Blow A Band On A Local Black Retail Business (You Were Going To Spend It Anyway) This Holiday Szn (Or Anytime)

Written by Jamése Ellis
Edited by Mark Franklin
Photography by Jasmine Willams

What change can any group of people make if collectively they move as individuals? What if we were a group of individuals who moved collectively as a community? What could we change then? The absolute foundation locking in the value of Black bodies, especially to those who would not care otherwise, resides solely on the collective power of the community, and a code of conduct to align that community:

“It is inside the community where you store your values, your history, your culture, your wealth, and your leadership. If you have no community, you have no place to store those items, retain them and pass them on from one generation to the next.”

– Doctor Claud Anderson

We have seen how the community has been collectively disrespected all year, all five hundred of them. So this holiday szn, let’s gift ourselves a first step into our power. This year, “Support Black Businesses” has flooded our social media timelines, but let us not think so superficially of the matter that we drown out the prime purpose of “buying Black.”

“It is important to build unity in what we do. Denver lacks unity; there is a bunch of micro movements looking to achieve the same things but no unified action, and that’s what needs to change.”
-Jevon Taylor, owner of False Ego

You see, the goal is not to move as a collective on the basis of fear, hate, exclusivity or even our favorite: for the flex of it.

Buying Black is about power for the collective.

May I challenge you? Why not equate supporting a Black business with supporting yourself? When you spend money in a Black business, why not feel rewarded; not simply based on the fact that you’re helping your brothers’ or sisters’ individual prosperity, wealth and growth, but that you’re helping the collective, and in that, your own individual prosperity as well?

“We didn’t start our business from a bank loan, we started our business from investing in ourselves and had a couple of friends and family who invested in us as well.”

– Keyonna Chapman, co-owner of Lawrence & Larimer

As a non-Black individual buying from a Black business, you are liberating yourself from choosing to live in a reality of lies. You are acknowledging your genuine history and who paved a foundation for your privilege. You are releasing curses and welcoming blessings. Deading darkness and embracing your light.

Black entities that make it their business to curate community, are the real G.O.A.T.s. You know, that same community that paid and paved a way for that Black business to open, and in return, those same businesses circle back, supplementing and strengthening the community with:

Resources and Time:

We incorporate the community and have worked with the Gill Community Center on downing before COVID, doing workshops with kids who were getting out of jail teaching them a trade and skill set in fashion.”

– Iman Saks, co-owner of Victory Clothing

Safe Spaces, Commodities, and Access:

“We have had multiple cookouts giving back and we are always giving clothes. We are starting a non-profit for the studio in the back to help kids get out there with their music. We also have a halfpipe in the back that kids can skate off. It is definitely about the atmosphere and trying to create a safe spot.

– Mitch Vanlandingham, co-owner of Gold Boys Clothing, Gold Girls Clothing

Representation and Role Models:

“ We are hands on, we are not just selling clothing that says something cool on it. We are actually hands on in the community, with the people.

– Jevon Taylor, owner of False Ego

History and Economy (our POWA):

“Absolutely recognize that we are a Black-owned business, but at the end of the day, we offer a different type of service to the community;one that services everyone. Black history is White history, Hispanic history, Asian history, especially if you live in America. It is History and it is something we present through the clothing.

-Keyonna Chapman, co-owner of Lawrence & Larimer

Encased under the reigns of these Black Businesses, the community is given the grace to endure past simply surviving and evolve into a flourishing state soaked in our values, our history, our wealth, and our leadership, each interlocking in an essential part of our community, and defined by Doctor Claud Anderson as our first step into our power, based on the five story building plan found in his book, Powernomics.

All of our creative minds can collectively come and grow together and share our experiences, and brainstorm and grow ourselves. That has become who we are. We became a hub for that.

– Keyonna Chapman, co-owner of Lawrence & Larimer

Collectively stripped from our original culture, we have become what we are. Beautifully resilient. Beautifully building. As this economic downturn proceeds in whichever way it will go, may the Black community use it as an opportunity to build and fill in the gaps not as individuals, but as a community, a collective made up of those same beautifully resilient people.

When they see you, I need them to see me, and the collective of a united community who will act up if anything inappropriate happens to you, I, or us.

Collective wealth equates to power, because if something happens to one of our wealthy individuals, we still have a community of wealthy people with power (economy) to hold someone accountable.
Accountability for the wealth of life lost in Sincere Pierce, Angelo Crooms, and Casey Goods due to the chaos called police brutality. Sadly, only to name a couple of the recent tragedies. We still haven’t gotten justice for Breonna Taylor.

“As a Black person you can’t have any wealth and power in getting away from everyone who looks like you. You cannot start a business and operate without a community: without a community, you have no market.”

-Doctor Claud Anderson

The following businesses are a list of local Black owned retail businesses who have intentionally embedded themselves into the community because they know the importance of not only circulating the Black dollar and establishing power (respect for Black bodies and lives) but a code of conduct that enforces normalizing safe spaces to learn, grow, and enrich our values, history, culture, wealth, and leadership. Not only within our own lives but for future generations to come.

So, if you are gonna blow a band this holiday szn (or anytime): Blow it at a Black business. One who is embedded in the community.

ABG$ owned by Stacie Drake (E-Store)

“I want Black women to feel comfortable with their unique vision on changing the world.” – Stacie Drake

@artsybitchgetmoney

Artsybitchgetmoney.com

ABG$’s first collection (you know I got that sneak peak) is a big ethereal hug to all the women who have thugged it out this year. Reminding us that we are exactly who we think we are. BIG WAP ENERGY and the beginning of something beautifully unique.

Jamése: Vibes we should expect from ABG$ this holiday szn?

Stacie: The vibe encourages women to be authentically who they are. The first featured collection is inspired by the most used word this year, “WAP,” putting a fresh perspective on what this new energy looks and feels like.

False Ego, owned by Jevon Taylor (Brick and Mortar)

“False Ego is the platform that brings unity, people, and businesses together and directs energy towards initiatives that benefit the greater good.” -Jevon Taylor

@false_eg0
sociatap.com/FalseEgo/
falseego.eco

False Ego is a cool cohesion of, in Jevon’s words, “minimalism with a pop of color.” With a feng shui of harmonized soothing tones, electric highlights and geometric shapes; it is an essential stop for the minimalist who craves creativity over basic tendencies and takes good care. These essentials range from the most aromatic candles, to durags, facemasks, inspiring art and journals. Fun fact: most of the vendors found in False Ego are Black women. As they should, and we clap because we are all the way here for it.

Vibes we should expect from False Ego this holiday szn?

Jevon: Every artist or vendor we have here is either black or some type of minority, you will feel the community vibes, and all of our items are embroidered so they last forever.

Jamése: What values, history, culture wealth or leadership does False Ego represent in the community?

Jevon: We are a staple; a staple that represents the community and the culture. We represent the culture in a very organic way, through the vendors and also the engagement activities we hold. We have educational programs that tap into individualized learning with DPS. We are also doing community development projects that are going to add more greenery to urban areas in Denver. We are hands on, we are not just selling clothing that says something cool on it. We are actually hands on in the community, with the people.

Jamése: What does it mean for you to pass this knowledge on to the next generation?

Jevon: It’s important. With social media being a thing, it’s so easy to hide behind a camera or a profile and not interact with people around you. It’s important to let people know, to dive into connections and let people know about the resources that exist around them. A lot of people aren’t aware of the resources that are down the street from their house, especially now, because they don’t even get to go to school. Right now it’s more important than ever.

Gold Boys Clothing & Gold Girls Clothing, owned by Julian Rose and Mitch Vanlandingham (Brick and Mortar)

“Gold vibes, happy vibes, joyfulness, we need a lot of that this year and Gold Boys is here to offer that.” – Julian Rose

@goldboysclothing
@goldgirlsclothing
goldboysclothing.com

Gold Boy’s Clothing is truly an experience. Step into GBC, and have all of your senses entangled with all those golden vibes and incense. The shop is enriched with history displaying the great’s in vivacious art and quotes that drop some major gems, all the way down to the clothing. The store serves as a living reminder of how Black people have in many facets and dimensions made something out of nothing, which breeds the question: why can’t you do the same?
Fun fact: if the mood for creation wasn’t set enough already, they have a studio in the back for you multidimensional artists, down for those golden vibes.

Jamése: Vibes we should expect from Gold Boys & Gold Girls this holiday szn?

Mitch: New items dropping just in time for Christmas.We have a compilation CD coming out on the music side too with all the top artists in Denver.

Jamése: What values, history, culture wealth or leadership does Gold Boys Clothing represent in the community?

Julian: I mean we got Muhammad Ali on the wall, Erykah Badu, Oprah, a lot of great leaders from both a woman and man’s standpoint, that all represent the black culture.

Mitch: Each person on the wall represents them showing their gold in life in their own way. We are all about finding our gold and helping people find their gold.

Jamése: How do we shift and uplift each other, as individuals, towards a united collective?

Julian: Striving to be the best version of you, whatever that might be. Our slogan is “Living Gold.” Your gold might be your family, your fitness, or giving back and serving people.

Mitch: There’s different golds. What’s your gold? Find your gold; find what’s important to you.

Jamése: How do we normalize equating supporting a black business to supporting community, and self?

Julian: We are in a very high poverty area. We put a trash can in front of our spot to try to show the community that you don’t have to litter, this is mother nature, don’t treat it like that.

Mitch: We have had multiple cookouts giving back and are always giving clothes. We are starting a non-profit for the studio in the back to help kids get out there with their music. We also have a halfpipe in the back that kids can skate off. It is definitely about the atmosphere and trying to create a safe spot.

Infinity Shoetique, owned by G’vanti Carter and Brittany Paris (launching January 1st, 2021)

“Throughout history, women walked a powerful path fashionably, and with attitude to provide opportunities for the growth of future generations. Each individual shoe is inspired by women who have impacted us and influenced our creativity.” – G’vanti Carter

@infinity.shoetique
Infinityshoetique.com

Infinity Shoetique offers a surprise aesthetic for a new year, through the collection these two queens have created. What we do know is, when two conscious black queens come to collaborate, nothing short of magic happens. You better believe we will be ready to dip in these divine feminine vibes on the official launch date: January 1st, 2021.

Jamése: Vibes we should expect from Infinity Shoetique this holiday szn?

G’vanti: We want to create a vibe that empowers women of all walks. With our brand we want women to feel like they are worthy of luxury and comfort. We want to provide the opportunity for women to feel sleek, sexy, and powerful in our footwear.”

Lawrence & Larimer Clothing + Supply Co., owned by John Chapman IV and Keyonna Chapman (Brick and Mortar)

“From a cultural perspective, We are Black Denver. We have grown to be a community brand that supports the creative” – Keyonna Chapman

@lawrenceandlarimer
lawrenceandlarimer.com

Lawrence & Larimer is a whole vibe. Immersed in their new space it is very intentional. Signed with a stance of healing, tribute, curiosity, and ofcourse creation. In the back of their space I got a sneak peak of where they lay, chop, and stitch their customs (so fire). Right around the corner is a dressing room filled with the cutest quotes, and across the aisle is a whole wall paying tribute to our struggle through photographs of protests post George Flloyd. Beautifully embodied you can reflect all while having a dance party (socially distanced of course) to full bass beats they play outside and within the store.
Fun fact: they carry plants now y’all! Need I say more?

Jamése: Vibes we should expect from Lawrence & Larimer this Holiday szn?

Keyonna: New crop tops, polos with all their individual styles, colors, and patterns. Exclusive deck the hall hoodies with our Bee mascot wrapped in lights! We’re still in a pandemic so everything is super comfy.

Jamése: What values, history, culture wealth or leadership does Lawrence & Larimer represent in the community?

Keyonna: Both myself and John Chapman are Denver natives and we are standing here after five years of growing this brand,and it is a community oriented brand. When we started this brand, we knew we wanted to pay tribute to the city of Denver, but our city. Our Black Denver. Also, something that could be global.

All of our creative minds can collectively come and grow together and share our experiences, and brainstorm and grow ourselves. That’s become who we are. We became a hub for that. We have the ability to allow every creative person to come in here and share their creativity with the community and we grow that way. Clothing is how we get our creative flow out, but it extends beyond the clothing.

Jamése: What does it mean for you to pass this knowledge on to the next generation?

Keyonna: It’s a lot of pressure. I was raised by my grandmother and she was a creative for real. There’s a lot of things that I do in this store that growing up I didn’t realize she was giving to me. She was a true phenomenon and loved by her community.

We have kids that come in from different programs and we teach them. We have kids that want to be designers and we teach them how to screen print. We have kids who want to be models and we have them model in the clothes. It’s important for us to show the youth that while you do have a talent, it is your responsibility to grow together so that we can sustain. There’s no way that we could have this business and not have the mentors that we have.

Local Love, owned by Nigel Hines (Brick and Mortar)

“Our space connects directly with the youth of the Aurora area.” – Nigel Hines

@followlocallove

Local Love is just that, support of local creators,designers, and cash come ups. The aesthetic is a curation of the community. It’s sleek and modern vibes draw us in, while the quality keeps us coming back. You are sure to catch a pop-up featuring a local gem on any given day. Fun Fact: Local Love holds an assortment of Funko Pop collectables that may just have you geeked.

Jamése: Vibes we should expect from Local Love this holiday szn?

Nigel: Local Love is a buy, sell and trade space. Our main purpose is to serve everyone’s love for sneakers. We provide an energetic environment in addition to supplying vendors, music, and pop-ups for people of all ages.

My Ancestors Garden by CK Skin, owned by Latoya Alyce (E-Store)

“Our goal is to educate and influence the culture that Mother Earth has provided us with through every natural thing we will need to thrive, survive and evolve through the creation of handmade skincare, body care, candles, loose leaf tea blends, and more!” – Latoya Alyce

@_shopckskin_
Shopckskin.com

CK Skin embodies an aura of solitude and self-care. Their luxurious products normalize the daily indulgence of self. The presentation of ALL natural products makes you melt and when I get my hands on some of theirs, I’m sure all of my stress and tension will do the same. Have you ever salivated over body products? Fun Fact: CK Skin’s Instagram will make you do just that!

Jamése: Vibes we should expect from CK Skin this holiday szn?

Latoya: The vibe we are bringing this season is essential selfcare infused into your skin care routine, creating effective energy and healing vibes from the inside out by including ingredients you can actually pronounce and understand, to our products. In addition to luxury skin care, we have incorporated a healthy and holistic twist with the anointing of our ancestors! We are our ancestors’ garden and wildest dreams!

Jamése: What values, history, culture wealth or leadership does CK Skin represent in the community?

Latoya: We value holistic self care and skin care. Since I was a little girl, I imagined my future self as “the healer,” providing natural remedies for anything you could imagine. We are an active resource in the community of products infused with the best healing herbs, pressed seed oils and plants that have been personally researched and incorporated for their holistic and organic benefit.

Jamése: What does it mean for you to pass this knowledge on to the next generation?

Latoya: In 2019 I lost my mother, and the basis of her passing was an effect of medication she was taking. The medication was prescribed by her trusted doctor and was the very thing that took her life. After that I made it my personal mission to educate the masses about natural healing and historic remedies created to cater to the health, wellness and healthy alternative education & edification of all! My Ancestors Garden™️ was curated with the woman or man making the switch to a more holistic approach inspired by ancient practices, in mind.

Shop At Matter, owned by Rick Griffith and Debra Johnson (Brick and Mortar)

“What’s happening here is, it’s not a black owned bookstore, for black people alone. It is a black owned bookstore for people who LOVE black people.” -Rick Griffith

@shopatmatter
shopatmatter.com

Shop at Matter’s energy is the materialization of every safe space I yearned for growing up. The knowledge encapsulated in that space is a huge reassurance that we as a people gone be alright. It is a beloved reminder that there are those both in the struggle and allies of the struggle that genuinely want to do the work. To have a space where we can have easy and explorative access to our real history is everything. Fun fact: co-owner Rick is an acclaimed graphic artist and screen prints all of his art in shop.

Jamése: Vibes we should expect from Shop at Matter this holiday szn?

Rick: Between the two of us, we care about queer people, and we care about indigenous people and we care about so much more than just ourselves. What a great point of reference you have there for a woman owned and a black owned space, and between the two of our sensibilities we’re able to reach through and be, also, for everyone. Which is what makes most sense for us. There are good times to have these particular boundaries; Black, woman, queer, this, that, trans, etc. There’s good times for those things to show up, because critical dialogue needs to happen around that. But there is also a good time to make a space where black people can shop next to white people and queer people and so on and so forth. So everybody here wants to do the work and everybody’s in it together. It’s also a black owned book store for people who love queer people, and it’s a black owned book store for people who love Black Trans people and so and so forth. That is the energy of this place.

Unkommon, owned by Marlo Proctor (Brick and Mortar)

@unkommon_shop

Unkommon embodies what it means to be both quirky yet stylish. A store of many facets the space also encasses a studio and a workplace for consignment restoration. Fun fact: there is no stain Marlo can not fix, I have seen it with my own two eyes.

Jamése: Vibes we should expect from Unkommon this holiday szn?

Marlo: Unkommon is an exclusive boutique set with apparel, sneakers, accessories, music, technology, art, and consignment restoration. Why be normal, when there is Unkommon?

Victory Clothing, owned by Iman Saks and Jarrett Beasley (Brick and Mortar)

victoryclothingboutique.com

@victoryclothingboutique

”It doesn’t matter what you look like, what kind of style you have, we try to make sure we treat everyone the same.” – Iman Saks

Victory Clothing is no doubt for the individual. The store is super interactive and intimate as the owners have no problem listening and engaging with the people on what they would like to find or see next. With an ever rotating array of street wear vibes, you, your girl or your man will definitely walk out with a piece that will get you noticed. Much androgynous vibes (his or hers wear) for the low-key eccentric who enjoys color and comfort.

Jamése: Vibes we should expect from Victory this holiday szn?

Iman: Great customer service and overall individuality because you’ll come out of here not looking like everybody else. We keep a limited quantity of things because we don’t want everyone running around looking like clones of each other. We try to have people create their individuality in their own way. We don’t want them looking like a mannequin. We are introducing a lot of stacked pants, denim, and street lifestyle wear for women who want to be comfortable but can still look presentable if they have to go to work. We’re fitted to people’s lifestyles.

As a Black individual buying from a Black business, you are not simply “buying Black.” You are buying back your perceived value. You are taking a stake of what is rightfully yours, what has been denied, and what is feared.

And that is your power.

You are instilling back a code of conduct that acknowledges not only your worth, but your allegiance to the worth of the collective and securing the safety of your brothers and sisters. We invest in ourselves to hold those accountable who threaten our safety. If and when they can’t “tell us apart”, when your brothers and sisters are safer, you are as well. If we are really a community, when we win, you do too.

Stay connected with these local Black businesses doing the work:

ABG$ owned by Stacie Drake (E-Store) 

@artsybitchgetmoney

Artsybitchgetmoney.com

False Ego, owned by Jevon Taylor

@false_eg0

sociatap.com/FalseEgo

falseego.eco 

Gold Boys Clothing & Gold Girls Clothing, owned by Julian Rose and Mitch  Vanlandingham 

@goldboysclothing 

@goldgirlsclothing

Goldboysclothing.com

Infinity Shoetique, owned by G’vanti Carter and Brittany Paris 

@infinity.shoetique

Lawrence & Larimer Clothing + Supply Co., owned by John Chapman IV and Keyonna Chapman

@lawrenceandlarimer

lawrenceandlarimer.com 

Local Love, owned by Nigel Hines

@followlocallove

My Ancestors Garden by CK Skin, owned by Latoya Alyce

shopckskin.com

@_shopckskin_

Shop At Matter, owned by Rick Griffith and Debra Johnson (Brick and Mortar)

@shopatmatter

shopatmatter.com 

Unkommon, owned by Marlo Proctor (Brick and Mortar)

@unkommon_shop

Victory Clothing Boutique, owned by Iman Saks and Jarrett Beasley

victoryclothingboutique.com

@victoryclothingboutique

Down for more Black healing? Follow me on Instagram:

@goldenhoopswrites 

Edited by:

@thesalientpunk 

Photography by:

@j.laree_photography

Tis the season to Give Black!

Posted on December 1, 2020 by Karysma Hicks

With the holiday’s approaching, it’s time to do some shopping. Now more than ever is a time to support the Black community with your shopping choices. Don’t know where to start? That’s O.K. because we at NWA Magazine have curated a list of some of Denver’s best local, black-owned businesses.

From hair, skin and beauty to candles and streetwear clothing, we’ve got you covered with a gift guide to get you started on finding the perfect gift for your loved ones, and maybe even for yourself.

Now, let’s meet some of Denver’s renowned business owners and return the favor of giving Black to our community this holiday season.

Natural Urbanity

Narkita-Gold

Owner of Natural Urbanity, Cheriece Peterson, sees to it that her product line doesn’t have any crazy, un-healthy chemicals or harsh elements that would harm her clientele’s hair and skin. “I cater to those who want to have natural products and are concerned and aware of what they are putting on their body,” said Peterson.

After making her first sale 7 years ago, Peterson’s line has evolved over time from body butter to now being an entire line of hair and skin products. To Peterson, Natural Urbanity means that her clients can step out, and carry with them a natural poise and a plethora of confidence. “When I think of Urbanity, no matter what city you’re in, the word [urbanity] means that it is [made] for you and that you are the best reflection of yourself and your environment,” explained Peterson. “I just love when someone can open up a product and know exactly what they’re getting because its personalized to them.”

When you shop Peterson’s line, you will get the opportunity to customize ingredients, oils, and even scents. This is something that proudly separates Peterson apart from other similar brands. From customizable lip balms, body scrubs and butters to hair teas and oils, Natural Urbanity is your source for natural products for hair and body care for not only you, but your whole family.

With the holidays coming up and gifting season upon us, you can sign up for one of Natural Urbanity’s many subscription packages—where you will receive a free Holiday gift during the month of December. For a limited time only, you will also be able to customize a Butter Butter set and Hair + Body set for free through the month of December as well.

To support Natural Urbanity and keep up with all of their latest and greatest, you can visit their website or connect with them via Instagram: @naturalurbanity

Chubby Curls

A very frustrated Manushkka Sainvil became wearied after spending a copious amount of money on products that didn’t work for her hair. “I would snatch up all these different products,” said Sainvil. “If I liked the smell, I trusted that.”

Sainvil’s trust in these products didn’t last very long. It wasn’t until her revelation that the products she chose to put her trust in, weren’t actually contributing to her process of going natural. “My trust was being taken for granted. I didn’t understand why there was such a saturation of products in the natural hair space—which I used so many of them—but why is it that none of them seem to be delivering what my hair really needs,” questioned Sainvil.

Sainvil started to do her homework—realizing that there was such a huge disconnect between what her hair needed and what the products on the market were promising. Sainvil began reading the ingredient labels on the products she was using and would research how effective these ingredients were to helping her achieve the look she wanted. In her research, Sainvil would stumble upon DIY YouTube videos that would teach her how to make her own hair products.

Now the Moisturizer-In-Chief of Chubby Curls Hair Products, Sainvil has concocted her own formula to not only achieve her own natural hair goals but for every girl in the natural hair space. “I can use my product as a platform to help change the narrative about Black hair,” said Sainvil. “Many women and young girls are frustrated with their hair because they weren’t given or taught which products to use.”

Sainvil’s goal with Chubby Curls is to provide a basic foundational understanding as to how Black hair is structured and what it needs. “It can really make a difference in how you approach what your hair needs and get you the results you want to see,” said Sainvil. “You just have to understand the science of Black hair for it to be manageable and do what we want it to do.”

One way Sainvil believes your hair can stay manageable is consistency. Through her natural hair experience, she would realize that a lot of the companies on the market would switch up their formula—most likely switching up the routine you’re used to and how your hair takes to it. “There is nothing worse than having a favorite thing and you’re using it for a while and you love it, then they up and change the formula. That to me, is the most frustrating experience,” said Sainvil. “It is important for me, it is paramount, it is critical that the DNA of Chubby Curls never changes. What people bought in 2015 is the same Chubby Curls people are going to buy now.”

Two products that are the epitome of Chubby Curls’ consistency are the Leave-In Conditioner and the Moisturizing Styling Cream. They are two products that have stayed the same since the beginning of Chubby Curls, and are two products that are praised for going so well in conjunction with each other.

For a limited time only, you can shop Chubby Curls with the PROMO CODE: NWA15 for 15% OFF your entire purchase.

If you’d like to stay up-to-date with Chubby Curls and their products, be sure to follow them on Instagram: @chubby_curls

Honey’s Soap Company

Recently retired, Denise Robinson is figuring out how to not only be a woman entrepreneur, but a Black woman entrepreneur. “If you are a white woman in business, you seem to get more help. They seem to forget about our sisters here in business too,” said Robinson. “I’m here too and I make good products.”

After having a business venture in making hand-crafted jewelry, Robinson found herself craving something a little more exciting—something that would not only keep her busy but would also allow her to make a difference. Robinson took to her upbringing as a Colorado native to realize that her beloved state wasn’t as loving to her skin.

For 7 years, Robinson has been making soaps that prioritize moisture. “Its great for Coloradans because it is so dry here,” promises Robinson. “Most soap makers have a basic recipe that we like. The recipes are either shea butter, coconut oil, or stuff like that. With those recipes, you either put more shea butter or more coconut oil. I make my recipes the way I like,” said Robinson; “and with that, I make my products with love.”

We all know that one of the most important things you can do as a business owner is to pay attention to your market—and that’s exactly what Robinson did. Tuning in to her on-the-shelves competitors and hearing what her family, friends, and loved ones have had to say in response to using these products, Robinson had a key epiphany that would take her business to new heights. “People don’t want to go to the stores anymore. They’re looking for healthier alternatives.”

With Honey’s Soap Company’s bath bars, bath bombs, body wash and lotions, you will notice a transformation in how healthy your skin looks and feels. However; Honey’s Soap company isn’t all about getting your skin right and tight. With her consumers in mind, Robinson wants her company to be a one-stop-shop for anything that will help get your mind right too.

If you visit Honey’s Soap Company, you’ll find a surplus of additions that are made with ‘relaxation’ in mind. From massage bars to CBD infused products to candles, this Black business’ mission is to enrich lives through the pleasure of their products—where beauty and a healthy lifestyle (both physical and mental) go hand-in-hand.

Estelle Lux Collection

Having grown up in a small Coloradan town and being one of very few Black faces seen in her community, Lucretia Kinzie knew she was meant for something bigger and better. Kinzie worked her way up the hospitality ladder—eventually getting her to Los Angles. However; like many of us, Kinzie made her way back home to recourse her life and figure out her next move.

“L.A. was a whole different ball game,” said Kinzie. “so I moved back to Denver.” During this transition, Kinzie thought this to be the perfect time to re-evaluate what she was going to do with her life. After receiving compliments on her skin and how she would do her makeup, Kinzie had an epiphany that make-up should be her next venture.

“Instead of promoting someone else’s brand, I figured I could start promoting my own,” said Kinzie. Once she realized how capable she was of starting her own business, Kinzie took to being a self-learner and enrolled in online marketing classes. COVID-19 gave a lot of us some downtime; but for Kinzie, there was no such thing as downtime. She learned everything she could about owning a business, marketing a business, and coming up with strategies to land clientele.

“It is a huge to be a black business owner,” said Kinzie. “My whole goal was to make sure nothing backfired and that whatever I planned or would market, it would set me apart.”

As COVID-19 does, it did in fact create a backfire in Kinzie’s plan for the launch of her product line. Production came at a hault; but that didn’t stop Kinzie from making her soon-to-be brand a priority. Now, just a couple of months old, Estelle Lux Collection is a leading beauty brand comprised of lipstick and lip gloss collections, lip liners and eyeshadow palettes.

With the holidays coming up and a time for giving, Estelle Lux Collection’s online shop will see promotions on all holiday colors. Both future and current shoppers will receive 30% OFF on lip glosses and lip liners with a matte, along with any red lipsticks.

Kinzie’s top priority is to engage with her consumers and to ensure their best interest. You can connect with Estelle Lux Collection via Instagram: @estelleluxcollection and subscribe to their email list to receive notifications about upcoming promotions and sales.

GG’s Cosmetics

Looking to support her mom’s venture in selling eyelashes, Germany Gabrielle decided to team up with her mom to create GG’s Cosmetics. “I suddenly wanted to make mascara and eyeshadow,” revealed Gabrielle. It was then that she came up with the idea to create a Mom-and-Daughter collaboration. Thinking this would be a great addition to Colorado’s market for beauty brands, Gabrielle knew that she had something different to bring to the table.

“I came up with the idea of a Mom and Daughter collaboration; black-owned right in the State of Colorado,” said Gabrielle. “I’ve seen people sell lashes and such—but I have never come across a full cosmetic brand.”

Gabrielle started to think of ways as to how she could make this new-found brand a healthier alternative to what is already available on the market. After doing her research, Gabrielle was able to create a product line of chemical-free mascaras and eyeshadows. “GG’s cosmetics is an absolutely 100% healthy line,” said Gabrielle. “I only use gluten-free, cruelty-free and vegan based ingredients in all of my products.”

In addition to providing her customers with products that will keep them safe while giving them results they’ll love, Gabrielle will be sticking to her original goal of supporting her mom. “The lashes will range from exotic to full lashes,” revealed Gabrielle.

Launching on Dec. 11th, GG’s Cosmetics’ online shop will feature a wide selection of beauty products that offer quality and ease—just in time for exceptional holiday shopping.

Candle Culture Company

What started out as a way to manage her anxiety, Ashley Biggers turned her hobby of making candles for her loved ones into a full-on business. New to the game, Biggers’ first year as a business owner has been nothing but an exciting experience.

“Ultimately it isn’t about me, its about the products I make for my customers,” said Biggers. Contributing to her successful experience in being a first-year business owner of Candle Culture Company, customer feedback and reviews are what drive her to create a product line that opens up a space for her consumers to relax and be their most comfortable selves.

“I wanted to make sure that my candles were being used for what candles are actually intended for,” explained Biggers. “No matter what product I put out there, it is always with intention.” Candle Culture Company was created with women of color in mind. With the stresses of life and the trials and tribulation the everyday Black women goes through, Biggers saw candle making as an opportunity to provide an atmosphere for all BIPOCs to escape those harsh realities.

To the likes of her candles, Biggers is venturing out to produce other products that will help with getting your mind right. Whether it is one of her infamous candles or her newly launched bath products, Biggers’ products are made with her consumers’ best interest in mind. “I make sure that they are safe, they are natural, and that they are things that I would use on myself,” said Biggers.

To compliment her new addition to Candle Culture Company’s product line, both new and current customers can expect a series of new, holiday scents to hit their online shop on Dec. 1st. In addition to the new candle scents, Candle Culture Company will be selling Holiday baskets for a limited time only. Each basket will feature a partnership with Wyndom Haus’ natural bath scrubs, newly launched Candle Culture Company bubble bath and Epsom salt, and a candle; with a special sample inside.

Make sure to follow @candleculturecompany on Instagram and to keep up with their Facebook for any exciting news.

RMT 4 Eva Clothing

Family members and business partners, Taylor Juniel, Will Owens, Jalen Thompson and Jason Thompson II, are coming up on their third year of what they call an enrichment in family. “Everything is family oriented. We all come together. We all go through it together,” said Juniel and Owens.
We just always try to lift each other up.”

Co-Owners of RMT4EVA Clothing (short for Rich Mob Tendencies), Juniel and Owens want their supporters to know that you can be rich in anything beyond belief. RMT4EVA Clothing is a brand that carries its message heavily. “We continue to do what we believe in and believe in giving back,” said Owens. “We put that message into our clothes. If you put our clothes on, you represent what we represent. You represent the community, you represent family.”

Following their positive and public message to be authentic with your tendencies, RMT4EVA Clothing abides by the same message behind the scenes. “Everything you see from our line is genuinely us,” said Juniel and Owens. “Our clothes are all handmade. We’ll be in the basement with it—embroidering, screen printing, everything—it all comes from hard work, blood, sweat and tears.”

For Juniel, Owens, and the Thompsons, RMT4EVA isn’t just about expressing the importance of creating a union; it also represents creating your own reality and deciding ‘what is your rich’. “Were creators. We’re over here shooting for the stars,” said Juniel. “We envision what Denver, Colorado wouldn’t.”

A part of their vision, the RMT4EVA family is making moves to get in front of their community more than they already are. While continuing to put their all into their production, Juniel, Owens, and the Thompsons have set out to prevail in using their platform to enrich the lives around them.

If you want to keep up with RMT4EVA Clothing, you can subscribe to their online shop for notifications and updates, and check in with them @rmt4evaclothing on Instagram for exciting new comings.

Black Women Saved You: An Interview With Local Black Photographers

Story by Jamése Ellis

All the resistance built up by Black women facing American social “norms” we know strengthened her. But did you know she strengthened you too?

This resistance built up in every Black woman was born out of all the countless moments of oppression, moments of biting her tongue and being forced into eating her words, to the point she dares scream the truth until her lungs could scream no longer. She began to sing her song until she could only hold a hum. A hum that simmered to an ethereal vibration and presence that arrests you in absolute silence to partake in the healing tones. Once humbled to partake, you are met with the ability to overcome any one person’s world of violence and riot with cool calm. Continue reading “Black Women Saved You: An Interview With Local Black Photographers”

Zoid Ham

By Karysma Hicks @Thestylishgambino_ Keep up with Zoid Ham @zoidstyles

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Whether you’re a creative, entrepreneur, or just a downright admirer of fashion within Denver’s fashion community, Zoid Ham is one of the best resources you can turn to. Artist by trade, Ham has made his mark in both fashion and art all while making it a priority to give back to his community. Continue reading “Zoid Ham”