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5 Afro-Latina-owned self-care brands to support this Black History Month and beyond

This year’s Black History Month theme is “Black Health and Wellness” which explores the legacy of Black scholars, medical practitioners, birthworkers, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists and more. 

Through the 2022 theme, we are asked to consider the “activities, rituals, and initiatives that Black communities have done to be well.”This includes celebrating our Black-owned self-care and wellness brands

Today, we’ve gathered a list of our favorite Afro-Latina-owned businesses to shop and support this month and beyond! 

Check out these awesome Afro-Latina-owned businesses and treat yourself or your loved ones this Valentine’s Day with a little self-care and pampering.

5 Afro-Latina-owned businesses to shop and support now! 

Luna Magic, Afro-Latina-owned business

lunamagicbeauty Luna Babes, Valentine’s Day is almost here! 🥰 Shop our limited-edition AMORCITO V-DAY BUNDLE ❤️

Luna Magic 

Sisters Mabel and Shaira Frias founded their makeup brand, Luna Magic, as a celebration of the rich culture found in the Caribbean and Latin America. Combining their passions for beauty and lifestyle, they created a vibrant brand that celebrates their mutual love for their multicultural heritage. 

Luna Magic’s mission is to introduce high-performance cosmetics, bold flavor, diversity, inclusivity and vibrancy to the beauty industry. 

“We’re inspired by the rich cultures and music of the Caribbean & Latin America, the hustle and bustle of NYC and glamour of Los Angeles.” 

Mabel Frías is a digital strategist with 12+ years of experience in executing digital merchandising strategies at fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands like Macy’s, Nordstrom and Savage x Fenty, lingerie by Rihanna.

Shaira Frías is an entrepreneur, professional makeup artist and former journalist. Her work has appeared in media outlets such as NY1, Fox News Latino, and Mundo Hispánico.

Reina Skincare, Afro-Latina-owned businesses

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Reina Skincare 

Reina Skincare is a luxury skincare brand founded by Afro-Latina, Adriana Isabel Robinson Rivera. With products made from all natural ingredients, Reina Skincare prioritizes quality. 

After suffering from acne for years, Adriana wanted to offer products that were natural, effective and represented a part of her that is deeply rooted within her. 

The term ‘Reina’ means Queen in Spanish and was chosen to represent the brand because because they wanted to establish that their products are fit for royalty. 

“For the image of this brand, we dove into the tropics, played with Kokum Butter and danced to the rhythm of Celia Cruz.” 

Offering a wide range of products from face washes and soaps to body butters, scrubs, serums and oils, Reina Skincare has everything you’ll need to pamper your skin and leave you feeling like royalty.

Vela Negra, Afro-Latina-owned businesses

thevelanegra Not sure what VELA NEGRA fragrance to gift this season (For yourself or a friend… no judgement 😉)? Try a sampler set!⠀

Vela Negra 

Vela Negra is a luxury candle brand founded by Aisha Cort. With candles inspired by her Afro-Caribbean heritage, Vela Negra is a celebration of multiculturalism

 “The fragrances and their namesakes remind me of my heritage and places like, Cuba and Puerto Rico, that I have been lucky enough to call home.”

Popular candles include “morena,” “azúcar,” and “wepa” and “coquí” —a “tribute to coquito.” 

All Vela Negra candles are made with black wax because of the belief that “black absorbs and dispels negative energies and provides new beginnings and clarity as when the light of the vela appears, the darkness is illuminated.” 

Each candle is individually hand-poured using 100% vegan coconut soy wax and ethically sourced wooden wicks, fragrance and dye to provide you with a luxurious and environmentally conscious, clean burn with the highest quality ingredients. 

Experience the power, comfort, and strength of Vela Negra today!

mixedupclothing All about Africa! Here are our latest masks!

Mixed Up Clothing

Sonia Smith-Kang is a multiracial female founder based in Los Angeles, California. Born in Puerto Rico to an African American father and Mexican mother, Sonia understands the ins and outs of multiracial life. She founded Mixed Up Clothing to bring cultural diversity to children’s clothing.

“In dressing my children, I noticed fashion didn’t reflect a rich, multicultural reality that I wanted to see in the world,” said Sonia. “I want children to see themselves in fashion, on the runway and in print. Everything we do comes from a place of celebration and showcasing heritage and culture.”

Sonia uses fashion as her vehicle to tell multicultural stories. Mixed Up Clothing sources fabrics and trims from all over the world, mixes and matches them, and then sews them into fun, everyday pieces that children are proud to wear. 

In addition to children’s clothing, they now also offer face masks for all ages with patterns that embrace multicultural roots, such as their Día De Los Muertos themed masks and their African Patterns collection.

labotica Just Launched. Flor de Selva and República. Available now.

La Boticá 

La Boticá Studios is a conceptual brand and niche fragrance house providing curated, luxury and sustainable products for the intentional self care ritual. 

Founded in 2018 by fine arts photographer, Dawn Marie West, Afro-Dominican & African American culture is the foundation of the concept brand.

Through La Boticá, Dawn brings the intersectionality of luxury perfumery and contemporary art into one lifestyle brand. La Boticá Studios has become a cult-following luxury fragrance and conceptual brand recognized in several international magazines such as Vogue, Architectural Digest, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, The Zoe Report and Byrdie.

This sustainable luxury fragrance house focuses on self-care, showing deep respect for the Earth with their ingredients, and minimalist design. Ingredients are sourced  from South America that give reverence to the earth.

Try one of these luxury fragrances and join in the curation of “modern rituals that promote sacred restoration for within and conscious reconnection to the earth.”


See something that caught your eye? Shop and support these amazing Afro-Latina-owned businesses today!

‘Wonder Curl’ founder Scarlett Rocourt shares hair-care secrets to perfect curls 

Scarlett Rocourt is a Haitian-born “Jersey Girl,” an entrepreneur, plant-based vegan, plant mom and gardener. She is passionate about living a healthy life and helping others to do the same. 

She is the founder of Wonder Curl, the leading indie Black-owned, vegan and eco-friendly hair-care line for all natural and curly hair textures. All products are free of silicones, parabens, phthalates, and are cruelty-free.

Wonder Curl specializes in hair-care and has developed a three-step system that simplifies customers’ wash day routine, helping customers embrace their natural curls with cruelty-free and vegan ingredients. Their signature hair-care bundle includes the Detoxifying Clay Cleanser, Moisturizing Hair Pudding, and the Get Set Hair Jelly.

From battling humidity to homemade remedies, Scarlett discovered the secret to perfect curls  

Scarlett’s entrepreneurial journey began unexpectedly in her home kitchen in 2010. At the time, she was living in Florida and her hair was losing a battle against the humidity. After struggling to find the perfect hair gel that would hold up against the weather, Scarlett decided to try her hand at creating her own homemade product. 

‘Wonder Curl’ founder, Scarlett Rocourt began her business in her home kitchen, searching for a hair-care remedy that would battle Florida humidity. (Photo courtesy Scarlett Rocourt)

Originally, she had plans of becoming a blogger and purchased the domain name ‘Wonder Curl.’ After a few weeks she realized this was not the path for her and instead, she found that she had a knack for creating products that helped keep her curls hydrated and defined. 

“I knew that if I had this problem, then other people with curly hair would too,” she said.

Working out of her home kitchen and determined to find a solution to her hair gel problem, she created her first product, the Get Set Hair Jelly. This first product would become one of three in Wonder Curl’s signature hair-care bundle, with  the Detoxifying Clay Cleanser and Moisturizing Hair Pudding later joining the line. 

Her blog domain soon became repurposed as her company name, and Wonder Curl was born. 

Scarlett set out on her mission to create products that would simplify the hair-care process for those with curly hair of all types. “I wanted to take the work out of our hair and I formulated the products, so you only need two products for styling your hair,” said Scarlett. 

Her greatest strength starting out as a minority business owner is that she is also a customer. When formulating her products, she created products that she would want to use herself. 

“My customers have the same issues with their hair as I had. I can relate to them because I am them. I always say that people will buy from who they like and who better than someone who is just like them and understands them?”

With her mission clear in her mind, Scarlett continued developing her line over the following years. She moved from Florida back to New Jersey, got a job in marketing, and kept working on her business as a side hustle. She managed this for over 3 years until her job discovered she was running a whole business while working for them. 

“They let me go and I decided not to look for another job but to pursue Wonder Curl full-time. That was about 2015 and I never looked back!” said Scarlett. 

The magic three-step process to getting those wonder curls

Over the years, Scarlett has perfected her products and now holds the secret to getting those perfectly styled curls with her three-step signature process. 

Made with all natural ingredients known to nourish hair, the unique formulas moisturize and keep hair hydrated for days, improve texture, and enhance natural curl pattern. 

“Those with curly hair know that wash days can be complex and include multiple cleansers, creams, masks, and gels. Even after spending hours on hair, it still may need to be restyled or refreshed within a couple of days. Don’t let all of that hard work go to waste. Wonder Curl has developed a new system that has everything needed in just three products,” said Scarlett describing the process. “The three-step system leaves hair hydrated and defined for days, without refreshing. Not only does this streamline hair-care routines, but it also makes it easier to achieve naturally beautiful hair.”

hair-care, Wonder Curl, Scarlett Rocourt

Scarlett shares the secret to perfect curls with signature three-step process. (Photo courtesy Scarlett Rocourt)

To get the perfect curls for yourself, start with the Detoxifying Clay Cleanser. This product does it all. It washes, detangles, and conditions. The Detoxifying Clay Cleanser was developed to combine all these steps, simplifying the process while leaving hair moisturized and fresh. Many cleansers leave curly hair dry and tangled, but the Wonder Curl formula guarantees hydration.

The second step is the Wonder Curl Moisturizing Hair Pudding, made with shea butter, castor oil, and aloe vera. This leave-in cream hydrates without becoming greasy, enhancing natural curl patterns while increasing the hair’s elasticity.

The Get Set Hair Jelly is the last step that sets hair in its natural curl pattern, without becoming dry, flaky, or crunchy.  

“We know that many hair gels promise hold but fail miserably in humidity. Not the Wonder Curl Get Set Hair Jelly. Hair will have a flexible hold that is perfect for every curl type and is humidity-proof. It is also great for eliminating frizz and elongating your curls,” said Scarlett. 

Healthy hair happiness and giving back

Over the years Scarlett has helped countless people through her products. Starting out, she began attending hair events in NYC to promote her business and putting on workshops. Her hair demonstrations often gather crowds wherever she goes. 

“It’s so important to always give back,” says Scarlett.(Photo courtesy Scarlett Rocourt)

I was giving at a natural hair show in Philadelphia once. It was at a hotel, and they gave me an auditorium. I showed up a few minutes late and it was standing room only which I was not expecting,” said Scarlett, sharing a favorite memory. “I was demonstrating my products on my hair model, who in all fairness already had great hair, so one of the women in the front row who had tightly coiled hair asked ‘But will it work in MY hair?’ I responded, ‘I will do your hair next!’ So, after I was done with my hair model, she came on stage. I wet her hair and applied my products and as soon as the products touched her hair you could see her curls form beautifully. She was so happy.” 

Later, after the demonstration, Scarlett would find her booth mobbed with people from the auditorium who had seen the demonstration and were eager to try Wonder Curl for themselves. 

“We sold out of the products and even had people asking to buy our demo products!”  

These live demonstrations are one of Scarlett’s favorite parts of her job. “This is where I shine the most. I love the look on people’s faces when they see what their hair looks like using my products. They can’t believe how soft and defined their curls are.” 

A decade after starting her journey in the world of hair-care, Scarlett started the Healthy Hair Summit in 2020 to help others to grow their healthiest hair through proven expert tips. She never imagined her personal hair-care journey and homemade remedies would lead her here today. 

To other aspiring entrepreneurs, Scarlett shares one more secret

If you are looking to gain success or grow in your career then you should seek out 3 different types of people. 

The first is someone who is where you want to be. This is the person who has achieved most of their goals and will give you valuable business advice. They don’t have to become your friend, but someone you can text/call every so often when you come across an obstacle. 

Second, is someone who is where you are now and trying to achieve their goals. These are the people who will be struggling or have had a similar struggle as you. This is also the person who talks you off the ledge. 

Finally, the third is someone who wants to get to where you are. It’s so important that we always give back and help the next generation come up.” 

For more information, visit wondercurl.com or follow Wonder Curl on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Biden-Harris Administration unveils plan to build black wealth and narrow racial divide 

Earlier this month, on the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, the Biden-Harris Administration unveiled their plan to build black wealth and narrow the racial wealth gap in the United States. 

A history of systemic racism in the United States has contributed to the large wealth gap that people of color currently face. Systemic racism, also referred to as structural or institutional racism, is defined as “a system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms work in various, often reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial group inequity,” according to the Aspen Institute. Systemic racism is not something “a few people or institutions choose to practice.” It is ingrained in our social, economic, and political systems and has adapted over time. It identifies the parts of our history and culture that have historically privileged “whiteness” while subjecting people of color to unjust disadvantages. 

Historically, systemic racism has impacted the ability of Black Americans to secure afforable housing, education, health care, and employment due to unjust biases and discrimination. A study by Citigroup found that in the past 20 years alone systemic racism has cost the U.S. a whopping $16 trillion

The Biden-Harris Administration’s new plan will take measures to address the key issues impacting Black wealth in efforts to close the racial wealth gap and build back Black wealth. 

Adam Schultz, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Biden-Harris Administration to build back black wealth 

In a detailed press release, the Biden-Harris Administration outlined key areas their plan will tackle. The plan will: 

  • Take action to address racial discrimination in the housing market, including by launching a first-of-its-kind interagency effort to address inequity in home appraisals, and conducting rulemaking to aggressively combat housing discrimination.
  • Use the federal government’s purchasing power to grow federal contracting with small disadvantaged businesses by 50 percent, translating to an additional $100 billion over five years, and helping more Americans realize their entrepreneurial dreams.

Attitudes and policies that undermine equal access are the root of the racial gaps plaguing U.S. society (Source: Citi Research).

Additionally, the Administration plans to create jobs and build wealth in communities of color through various initiatives that will help support small minority owned businesses including: 

  • A new $10 billion Community Revitalization Fund to support community-led civic infrastructure projects that create innovative shared amenities, spark new local economic activity, provide services, build community wealth, and strengthen social cohesion.
  • $31 billion in small business programs that will increase access to capital for small businesses and provide mentoring, networking, and other forms of technical assistance to socially and economically disadvantaged businesses seeking to access federal contracts and participate in federal research and development investments.
  • $15 billion for new grants and technical assistance to support the planning, removal, or retrofitting of existing transportation infrastructure that creates a barrier to community connectivity, including barriers to mobility, access, or economic development.
  • A new Neighborhood Homes Tax Credit to attract private investment in the development and rehabilitation of affordable homes for low- and moderate-income homebuyers and homeowners. 
  • $5 billion for the Unlocking Possibilities Program, an innovative new grant program that awards flexible and attractive funding to jurisdictions that take steps to reduce needless barriers to producing affordable housing and expand housing choices for people with low or moderate incomes.

You might be interested: Black History Month: Steps toward dismantling systemic racism in the U.S. 

Investing in Black-Owned Small Businesses 

Access to capital and resources are common struggles many small business owners face, but the struggle is greater for Black small business owners who must go through the extra hurdles set in place by discriminatory racial biases. 

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Through two key measures the Biden-Harris Administration will work to address these disadvantages. 

Using the Government’s purchasing power to drive an additional $100 billion to Small Disadvantaged Business Owners: The federal government is the largest consumer of goods in the world, buying everything from software to elevator services to financial and asset management, Federal procurement is one of our most powerful tools to advance equity and build wealth in underserved communities. And yet, just roughly 10 percent of federal agencies’ total eligible contracting dollars typically go to small disadvantaged businesses (SDB), a category under federal law for which Black-owned, Latino-owned, and other minority-owned businesses are presumed to qualify. Increasing federal spending with these businesses will help more Americans realize their entrepreneurial dreams and help narrow racial wealth gaps. 

At its center is a new goal: increasing the share of contracts going to small disadvantaged businesses by 50 percent by 2026—translating to an additional $100 billion to SDBs over the 5-year period. To achieve this goal, agencies will assess every available tool to lower barriers to entry and increase opportunities for small businesses and traditionally-underserved entrepreneurs to compete for federal contracts. The impact could be historic: all told, attainment of the new goal will represent the biggest increase in SDB contracting since data was first collected more than 30 years ago.

Invest $31 Billion to Scale Up Efforts to Support Minority-Owned Small Businesses: Too many small businesses owned by people of color struggle to access loans and federal programs that can help them grow and succeed.  President Biden has proposed a historic effort to tackle these persistent challenges and empower small business creation and expansion in communities of color. Specifically, the President’s American Jobs Plan will invest $30 billion in new Small Business Administration (SBA) initiatives that will reduce barriers to small business ownership and success.  These initiatives will increase access to capital by establishing a new direct loan program for the smallest businesses, developing new loan products to support small manufacturers and businesses that invest in clean energy, and launching a new Small Business Investment Corporation that will make early stage equity investments in small businesses with priority for those owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. The American Jobs Plan will also invest billions of dollars in SBA technical assistance programs that incubate and offer mentoring and technical assistance to 8(a) firms, reinforce the American subcontracting network to create pathways to prime contracting, encourage Fortune 500 firms to diversify their procurements, and bring more socially and economically disadvantaged businesses into federal research and development programs.  These investments will also include an innovative new $1 billion grant program through the Minority Business Development Agency that will help minority-owned manufacturers access private capital.

Through these efforts, Black-owned small businesses will have greater opportunities to realize their dream and goals. There is still much work to do before the longstanding effects of systemic racism are fully eradicated, but the plan unveiled by the Biden-Harris Administration is a first step in the right direction toward building back black wealth and narrowing the racial wealth gap and achieving equality in the United States. 

$10,000 Grant Opportunity for Black and Minority-Owned Businesses

In response to the economic challenges brought on by COVID-19 and civil unrest, Fiserv is giving back to help small businesses get Back2Business with a program focused on helping to jump-start Black- and minority-owned small businesses in hard-hit communities. 

Fiserv and AEO launch partnership to get Main Street #Back2Business

As a global leader in payments and fintech, Fiserv has proudly served millions of small businesses with technology and payment solutions for more than 35 years and they believe that companies can and should be a platform for good. 

To help elevate economic inclusion and create transformative change, Fiserv has partnered with AEO, who continues to join forces with market partners that believe in collaborating to drive wealth creation in underserved communities through entrepreneurship. 

Through their partnership, they have launched the Back2Business program which will award grants in the amount of $10,000 to Black- and minority-owned businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 and social unrest. The grant, which will be offered to select cities, is now open for New York and surrounding areas, including all of New Jersey.

 

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The Back2Business Grant is a part of a larger Fiserv initiative to equip minority-owned small businesses with vital education, coaching, and capital to truly fuel growth of our communities, creating sustainable business and shared value for all. In addition to the grant, the program will include opportunities for mentorship and access to technology solutions that enable revenue generation.

Grant applications are now open for eligible small businesses in New York and New Jersey. Applications are due by February 26th, 2021, but the sooner you apply, the better. 

To be eligible, applicants must: 

  • Be a Black-or minority-owned small business an an adult (18+) 
  • Must have revenue of less that $1M annually 
  • Be founded prior to June 1, 2019
  • Have less than 10 employees 

Applicants can find more information and apply for the grant at https://aeoworks.org/fiserv/

AEO’s Mission: To create economic opportunities for underserved entrepreneurs throughout the United States and engineer transformational change through Research, Incubation, Convening & Advocacy to foster a robust and inclusive marketplace. AEO’s vision is for every individual in the U.S. to have access to resources and services for creating wealth, assets, and healthy communities through business ownership.