they do not clearly have a plan that will allow them to expand and grow to the next level. I want to help businesses that have found themselves stuck by establishing the right connection, communicate the right message, and commit to the process as a business owner to #KeepItMoving.”

“Discover your purpose, lock into it and don’t abandon the process to success. Use wisdom with whom you connect with and know when the season is over to just LET THEM GO. Your journey is dependent on someone benefiting from what you pour out into the earth. It’s never too late to get started. Straighten your crown “King”…”Queen” and KEEP IT MOVING!”

LIA ABNEY

Like most with such an important calling as hers, Lia’s story reminds us all to stay focused. There is no quick path to success, but through perseverance and constant self- evaluation anything is possible!

Continue to Follow Lia’s journey via Lia Abney LLC on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and LinkedIn and Victory Leadership Group on Instagram

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Antiguan Beauty Creates Organic Skin Care Line

BY TARYN ST.LOUIS, SEPTEMBER 10th, 2020

It all started with her own obsession with healthy skin. Ressa Valentine Benjamin loved the way her organic skin care routine kept her melanin skin glowing, and soon made the decision to stop keeping her skin care secrets to herself. Originally hailing from St. Johnson’s village in her beautiful island home of Antigua, Ressa boldly founded her own skin care line, “Definitely Reese,” with the hopes that she could help others achieve radiant skin.

Hyperpigmentation, acne, dry skin and eczema are some common skin conditions faced by people of color. There can be a misconception that we do not need to be as vigilant about our skin care routines as others because of the natural elasticity and melanin glow of our skin, but the opposite is true. According to Medical News Today, melanin-producing cells may be more susceptible to the effects of inflammation and injury, which may be more noticeable in dark skin than in light skin.

One of Definitely Reese’s loyal customers, Antiguan Soca Artist Claudette “C.P” Peters, using the Tumeric & Honey Scrub

Ressa’s products contain natural ingredients which are perfect for people of color. Ground turmeric, cinnamon, coffee grounds, brown sugar, honey, and lemon along with her ‘secret ingredient’ are just some of nature’s gifts which she uses in her products. She highlights turmeric as a main ingredient used in her line. It’s no secret that this natural spice has amazing skin care benefits. Some of these include:

  • It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties; This means that it’s great for combating acne and other skin irritations.
  • It calms the skin and works wonders on fading acne scars and hyperpigmentation.
  • Another plus? It unveils a noticeably healthy glow!

Her turmeric and honey facial scrub was personally tested by me, and all I can say is, this entrepreneur takes the skin care business seriously!

Another main ingredient she utilizes is coffee. Yes! Coffee. Coffee grounds are actually a great source of several nutrients and antioxidants that benefit the skin tremendously.

Just like turmeric, coffee brings out your natural glow;

It reduces puffiness of the eyes;

It protects the skin against harsh sun rays;

and removes dead skin cells;

Coffee grounds are used in her Vanilla Latte Scrub. Needless to say, I will be trying this one next!

At “Definitely Reese,” you can also find other amazing products such as foot scrubs, lip scrubs, lip balms, lip glosses and eyelash/eyebrows serums. Check out her store on Facebook, and browse her selection of natural beauty and skin care products.

Her momentum is steady and growing, but entrepreneurship is not all ribbons and rainbows. This small business owner faces her fair share of obstacles including fluctuating customs duties. When endeavoring to make a profit, the taxes imposed at the island’s air or sea ports can be counter productive for small business owners. However, this inspiring entrepreneur presses on. Thankfully, her support system is dynamic and extremely loyal.

“My supporters have all been amazing throughout my journey thus far.”

Although she is ‘taking things one day at a time’ and marketing her products locally, Ressa hopes to expand “Definitely Reese” both regionally and internationally. Once she continues producing these superior products, we are confident that there are no limits for this Antiguan entrepreneur!

“To all my fellow business owners, always strive to achieve your goals and always make adjustments if and when necessary along the way. Never give up! “

Ressa Valentine Benjamin

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Young Entrepreneurs set the pace for a Black- Owned Amazon.

BY TARYN ST.LOUIS, AUGUST 10, 2020

Ashley and Lucan, both 27, have been best friends since high school where they met 15 years ago. They’re both entrepreneurs from the UK who discovered that they shared a common problem;- finding products made for people of the African diaspora. BWM agrees that this task may sometimes prove difficult, because while we do have a variety of boutiques and stores that specifically carry these items, it can sometimes be inconvenient when you can’t make a ‘one stop shop’ for all your afro-centric needs.

A few years ago when Lucan moved into his new house, his love for his roots caused him to have an interest in finding Afro-Caribbean decor to give his sanctuary that feeling of ‘home’. This was not as easy as he thought it would be and he decided to inquire of his mom, whose house was beautifully decorated with such items. When his mother couldn’t help him find a retailer, his frustration led him to search online, and upon having no luck he made a pact with his long- time friend Ashley, to create their own. Ebonyx was conceptualized and established in 2019 and it features black owned everything!

What is ‘Ebonyx’?

“Ebonyx (a blend of Ebony and Onyx, and a reference to black vernacular, ebonics) is a marketplace for items that are Afrocentric in nature or inspired by Afrocentrism. Our view and purpose in promoting Afrocentrism is to further inclusivity, diversity, and collaboration for everyone regardless of their culture or background.”

BWM visited the Ebonyx online superstore and found a selection of skin care items, decorative trinkets, clothing and more that were quite unique. We were especially impressed with their afro-centric art. This is a great platform for our artists to market their pieces! Here are some added bonuses we found on the site:

Attractive Features

  • They offer a risk free sales strategy. Opening your shop on Ebonyx costs $0. They make a 15% commission only after the sale of your items. You heard right. They don’t make money until you make money.
  • They partner with individual brands to bring you unique African fashion, hair care products, artistic pieces and more.
  • We were quite impressed with their referral program. Share your link, your friend buys, and you enjoy 10% discount on your purchase!
  • They give back. Ebonyx supports a charity called “The Deworm the World Initiative“. Every sale of 25 pounds, a donation is made to this charity.

More about the charity

To combat worm infection, regular treatment with a simple pill is universally recognized as a safe and effective solution. The Deworm the World Initiative supports school-based deworming: treatment delivered through existing education infrastructure, administered by teachers with support from the health system. This approach is highly cost-effective, well accepted by communities, and efficiently targets the population group at greatest risk for infection: children.


The Ebonyx Dream

As with all entrepreneurs there have been setbacks for Ashley and Lucan. The biggest one yet has been access to funding. Without investment it is difficult for startups to scale. The phrase, ‘it takes money to make money’ sums this up pretty well. Without investment, black owned initiatives like Ebonyx will have a difficult time expanding internationally. Think about Amazon.- It was founded in the garage of Jeff Bezos‘ rented home in Bellevue, Washington. Bezos’ parents invested almost $250,000 during the startup phase. It’s no secret that Amazon is now one of the world’s largest and most successful companies, with a market value of $1.14 trillion!

What advice do these black business owners have for you? Ashley and Lucan believe that business boils down to two things: People and numbers. You need to understand your customer and what get’s them shopping. “However, that is useless unless you have your numbers in check. You need to know everything numbers wise, including accounting, marketing spend, statistics, operational numbers etc.”

These young black innovators have our full support. The greatest benefit of having a black owned Amazon is that our hard-earned dollars will be re-invested within our own communities.


“If everyone helps to hold up the sky, then one person does not become tired.”

 Askhari Johnson Hodari, Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs

Check out their range of afro-centric items on Instagram and Pinterest

Related: Black Businesses will not survive without the support of black people

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