my B.O.B.

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.

my B.O.B. - Hair Yum

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We were happy to introduce Tosi, owner of Hair Yum 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 her daughter broke out from an expensive hair product, Tosi decided enough was enough. She consulted with her husband, who is a pharmacist, and decided to launch a collection of hair care products that were vegan, with yummy ingredients beneficial to a variety of hair types and textures.


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How has being immersed in your dual Nigerian and American cultures help you become the woman you are today?

I feel I have the best of both worlds. I hustle and know how to survive that to my upbringing. I take cultural aspects from both Nigeria and America and use them to help me solve problems.  Growing up bi-cultural enables me to see things from multiple perspectives and connect to people globally. Hair is universal. I love helping drive the conversation regarding stereotypes of African-American hair. I know what it is like to grow up in a society where girls are forced to shave their heads because natural hair care knowledge was non-existent. I am happy to see in both Nigeria and America perceptions and feelings about natural hair are changing for the better.

After using an expensive hair product, which caused a breakout for your youngest daughter, what can you remember from the conversation with your pharmacist husband for the idea of HairYum?

I remember the conversation like yesterday. I was upset. I was tired. I wanted my daughters to be happy with their hair and the products they use. It was a really simple conversation that took discipline and drive to execute. My girls are why I started HairYum.  I wanted to create a vegan product that was non-toxic and smelled great.  I knew these products would not only benefit my daughters but they would help so many people looking for a better hair products. We were the first company to really focus on vegan hair care for natural hair.

This may be a hard question to answer, but out of your collection, which product is your favorite and why?

I love each and every product in our HairYum collection. I truly cannot pick one over the other. They are each created out of a specific need from our customers and solve a different hair problem. I will say people love our Blueberry Deep Conditioner because the smell is simply divine. Once you open any of our products you will feel like you have walked into a beautiful garden with amazing aromas.

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As HairYum is currently strictly online, how you do outreach in the community to grow your brand and connect with customers?

We connect with our customers all the time. I have a yearly conference for women in business, called Dare 2 Aspire. I attend select natural hair events or meet-ups where I really get to talk hair with my fellow naturalistas. We also have surveys where we ask for feedback from our customers and fans. I am always seeking feedback, whether on social media or when I meet people face-to-face. I love listening to the customer. I believe the customer is always right.

What hair care tip would you like to share with blackbox readers?

Natural hair is fragile and delicate. Treat your hair with care.

As we move into 2018, what plans or goals would you like HairYum to accomplish this upcoming year?

One goal we have for HairYum is to continue to deliver excellent haircare products with outstanding customer service.


We want to thank Tosi for sharing more about her journey of frustration which lead to a great collection of hair care products in creating HairYum. The Blueberry Deep Conditioner was featured in our October box, take a peek here. We wished HairYum continued growth as we go into 2018!

my B.O.B. - ANEBA by Jenn

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We were happy to introduce Jennifer, owner of ANEBA by Jenn 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!

During the month of finals in April 2016, Jennifer was inspired by her passion in fashion when an idea to design authentic Kente chokers came to her. Determined to get started, she designed her website, procured a year's worth of supplies, found a manufacturer, built her team and fully launched ANEBA by Jenn in one month!

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Wow you are studying Mechanical Engineering! That is a vast difference from designing an authentic Kente choker line. Do you plan to work in your studied field when you finish school?

I actually currently work for the City of LA as a student engineer and I have done a few different things in my "career" field application wise that I couldn't have pictured in a lecture hall. It took this internship for me to understand that the idea of me doing both or having an interest in both isn't so far fetched. There are more similarities between a designer and an engineering than you'd immediately think of. They both fulfill a need/demand for their customer and above all they both are problem solvers. The only difference is their approach in problem solving. A designer problem solves from a more artistic/abstract perspective, where an engineer takes a mathematical/scientific approach in this same task. But in the end, they both create to fulfill a need.

As of now, I do not plan on working in my studied field when I graduate, but who knows, let's see what God has in store for me.

In one month you started and launched your business, what has happened for Aneba since launching?

Well since then, we have continued to scale, however, there has been ups and downs like any new business. We ended up in Urban Outfitters in just 6 months of business so I'd say recognition from such a well-known brand was reassuring. We have worked with talented people and have upcoming collaborations with people we are very excited about (stay tuned!!). Overall, I'd say its been a journey.

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What business advice have your parents given you, being that they both own their own successful businesses?

I don't really talk to my dad much about my business, but I can say I learned discipline from him in watching him deal with his. My mom is pretty much my business partner now. She's been my mentor throughout and has allowed me to make mistakes and figure it out on my own, while along side me the entire time. A huge part of ANEBA's success I owe to her. She told me it would be difficult, frustrating, sometimes I'd want to quit, I'd fight with my team, etc.; I did all that and more! Lol, but we are still here and we don't plan on going anywhere, anytime soon.

What advice would you give another entrepreneur interested in launching a fashion accessory line?

GO FOR IT! I encourage you to pursue your every dream..every single one of them, no matter how outrageous it may sound to other people. Just understand that people may not see what you see immediately and they will discourage you. Some of your "friends" will stray from you, you may lose some people through this new venture, you will cry, you will be frustrated, you will have many wins and losses because starting and running a business is a full time job and a full time investment. Just remember it's okay! Just don't let those people influence you and turn you into one of them. No matter what.

Can you give us a sneak peek into your 10-year business plan? What plans do you have for Aneba in the near future?

LOL, I have a lot of plans for ANEBA, but we'll just have to wait and see! Haha.

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How exciting to dig deeper into the quick launching of ANEBA by Jenn and learn more about Jennifer's journey. We wish her much success and growth as she continues to build her business!

Our discovery is your discovery.

my B.O.B. - Ivy & Vine

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We were happy to introduce Alisha, owner of Ivy & Vine Clothing Co. 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 her daughter was born in 2015, along with having to do a lot of online shopping, Alisha had a hard time finding things she wanted for her baby. So she took matters into her own hands and created an affordable marketplace for women and children; Ivy & Vine was born!


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You mentioned shopping for your newborn daughter online while on maternity leave. What was it that you were looking for and couldn't find that prompted you to start Ivy & Vine?

The main thing that I shopped for in the beginning were unique headbands and bows. There were some cute items out there, but they were so expensive. I remember buying about 4 headbands one day and my shopping cart total came up to $103. I wanted to provide a good quality product that was more economical for families. Most moms on maternity leave are on a budget, but you still want to be able to buy nice things for your kids.

What steps did you take to launch your online boutique?

I started researching brands that I wanted to work with, based on the quality of the product and of course the cost. I attended a few webinars and used my experience as a previous business owner to help we with the web development and e- commerce side of it.

I wanted to be a one stop shop for accessories for girls and women, but have the store be heavily influenced by the products that I loved. I love sunglasses, so I started there. I ordered samples of the sunglasses that I liked for myself and made sure that they were sturdy. I still do that now. I only stock accessories that I would wear on a daily basis. The process was the same for the headbands for little girls. I also stock graphic tees that are original designs. The graphic tees were inspired by my love for travel and Southern culture.

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Looking back on your business, what would you do differently if you had a do-over?

I would invest more in manufacturing my own products instead of buying wholesale. When you manufacture your own products, you increase your profit margin and put yourself in position to wholesale to others. You are also creating a legacy for your business and family. The products that I have created are something that my children can be proud of and make profit from in years to come. 

What do you love most about Ivy & Vine?

I love that what you see is what you get. If you see a product on our website, that's exactly what it will look like when you get it in the mail. We have all been victims of the bait and switch. We give you exactly what you are expecting to have.

What do you have planned for your business in 2018?

I plan to add more travel related products to our inventory. I would like to collaborate more with travel bloggers to promote my passport covers and map necklaces in 2018. I am also working on product placement in local boutiques.


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It was such a pleasure learning more about Alisha's desire to provide a quality, affordable fashion collection for moms and children. We are wishing her much growth and success with Ivy & Vine. We can't wait to see the new items coming in 2018!

Our discovery is your discovery.

my B.O.B. - Cierra Thurman

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We were happy to introduce Cierra, author of "My Life: The One He Never Got to Witness" 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!

Through the untimely and tragic killing of her father, Cierra faced many challenges and struggles while growing up in a gang infested Chicago neighborhood. Determined to make it out and share her story with others, Cierra pinned her book My Life. She also created her publishing company, Written Ambition Publishing, to help other authors share their talents and stories as well.

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We are so sorry to learn about the tragic killing of your father by the police. What is one of the most profound things that comes to mind to describe the woman you are today from this tragic event in your life?

My father was tragically killed by the Chicago Police when I was a little girl, which forced me to grow up as a 'Daddyless Daughter'. He was in our home, he was unarmed and he was shot five times in his back. Today I am a police officer myself. I know first hand what it feels like to be victimized by the system. I know how poor black people feel in poor communities when it relates to the police because I was one of those poor black people. I believe my experiences have made me more compassionate and I use my authority to affect positive change in the communities I patrol. If I had to use one word to describe the woman I am today, I would say I AM RESILIENT. 

At what point did you decide your story was important enough to share with others? What pushed you to bring your story to life being your published book?

I've been writing since I was a little girl. It is truly therapeutic for me. I never intended on publishing my first book, My Life: The One He Never Got To Witness. It was my mom who encouraged me to share my story, she believed it would help someone else in a similar circumstance. It was her encouragement that helped me realize that my story is not just for me. I went through my peaks and valleys in life to share my journey and lessons learned along the way. I shared my upbringing with you in my first book and then I shared my painful breakup with you in my second book entitled, Sometimes the Breakup is the Blessing, when I appeared on Steve Harvey Show.

What has been the hardest thing to overcome in publishing a book?

The hardest part for me was taking my mask off and truly being vulnerable. From the outside looking in, I appear to have it all together. The world usually gets to see the polished/made up version of me. But there was still a little girl inside of me who still needed to be healed and I needed to get to the root of my pain. The pain I often hide behind my smile. Being my authentic, transparent self was not easy, but in sharing my story, you get to see a side of me that the world never sees and experience my growth.

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What advice would you share with other writers who may be stalling for whatever reasons in publishing their work?

I would tell the writer that we all have a story to tell and they should just start writing. Some people are not sure how to go about the writing process. Visit my website cierrathurman.com and download my free eBook "Birth Your Book". It is absolutely free and walks you step-by-step through the writing, publishing, and marketing process. I share how to best write your own story and provide fool-proof writing tips, how to create a writing schedule and tips on the ins and outs of the editing process. I would tell them "Now it’s your turn! Be ready to take notes."

How does your publishing company, Written Ambition Publishing, help new authors bring their work to life?

As a result of working with Written Ambition Publishing, aspiring writers become published authors, gain exposure on radio and television and get booked for paid speaking engagements. I'm looking for individuals who are interested in sharing their story with the world and drastically transforming their lives. Are you someone who wants national exposure, become a published author and travel the world and get paid to share your story? If so, Written Ambition Publishing can assist you in profiting from what you love. Your immediate goal should be to find your purpose in life. Despite your circumstances, it is your responsibility to discover your passion and share your gift with others.

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It was such a pleasure learning more about Cierra and her ambition to help other authors share their talents and stories. We can't wait to see what else she has in store with her writing and also what other great authors will be discovered via Written Ambition Publishing.

Our discovery is your discovery.