Inside the Box: February 2018

THIS MONTH IS ALL ABOUT LOVE

The month of February is Black History Month and also a very commercialized time for Valentine's Day. As we get swept up in expressing our love to everyone during this time, it is important to remember there's no greater love than self-love. We provide our best love to others when we love and take care of ourselves.

Inside the Box is your look at our curated collection for the month. You'll learn a little more about our thoughts, selection process, and featured businesses.

As always, make sure to share your unboxing photos and videos by tagging #myFEB18blackbox. We love sharing your discovery experience!


FEBRUARY BLACKBOX INCLUDES:

Southern Girl Granola - Cranberry Granola (not pictured): The biggest part of self love and taking care of yourself is eating healthy. This sweet, yummy granola allows you to eat healthy and be satisfied. We wanted to include something that could be eaten on the go or enjoyed during a quiet moment at home. Creator Erika and Southern Girl Granola has a variety of flavors including Original, Cranberry, Dark Chocolate and Sweet Potato.

The Caramel Girl Collection - Land of Milk & Honey Soap: Owner Tamica of The Caramel Girl Collection, reminds us to love the skin we're in, with her natural bath & body collection for your skin, face and hair. We love that she has items for the men and even candles, too! A good bar of soap that compliments your skin can be hard to find. The Land of Milk & Honey soap was a perfect choice for this month's collection and we love the scent.

Art & Ambition - Follow Your Calling Print: This beautiful print by Addie, creator of Art & Amibition, is an excellent reminder that we were given talents and dreams for a reason and it is our best interest to follow our callings to live out our purpose in this life. Addie's drawings are classy, motivational, and showcase Black women in their elegance. The Art & Ambition collection contains art prints, travel mugs, planners, notebooks, notecards and more.

ILMB Fitness - Love Stayput Headband: Another piece of self-love is taking time to exercise. The Love Stayput Headband is a perfect accessory to your workout outfit. It keeps hair in place so you don't have to worry about it interfering with your get fit plans! Owner LaMonica, is a personal trainer and and has a fitness collection to match. The fitness wear includes sports bra, workout pants, t-shirts and more.

Inclusive Randomness - Black Don't Crack Mirror:  The creative collection from Inclusive Randomness was a fun find for this month's box. We had to include the Black Don't Crack mirror as a bold reminder to ourselves and others that we were built to last. Check out Inclusive Randomness, owned by Nzingah, which has a variety of t-shirts, bookmarks, buttons, mirrors and other great items.


We hope you enjoyed learning about this month's featured businesses and stay tuned for what we have in store for March, our 1 year anniversary box! Have you subscribed yet? Make sure to get your box here.

Your box full of hue.

Inside the Box: January 2018

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2018: Can't Tell Us Nothing Year

We are so glad to make it into 2018 and bring you our first blackbox of the new year. We wanted to start 2018 off with a box packed full of great products. Last year, our official website was launched in January, so this is month marks our first year of operations! It's so exciting to watch an idea be implemented and grow. As always, thank you for rocking with us. We can't wait to see what 2018 has in store, but for now we'll start off showcasing our January 2018 blackbox.

Inside the Box is your look at our curated collection for the month. You'll learn a little more about our thoughts, selection process, and featured businesses.

As always, make sure to share your unboxing photos and videos by tagging #myJAN18blackbox. We love sharing your discovery experience!


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JANUARY BLACKBOX INCLUDES:

DecoArt Manufacturers - Decorative Switch Plate: The creative collection of decorative switch plates, by owner Warren, are a breath of fresh air to your home. We loved the vast variety of plates to choose from that would compliment an array of decor to spruce up any room. These also make great gifts and it was a great find for our January box.

Rock Candy Earrings - I Support Black Business Pin: We wanted to remind our subscribers of our mission with blackbox by including this pin in January's box. By supporting blackbox, you are equally supporting 4-6 other Black-owned businesses on a monthly basis. The I Support Black Business pin by Della, of Rock Candy Earrings, is a simple statement piece that could be worn on your clothing or other accessory or bag. Her collection also includes earrings, buttons and travel cups/mugs.

LaShonetay Art Supplies - Plum Seed Acrylic Paint: We were so happy to find the art supplies of LaShonetay and thought it was a unique find to include in the box. We hope the paint awakens your creative side and could be put to good use. LaShonetay Art Supplies provides a collection of paint colors including light, dark, and melanated tones. Her shop also has paint brushes to get you off on the right foot for your painting masterpiece.

Nostalgia Collective - Remember the Time Card: Raf's collection of greeting cards, fridge magnets, posters, sweaters/t-shirts and more, was an excellent find! It was so hard to choose which item we wanted to feature for this month's box. However, we went with the King of Pop with the Remember the Time card as we transition into the Valentine shopping season for February. Check out the variety of products offered by the Nostalgia Collective.

Hair Brew - Knot Happenin' Detangler: The Knot Happenin' Detangler by Hair Brew was a much needed inclusion for the winter season, especially when our hair is most prone to being dry. This detangler/conditioner smells great and worked well when tested and we wanted to share with you this month. Abenaa's collection at Hair Brew include butters, beard kits, body oils, scrubs, conditioners and more. She's got your full body covered.

Detroit Chips - BBQ Chips: If you've been a monthly subscriber for a while, then you know we love to throw in a good snack. Detroit Chips was a great discovery for the new year and they have a variety of yummy flavors to choose from. We went with the classic BBQ chip for January's box. It's crunchy and flavorful. Make sure to check out Detroit Chips, owned by Michael W.


As our first box of 2018, we hope you enjoyed discovering our first 6 Black business owned made products. Be sure to tell friends and family about blackbox—subscribe for an one-time, monthly or quarterly box here.

Your box full of hue.

From the Founders: 2017 Recap

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And, 10...9...8...

That's right! 10 months of blackbox, 10 months of endless Black-owned goodness, 10 months as a fully functioning business! We launched our website in January, shipped our first box in March and are wrapping up our first full year in business this December. 

Planning and launching a new business isn't easy, we started building the foundation of blackbox in September 2016. We planned out the logistics of what we were trying to accomplish, built out our website to launch, connected with tons of Black-owned businesses introducing our idea and concept, started a total overhaul of our branding and social media and countless of tasks that we don't have time to mention.

There were many late nights planning, working, building, tweaking and finalizing. There was a late night jam session that lasted until almost 3 am, about a week prior to the launch of our website, to make sure everything was on point and functioning before we opened for business. It was hard. It is still hard. But it is worth it!

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Over the course of our first year in business, we have learned so much. Our brand message and voice has strong legs, and we continue to grow our social and subscriber base. We have certainly learned that growing a subscriber base for a subscription box is not as easy as it looks. Especially when we surprise subscribers monthly with the products being included versus sharing the featured products beforehand.

We recently had our end of the year recap meeting and discussed what worked, what didn't, and what we could improve on and/or change going into the New Year. We will certainly be hard at work with some of the new ideas we want to implement.

As far as the businesses we were able to partner with this year, what a pleasure working with every single one of them! We are proud to discover such quality, diverse work within the Black business community and be able to share them with you in blackbox, on our social channels with our my B.O.B. features, and our extended features on this very blog.

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Some important updates we had during the year were to switch our website provider which allowed us more control of our online presence and improved our look. We also gave our subscribers the ability to manage subscription accounts directly. Our brand awareness has grown significantly since first publishing content across our social channels in September 2016.

We are honored with all the support from our followers and most importantly those who have been able to support us—and the Black owned businesses we feature—by subscribing to blackbox monthly, or by purchasing a one-time box.

We are excited for what 2018 has in store and look forward to seeing you on the other side of the New Year!

 

 

Inside the Box: December 2017

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WRAP IT UP

Welp, the time has come to wrap up 2017 in many aspects, including our last blackbox of the year. Since shipping our first box in March, we have learned a lot, made quite a few changes and are certainly excited for what's to come in 2018. To close out the year, we are bringing your another four great Black-owned products from the following categories: bath & body, fashion accessories and two items from home & office.

Inside the Box is your look at our curated collection for the month. You'll get to learn a little more about our thoughts, selection process, and featured businesses.

As always, make sure to share your unboxing photos and videos by tagging #myDECEMBERblackbox. We love sharing what you've discovered.


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DECEMBER BLACKBOX INCLUDES:

Bask & Bloom - Balancing Toner: With the cold winter months in the midst, a healthy regimen for keeping skin fresh, clean and moisturized is in order. The Balancing Toner from Bask & Bloom is great to use after a face cleaning to get rid of excess dirt. Owner Candera loves natural remedies using herbs and created Bask & Bloom out of her love for conscious beauty products. The collection includes hair masques, shampoo, conditioner, soap, facial cleansers, body butter, and more! 

Love Carter Designs - Follow Your Heart Necklace: This simple, yet stylish statement necklace by Lover Carter Designs is a nice reminder to follow your heart in all you do. We wanted to include an encouraging jewelry piece this month as we head into the new year. Love Carter Designs is an inspirational jewelry collection which has bracelets, necklaces, phone cases and personalized jewelry as well co-owned by Alecia.

LooHoo - PeaceFelt Collection: The PeaceFelt Collection by LooHoo, owned by Cyndi, was a unique find. These wool stones can be used to freshen up a room, your car or even a clothing drawer by adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil. They are also great for relieving stress by lightly rubbing the stones. LooHoo also makes natural wool dryer balls that are environmentally-friendly, reusable and cost effective.

Page Eleven Paper Goods - Travel Journal: We were happy to find the beautiful Travel Journal created by Elisha of Page Eleven Paper Goods. This journal will be particularly handy for all those looking to fill their passport books in 2018 or traveling domestically. Page Eleven Paper Goods offers a collection of planners and journals to help guide you to the next level by keeping you focused and organized.


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As our last box of 2017, we were happy to wrap it up with a great collection of products to fuel you into the new year on a mission of freshness, drive, peace and eagerness to travel uncharted territory. As we flow into 2018, continue this journey of discovery with us by subscribing to your monthly blackbox here. 

Your box full of hue.

my B.O.B. - Divine Luxury

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We were happy to introduce Nikki, owner of Divine Luxury Bath & Body through our my B.O.B. campaign on Instagram! This campaign brings awareness to Black businesses from the owner's perspective. At blackbox we believe it's important to know the vision and purpose behind a business. Through our blog, we can dig deeper into their stories and provide a fuller perspective with you!

After registering her business in February 2014, it wasn't until her daughter asked "Mom, when are you going to start your business? You have all these supplies just sitting here wasting away; JUST DO IT!", that kicked Nikki into gear to just do it, and launch her natural bath & body company, Divine Luxury.


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What was it about bath & body products that made you want to start your own collection and launch Divine Luxury?

I'm a nurturer by heart and I love helping others without expecting anything in return. I've been that way since childhood. There are two things I truly enjoy doing for others, that's preparing a meal for them or making them feel beautiful. I started Divine Luxury Bath and Body because I felt the process would be a lot easier to start and it was my way of giving back to others, especially women. There's something about bath and body products that can change to your mood and put a smile on your face at the same time. 

You mentioned your daughter asked you when you would to start your business after a period of stagnation, what was your response to her?

After registering my business in February of 2014, I stopped. I didn't start creating products or anything. I was still doing some research, but hadn't created anything. One day my daughter came up to me and said, "Mom, you have all these supplies you order for your business just sitting around collecting dust, what are you waiting on...just do it!". At that moment, I said your absolutely right, and I immediately starting working on my bath salt collection. She was the push that got me out of my own way. I was so afraid to actually "start" because I had no clue on how to actually run a "successful" business. But, I moved my feet and I have been going strong ever since she made that statement to me. I'm learning as I go, taking the good with the bad. I'm just glad I STARTED. There's no failure in starting.

How awesome that your husband was your first sale to get the ball rolling. How has your business grown since that first sale?

Yes, having the support from my husband is amazing. To know he has my back while I'm on my entrepreneurial journey gives me a piece of mind because I know he will always keep it 100 with me. Since he made the first purchase in 2014, business has had a steady increase, and honestly, I'm glad it has been growing at a gradual pace. I'm not going to lie, in the beginning sales were very slow and most of my customers were friends. I was afraid that sales would never pick up. However, once I started doing more conferences and events, I was able to introduce my brand to the masses. By doing more shows, it has helped increase sales and brand recognition, which creates lots of return customers. I appreciate everyone who supports Divine Luxury, but the return customers make a huge difference in a brand's success. 

What did you learn from your great grandparents and great aunt as entrepreneurs that has helped you with your business?

Growing up I had relatives who owned sucessful businesses, however, being so young I never asked them questions on how they got started or what things to avoid while owning a business. I just knew I wanted to have something of my own when I got older. Hopefully they are looking down on me and are proud that I'm following my dreams. 

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

My advice to someone who wants to start their own business, is to make sure you research your market and identify what you can offer that no one else is offering. If you can find a mentor in your desired field, that's great. Even if they are not, a business mentor will guide you on not making the same mistakes they did or at least be a great resource for you to share your ideas.  Also, start saving money to fund your business. In the beginning you want to establish your business name, website, photos for your site, supplies, etc. Those things cost money, so make sure you save for them, because I would avoid getting a loan for the longest time. Remember, banks want their money regardless of you selling your product or service. Work on your on personal credit to improve it, if it's not so great, just in case you do want to get a loan. Also, use your free resources like the SBA. They offer tons of free classes and other service to help you grow your business. The last thing I will say is invest in your own personal growth as a brand owner. That means taking a class or attending a paid conference. Once you stop learning, your business will stop growing. Oh, one more thing, surround yourself with people who are moving in the direction you want to go and learn from them. That's it and have fun while you live your dream!!!


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It was such a pleasure learning more about Nikki's journey to launch with her business, Divine Luxury Bath & Body. It goes to show that supportive people and belief in yourself is key when taking a step into the unknown with entrepreneurship. We wish Nikki continued growth and success!

Our discovery is your discovery.