lit bklyn candles

#blackexcellence IRL At The In Her Shoes Black Women-Owned Holiday Bazaar

@bufferingbetty

The Black Girl Magic Event Of The Season

This past Saturday, Dec. 2nd, I had the pleasure of attending the In Her Shoes Black Women-Owned Holiday Bazaar in New York City. I got to meet dozens of black, female, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and people ready to support one another. They each came from a different background. Each woman had her own unique, "Why I started this business" story. All of them empowered one another. 

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Renae Bluitt was the mastermind behind this event that showcased the power of black female entrepreneurs.  She is the founder and creator of the In Her Shoes Blog and Crush Media. She writes,

“I’ve always been intrigued by other women’s stories: their “a-ha” moments, successes, struggles, and most importantly, what inspires them to fight the good fight when times get tough” (source).

This passion for story sharing inspired her to create her documentary film She Did That. The film tells the stories of 5 black female businesswomen that are shattering their industries. She Did That centers on Luvvie Ajayi: best selling author of I’m Judging You, Lisa Price: the creator of the brand, Carol’s Daughter, Melissa Butler: the creator of The Lip Bar, Tonya Rapley: the creator of My Fab Finance, and finally on Renae Bluitt's In Her Shoes Blog story.

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Renae is really out here fighting for women! She is an entrepreneur who is not just focused on her own success. Renae Bluitt is creating pathways that allow the grossly neglected population of black women to be seen, to be heard, and supported as business women!

Read more about how, in her own words, in Renae’s blog post, Walmart Supports “She Did That.” & Ramps Up Supplier Inclusion Initiatives (a must read!).  

Watching the sneak peek of She Did That was exhilarating.  The preview included part of the story of the creator of Carol’s Daughter, Lisa Price. It resonated with me. She shared about her experience of struggling in her undergraduate career. Price talked about her battle with depression; needing help but not having the courage to ask. From a vulnerable stage of her life, she found the strength to rise and eventually build a company whose products are easy to find.

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The full documentary is set to release in 2018 and based on the short glimpse I saw, it is something that all goal setters must watch and study! These 5 driven women are an inspiration!

After the documentary preview and panel discussion, the Holiday Bazaar was open for business. Here are just a few of the things I found. 

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First, we have our very own Pepper B. doing demonstrations of how you can blend your skincare with your makeup for the ultimate healthy glow. She teamed up with Bloomsbury Square, a vegan skincare company, to give shoppers skin to envy. 
 

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Bloomsbury Square was founded by Niambi. “I delight in making products that let nature do what it does best: nurture the body and mind” (source). Using their Featherlight Cucumber SkinNectar with Clary Sage + Geranium, Pepper blended the lightweight oil with a loose pigment to give me the melted peachy highlight of my dreams. I was already wearing makeup and thought that applying an oil could disrupt my “I ain’t woke up like dis, I worked for dis” makeup. Girl. When she finished blending my highlight, I was ready to do some serious exploring at the In Her Shoes Black Women Owned Holiday Bazaar. And off I went!

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"Vegan, pure, affordable products inspired by indigenous herbalism and healing." Bloomsbury sq

Find more of Bloomsbury Square here!

Very early in the day, I found myself being pulled in by the force of a sheet mask. A black lace sheet mask to be exact! Eve Milan is a skincare company founded by an esthetician who has 10 years of experience to draw from (source). Eden Gilliam designed these sheet masks to be hydrating without the use of oils. Most sheet masks make you look pretty creepy. Eve Milan’s The Lacial Masque will make you look mysterious. 

"A 5-free skincare line designed to restore confidence back into your skin and give it a healthy glow without the use of harsh chemicals." Eve Milan NY

Find more of Eve Milan NY here!

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Next, I headed to our friends over at The Lip Bar. This company is the brainchild of Melissa Butler, one of the 5 featured entrepreneurs in the She Did That film. While there, I met a blogger who loves this company as much as I do. She asked me why I liked The Lip Bar so much. I pointed to this poster and said, “That image right there.” Loyal meetpepperb.com readers must remember back when I reviewed their signature shade, Bawse Lady. I basically fangirled. The imagery used by The Lip Bar is untethered.

On a wall covered in beauty campaigns, The Lip Bar’s vision is striking and magnetic. I was thrilled to see that their table was swarming all day with shoppers ready to drop coin on their lipsticks!

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Read Pepper’s interview of Melissa Butler here.

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Read my review of the liquid matte lipstick in Bawse Lady here. And Amanda’s review of liquid matte lipstick in Man Eater here

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“I am passionate about creating an inclusive narrative on what beauty is and reminding women that we don't have to settle for anything.” Melissa Butler

Find more from The Lip Bar here!

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There was another friend of meetpepperb.com who was a vendor at the In Her Shoes Black Women Owned Holiday Bazaar. LIT Brooklyn is a homemade candle company founded by Denequa Williams. These soy candles are a favorite of our website. The scents Joy and Home were quickly added to my mental wishlist. Citrus scents give me life!

Read Pepper’s Interveiw of Denequa Williams here.
 

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“Made from our homes to be enjoyed in yours.” - Denequa Williams

More from LIT Brooklyn here!
 

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Jasmine Lawrence sought to remedy her damaged hair dating back to when she was 11 years old! (source). She’s a healthy hair guru prodigy! Lawrence created Eden Bodyworks. They had one of the most extensive lines of product to be featured at the Holiday Bazaar. They even had a range of products for kids. 

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Eden Bodyworks distributed a bag of samples featuring a new product line scented with Almond + Marshmallow. Included in the bag was their Split End Repair Masque, Hydration Serum, and Therapy Leave-In Conditioner. I don’t know how Eden Bodyworks took two very sweet scents, almond and MARSHMALLOW, and somehow crafted something that doesn’t suffocate your nose. When I opened the products, I was very hesitant to give it a sniff test. I feared the worst. But I was very wrong. It smells amazing! Because I just have sample sizes, I am very hesitant to give our readers a review. I don’t think I can give an in-depth review the way I like to. However, if you are interested in hearing a ‘first impressions’ type of review, leave a comment saying so!

“EDEN BodyWorks™ provides natural products that integrate wellness and beauty inspired by nature to restore and maintain the hair and body’s original design.” Eden Bodyworks
 

More on Eden Bodyworks here!
 

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FInally, we come to Limegreen. This skincare line prides itself on products that are multifunctional. Multi Oil, Multi Wash, Multi Spray, and even a Multi Candle - it’s bomb, too. Aromatherapy that melts into a massage oil so you can calm your nerves and soothe your muscles.

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While speaking with one of it’s founders, I learned that this company was born from wanting to help a friend in need. Her friend was diagnosed with cancer. Cancer patients are restricted to what products they can use on their skin based on the treatment they could be receiving. She told me that one day after work, she decided to pop into Whole Foods to see what she can blend together to help her friend.

From there, giving relief to a friend, bloomed into a passion project that flourished into a business.

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I took home with me a bottle of Limegreen’s Multi Oil scented with lotus. How great is this packaging! There is prideful showmanship in the way the box opens up like a door revealing what’s behind curtain number 1. While at the event, I tested the oil on my dry-growing out-bleached blonde hair focusing on my ends. Did this oil not make my hair look and feel like silk! I was impressed!

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I have since tried it on my face, just once, though. You will get a full review in the future. It’s basically Winter, so my skin concern, along with the fading of my golden summer glow, is dry, flaky skin. Mostly on my forehead. When I applied the oil, I expected to have to add an extra drop to my forehead because it usually needs extra TLC. Not the case! My forehead did not feel tight or itchy and the best part is that my skin did not feel sticky or greasy from the oil! While the oil is marketed as a makeup remover, I don’t really see myself using it that way because the oil is kind of thick. Which is great for hydration, but I don’t love that for cleansing. I will test it out and write about it for a full review.

"Through natural, multi-use products, Limegreen aims to promote a lifestyle that is healthy for the body, sustainable for the environment, and unifying for people of all backgrounds." Limegreen

Find more Limegreen here!

There were so many more brands at the In Her Shoes Black Women Owned Holiday Bazaar. This event was an exhibit of the entrepreneurship of black women. Renae Bluitt shared a statistic that black women-owned businesses “generate $52.6 billion” (source). There was music, wine, artists, and there was even a proposal at the end! Congrats! Make sure you check out In Her Shoe Blog and keep your eyes open for the release of She Did That. Thank you for having us!

Full list of vendors here

It's holiday time! If you want to support more black women owned business, check out Renae's shopping guide.
In Her Shoes Shopping Guide: 75 Black Women-Owned Brands to Know, Love & Support here

Special shout out to my Kiss & Recharge Powerbank Luxe! Kept me charged and connected all day! Link to shop below!

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Survival of the LIT-est: Pepper.b Talks with Lit Bklyn

 

 

Denequa Williams Creator Lit! BKLYN 

Denequa Williams Creator Lit! BKLYN 

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My name is Denequa Williams, Brooklyn-bred. I would describe myself as an honest, outspoken, funny, adventurous, spontaneous, heart on the sleeve wearing, professional dreamer who was not always comfortable with who I was. It took some time to acquire this confidence that was once the mask for my insecurities and uncertainties. I am a firm believer in being honest with yourself and never allowing someone else’s thoughts about you to alter your spirit. I love to get dressed up. I believe in fairy tales, trusting your instincts, speaking on the phone for hours, loving hard, & forgiveness. I have a potty mouth. I believe in second chances. I make my own rules. I can be silly sometimes and really serious other times. I love to take pictures. I don’t trust people easily. I am a rebel at heart. I am a sucker for flowers and candles. I love sour candy. I’ve learned to see the beauty in all things. I prefer to listen to music rather than watch tv. 90’s R&B, old school reggae and occasional trap music to be more specific. JayZ is my favorite rapper. I listen to Lauryn Hill’s Unplugged at least five times a week in its entirety. I love LOVE. I believe it is the healer of all things. Everyday I am learning more and more about myself. I actually have a few hidden passions, lol, I enjoy writing, cooking, and photography.

Was curating candles your dream job?

Surprisingly, curating candles was not always my dream job. I just knew that I always loved candles and wanted to take a try at creating my own product. I have always been a creative person with a million ideas, lol. I have a few dream jobs, I’m just getting started. Curating candles is actually paving the way for everything else that I wish to accomplish. 

What is the best part about owning your own business? 

The best part about owning my own business is that I am in control of my voice and my vision and it has been a complete joy watching it come into fruition. I also enjoy meeting and connecting with the people who support my brand

What are 3 mandatory tools you think a person owning a small business needs ?

3 mandatory tools that I think a person owning a business needs are a laptop, passport, & business cards. A laptop to conduct your business affairs (email, skype, etc.) , a passport to see the world and get inspiration for your business, & business cards because every person who owns a business needs it.

If you were a candle scent what would you be and why ?

If I was a candle scent, I would be my “HOME” scent, which is a mash up of lemon sugar and vanilla. It’s warm, calm, memorable and inviting, kind of like me

Who’s your Muse ? 

My muse are my parents. I admire their work ethic. I am a product of excellence. Both immigrants who migrated to this country with practically nothing. They have taught me and showed me first hand what hard work and sacrifice look like and for that I will forever be grateful. I have no other choice but to be excellent because I had the best examples

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What perfume do you wear most often ?

My perfume that I wear most often is Tom Ford “Tobacco Vanille", and Elizabeth & James “Nirvana”

What is your go to manicure color & why ? 

My go to manicure color is Starter Wife in Essie, I love this color because it’s soft and girly and it’s like the perfect powder pink. 

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What are 5 items you need to create an ambiance ? 

My 3* items that I need to create an ambiance in no particular order are candles, comfy pillows, flowers.

What’s your skin regime like, Whats your favorite skincare line? 

My favorite skin care line is skinBUTTR, I use their cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. I also love Africa Miranda’s facial elixir.

What’s the last song you listened to while commuting or driving ? 

The last song I listened to while commuting is JayZ’s “What More Can I Say”

Talk about some collaborations you've done:

The collaborations that I have done are with Mia Ray (Glam-Aholic Lifestyle) & Mikey Likes It (Hip Hop themed ice cream shop). Both doing extremely well. Funny thing is with the collab with Mia, I never even met her, or even heard her voice over the phone. I was just a huge fan of her work ethic, and her hustle. Her vibe is sort of infectious. I had purchased one of her wallets and shared a flatlay (photo) on social media. She loved the image so much that she reposted it, that’s how she found out about LIT. She made a purchase, & I woke up one day to a friend request from her on Facebook & was tagged in a 28 minute long review of the candles. I literally started crying. I mean I know that I created a dope product. But to have someone I didn't know, someone I don't even have a relationship speak so highly of something I created was next level. A few weeks later, she reached out and asked if I did collabs. Although I knew eventually I would branch out and do it, my first collab had to be with Mia. I’m super big on energy, I went with my gut and it felt right. It felt genuine. The trust was there on both ends. I created two scents for her “Rose Ray”(rose scented) & “HU$TLE” (sweet & floral scented).

For the Mikey collab, I created two scents from their number one selling flavors “Ice Ice Baby” (Vanilla) & “SoHo” (Southern Hospitality/Butter Pecan) This was an absolute honor to be able to collaborate with a brand that I not only support but also respect. Some thing has got to be said when you are happy about your job, and that’s the vibe I get every single time I walk into Mikey Likes It. Mikey is big on community as well as customer service. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with him. 

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If you could do an upcoming collaboration with someone you admire who would it be ?

If I could do an upcoming collaboration with someone I admire, it would definitely be Elaine Welteroth of Teen Vogue. She is an inspiration to women, to people of the world. I love what she is doing with her voice and her platform. She is unafraid, unapologetic, and a complete badass.

Most exciting moment for LIT Brooklyn in 2016:

My most exciting moment for 2016 was seeing a product that I created in the December Holiday issue of Essence Magazine & also sitting on the infamous gold couch in the RocNation office getting my picture taken by THE Lenny S.

Something you are looking forward to doing in 2017: 

In 2017, I am looking forward to being on ‘Oprah’s Favorite Things” list *speaking it into existence*

What was your favorite childhood hobby ? 

My favorite childhood hobby was doing crossword puzzles in the Sunday newspaper.

If you could leave a small message for Women what would it be ? 

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If I could leave a small message for women, it would be to follow your dreams and don’t allow anyone to hinder your spirit. Understand that as women, we are multi-faceted individuals that are capable of doing anything that we put our mind to. Also, stay in your own lane, it shouldn’t be that easy to get caught up with what other people are doing, or what other people are saying about you, that’s not your business! Lastly, get comfortable with being alone, it’s when you are alone that you can truly focus on yourself & your craft, and continue to get better and be greater.