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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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Island Girl makes Unique Jewelry Pieces

BY TARYN ST.LOUIS, JULY 27, 2020

The beautiful Caribbean islands envelop many traditions that are rich with color and creativity. From the costumes on display during mas, to the colorful buildings that line the streets, you are bound to be awed by the festive culture and and tastes of islanders. For Althea Teague, 39, from the island of Antigua, it had always been difficult to find unique jewelry pieces to satisfy her appetite to be different, so she started making pieces for herself.

A Business is Born

Upon wearing her self-made pieces in public, she noticed the attention she would get from strangers and familiar faces alike; then came the questions: “Where did you get that?” Where can I buy this?” Althea soon realized this could be a great business venture, and started taking orders for customized jewelry pieces.

Althea’s wonderfully made productions is now fully operational, and offers custom made hand jewelry, earrings, necklaces and other trinkets that are truly unique. Her use of color and symbolism are on point as each of her pieces tells a story.

“I create every piece by hand so they are unique and one of a kind. some are made from non-traditional materials like tree bark, mango seeds and safety pins.” 

Althea Teague
Althea wearing one of her unique neck pieces

A Reason to Keep Going

Being a mother is all the motivation she needs. Her three children, aged 5-21 all depend on the solid foundation she will inevitably build for them. For most parents, whether single or co-parenting, the need to build generational wealth is paramount, and if you are an entrepreneur like she is, building a solid business that is capable of being handed down is a definite goal.

What’s next for this Jewelry Boss?

Althea presently operates her business locally within her native island of Antigua, but her aim is to extend her market reach regionally, and even internationally. In the future, you may just spot her advertising vacancies within her business. With her level of dedication and mastery at Jewelry making, there are no limits.

“Style is the only thing you can’t buy. It’s not in a shopping bag, a label, or a price tag. It’s something reflected from our soul to the outside world—an emotion.”

Alber Elbaz

Related:Seven Jewelry rules you should be breaking

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