Happy Small Business Saturday, sweets! I'm so happy to be able to share another amazing line up of individuals that deserve to shine even brighter. Thank you to those that sent me your faves! If you're new around here, check out last year's post right here. Creating a brand from the ground up & maintaining relevancy during our day-to-day lives isn't for the weak. It's an investment of our money, our passion, and our time. When you step into the world of entrepreneurship -- no matter what you're doing, no matter the level you're on -- you're taking a huge bet on yourself every day with hopes that the masses will receive it well. With every group of social media influencers/small business owners I share with you, my goal is to ensure that you all see the same passion that I do. Like I always say: If I eat, we all eat. If I shine, we all shine. So let's show these lovely people some love! Adulting With Wine Sasha D. is a loud & proud Aquarius that allows her naturally creative spirit to shine through her brand and podcast, Adulting With Wine. Adulting With Wine serves as a safe space for a community of people that are focused on healing, growing & getting real about the journey of adulthood. You can check out her episode on my podcast, Cookies & Conversation right here. Alicia L. Saunders Alicia is a health coach and Xtreme Hip Hop Instructor based in Columbia, MD. The MonAlicia Bakes crossed paths with her and her brand at a Juneteenth event earlier this year (shoutout to Athleta!) and we've been rooting for each other ever since! Alicia's brand is all about encouraging women to be active, eat well, and still enjoy life. Alisha Brown Alisha is a fellow Bishop McNamara alum, the host of The Lituation Room Podcast, and the host of Afternoons With Lisha B on Jammin 92. The Lituation Room Podcast is a platform for real conversations with real people in the media. When it comes to media, things can get lost in translation and with the power of Alisha's platform & voice, she delivers nothing but authentic conversations that cancel out all of the noise. Aspirations Apparel Alicia Nolen is the owner of Aspirations Apparel, a clothing brand based in Chicago, Illinois! Aspirations Apparel focuses on spreading positivity through affordable clothing items. What I love the most about Alicia is that she is ALWAYS rooting for small businesses and everybody Black. AstroPriestesss, LLC To know me is to know that I LOVE everything astrology. I stumbled across Logan, the genius behind AstroPriestess, LLC, last year and received an incredibly thorough natal chart analysis. Logan is an astrologer, teacher, and hypnotherapist in training that has a true passion for healing & helping others understan the psychology behind how our childhood impacts as our subconscious as adults. In addition to her services, she also provides custom accessories & clothing. Bahareh Bakhtiari Bahareh is a previous employee of mine, a very wholesome friend, and a licensed cosmetologist based in Virginia. Her natural, nurturing spirit goes hand-in-hand with her passion for self-care and everything beauty. As a result, Bahareh always ensures that her clients receive a perfect service from beginning to end. BeanBee Coffee BeanBee Coffee is a Black woman-owned brand based in New Orleans, Louisiana that provides accessible speciality coffee to communities nationwide. Roneka's brand focuses on showing the masses that Black women in the coffee industry are making their mark and they're here to stay. Bee L. Jack Bee and I crossed paths on Twitter, instantly connected off the strength of our stomping grounds (PG County!), and have been rooting for each other since that very moment. #BeeJacksCorner is the hub for all that she brings to the table: books & sweet notes that highlight the beauty of our vulnerability, and clothing that demands your attention with her words and unique design. Beejay Hardin
Beejay is the host of Club 5 Conversations and the co-host of A and B Side Podcast. Both podcasts highlight what's popular in the pop culture and social media worlds.
Blkgirlnailfies is the go-to Instagram for Black girls to show off their nailfies! And you better believe it's more than just fire sets. Blkgirlnailfies highlights how Black women contribute to the always evolving nail art culture. The constantly growing impact has brought them to opportunities such as being featured in Allure, Marie Claire, and The Cut. Hana Javelle is, not only the creator & one of the nail enthusiasts, behind the account but she also gives the word on the street about all things beauty. You can subscribe to her newsletter, The Beauty B.L.U.F., right here.
The Butterland is a Black, DMV owned and operated luxury brand that provides all natural hair products that are specially crafted to make sure you and your loved ones have the healthiest hair and skin possible. What started off as a search for the best hair products on the block turned into a handmade, homemade act of love in honor of Sydney's (Paris' daughter) undergoing of chemotherapy.
Better known as LetDatGirlEat, Chasity is a vibrant, New Orleans soul with a passion about the beauty world. If you check out her Instagram and her blog, you can see how she carefully crafts her cocktails and the attention to detail she puts in her food creations. Remaining true to her roots, she highlights all the good spots and her favorite things about New Orleans. If that isn't enough, let's discuss the facts that she's also been featured in Thrillist and PopSugar. And if you're curious to know more about this Aquarius queen, check out her episode on Cookies & Conversation right here.
Cookies Candle Company
If you like the smell of warm, homemade desserts moving throughout your home but you aren't a beast with the mixing bowl, look no further. Cookies Candle Company is a Maryland-based, Black-owned business that got its start in late 2020 and wanted to save you the trouble of pulling up to a bakery to get a hold of your favorite sweet scents. From Hot Apple Pie to Blueberry Cobbler, they just might have me beat with the dessert line up... but in candle form.
Darrel is my closest, lifelong friends that has a passion racing and photography. Even though he may not be behind the wheel, you can definitely catch him on the race tracks getting the most amazing action shots. His eye for catching the right shot at the right moment has given him a following and the ability to create his brand, Jayy Racing Coverage.
DeNisha is DC-based, fashion enthusiast and designer that I am so proud to see flourish. To know DeNisha is to know that she does not conform and her creativity has absolutely no limit. Her brand, I DON'T GET PAID ENOUGH FOR THIS, features handmade fashion staples that encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and step outside with the utmost confidence in your style and appearance.
Dominique "Domo" Smith
Domo is a cannabis specialist and the owner of Extreme Heights, a luxury Black-owned business that provides infused products & education for those that are interested in learning the science behind it all. Domo is also a PG County native that has followed in the footsteps of our fellow Bishop McNamara alum Hope Wiseman, the founder of Mary & Main. Domo specifically crafts her products for recreational and medicinal use so if you're looking for a good time or if your goal is to take care of physical ailments, she's the one you need to call. You can check out her episode on Cookies & Conversation right here.
Evelyn and I crossed paths on Twitter, and it has been a true privilege to watch her flourish in her respective fields. As a multifaceted Gemini, she takes on the titles of author, entertainer, entrepreneur, and speaker. She is the founder of the Black woman owned brands Get Leighed, a plant based and cruelty-free hair/skin care brand and Bosses Anonymous, apparel that is all about rooting for everybody Black. It's giving self-care and self-care all across the board and that's exactly what I love to see.
Falon is a super sweet PG native (now located in the Baltimore area) and the owner of Blonde Girl Events. She finds joy in bringing her clients' visions to life, giving them high quality service, and leaving them all with memories for a lifetime. Her passion for experiences shows throughout every completed event she shares with us. You can check out on Season 2, Episode 1 and Season 2, Episode 9 of Cookies & Conversation by way of the following links.
Girl Boss Meet Up
Girl Boss Meet Up is a community organization (created by Ashanti) that focuses on creating safe spaces for ambitious women to showcase their talents, seek wisdom through fellowship and mutual interest, and more.
Greg Pinkney Greg is one of my absolute best friends & a fellow Bishop McNamara alum that currently resides in Florida. He's a natural-born artist, photographer, and graphic designer that will exceed every expectation you have. Way back in high school, the two of us pursued photography together so I can confidently speak to his eye. His passion for the arts goes hand-in-hand with celebrating the natural beauty his clients step in front of his lens with. You can hear his episode on Cookies & Conversation right here. Kayla Anderson Kayla Anderson is a fellow Bishop McNamara alum and a vibrant spirit with a deep passion for yoga, something that is very near and dear to me. She utilizes the power of her platform to share the importance of mamas prioritizing themselves and their wellness through the emotional/physical healing yoga brings. Kayla Skeete Kayla is a fellow Bishop McNamara alum and a friend of mine that is a natural behind the camera. As a DMV-based photographer, she has the ability to capture anything and highlight all of the best parts about her subject. Her strong suit is portrait photography and I'm absolutely a fan of how she makes every person in front of her lens comfortable, confident, and completely at ease. Kristen "Kris" Brewer Kris is a great friend of mine; the owner of One By One Postpartum, LLC; and the co-founder of The Postpartum Collective. Kris, with a natural instinct to care for younger children & a background in childhood development, ventured into the world of being a postpartum doula in 2019. One By One Postpartum will be providing full services at the top of 2022. The Postpartum Collective is a Washington, D.C. based brand that promotes creating safe spaces for those that are navigating parenthood while holding their own truths. Madison Square Bakery Madison is the owner of Madison Square Bakery, a DMV-based brand established in 2015 that specializes in innovative, gourmet desserts. Her Chumba Wumba cookies have definitely blessed the timeline but have you seen her show stopping cakes?! Her attention to detail, refined palate, and finesse give her the ability to create some of the most beautiful cakes in the area. Mahmoud "Blue" Lamptey
Blue is a former employee of mine that quickly became a part of my family. I made a typo in a phone number, accidentally texted them, and we've been joined at the hip ever since. Blue is a multifaceted individual that thrives in the creative world. They are a DMV-based model, photographer, and the owner of New Order Visuals.
Mia Nicole is a super passionate Virgo and the boss mom behind the brand MilanLaurenCo., LLC, an luxury, organic beauty brand focused on #ProperSelfCare on internal & external levels. MilanLaurenCo., LLC was established in 2018 and officially opened the doors to its first Brick & mortar in Baltimore, MD. Mia uses her platform to share motivation for those that are expanding their own business; bringing like-minded entrepreneurs together; the importance of community; and promoting how essential self-worth/-appreciation should be in our every day lives.
Michelle is a DMV-based event planner, an astrologer, and a fellow Bishop McNamara alum. With her passion for educating the masses with the all-around fascination about the astrology world, she has created a solid following of the strength of her authenticity & personality alone. She provides natal chart readings and has a YouTube channel with informational videos that can help you maximize certain areas of your life.
Najya Williams is the embodiment of authenticity & confidence. This young queen is a published writer & artist. Her intelligence has given her the power to create a platform that encourages others to utilize the power of their voices, find confidence in their writing, and to stand firm in their truth. As we collectively step into a new season & year, Najya will be starting the new year off with a 4-week online open-genre workshop for Black women, femmes, and nonbinary people in the world of writing.
No Clearance Podcast
The No Clearance Podcast is a lighthearted podcast hosted by Tyler Lindsay (a fellow Bishop McNamara alum) and Jalen West. The two of them share their takes on hip-hop, sports, tech, geek culture, and more. The two of them have created a platform that has officially expanded to merchandise that highlights their love for hip-hop. New episodes are released every Wednesday, and you can catch my latest appearance on their show right here.
Paige Shryock Visual Art
Paige Shryock is the owner of the Annapolis-based Paige Shryock Visual Art. Taken a bet on her brand during the COVID-19 pandemic, her passion for capturing the story of real life moments skyrocketed and created a clientele that is constantly growing. She firmly believes in herself and the passion that everyone has; the connection we all have to those moments documented in real time; and the ability to hold stories that have the potential to last a lifetime.
Ryan is Queens native and an amazing friend of mine (that's literally family at this point) that I met through my sister Kelci almost 10 years ago at St. John's University. Since then he's become an incredibly driven real estate investor with Aspire Housing Group. Step-by-step, he takes all of us through his real estate journey and confidently breaks down the hard work it takes to bring property to its greatest potential.
Shanns Essentials Shanns Essentials is a DMV-based, Black woman owned & operated beauty brand by Shannon Burley. Her handmade, homemade products promote holistic wellness through natural ingredients and simplified execution. So Problematic Podcast
So Problematic Podcast is a platform founded by Jay & CiCi that features open, honest conversations about adulthood, culture, relationships, and more. Brand new episodes drop every other Wednesday.
Somethin' Extra Sweet
Leah is the creator and baker behind Somethin' Extra Sweet, an Annapolis-based & Black-woman owned baking company that specializes in highly detailed desserts. Leah specializes in innovative cakes and cupcakes that are truly breathtaking, and I know from experience. I had the privilege of being able to have two birthday cakes made for two of the Tauruses in my life so it's safe to say that Leah understood the assignment. Although she's booked for the remainder of the year, I highly suggest securing a cake (or two) for next year before 2022 begins... Because that detail? The finesse? The flavors?! She creates some of the best cakes in the area. Tatted By Amina Amina Phal is a fierce Virgo and a rising tattoo artist at Amour Tattoo Inc based in Falls Church, Virginia. Her attention to detail gives her the space & opportunity to thrive in this industry. Her services are appointment only and prices are discussed in person during your consultation. Teal Sunflower Photography Eva Gonzales-Dorsey is a fellow Bishop McNamara alum and the owner of the rising brand Teal Sunflower Photography. Eva and I pursued photography in high school at the same time so I'm incredibly happy to see her pursue her strongest mediums: family, lifestyle and nature. The Sprinkle Parlor Do'Monique is the owner & self-taught baker behind New York based brands The Sprinkle Parlor and The Dessert Parlor. Do'Monique began her baking journey eight years ago and allowed this passion to bloom. During this time of growth, she began to create her own sprinkle blends. As soon as 2020 came, she took a bet on herself (in true Virgo fashion) and turned her passion into the business you see today. Trained By Him Robert Alston, NFPT is a certified fitness trainer and the owner of Trained By Him. His passion for enhancing our physical wellness and the importance of connecting it to our mindset shows with every client that he works. VenaCava Baking & Co. Venacava Baking & Co. is a Black-woman operated business owned by Mikayla B. Jones and located in Nashville, Tennessee. Venacava Baking & Co. was founded in 2014 and has expanded to a brand that features 20+ exclusive flavors, including her OG Vanilla Chocolate Chip cookie. What The Gut Erika is a holistic health/gut wellness coach and influencer. Through (mostly) plant-based & gluten-free cuisine, she takes us through the journey of making a healthy lifestyle look easy and fun (because it is and can be).