black creatives

my B.O.B. - Articulate You

This myBOB story re-introduces you to Founder and Creator of myblackbox co, Brittinee Phillips. Funny story: former Co-Founder, Jacqueline Carrington, of the discountined subscription box conducted the interview! You can listen to the full interview with Brittinee, as well as read the abridged version below.

You may have noticed Articulate You featured on our Instagram. If you’re interested in being featured in the #myBOBstory, reach out via email. This series 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.

Brittinee has always loved marketing and consumer behavior. Over the years, working for corporations and venture-backed startups Brittinee realized she could support Black businesses with the skills and knowledge she’d gained at those organizations. As a woman of color, Brittinee’s intent is to enable the creation of more businesses owned and operated by women of color while also facilitating measurable growth and profit for those business owners.

Can you give a brief overview of what Articulate You is and how it came to be?

Articulate You is a marketing consulting business that also does some creative work. I started it out of a repeated experience when I would go to my beautician, or get my makeup done, or shop at a small boutique. I would hear these stories from women—especially Black women, about their struggles with marketing and how to find new customers, engage with them, and then even how to run their business operations. We'd have discussions, because I'm a marketer for the past 10 years, and I felt good helping them with the ideas I'd been using at large corporations. I felt compelled to start my own consulting business to be able to do that with other small and medium sized businesses owned by women of color.

Oh, excellent! Primarily what was the motivation behind focusing on your services to women of color owned businesses? Is anything more you wanted to add to that?

I was always very intrigued in how small businesses contribute to the US economy. And then looking further into that doing my own research and finding articles and stats about Black women as the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs; consistently it's been that way for the past four to five years. I felt that that was an audience that deserved and needed my specialty, my professional experience and knowledge, and skills because they oftentimes are running their own businesses alone or with very limited support from another individual.

Do you feel that you can relate better to your customer or how do you feel? Do you feel if people of non color were interested in your service that they would be off-put that you say that you primarily focus on businesses with women of color?

I don't think that they would be off-put. I think that they would understand that my primary audience and client base are women of color owned businesses; then women owned businesses. In our society, in the US, women are oftentimes encouraged not to be leaders; not to be entrepreneurs; not to be financially independent; and to always depend on another, especially a male or man. It's really important that any client who's considering me—whether they're women of color or a woman, or not—that they understand that my principles are to encourage women to be empowered, especially women of color. If they can understand that, then they can also understand where my services could also benefit them with their potential customer base as well. For women of color, I think that it's helpful for them to know that another woman of color actually understands what they go through as a small business owner and entrepreneur. At the end of the day, I am still an entrepreneur of color and a small business owner. I go through the same trials and tribulations that they do.

And what would you say then sets Articulate You a part from other marketing services?

What sets me apart is my experience. I've worked with large corporations as well as idolized and followed startups, where on the outside looking in I imagine folks things think that those organizations are well-run and well organized, and they have so much money and they have such a large team. But being on the inside I know how unorganized those organizations can be; how they maybe do something last minute and it may be luck that it's successful; as well as knowing how when you actually put a strategy and plan together how much more impactful that is for your bottom line, for your return on investment and the type of like impact you were expecting to have with your customer base.

The other thing is that I am extremely creative. I've come up with several ideas that garnered millions of dollars in sales and revenue for other businesses when I was employed by doing things that some might even consider very basic, simple idea or approach and taking out the complexity of how to reach an audience and continuing the conversation with them as people. I think that's one of the biggest things that separates me as well is my my focus on personalizing your communication with your customer. It should be two people talking to each other.

I certainly agree with that. I noticed that you said that 'when you were employed.' So it seems like you took a brief hiatus from your consulting business.  What prompted it and what was your inspiration to get back to business?

I think what prompted me going back into full time employment was 1) finances, I think every small business can relate to that. 2) The autonomy that you can sometimes get to run an entire business unit or business product, and be very proud of what you are able to achieve with that—I enjoy that; that was one thing that returned me to full time employment in the past. 3) When I love a brand I want to do a lot for them. If I have a great idea for a business I want to work with them so I can see that idea come to fruition and benefit them. And then the last, which I think will change as more clients learn of my services and obviously work with me, is that I value my experience, my knowledge, my skillset, my creativity—everything that makes me a strong marketer. Sometimes you can find potential clients who are not willing to pay for your services and want a discount. Discounting yourself is pretty disrespectful to yourself. You know what you're going to bring to the table. If you can't get out of that trajectory, where you're getting more potential clients who are only interested in discounted services then it can be a little bit discouraging.

What was your plan or series of events that kind of pushed you to walk away from the 6-figure salary and all these brands that you were working with—and say OK I'm going to do this again? I'm going to work for myself. I'm going to do my consulting full time.

Well I realized that while I enjoy a six figure salary, titles like Director of Marketing, and knowing that I am impacting millions of people with my marketing efforts—I have to be true to myself. If I'm not happy as a human being in the workplace that I am in then I don't need to be there. And they also don't deserve what I'm bringing to the table. They don't deserve my talents. They don't deserve my skills. And if I'm not willing to give those away to an organization anymore then I should be doing it for myself. By myself as a consultant and running my businesses where I can be hired by clients who do value what I bring; who will appreciate me and who won't make me feel like I'm not welcomed or worthy. I think that's important for Black women, especially who have worked in corporations or large organizations, to feel whole. With my consulting business I get to be my authentic self and I get to be whole. That's really important to me before anything, worldly or tangible like money and possessions.

Well that's a very good point and I can relate to that as well. What do you say are your short term goals for Articulate You?

Short term goals are 1) to continue networking with those who have small businesses that I have identified would benefit from my services. Networking with friends and other professionals that I've met throughout my marketing career; to share more about my consulting business and learn about new opportunities. Networking really is key. Most of your clients will come through referrals or through your network. 2) To revamp my knowledge base. I've been in this space for 10 years; I have multiple degrees, one which is in marketing, but you can never stop learning. So I've signed myself up for a few classes around Facebook advertising, social media marketing, as well as content marketing, just to refresh my brain—as well as confirm where I know at [my] level of expertise or where I need to improve because I want to be 100 percent for my clients.

Have you thought about longer term goals? Like maybe in three to five years for your business?

[Laughs]. Yes. In three years I would hope—well I'm not going to say hope I'm going to speak it into being—in three years my marketing consulting business Articulate You will be profitable, number one. Two, I will be at a place where I retain at least 10 clients every month, if not every quarter—at the standard rate not at discount rates.

I want to backtrack for one moment because most entrepreneurs and people would like to quit your job to pursue their ideas and passions. I'm sure they want to know, how did you prepare to walk away from your job to engage in a full activity for your business?

Well I will say this, it definitely helps that every job that I've had in the last four years has been six figures and I've always been a strong advocate of negotiating when you get a [job offer]. I would say 9 out of 10 I always get what I asked for when I negotiate a salary. I was able to save. I learned about saving through the Budgetnista. I joined her Dreamcatchers Facebook group six years ago and I have learned so much from the women in that group who shared their financial journey and struggles as well as her helpful tips, Tiffany the Budgetnist. It became natural for me to want to save and always pay myself first when I would get paid. Moving forward, properly managing those savings and knowing what I can do to grow my business because it costs money for me to grow my business too.

Apart from the financial, which obviously is very important—it's scary to not have a steady source of income—how did you overcome the mental fear or challenge with walking into your own?

For me I was tired of getting mentally beat up going into work at these organizations every day. I'm very committed to delivering when I'm hired for work or I have a responsibility with a job title and function. I wasn't horsing around at work. I was focused. I didn't join in in inappropriate conversations at work. I didn't allow people to disrespect me with their ignorance and racism. I kept moving at work, but still would get beat up. I had to personally say what's worse? Continuing this where you basically are someone's pooping ground and punching bag, mentally and professionally, because they're bothered that you're there as a Black woman. Or, try to take a risk on your own and pursue your own business; see how you fair doing things yourself for your business and working with clients that you actually want to work—who you believe will actually value what you contribute to their business? It will not definitely come with a consistent paycheck but you will have better peace of mind. So which is worse?

The best person to bet on and invest in is always yourself. If you don't try, then you'll never know if you'll actually succeed. If not, then life is a bunch of roller coasters anyway. You can always, almost get a job. But it's how you pick yourself up and try again for yourself that matters most. In closing I have one more question. What marketing tips could share with small businesses pertaining to social media?

OK, well one tip that I can offer pertaining to social media is to be consistent. I think that a lot of small businesses will post here and there, post whatever comes to mind, or haphazardly put a picture with a post, and they forget consistency is important. Take for example XONecole or even The Shade Room could be an example. There's consistency. There's a consistency to when they post; there's consistency to how many posts they actually post a day or week. There's a consistency in the content themes that they share, whether that's across video or carousel images or Instagram Stories— if it's on Instagram. And then there's a consistency in the tone of voice and brand personality that they're sharing as well as the way they engage with people who respond in comments to those posts. In the case of XONecole, you can see the color scheme, the illustrations, and the design elements that are consistent across their posts. Consistency is what I would definitely suggest as a tip—and that can be hard, that's why I'm available as a consultant. It can be very time consuming and difficult to be creative enough to find that consistent thread across those areas.

That's good to know! So that's something your service can provide with regard to sitting down with a client and going over their ideas for their brand, and also implementing your vision as well?

Yes. I offer brand strategy, social media—where I manage as well as come up with a strategy for social for clients—content marketing, and then the last primary area I offer is email marketing. I do offer a few other services, but those are the primary services.

All definitely beneficial for small brands, medium and larger brands as well. What advice would you share with others who may be following in those footsteps? It could be someone who is starting maybe a marketing business themself or it could just be someone who's stepping out into their own to have their own business.

My suggestion would be, be true yourself. Whatever you actually believe is going to work, and by work I mean you're going to put the effort behind it and you're going to not be discouraged if it doesn't work the first day or the first month or heck even the first year. Number two would be if you don't have any support that you'll be able to receive from any external person be mindful with your finances. Don't put yourself in a mental state of worry about your finances while you are trying to grow and launch your business. If you have support, like family or partner, be prepared to have conversations with them about what is the cutoff time before they will find your venture damaging to the relationship you have with them. You can't expect from family, friends, or your partner to be this endless bank and also take on the burden of financial responsibility in your family. If you are going to go on this venture it has to be a partnership and you both have to agree on what a cutoff is before it puts a strain on the relationship. The last thing, if you are going to present something to market make sure the quality is something that you would buy. Don't half ass what you do. That's not going to make you stand out in a world where there are millions of products and services available. You have to make sure the quality of what you're bringing is something you would pay for yourself.

Those are certainly great tips and a great way to round off the conversation. Thank you so much. Is there anything that you'd like to add or how can we reach you?

You can find me on my website, and you can also find me on Instagram and Facebook, @articulateyou. Lastly, if you're in need of marketing services and you want to try something different for the summer, now is the time to schedule a free consultation with me for whichever marketing service you're in need of.

Perfect. Well thank you so much for your time. I hope you have a good rest of your day.

Brittinee shows that if you’re committed to something and you do see the long term value in what you commit to you, the reward of helping others can carry you.

Hueful stories for you.

my B.O.B - People of Color Beauty

And we’re back! It’s been a little while since our last #myBOBstory and can’t explain how good it feels to share these stories again. This myBOB story re-introduces you to former Co-Founder Jacqueline Carrington, now Owner and Founder of People of Color Beauty. You can listen to the full interview with Jacqueline, as well as read the abridged version below.

You may have noticed Jacqueline’s feature on our Instagram. If you’re interested in being featured in the #myBOBstory, reach out via email. This series 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.

Jacqueline was born to be an entrepreneur and wants to leave a legacy for her three children to carry on. People of Color Beauty was born from a lack of representation of colors that would match well with Black women’s variety of skin tones.

I'm happy to have this interview with you and learn more about People of Color Beauty, and share it with the myblackbox co audience. Without further ado, why did you start your business?

My business was inspired by my daughter Monroe, when she was three. Anytime that she would go over to my mom's house she would always come home with her nails painted. The first thing that she would run to me and say is "Mommy, mommy, look at my nails, look at my toes!" And I would always say "Oh, how pretty, I love it." And so it was kind of a light bulb moment. I've always worn my natural nails. People would always comment that "Oh you have such pretty nails!" But I never painted them any types of colors. I would never see many images of Black women with different colored nail polishes.

People of Color the name came about from women of color because we are all types of shades of brown and even within our spectrum of shades of brown, certain colors still look better on certain shades of brown. People of Color too also means people who live in color; people who love color, they love to accessorize their attire with color. Although [People of Color] is geared towards women of color and colors that complement our various skin tones, it's obviously for anyone who loves their colors and is interested in wearing them as well.

I love that. I appreciate that you included your daughter in the creation of this business as well as revisited your own introduction to nail polish and beauty in general, and the colors that make your skin, as a Black woman, even more beautiful than it already is. Thank you for sharing the consideration of color in general, [which] is always going to be important for nail polishes regardless of who the wearer is. With that, you did touch on it little, but I'd like to explore further what inspiration do you use to fuel your entrepreneurial journey?

I've been an entrepreneur since I was a little kid. My mom and dad have both had their own businesses before. I think I was a born entrepreneur. I've always had an idea about something and trying something. Growing up my brother and I would sell lemonade on the corner of our block to cars driving by, and cookies too. Into adulthood I've tried many ideas and some successful, some not so successful. But to me, I have an unlimited amount of ideas. I [knew] that if I was focused on one idea at a time that it could become successful if I truly believe[d] in it and put the energy behind it. So is this opportunity with People of Color—especially because it's something that I'm now interested in and of course now with my daughter— I now have two daughters. I'll be able to teach them how to run a business at a young age.

That's powerful, especially as a solopreneur with your new business and the impact you obviously want to have on future customers as well as on the lives of your children as they get older and learn about being an entrepreneur. Another question I have is how did you financially start your business? Or, what planning do you have for your continued launch of People of Color Beauty?

I did of course research with regard to the startup cost of the business. Funny story, is I started this with someone who was going to be my business partner. We were going to split the cost. That person was involved with the logo design and choosing the colors and helping choose the names of the colors and then life happens and that person needed to bow out. At the time, we had put down our deposit to start the process of having our polishes made and [when] that person [left], she requested her money back because we didn't have the product yet. It was very frustrating at first. I didn't have all the money to fund it all by myself because that was not what I was planning for. I said in a quiet way, "F it, I'm gonna do it. I'm not going to let this be the reason that I don't take this idea to what I envisioned it to be." I sent her money back and dusted my hands off with that. I got the money together to keep it moving and so everything from that point on is self-funded. Some of the things that I need to finance soon in the future would be attending vendor events, so different festivals hopefully and craft fairs and Indie artisan events. I don't see it as a step back, [but] a challenge at this time.

It's great that you share this because people need to know that entrepreneurship is not easy. It's very hard work and you will have major setbacks. You will have minor setbacks; you will have moments where you're like "Why am I doing this?" You gotta take a risk or choose not to. You are clearly living the entrepreneur life right now with People of Color Beauty, as most folks do self-fund until their businesses get a bit more standing underneath them and continue to grow. I would love to know why should consumers purchase from People of Color Beauty? Is there a uniqueness that your nail polish business has that others don't have?

I would say yes and no. Most people are becoming more health conscious and kind of the last leg of that would be the beauty industry where people are putting things on their hair, on their skin that contain toxins and chemicals. A lot of women get their nails done, girls included, and there's a lot of toxins in nail polish which…your body absorbs it. With People of Color nail polish we're free of 10 of some of the most toxic chemicals that are in the majority of nail polishes. You can go on our website, they're all listed there. And the polish is vegan as well, so it's not made with any type of animal products or byproducts at all. We're cruelty free, which means at no point during the production process are any of the products tested on animals. And then we're gluten-free as well.

I wanted to have colors that complemented [a] variety of skin tones. The purpose behind our lookbook on our website would be to showcase the colors on various skin tones of brown, so that way you'll have a central location to go to try to find someone of similar skin tone to see, "OK, it might look good on me…" Those images aren't as global out there in the main beauty world. I wanted to be a source for women of color to find nail polish that complements their skin tone…to be more encouraged to buy and try different colors that they have not tried before, because they thought they wouldn't look good on them. I wanted to combat that with my product.

Well it's very helpful that you're discussing the chemicals that can be found in these polishes that everyone's probably used to having as their only options, and how People of Color Beauty is differentiated because of your consideration of not including these toxins. But also what we've been discussing like these options of what looks great with my skin as a Black woman…is always a unique selling proposition of a new business and the products that they provide. I'm curious to know of all of your products, which is your most favorite and why is there a specific polish that is your most favorite?

We're based in Southern California, [so] our first collection is called SoCal Vibe, which is a collection of 10 different polishes that kind of encompass what I believe is Southern California living. I've remembered them from the top of my head now. We have Purple Palm, which was inspired by the sunset and the purple hues that are in the sky. We have Walk of Fame, which was inspired by the Hollywood Star, kind of the pink color off of the Hollywood star. We have Valley Girl, which is well, most people know what is valley girl is— kind of that materialistic girl, a pretty girl, out shopping and living her best life. We have California Sunflower, which is a bright golden color off of a sunflower. We have Simply Terranea, which was inspired by a golf resort in L.A. that faces out into the Pacific ocean. We have Catalina, which was inspired by the waters off of Catalina Island; Oceanfront, which is inspired off of oceanfront living; Rodeo Drive, which is a nice red color, your fancy-schmancy going out to dinner or work type color; Oh, Desert Night Sky, we have, which is a nice color kind of reminiscent of stargazing in the middle of the desert and seeing all shimmery colors out in the sky. Then we have Malibu Wine, which is a wine color inspired by some of the wineries off of the Malibu coast. I think I got them all.

I've tried on all the colors. I had to when swatching to make pictures for our website. I want to say the colors that I like the most, that look best on me [were] Valley Girl, Walk of Fame, and then I also love Rodeo Drive. To me, those are my three favorites. I literally love all the colors.

Will definitely have to look into Rodeo Drive because that sounds like one that I'd love well, but I'm sure the myblackbox co audience will be very excited to check out the other 1 too and find the color that most fits them. I'd like to shift gears a little and talk more about Black entrepreneurship and particularly I'd love to know who do you consider a great example of Black entrepreneurship? 

I felt most inspired with Black entrepreneurship when I lived in New York City; the energy and hustle of the city kind of was like my air to breathe. I'm like, "Yes. This is it!" Seeing your average random person out on the corner selling bottled water for a dollar on a hot summer day; the tables that are set up in the middle of Times Square, or any random block of people selling they're African black soap, and their body butters, and their mixed tapes; and all of those things. That's kind of the true essence to me of a hustler and entrepreneur, and that's how I've always been too on the ground, whatever you have sell it and put yourself out there. I think your everyday, hustler type go-getter is my kind of entrepreneur. I saw a lot of that in New York City and I loved it. It was so inspiring to see people who look like me who were out there.

Well, you're definitely right, New York City is full of hustlers and they will find a way to make a dollar out of 1 cents. What advice do you have for Black girls and women who struggle finding their place in society?

I would say society is a man-made concept as to what's appropriate, what's not appropriate— apart from of course all your moral beliefs. So finding your place in a society where there's kind of man-made rules is hard sometimes because we all come from different cultures and backgrounds. It’s first best to be yourself and you look at what are you good at, what are you passionate about? What do you love? What can you bring to the table in any situation? And those are the things that you need to focus on because those are the things that people should see and respect, and expect of you when they see you.

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

I would say do it. Me personally, I have so many ideas and even when I'm working on one idea, I still have more. But you have to know what idea is best for your passion; again what you're good at, and what you are actually interested in and focus on it. You can't let everything else be a distracted…and you're not going to go from startup to $1 million in two weeks! You have to do step by step. You have to write it down, make a plan, talk it out, get feedback from people who you trust, and are friends, family or colleagues to give you actual feedback for your ideas. People that are going to be supportive of you and not try to tear down your idea or make it seem like you can't do it.  

You want to have real consumer feedback as to what you could do better and also what changes you could possibly make before you launch your product out into the world.

Those are solid tips and great advice. I think that you definitely hit the nail on the head on the consistency that you'll need too. To close out our wonderful conversation and this interview, what can you share with the myblackbox co community on what we can expect from your business in 2019?

If you're in the Southern California area, you [can] expect to start to see us at different events. Any of your local festivals, vending events, or meetups. I want to start getting myself and our business out there. For those who aren't local, and even for those who are, of course with nail polish there's millions of colors but we want to strategically launch collections based on either the season or a vibe that we want to launch.  So coming soon in the fall, we'll be launching new collection of course stay tuned for that. I won't say what the collection is or even give any hints. We'll launch collections as seasons and such change.

Well, thank you Jacqueline for sharing more about your business, your Black entrepreneurship journey, and what we can expect from People of Color Beauty this year. I hope that the myblackbox co community gives you a chance and checks out the 10 colors you do have available at this time.

Thanks for having me!

Jacqueline’s story hopefully inspires you to take a risk, even when your original plans get a curve ball thrown in the mix. It may be cliché, but you truly won’t know until you try!

Hueful stories for you.

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.

Inside the Box: August Special

This post was written by CoFounder, Brittinee Phillips.

This post was written by CoFounder, Brittinee Phillips.

new branding, who dis?

As you may have noticed blackbox has had a little more oomph in its visual images as of late. In June, we had the pleasure of working with Luxe Radar + Lotus Media Studio founder, Queneisha Harvey, and photographer Denise Grier, to bring our visual story to life. Our focus was to provide you with an understanding of what it's like to be a blackbox subscriber and how we bring the box together each month for you.

This special edition Inside the Box is your look into the creative process and planning for our new blackbox images. Our ongoing plan is to revamp the images each quarter/season to add a little more pop and zest to your visual experience of blackbox. Of course, we're always connecting with and curating from Black businesses to bring you unique, quality, and Black made products. The wonderful products included in our visual story came from businesses previously featured in our blackbox. Big shout out to Thrifty Upenyu, Akaimi the Artist, Southern Elegance Candle Co., HiRuna Island Soaps, and Coco Bubbly.

So how did we decide what would work best and express how we hope you feel and receive blackbox? Keep reading to find out more on our thought process and how your feedback helped!

smiles for days

from diy to upgrade:

When we started, most of our blackbox images came from DIY sessions between Jacque and me. While I have a background in photography, our limits as a small business meant making due with the equipment (our smartphones) and resources (make-shift backdrops and inexpensive craft materials) to create earlier shots of our monthly boxes. Visually we knew there was a better story we could share with you to bring blackbox to life - especially since our box content is a surprise every month. To ensure that happened authentically and true to our mission, I asked myself three questions - who, what, and why.


Just another subscription box? Nope! Jacque and I created blackbox to introduce folks to other Black owned businesses who make equally unique and purposeful products as any other brand or business out there. Since we aren't bringing you standard sample size items, and all of what we curate comes from indie Black businesses, I felt it was important to showcase the personalized experience you can have with us as a subscriber. To do this, I knew we needed to work with a creative brand that shared the same aesthetic and similar mission as us: promoting and loving Black ingenuity, creativity, and uniqueness.


Buy, buy, BUYYYY! Nope. That didn't feel authentic, and especially would make what blackbox is doing seem like a gimmick or quick way to make a buck [FYI: we're still growing and everything we earn we put right back into our business]. So what is our message with our visual story? Jacque and I realize that you all live different lives, but share some common threads - you're proud Black people or supporters of blackness, you want to be supportive of your community but don't always see the clear path to do so, and you want to feel special as well [who doesn't?! :) ]. With our box we envision you happy, overjoyed, surprised, intrigued, and excited when you open that month's box. That's part of our message.


For Jacque and I, we know how much a dollar matters and how each of us have different priorities. Money doesn't grow on trees, and we all got bills to pay! But what if the dollar you spent was done so intentionally to fulfill a purpose? Such as, the purpose of supporting Black owned businesses and getting a unique, personalized experience of your own out of it. The discovery experience with blackbox comes full circle: 1. Purchase a one-time or monthly box with us, a Black owned business, 2. Receive curated products from other Black owned businesses in your box, 3. Like, love, and/or adore what you receive and continue your patronage with those Black makers and blackbox for future discovery opportunities. A win, win from our perspective 🖤!

upclose blackbox

A huge thank you goes out to all of our supporters and subscribers. We love you all. And for those new to blackbox - welcome, come on in and join the discovery experience. Our growth only means better experiences for each and every one of you. It also means a stronger platform for the amazing Black business owners we partner with.

By the way...have you subscribed to all of our boxes since March? Tell us what your favorite item(s) were thus far in the comments below. Reminder, the October box window is now open and you have until September 15 to secure your box here!

Your box full of hue.