my B.O.B. - Kubitees

What a week? With the election and many other events you probably want to hear about someone and something positive. Got the perfect solution with our November #myBOBstory series continuing with Kubitees. This myBOB stories introduces you to Kubrat Salaam, owner and creator of Kubitees. Embracing our culture, our excellence, and the creative limits we’re willing to surpass, Kubrat gives consumers access to art and apparel that reflects who they are while also being a megaphone for artists and artisans globally.

You may have noticed Kubrat’s feature on our Instagram. If you’re interested in being featured in the #myBOBstory, reach out via email. This campaign brings awareness to Black businesses from the owner's perspective. At myblackbox co. it's important to know the vision and purpose behind a business. Through this blog, Black business owners share their background, trials and tribulations, and the moment it all came together with you!

Kubrat started her grind at a very early age, not knowing how it would blossom to the global marketplace it has become today. Definitely a glowing example of starting young with encouragement, empowerment, and education of Black children.


What made you feel your message and voice would be well-received in the clothing apparel industry?

When I first started Kubitees, I was very young and very unaware of the "real" aspects of running a business. Not only did I not have a message or a voice that I wanted people and companies to receive within the apparel industry, but I didn't even have a business plan or any long term goals. Luckily, this isn't the case now, and I can proudly say that Kubitees has come a long way from where it once was. Today, the message I want people/companies to take away from Kubitees is that it's striving to provide quality products that make powerful statements and start meaningful conversations. Moreover, I think the positive feedback and continuous support I receive for my products are the predominant components which make make me feel that my company's message is resonating with people in the apparel industry.

You mentioned how you started young as a Black entrepreneur in grade school, who were some of your influences and mentors at that age?

Growing up, a lot of my everyday life comprised of entrepreneurship. Both of my parents had side hustles and flourishing businesses back in Nigeria. My younger brother even had his own business where he made wallets out of duct tape and created tutorials on YouTube. With that being said, I believe that my family members were my main influences as well as my unwavering mentors/motivators. They showed me how to persevere, and they've supported me throughout my entire journey—still are today.

What advice would you give to other girls and women who are struggling to find their place in society?

Sometimes we simply aren't meant to fit in with the rest of the crowd. I really believe that this is because we're supposed to be the ones leading the crowd. People like us see the world differently; we move and think in different ways. I say embrace this! Happily ride your own wave. There's nothing wrong with it, and you'll soon realize how empowering it is to live life on your own terms.

Tell me more about your efforts with creating a space for artisans and artists worldwide? You've recently started a collaborative, THE YCVC—tell us more about your mission and vision there.

For the past few years I've had the opportunity to collaborate with some amazing artists and artisans, many of whom are creating their masterpieces outside of the United States. My work with them is centered on providing Kubitees customers with unique and quality products while simultaneously exposing the creators behind the works to an increased means of obtaining self-sufficiency (so that they can continue creating)! In addition to my efforts to support independent artists and artisans worldwide, I've also launched the Kubitees initiative called the Young Creatives and Visionaries Collaborative (YCVC).

Through the YCVC, up and coming millennials (just like me) are given the opportunity to come together and create some magic with like-minded individuals. At the most recent YCVC, which took place this past August, we spent an entire day producing some photoshoots, video shoots, and flash fashion shows in Santa Monica, CA. By the end of the day, each participant involved was able to gain some exposure and experience in their respective fields, as well as lucrative networking opportunities and professional portfolio content. The outcomes were extremely worthwhile for everyone involved, and many of the people who participated are still reaping the benefits of the YCVC today.

Of all the kubitees apparel products, which is your most favorite and why?

My favorite apparel product has to be the "Power to my People" t-shirt because it's a statement that I resonate with on a deep level. Everyday there's always something new in the media that either negatively portrays our communities of color or negatively impacts our progress, and I think the only way out of this constant, detrimental cycle is by empowering/uplifting one another. Also, I really like how this shirt plays off the popular "All Power to the People" slogan by the Black Panther Party.

Is there anything particular we can expect from Kubitees during the 2018 holiday season?

I really want to give back to all of the customers and supporters I've acquired throughout the years, so this 2018 holiday season you should expect a lot of sales, giveaways, and some new Kubitees products! I actually have a new art collection dropping this month, so be on the lookout for that as well.

What advice would you give to someone like you, who has an idea, but is scared to take the first step to launch?

Think of everything in your life that you were scared to do, but ended up doing anyways. You overcame that initial fear--survived whatever it was that you thought you couldn't do. Try using those experiences as motivation, and be brave enough to take the first step required to launch your business. Regardless of what the outcomes are, at the very least you can say that you gave it a shot!


Kubrat’s story hopefully inspires you to make that move you’ve wanted to; try that idea you’ve been afraid to bring to life; or simply grow in your being to the next version of yourself. There is no time like the present, and no future is promised!

Hueful stories for you.

my B.O.B. - Nancy's Kitchen Products

In 59 days it will be 2019. Can’t believe how quickly this year feels like it has rolled by. To start off November’s #myBOBstory series with Nancy’s Kitchen Products feels right considering the increased focus around family during these last months of the year. Our myBOB stories continue with Donna Jenay, owner and creator of Nancy’s Kitchen Products. With a beautiful homage paid toward a matriarch of her family, Donna gives women who want to protect and maintain #teamnatural more options to do so.

You may have noticed Donna’s feature on our Instagram. If you’re interested in being featured in the #myBOBstory, reach out via email. This campaign brings awareness to Black businesses from the owner's perspective. At myblackbox co. it's important to know the vision and purpose behind a business. Through this blog, Black business owners share their background, trials and tribulations, and the moment it all came together with you!

Growing up for many Black women involved having their hair done at home — whether in the kitchen, living room, or bathroom; any space at home could be turned into the salon for that day. It’s this tradition, or rite of passage if you will, that inspired Donna to bring her hair care products to market.


With an industry filled with large corporations and small business players, why did you decide to start your business in hair care?

Because we have been told that our hair is less than presentable. Black women have historically gone to great lengths to style and “fix” their hair to better fit into a society that idolizes Eurocentric beauty standards. When the natural hair movement started, the hair care industry that was profiting so heavily on our insecurities found themselves having to instead affirm our beauty and they did so at a very slow pace. Products geared toward our hair in its natural state were scarce! I saw an opening and I went for it.

You mentioned Nancy's Kitchen Products pays homage to your grandmother, Nancy. What were nuggets of wisdom your grandmother shared with you/your family?

My grandmother was very big on decency and order. Things should be a certain way and they should be presented a certain way that is tactful, respectful and respected. She was a straight shooter and I think without having to so much sit us down and teach us that step by step, we all have that in us thanks to her.

What advice would you give to other girls and women who are struggling to find where they fit in in the world?

Go within and trust what you hear. I think often times we seek advice and inspiration on who and how we should behave, feel, think and live from outside sources when really everything you need to know can be found from going within. Speaking more actionably, I recommend meditation and healthy doses of alone time and trying new things. Learning more about yourself will allow you to trust the voice that comes from within and consequently be more sure in who you are and what your purpose is.

As a mom, what is your take on the idea that women can't have both a career and a family life?

I think that women are powerful enough to do whatever it is their spirit is aligned to do. If a woman wants to focus solely on her family, she is strong enough to do that. If she wants to focus solely on her career, she is strong enough to do that. And if both? Then that too.

Which of your haircare products is most popular, and why do you think that is?

It’s a tie between the Silk Buttercream Hair Growth Oil and the Silk Buttercream Curl Custard. In my opinion, these two are staple products for naturals. Every Naturalista needs a good cream product and a good oil...and it doesn’t hurt that they’re high quality and smell like cake!

Is there anything particular we can expect from Nancy's Kitchen Products during the 2018 holiday season?

There may be some special steals and deals during the holiday season...👀 You should sign up for our marketing list to stay in the loop!

What advice would you give to someone like you, who has an idea, but is scared to take the first step to launch?

In the words of J. Cole, “Wanna know a funny thing about this sh*t? Even if you let em' kill your dream. It'll haunt you…”


Donna’s story makes you wonder what can you bring to market with an idea or concept you’ve been wanting to try. There is no time like now to push yourself outside of a comfort zone and take a risk with your business idea.

Hueful stories for you.

my B.O.B. - Noisy Knits

October is nearly over and there remain two more months of 2018. What better way to end our October #myBOBstory series than with a business that wants to empower Black women. Our myBOB stories continue with Kendra McCartney, co-owner of Noisy Knits. Through witty words and simple messages, Kendra and her business partner Ke’er provide more options for women to express themselves.

You may have noticed Kendra’s feature on our Instagram. If you’re interested in being featured in the #myBOBstory, reach out via email. This campaign brings awareness to Black businesses from the owner's perspective. At myblackbox co. it's important to know the vision and purpose behind a business. Through this blog, Black business owners share their background, trials and tribulations, and the moment it all came together with you!

Actions speak louder than words—yet sometimes words work just fine! Focusing on empowering women through words of strength, resilience, and more Kendra has established a t-shirt business that allows women to embrace themselves exactly as they are.


With a variety of t-shirt companies in the market, why did you decide Noisy Knits would be a good venture?

We felt that we had something to say to empower women to embrace themselves. Yes, there are a variety of other companies out there, but our tees are very simple, both in their designs and statements, which sets us apart.

Your brand is about positive, empowering messages —what is a meaningful message you received thus far in life that motivated you to be unapologetically you?

I was always told I could be anything I set my mind to. Things will be hard, but to always believe in myself.

What advice would you give to young Black girls and women who are struggling to find their purpose or space in the world?

Keep looking. Everyone has a place and a purpose. It may take a little time to find your way, but continue to believe in yourself and it will manifest itself. I am an attorney by training and never would’ve thought I would be part owner of t-shirt company. But, I felt like I had something to say and could add something to the market.

Are there new products you'll be launching with Noisy Knits? Or, do you have special t-shirts for the holiday season?

We’ve thought about launching other products and we’ve played around with a couple of ideas. However, we always want to try to stick with the core of our brand, which is empowering statements through simple messages. Who knows what the future holds. We launch new tees when we feel we have something to say. We aren’t trying to keep up with the latest pop culture saying or new “slang” statement. For that reason we launch new tees a little slower than most t-shirt companies. But, we’re OK with that. We’ve added v-necks and hoodies for the holiday season, and there is a new tee.

How did your partnership with Melodrama Boutique come to be? What has that partnership taught you about small business ownership?

We participated in a sidewalk sale that Melodrama Boutique does twice a year. From that relationship, we were able to begin discussing a partnership with our tees being in the boutique. The relationship has taught us that small business ownership is about constantly evolving and being open to change. It’s also taught us that sometimes you just have to ask. We approached the owner and to our surprise she said yes to allow our tees in her boutique. The owner has been very gracious in her advice and guidance as we move forward with our business relationship.

What advice would you give to someone like you, who has an idea, but is scared to take the first step?

Basically, just do it. You can over analyze to the point of never starting. My business partner and I have come a long way since we first started Noisy Knits, but the key was we just started. We made mistakes, but nothing we couldn’t overcome. We’ve learned along the way and got better each year.


Friendly reminder, you can also purchase bracelets along with your t-shirts, hoodies, and kids shirts from Noisy Knits. By stepping out on faith and having a partner to pursue an idea, Kendra is a great example of going after what you want—risks included!

Hueful stories for you.

my B.O.B. - The Caramel Girl Collection

October is moving along quickly as we hit the halfway mark of the month! There remains so much to do before 2018 comes to a close. Our myBOB stories continue with Tamica A. Lightfoot, owner and creator of The Caramel Girl Collection. Body and skin care are very important to Black women, especially Tamica.

You may have noticed Tamica’s feature on our Instagram. If you’re interested in being featured in the #myBOBstory, reach out via email. This campaign brings awareness to Black businesses from the owner's perspective. At myblackbox co. it's important to know the vision and purpose behind a business. Through this blog, Black business owners share their background, trials and tribulations, and the moment it all came together with you!

Focusing her business on another important feature of many Black women—skin, Tamica is making a difference in how Black women (and men) protect, love, and maintain their healthy skin—and ensuring they love the skin they’re in!


With the body and skin care industry providing several options across many brands, why did you decide you needed to bring The Caramel Girl Collection to market?

This is a great question. I decided to bring my brand to market because I saw the positive impact that it has had on me and my customers. There are several Shea butter based products on the market but I have received several compliments, not only on my texture but the lasting impact of my products. Variety is important and I feel that offering different options to consumers keeps them interested in those products.

Have you battled with eczema or have family, friends who have? What impact does that have on your business?

I personally suffer from eczema which is what prompted me to create my own products. I felt that I should be able to experience scented products that did not cause a reaction for my skin. As I experimented with various natural plant based essential oils, I found the perfect combination. My goal is to give eczema suffers a healthy option for their skin that allows them to explore different scents.

What advice would you give to young Black girls and women who are struggling to find their purpose or space in the world?

Follow your heart and follow your dreams. Live for you and what is best for you. Live without fear of failing and step out on faith. I moved to Atlanta in 2015 with no family or friends in the state. I had to follow my dream of establishing my business and growing my brand. My leap of faith into the unknown has turned out to be my biggest blessing.

Are there new products you'll be launching with CGC? Or, do you have special products for the holiday season?

CGC will be launching Maven our new haircare system this October. We are excited to launch this product and look forward to the responses we plan to receive from our customers. In December, we will launch our skin care line as well. For the holidays we will offer at-home spa packages which will feature our hand poured soy candles!

How did you get involved with events and bringing your products to consumers offline?

When I moved to Atlanta, I decided that the best way to network would be to participate in various vendor events across the city. As a result, I decided to start hosting my own events. This has truly helped me make a name for myself and partner with other small business owners.

What advice would you give to someone like you, who has an idea, but is scared to take the first step?

We can not live in fear of failure or defeat. If you have an idea, do your research, establish you niche and go for it! Building a brand takes time, dedication, and preparation. You must invest mentally, physically, and financially into your business. Sacrifice is key but the long term pay off is well worth it.


Don’t forget you can also purchase products for the men in your life as Tamica does offer beard kits. Taking a risk and being persistent at achieving your goals is clearly lessons Tamica stands by. As Black women we are often attacked for our strength, but our vulnerability is what keeps us going. What risks will you take before 2018 ends? Learn from Tamica’s story and try something you’ve doubted yourself on!

Hueful stories for you.

my B.O.B. - iAmQueen

Fall is here and there’s much to do before 2018 comes to a close. Over the summer myBOB stories were reintroduced and to usher in the new season the story of Astoria Stubbs, owner of iAmQueen Hair should help motivate you to achieve anything you’ve been putting off lately.

You may have noticed Astoria’s feature on our Instagram. If you’re interested in being featured in the #myBOBstory, reach out via email. This campaign brings awareness to Black businesses from the owner's perspective. At myblackbox co. it's important to know the vision and purpose behind a business. Through this blog, Black business owners share their background, trials and tribulations, and the moment it all came together with you!

Focusing her business on one of the most important features of many Black women—hair, Astoria is making a difference in how Black women style their hair, maintain their natural hair, and take pride in a feature that’s constantly under attack in society.


What was it about hair that made you want to start your business around hair care, love, and products for hair?

Honestly, I saw a need. There are so many products in the industry along with a lot of stylists that just routine clients in and out, never addressing real issues that a client might have— and, frankly, don't care. I have always been in love with hair, working in all parts of this industry from weave to hair restoration, color cutting, you name it—I have done it. As I evolved into the person I am today, I started asking myself what do I love and what do people come to me for; then how can I service a need. I noticed no one is educating clients on their hair. I thought maybe stylists don't really know either, or forgot what they learned because they become busy in the day-to-day, creating a business that can cater to both industry and consumers. Not to mention one of my nieces wrote a story about being teased for her curls. I knew we had to not only learn about our hair, but love and accept it so we can truly love ourselves.

Can you share more about how your family has influenced your business and/or entrepreneurial goals?

I get my drive and entrepreneurial spirit from my Dad. He owned one of the largest black owned charter bus businesses in Houston for over 15 years. Heck, he gave me my first job, first real check, and taught me about networking. I literally followed him everywhere during the summer from the age of 9 until I went off to college. My mom on the other hand kept us together. She made it so that I kept a balance of school, volunteer work, sports, and family time. For as long as I can remember I have traveled to Mississippi with my parents for Thanksgiving and there I learned what family really means. My grandmother, my mom’s mother, had 8 kids. Every Thanksgiving everyone piled into my Mama Hazel’s home— a small 3 bedroom, 1 bath house, and just loved on each other by passing down stories and recipes. I can go on and on about my family. I mean I'm the baby and the age gap between me and my sister is 14 years— my nieces are like my kids.

What advice would you give to other girls and women who are struggling with their natural hair or loving their hair as is?

First, I would say stop looking at everything on social media, etc. Society wants you to think your hair is "nappy" — which is just a bad word for saying it “unmanageable.” So first change the negative connotation of the word and use words like kinky or curls cause that's truly what it is texture. It starts with understanding you hair type and what works for you, but also understanding who you are as a woman so you can begin to truly love yourself. I can only love you as much as you love yourself, so understand your worth. Second, find a stylist that specializes in natural hair and is not afraid to educate you. The best thing I can do for my clients is educate them because in turn they make my job easier by maintaining their styles at home.

Tell me more about your academy—you're a licensed stylist right?

Yes I'm licensed in Texas and Mississippi for a little over 13 years now. The Academy caters to women of all diverse backgrounds. I say this all the time, "Hair is Hair. It falls on a texture scale. It does not see color." We have four courses right now and are expanding to a more digital platform as we grow. Each class is hands on and goes through different components of the hair as it relates to curls. For example, The Natural You, my most popular, starts at the beginning— learning hair texture, how hair grows, the truth about shedding, protective styles, and a hair care regime. It's designed to help new naturals or anyone that's stuck and needs a fresh start. I also teach future and current stylists continuing education; although the basics don't change, trends and hair is always evolving. I help cultivate a learning experience that brings more value to the services stylists provide and educate them on the do’s and don't’s of different hair textures. 

How do you incorporate live events into your business?

For a while all I did was live events like hair shows and expos when I was first starting out and trying to grow the brand. Now I understand my marketing strategy and learned to work smarter, not harder. I still so live events and shows though I understand that I can't be in every place at one time. At the moment a digital platform works better. As I add people to the team, which is the goal for 2019, we can be present at more shows and educate more people—or as I like to say, discover more curls!

Is there anything particular we can expect from iAmQueen during the 2018 holiday season?

We are taking this holiday season easy. Of course there will be the usual sale and maybe a hands-on class in November/December, but honestly as we move to a larger platform there are a lot of things that will roll out in 2019. January is my birth month and March is our 3-year anniversary, so look out for new classes and information coming out around that time.

What advice would you give to someone like you, who has an idea, but is scared to take the first step to launch?

Just do it! The only person stopping you is you! Do what you love and everything else will come. I have always wanted to do hair, educate people and travel the world. Is it easy? No. Have I failed? Yes, but if it was that easy everyone would do it! When it gets hard just remember you, why, and keep pushing through—the breakthrough is just on the other side. I was listening to a Will Smith video a friend sent me and one thing he said stood out— fear is a lie. He went on to explain how he went skydiving and, in that moment of being in the air, he felt the most bliss. At the point of maximum danger he felt the most fearless. Basically, on the other side of your fear is the bliss/maximum happiness you’ve been waiting for. Why let the lie of fear stop you from being your best?


If you don't feel inspired and empowered by Astoria’s story, you may need to read it again. Family, empowerment, and growth are all a part of the journey she is on with her business. As Black women we are so strong yet so vulnerable. Astoria’s story is a reminder that we before anything else we must love ourselves, as ourselves first. Proud to learn how she began her business and wishing continued success as we round off 2018!

Hueful stories for you.