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A Natural Skin and Hair Care Line Inspired by Natives of the Motherland!

Our melanin is magnificent. It protects us from the harsh elements and absorbs light whenever the sun’s rays dance unhindered upon our skin. Although most resilient when compared to that of others, our soma needs protection and care. We’ve all had our experiences with store bought skin and hair care products that didn’t work as well as we thought they would. Although disappointing, it’s important to note that this could be due to multiple factors including skin type, harsh chemicals and level of exposure to the elements. Recently, there has been an upsurge in the number of natural skin care businesses online. People of color have taken it upon themselves to learn the art of cosmetic production; shea butter lotions, tumeric scrubs, coco body butters and the like are flooding the market much to the delight of black men and women eager to take care of their appearance and general well-being. There are however, a few well-seasoned natural skin care professionals that have had taken the time to perfect their products for years. We found one such gem in the heart of the United Kingdom.

Irene Afari, 35, of London UK, grew up in Paris France and Hackney United Kingdom. This melanin beauty with a European nationality is a registered nurse with a biotechnology degree, but when she’s not out saving the world she enjoys the Arts and learning about new cultures in her travels. While in her 20s, chemically damaged hair led her to begin her own journey of healthy hair growth. Frustration soon set in however, because regular beauty supply stores didn’t carry the products needed to save her damaged mane and staff within these stores lacked the knowledge needed to advise her on how to get her naturally healthy hair back. This avid traveler has visited Ghana regularly and the wonderful natives introduced her to natural skin and hair care ingredients. Cocoa butter and shea butter have always been used and loved by generations of Ghanaian natives. Irene was so inspired that she began creating her own home made concoctions with these same ingredients, and this led to a multiplicity of accolades from family and friends regarding the natural look and glow of her hair and skin. This all fueled her passion to incorporate a more holistic approach to beauty care and thus she created her own hair and skin care brand, Native Nous. The name was derived from both cultural and spiritual ideals.

Irene’s love for the indigenous people and flora of Ghana =”Native.” (For The natives were her inspiration.)

A new found awakening toward natural and traditional care for the body, the awareness, mind, intellect and good sense= “Nous.”

“Native Nous represents channeling the practical knowledge of indigenous groups on benefiting from nature and natural ingredients. The brand’s ethos is based on sharing the indigenous beauty heritage and solutions by focusing on utilizing natural ingredients that promote healthy hair and skin.”

Here are some of the top picks for healthy hair and skin:

Neo Body Scrub: With its sweet coconut aroma, this exfoliating sugar body scrub is formulated with demerara cane sugar, virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, pure cold pressed sweet almond oil, turmeric root powder, natural vitamin E , lavender and ylang ylang essential oils leaves your skin feeling like new!
Afari Hair and Body Butter: This choice is specifically great for nourishing dry damaged hair or improving dry and rough skin. It has a smooth texture and light cocoa and floral aroma. Pure unrefined shea butter is paired with pure unrefined cocoa butter, extra virgin olive oil, pure Jamaican black castor oil, pure cold pressed sweet almond oil, virgin avocado oil, virgin argan oil, pure cold pressed jojoba oil, vitamin E, lavender, rosemary, tea tree, cedarwood and yland ylang essential oils.
Smell the roses facial oil: A rose infused facial serum that works wonders on acne prone skin, scarring, inflammation or dry skin. Ingredients include extra virgin olive oil, pure cold pressed sweet almond oil, virgin avocado oil, virgin argan oil, natural vitamin E, organic rosehip oil, and dried rose petals.
Refine Facial Toner: This super- moisturizing toner is great for deep cleansing of pores, removing residual makeup, dirt and pollutants. Toner prepares your skin to receive a follow up moisturizer or serum. It supports the PH balance of your skin. All natural ingredients include: organic rose water, pure vegetable glycerine, natural vitamin E, lavender essential oil and citric acid.

This black owned beauty brand delivers top quality skin and hair care because Irene understands the unique challenges faced by men and women of color when caring for their unique afro/curly hair and skin care needs. She experienced these challenges herself. Her line comprises the most effective natural ingredients which are unrefined or organic. All ingredients are hand picked for their beneficial and nutrient rich properties.

Find these products and more on her Website , Facebook or Instagram. Native Nous is currently listed on several black owned business directories such as ‘Black Pound Day‘, and also our very own blacked owned business listing on Black Wealth Magazine!

These awesome products ship internationally too, so have a look at the product catalog and order up!

Upon observing the list of natural ingredients it’s obvious that Irene is serious about skin and hair care. Her mission is simple. She wants to share the heritage and tradition of indigenous people’s use of nature in caring for our beauty needs through her products. Think of Native Nous as envisioning men and women of colour who have healthy skin and hair and because of it, they are confident enough to embrace all that they are.

As with all businesses whether large or small, Native Nous has had its fair share of challenges. Irene is the sole founder and this has meant that since inception, she has had to wear multiple hats in order to successfully manage the various facets of her business. Imagine being the marketing manager, secretary, founder and manufacturer all in one! This may seem a daunting task, but Irene has proven to be one tenacious business owner that doesn’t give in!

Irene Afari, Founder of Native Nous

Business growth has been steady throughout the years and Irene credits this in part, to the City University London Launch Lab Business accelerator programme and her business mentor. There are no limits as she envisions her brand becoming a substantial player in the beauty and cosmetics industry. It will become a lifestyle brand, and she plans to market her products through larger retailers such as Self ridges, Boots, Superdrug and Wholefoods Markets. The Native Nous line of products will be sold in retail store chains where women can receive hair and skin care advice and product recommendations. If we recall how her business started, we understand why this aspect is of paramount importance!

At BWM we applaud this business owner for endeavoring to create charitable foundations and co-operatives in the countries where her ingredients are sourced in order to benefit the women and their families who produce the ingredients. This says a lot about her work ethic and appreciation for her own craft and people. She encourages other business owners like her self to carry out due diligence by researching their unique markets, keep an eye on the competitors and test their products. This doesn’t mean that one should procrastinate. On the contrary, begin where you are and keep moving. That first step could eventually create a multi-million dollar brand!

“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.”

Joel A. Barker

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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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Country Girl with Big Dreams opens Plus-Sized Fashion Boutique

BY TARYN ST.LOUIS, AUGUST 3RD, 2020

As a child, Denise had always enjoyed the simple things, like watching her grandmother sew clothing, going shopping with her mom every weekend and playing “dress up” with her dolls and sisters. As an adult her passion for fashion only intensified, but because of her unique curvy figure, she found it difficult to find comfortable clothing that fit and were still attractive.

Soon, she’d had enough of going into clothing stores only to find out that the darling set she’d been eyeing for a while was not available in her size. In 2017, she put her creative vision to work and launched Dbl Dgtz Boutique in her hometown of North Carolina, USA. Petite sized ladies need not worry since the boutique caters to petite figures as well. From work to brunch, they’ve got an outfit for it! The boutique caters to the woman that loves looking her best for any occasion. Your guess is as good as ours was when trying to figure out how she came up with the unique name for her boutique, but think about DD and it’s easy to figure out!

BWM perused her online boutique on instagram and facebook and immediately fell in love with her classy, fashion forward ensembles that pretty much appeared to have been put together by a stylist. We soon learned that she is just that! Denise provides one on one consultations for women who are looking for exclusive fashion for specific occasions. Once a client has a look in mind, she provides advice and guidance on the best ways to pull that look together. Material, color and unique style are all taken into consideration during her consultations and you can trust that she will have you walking away feeling like a fashion goddess.

“We strive to make sure every woman feels beautiful and comfortable after leaving our store. When shopping at DblDgtz Boutique, just remember to be unapologetically YOU, no matter the size”

Starting a boutique may seem like an easy task, but according to this stylist, there were many hurdles that that her business had to overcome. “I feel the hardest obstacle thus far is getting women to believe and trust in your brand, after they have ran into so many dead ends- from poor quality to scammers. We as women are already picky about our clothing so to be an ONLINE women’s clothing store is even harder at times.”

With faith and dedication, Denise anticipates that Dbl Dgtz boutique will become a worldwide brand. She presently provides online everyday shipping Monday through Friday, and caters to her local customers on weekends.

Fashion forward stylist and owner of Dbl Dgtz boutique

Her advice to black business owners was too profound to paraphrase. BWM is in full agreement with her insightful words of wisdom: “To all other black owned businesses who may be starting like me or been in business for years, everyday is not going to be successful but don’t give up because people are watching. The likes, shares, are appreciated but not needed to become successful. Knowing your target audience, and standing behind your brand is everything. Make your doubters become your customers. Researching your market is very important. There will always be trial and error that’s how we learn and grow better. Just never give up, but once it’s a passion and dream, you never will.”

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Slip on your heels and make it a night out, or slide on your sandals for an everyday look!

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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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