LaShonda Steele Allen is a loving, devoted wife, mother, and creator of Balō first™ - a revolutionary food blowing device that helps your little one enjoy mealtime with less tongue burn, and it's available for purchase online at www.balofirst.com. She also develops advertising campaigns with some of top agencies in the world and major Fortune 500 companies. Her achievements, which are great and varied, include copywriting and spearheading some of the most successful television commercials and most memorable taglines.
Yolanda and her husband runs the creative agency Distinct Life, whose work ranges from consulting and social media management for the social services agency Wolverine Human Services in Detroit to consulting for Comedy Central's show "Detroiters" — they designed the show's logo and produced and wrote the theme song.
Their creative partnership started in 2004 when the couple got married while still attending college at Oakland University. In 2007, her husband, Rick took over ownership of Burn Rubber sneaker store in Royal Oak and built the brand into an international phenomenon through his collaborations with New Balance and Reebok.
In 2013 Cream Blends started out of Yolanda’s sheer curiosity of natural products and how they affect the skin. She says, Reading labels is difficult and many of the words we can't even pronounce let alone understand how the chemical composition will affect our bodies in the future. At Cream Blends, they want to maintain the integrity of their brand by providing products with simple ingredients from the Earth that do complex things for the body. The skin is the largest organ in our bodies and the first thing that people see, we should guard that and make sure we are always using products that help heal, restore and nourish our skin.
My hair journey began when I was a small child, in the late 1980s. I remember sitting on the stool in my grandmother’s kitchen, staring at the Blue Magic jar as I braced myself for the hot comb that was about to touch my scalp. I feared that I would get burned, but I knew that my grandmother was a hair-pressing ninja.
As I grew into a young lady, the thick hair grease that I had always used to silken and straighten my coils of hair was no longer giving me the look I wanted. Overwhelmed by the textures of my natural hair, I experimented with perms, cornrows, braids, sew-ins, and even revisited the pressing comb. The result of which amounted to heat damage, split ends, and inconsistent hair growth throughout my mane.
I felt defeated by my hair! Needing a solution for retaining and maintaining healthy tresses, I began researching how best to achieve this goal. On May 10, 2013, I finally made the decision to do the BIG CHOP – I cut all my hair off to let it grow back fully natural!
The ILL brand not only represents natural hair and beauty but also embodies my childhood memories of graffiti, food, fashion, boomboxes and cassette tapes! Naturally ILLustrated is a celebration of all black women; of our past and modern culture, marrying the best parts of the 1980s with today in a special filigree/graffiti artistic style. Naturally ILLustrated not only embraces our hair but also exhibits our power as black women and men.
Sherrie Savage is the illustrator, designer, event planner and blogger of Naturally ILLustrated. Naturally ILLustrated celebrates natural hair and black culture through original drawings and illustrations.
Kim‘s second favorite thing to do in the world is talk to people, the first is eating yummy food. Kim is a straight shooter who is honest to a fault and incredibly insightful. She is hardworking and innovative, with a rare, creative eye towards design.
She is the co-founder of CurlMix, the first DIY brand for curly hair. Her innovative take on Do–It–Yourself hair products has won her praise from top industry publications such as Refinery29, Essence Magazine, Ebony Magazine, Hype Hair Magazine, and Naturally Curly. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Logistics & Marketing from the University of Illinois, Kim has taken the DIY spirit to heart, building CurlMix from the ground up.
Kim was a runner-up in the Black Enterprise Pitch Competition and the winner of the Association of Women Inventors and Entrepreneurs Pitch Competition.
After years of being a financial counselor and married with 3 children, Jessica still felt as if something was missing in her life. With an increasing love for skincare and the desire to become more knowledgeable and educate others, Jessica decided to take a leap of faith and quit her job to start a new career in the beauty industry.
In 2009 Jessica finished esthetics school and became a Licensed Esthetician. Jessica was the Lead Esthetician at a Medical Center in Farmington Hills. She then managed Massage Green, overseeing 20 employees and soon became Co-Director of Esthetics helping construct a new esthetics department in their Michigan market for over 6 spa locations. Jessica has also managed one of Metro Detroit’s top Casino Spas with gross annual sales over 1 million dollars. She has traveled the country attending educational seminars, trade shows, skincare classes and has traveled to Rome and Florence to teach Business management seminars to spa managers while touring some of the top hotels in Italy.
In 2016, Jessica opened up the first facial bar in Michigan. Skinphorea is the new concept Facial Bar for the person on the go that has no time to disrobe and can get professional skin care services sitting up while sipping mimosas watching their favorite classic movies for $59. She believes in taking all of the fluff out of the facial and educating clients so they can see a true difference in their skin.
Crawford grew up in Detroit, attended Detroit Public Schools and began working in the construction industry following graduation. Taking her skills she learned there she founded Ask Jennyfer in 2012, while still working in direct sales part-time. In 2014, she stepped out on her own to run her business - Ask Jennyfer, full-time. In many ways, she did so without a net.
Ask Jennyfer is a Detroit-based brand marketing firm that specializes in supporting small businesses. The agency offers one-on-one consulting, brand advising and coaching services for entrepreneurs aimed at developing the strategies necessary to ensure their continued growth and the success of their small businesses.
Chantele Jones is a wife, mother of 3 and owner of VDalish vegan cuisine and desserts. She loves all things vegan and is passionate about helping those start their journey to better health through a plant-based diet. After battling with her own health challenges, she discovered how following a plant-based diet could benefit and naturally heal the body. When she's not cooking she enjoys spending time with my family, cycling and listening to old school RnB!"
Corinthian Carouthers II embraces the journey of a true entrepreneur. With her heart and passion for others, she has dedicated her life purpose to create a new era of beauty professionals.
Although the beauty industry was not her heart’s desire, she accidentally fell into the industry and found a new love. Her journey began in 2001 and since then she holds a Cosmetology, Natural Hair Culturist, and Unlimited Instructor’s License. She is also Co-Owner of Creative Hair School of Cosmetology and Natural Hair Braiding Academy.
Desiree M. Mattox - The Glam Scientist - is a Cosmetic Chemist and Beauty Strategist that develops high-end beauty products and facilitates the growth of iconic beauty brands. As an expert cosmetic formulator, Desiree specializes in natural and organic formulations for the prestige beauty market. Since beginning her entrepreneurial career as a cosmetic chemist in 2009, Desiree has successfully developed beauty products and consulted for beauty brands that are sold in over 20 international markets included several European countries, Japan and Mexico. Desiree’s clients have placement in the coveted Birchbox, Glossybox, Whole Foods, Target, Sephora and a host of online retailers and independent brick and mortar stores for thousands to experience. Desiree is driven by her love of chemistry and a strong desire to see the underdog rise above a market full of giants.
Sometimes life throws some special people in your life that you need to connect with and LaTashia Perry is one of those people. She is a wife and busy mom of 5. Author of 4 children's books and creator of Secret Life of Curls (a natural hair platform started to support, encourage and aid women in their natural hair journey). She's also a certified lactation counselor and also the face behind the blog "Mama Gone Thrifting".
Jenelle Allen-Daniels is a Marketing Consultant who loves helping small to medium businesses navigate content marketing and social media. She is a busy mother of two and lives in the East Bay Area of Sunny California. Natural hair is a passion and Jenelle loves sharing tips with friends and family who need the help. Follow her on Twitter @thirtyplusmom.
Sonya Weaver is the Founder/CEO of Deals With BOB (Black Owned Businesses), LLC. The three fundamental principles of Deals With BOB are to Create Awareness, Encourage Support of Black Owned Businesses and Promote Restoration of our communities. The Mission of Deals With BOB is to create economically self-supporting communities within metropolitan cities and the surrounding areas, for current and future generations. Sonya’s website is a centralized location to connect consumers to reputable black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. Consumers join a community of like-minded individuals that are committed to supporting BOB. Likewise, business owners and entrepreneurs are part of a site that provides unique branding and increased visibility; along with many other services that help businesses and entrepreneurs become successful. She desires to help businesses reach phenomenal levels that they never dreamed were possible.
Who knew a popular Italian name, Carmella, given to a little black girl on September 21, 1982, would decide the course of my life forever. “Everything is in a name, for it is the one golden opportunity to get it right,” (Anonymous). Through research, I have discovered that people with the name Carmella tend to be idealistic, inspirational, highly imaginative and visionaries. I have gradually grown into each of these characteristics over the course of my life. I must say, my mother, got it right!
Jená Emily Utley aka The Fitness JEM is the Holistic Lifestyle Maven and Possibility Trainer. In 2010, she graduated summa cum laude from The University of Tennessee majoring in Exercise Science with a minor in Business Administration. She then went on to earn a master's in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Physiology.
I have found my calling in photography, specializing in personal/business branding, real estate, portraits, events and high school senior photography. The two don't seem connected, at first. However, the transition from teenager to adult is similar to realizing that you have an idea that you want to share with the world and then realizing that you have no clue where to begin creating an identity, a visual conversation for that business. What I enjoy most is helping clients, teenager or business owner, find their voice, their identity and communicating their story through the camera.
Today we have the opportunity to interview dynamic women by the name of DeLaurian who is Equipping, Empowering and Encouraging women through music, motivation, and movement is her mission and never giving up will be her mark. DeLaurian’s career has gained momentum as a YouTube & social media personality. Her content is filled with hair tutorials, fashion, motivation, lifestyle vlogging and much more. As a result, she’s become highly sought after by brands in the Hair Care, Beauty, Fashion, Entertainment and Food industries.
Charnika (Chary Jay) Jett is a journalist and videographer born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. In 2009, she began creating and editing videos for the newspaper she worked for and shortly thereafter decided to go natural. Intrigued by her newfound curls and editing skills, she decided to make natural hairstyle tutorials on YouTube. She grew a following rather fast and now has over 100,000 subscribers on YouTube and her videos have over 10 million views. She has collaborated with several different hair care brands including Carol's Daughter, been featured on the HuffingtonPost.com and Essence.com and the Grio.com. She also travels to different events to perform style demonstrations and spread knowledge and positivity about natural hair.
There is not a podcast out that talks about hair, Your Best Hair Day Ever Podcast aims to change that and we are bringing hair talk to the airwaves. In this launch episode, Kummbareh Owens, CEO of the natural hair care company talks with Shontae Owens her sister-in-law and owner of Eighty 5 Shoes on her best hair day, insecurities she has had to overcome, and much much more. Listen to find out how hair, business, and self-confidence helped build her company Eighty5.