my B.O.B.

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.

my B.O.B. - Soulful by C2

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With August being #NationalBlackBusinessMonth, very happy to re-introduce the myBOB stories with Charona Lott, owner of Soulful by C2!

You may have noticed her feature on the myblackbox co. Instagram account this past week— the #myBOBstory campaign continues there as well. 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!

Finding a way to continue to support her child, make it through a divorce, and find something she could call her own led Charona to become a Black entrepreneur. With her beauty and skincare products, Charona wants to differentiate Soulful by C2 from other soy candle sellers.


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Do you remember your first sale—how did you feel?

The very first time that I heard that PayPal notification go off on my phone, I was overwhelmed with joy because all of my sleepless nights were about to start paying off. 

Why beauty and home products? What drew you to create in this space?

My passion for candles started in college while attending The Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. I was not your everyday college student who did not care about my living space. I liked for my apartment to always have a nice clean scent that would last for days, and candles did just that! For my business, I chose to include a skincare line that is all natural, organic, and holistic because when shopping for skincare products I found that many of the top selling moisturizers and body scrubs were filled with chemicals. Great example—when doing research at a well-known candle chain, I realized that their holistic candles and scrubs only had one or two essential oils for sleep whereas I use every essential oil that I can find for sleep deprivation. Taking a holistic approach to my candles is very expensive— organic essential oils can cost upwards to $50 for a 2oz bottle! However, learning about natural healing powers of essential oils compared to the cost of medication is priceless. I took the simple notion of our five senses and honed in on our sense of smell and how powerful it is. 

How did your divorce motivate you to push forward with your business—what was going through your mind at the time?

I was in survival mode. I had my daughter in (still is) private school, student loans, a car note, and rent that I was solely responsible for. I was determined to not allow the effects of my divorce to change my daughter’s lifestyle in any way. Before having my daughter I would always say to myself that if and when I had a child one of my goals was to put my child in private school, where the class sizes were smaller and I knew that my child would receive top notch education. Additionally, I wanted to afford to take my daughter on nice trips around the world, expose her to life beyond Miami, Florida. Having my own business has granted me the opportunity to do just that. Her Father is active in her life and we co-parent well. I also never wanted to lean on “child support” to finance our lives so I prayed, and prayed some more, then God gave me the idea and drive to work towards small business ownership.

What advice would you give to other women who are going through a divorce and concerned about their financial independence?

Always save for that rainy day because it’s coming! It might not come in the form of divorce; it could be a death, the loss of income, your mate could be incarcerated...either way life must go on and bills must be paid. My ultimate goal is to retire from my local government job at the age of 45 and work solely for myself—which is why I find it important to put money into my employer’s deferred compensation program and 401k match program. I take it a step further and suggest that women put away even more money into an additional high yielding savings account in the event that she becomes the sole provider for her family. 

What has your 9-to-5 taught you about being your own boss?

I've worked in my current career field for over 11 years. I've just gotten into a position where I can be home with my daughter every night. Becoming my own boss was liberating. I am a Virgo, so I am a leader by nature and having my own businesses has been gratifying to my soul. I not only have a candle business but I've helped my daughter start her own lipstick line—CamrynRene’ Cosmetics; I have my very own track club—Honest Runners of North Miami, where my team and I coach the fundamentals of the sport of track in field to children between the ages of 6 to 18. Being my own boss has shown me that I can work 24/7 on my own business. Now I'm ready to kick the door down on my current job!

Is there anything particular we can expect from Soulful by C2 during the 2018 holiday season?

I’m launching an all natural anti-aging skincare line. Also, I will have fall scented soy candles too.

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

Look fear in the eyes and just go for it! Even if no one believes in your ideas in the beginning, work at it until you make every doubter and naysayer a believer. And of course pray—pray over your business and every business idea that you may have. I would also advise someone to be prepared for the haters because people will hate before they support. That’s the sad truth of the reality of being a Black business owner.


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If you don't feel inspired and empowered by Charona's story, you might want to check your perspective. As Black women we are so strong yet so vulnerable. Charona's story is a reminder that we truly have to go through what we have to grow through. Proud to learn how she started and wishing continued success into 2018 for all of her endeavors! 

Hueful stories for you.

starting over

 CHS Birthday Bonus Pack

What does it mean to start over? This is a question we all will ask ourselves multiple times in our lives. Regardless of what hat you wear—woman, mother, sister, friend, entrepreneur— it isn't the easiest question to answer. When my former co-founder Jacque and I started blackbox we envisioned a subscription box filled with products made by Black makers, creatives, and entrepreneurs. We wanted to see a representation of ourselves and our community in the products that we all use daily or the ideas we all consider at some point in life.

About 8 months ago, blackbox took a hiatus. In that time, Jacque has moved on to fully focus on her growing family and now—rebranded— myblackbox co. is solely a content platform for Black business owners. I'll continue sharing your stories and showcasing what makes you unique to people who want to learn, try, and fall in love with the hundreds of different options available when it comes to beauty, food, fashion, home, and art.

There was so much work and excitement tied into what Jacque and I started with the subscription box service. I know she loved what we were able to bring to you each month for the full year the service was available. I don't doubt you'll see more from Jacque as entrepreneurship is in her DNA.

What can you expect now?

Stories. Original and curated content. An outlet. A platform. A safe space to embrace something other than the status quo. The myBOB stories will continue. Curation of content from others will continue. Businesses owned by Black creatives and makers will forever be given an outlet with myblackbox co. We're all a part of a platform and a movement that isn't stopping any time soon. With the limited number of safe spaces we have in this world, in this country, I hope to continue to bring surprise, intrigue, appreciation, and empowerment through the content shared from myblackbox co.

want to be a part of this?

Easy. Reach out via the contact page. Whether you're a bare-bones, newly started or finally getting your legs under you Black owned business, I would love to hear from you. And for those who are supporters who have not started—or are inching towards, Black owned businesses please also reach out. The more empowerment we give and share, the better the stories and experiences.

Lastly, before blackbox focused on being your box full of hue. Well, now myblackbox co. is focused on hueful stories. What does yours add to the fabric of Black entrepreneurship?

Brittinee

Founder & Marketing Director

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.