History is being made as the workforce is now dominated by Black women entrepreneurs. The demographic groundbreakingly tops the list as the fastest growing concentration of business owners in the United States. Each day, we’re seeing more Black women set new records, break glass ceilings and turn their ideas into material abundance.
We got to know two of these enterprising women on REVOLT’s multiscreen series “Bet On Black,” which gave a select group of Black entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their start-ups to a panel of experts and celebrity judges. The six-episode TV show offered viewers a glimpse into each contestants’ entrepreneurial journeys, including Kalkidan “Kalu” Gebreyohannes and J’Maica Roxanne who competed against other powerful Black executives for a chance to bag $200,000 in funding and mentorship from Target. Each contender was evaluated based on strategy, vision and how much of a lasting change their ideas could inspire within the Black community.
With the pandemic bringing about worldwide domestic isolation, masses of people have started connecting more with their homes. There was a rebirth in lifestyle — people began to turn their living spaces into safe havens from the outside noise, resulting in the purchase of houseplants, candles and wellness products to simply make them feel at ease. As the world started transitioning into a new reality, we all began to embrace the value and beauty of the home, community and Mother Nature.
With this idea in mind, Bay area residents Kalu and J’Maica opened up the BLK Girls Green House right in their city of Oakland, California. The 1500-square foot, open-air locale offers plants, specially curated home goods, locally produced apparel and houses a selection of pop-ups. While it’s always been a sanctuary for plant aficionados, interior enthusiasts and good vibes, the community space has grown exponentially since making its debut on “Bet on Black.”
Since the show’s premiere back in January, J’Maica and Kalu have been able to enhance their plant shop’s design and installation, improve its maintenance services and even grow its staff, bringing on board a social media and email marketing specialist. Applying the knowledge they gained from the experience and feedback they received from the show’s judges, they also revamped their business pitch. Now, they’re preparing for two big events. The first is an Earth Day partnership with Footlocker and New Balance, where a group of volunteers will join them in gathering donations of goods and services for Oakland’s Dream Youth Clinic. Then, they’re hosting BLK Girls Green House’s annual “Grooves from the Green House” concert series during Juneteenth weekend.
As business owners, Kalu and J’Maica prioritize purchasing from Black-owned brands. REVOLT caught up with the entrepreneurial pair to get eight product recommendations from their favorite POC-owned businesses.
This oil-free skin tint with SPF 11 and hyaluronic acid is lighter than foundation but offers sheer coverage for a natural, non-cakey look. Coming in eight different shades, it’s not just inclusive; it’s produced with clean ingredients, too. “Not only does it contain SPF for protection, but it’s also hydrating and vegan/cruelty-free,” Kalu and J’Maica confirm. “An all-around amazing product.”
As home enthusiasts, J’Maica and Kalu find that a soothing, aromatic candle is one of the simplest ways to spruce up a home and make it feel luxurious. One of their favorite products is the deliciously scented Shea Butter Baby candle from Oakland-based brand Penrose Apothecary, which offers hand-poured vegan wax candles in luxurious hand-crafted cement vessels, along with body oils, perfume oils and room sprays. The business even partnered up with BGGH for an exclusive collection. “[We] sold out almost immediately!” exclaim the entrepreneurs.
3. Yummy Honey
Consciousness carries over into the kitchen and if there’s one brand that Kalu and J’Maica trust, it’s Yummy Honey. Based in Sacramento, the online shop offers a tasty variety of herbal-infused kosher flavors that range from West Coast Coriander and Orange Blossom to Star Thistle Sage and California Buckwheat. Describing it as “a new but instant kitchen staple,” both women agree that Yummy Honey is an easy, beneficial addition to any pantry.
As owners of a plant shop, it’s a no-brainer that plant accessories are an essential for the two ladies. J’Maica and Kalu adore Ultralight Dreams, a Black women-owned business specializing in hand-painted terra cotta planters that feature an array of abstract designs. The “Bet on Black” contestants have also grown close with Jazzmine, the brand’s founder whom they’ve hosted at BGGH on several occasions and whom has quickly become a customer favorite. “Her use of colors, patterns and shapes is so unique and special,” the entrepreneurs gush.
“Of all the products you want to make sure are safe, anything for your body’s intimate parts is at the top of the list,” affirm the ladies. When it comes to feminine care, they never look any further than The Honey Pot Company – a Black women-owned brand sold at Target that has the girls covered, offering organic pads and tampons as well as hypo-allergenic, dermatologist-approved feminine wipes and washes. One can feel at peace using any of the company’s products, as they’re all PH-balancing and made with clean, plant-based ingredients.
Finding the perfect sunscreen can be difficult. Being the most important part of every beauty routine, it’s necessary to find one that doesn’t clog pores, change the texture of your skin or leave white residue on your face. Kalu and J’Maica get their favorite skin protector, Black Girl Sunscreen, from Target. Formulated by Black women for Black women, it’s free from parabens, fragrances and other harsh chemicals, and infused with natural ingredients. “We love this formula specifically made for melanated skin,” the Bay Area-based businesswomen explain. “It’s super hydrating and doesn’t leave a film on your skin.”
While both ladies reside in California, J’Maica is originally from the Delaware-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) area. Staying true to her roots, the DMV native says that her guilty pleasure is the Capital City Mambo Sauce from Target. “This sauce is like having a little bit of home with you,” she describes fondly. The delicious DC-style wing sauce can enhance even the blandest of food with sweet yet spicy, mouth-watering flavor. “It’s delicious on EVERYTHING!” exclaims the CEO, and she’s right – it can be used in various ways, whether as a marinade, dipping sauce or glaze.
When it comes to brunch, Kalu and J’Maica love to set the vibe with a chilled bottle of Black Girl Magic Rosé, calling it “the perfect compliment to a sunny Oakland day.” The smooth and refreshing wine features aromas of raspberry, orange blossom and white flowers with notes of citrus. Pairing deliciously with a bowl of fresh fruit, it’s no surprise why the entrepreneurial pair favor this brand when it comes to enjoying a beautiful day.
BLK Girls Green House will be celebrating its two-year anniversary Aug. 1. Get inspired by their journey by catching up on episodes of “Bet on Black” on REVOLT TV’s digital platforms.
Also, be sure to head over to Target’s Buy Black Hub in support of Black business owners everywhere.