cooking, Fashion, food

The Food

I forgot to blog yesterday and I was going to leave it until next week, but then I would be letting myself down by being inconsistent. So here’s an easy post. A bunch of food. I’ve been cooking up a storm, trying new things, trying to be healthy. I’m also keeping to a once a week shopping schedule that helps me budget my food dollar more effectively. I’m not COVID rich anymore so I have to be careful.

I’ve been trying to lose weight (and succeeding! I’m ten pounds lighter now and still working on it) so salads are big go to. They’re also a good midnight snack if have some pre-chopped veggies and salad in the fridge. If I fall off and eat something crazy, I run back to salad.

I basically go to the grocery store looking for adventure. Today I’m marinating lamb chops, last week I was cooking artichokes. I saw lemongrass at the store so I made a Thai influenced chicken stew. I finally perfected my chicken liver technique. I make amazing fried rice, and I found out that gnocchi tossed with asparagus and Parmesan is delicious. Burnt the corn? Toss it with more corn and serve it anyway. You’d be surprised.

Last week I made two loaves of bread from an old cookbook. Then I made farmers cheese because I was scared of the milk going sour. I’m wild now. I might do anything. Pickles and sausage are no longer off limits.

I went out to eat once I started back working. Not all the time, I just need a treat now and then. I dropped by Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken for a hot honey tender sandwich and Milk for cereal milk soft serve. I had to have a grilled chicken bowl from Dig Inn, stir fry from Sakura and I couldn’t miss out on the spicy chicken nugs from McD’s. I didn’t know they were a limited item and got stuck with regular nugs when I went to re-up. I got them anyway, tossed them in chili garlic sauce and seasoning and had them for dinner. I can’t be stopped.

Until next time,

Faith/SEBMarketBK

Fashion

The Line

I was despondently scrolling though instagram on Tuesday morning with no energy and I saw an ad for a sample sale. It was about 8:30 or something and aside from working on my side hustle, I had nothing to do. I had credit cards and cash in the bank and nothing to do and there was a sample sale… it took a minute but the light finally went on and I was out.

Well, two hours later after a shower, some basic eye makeup, a natural hair untwist and fluff, an underwear search, a bra search, a leggings or nothing debate, an outfit switch, a sock search, a shoe debate it was time to leave. Typing this I feel like I should have worn my denim jacket, but this is all in the past. But it would have been more downtown, Soho, punk chic cool. Next time.

12:00 pm

the line at 12… two and a half blocks from the sale

I got to the city from Brooklyn at about 10:45 and managed to walk in the complete wrong direction. I always get turned around in this neighborhood. After stopping to google map myself, then realizing that I came out of the train station pointed in the right direction, I stomped off to Wooster Street. Got to Wooster Street and started walking down the line of fashion mobbers waiting for bargains. Kept walking past West Broadway. Two and a half blocks later I fetched up on the end of the line and stopped. I didn’t even think about going home. This was the most exciting thing I’d done since quarantine.

1:15 pm

Progress. I have reached the corner!

As with anything fashion related, The thing you think is cool will make you look kind of stupid to passers by. People kept asking what the line was for. Someone made the mistake of asking me. I said the line was for food stamps.

2:30 pm

Halfway up the block, hallway to Starbucks

So time passes and I’m still outside on the line. But! I have a ticket, which roots me in place like a paper anchor. I have a claim now, a real stake in line real estate. I cannot be dislodged. With my newfound air of privilege I ask the woman behind me to hold my spot while I grab a tasty beverage. I didn’t even wait to get a drink made, just grabbed chips and a bottled tea and went back to my spot.

3:30 pm

when you can see the front of the line…

So it’s been three and a half hours, but now I’m look ahead and I can see Wooster Street, a big improvement. They were only letting in groups of twenty five, and the line handler said that we would be in the next group. People were dropping out, and it made me naively believe that it was only another half an hour.

4:00 pm

halfway to Wooster looking at the only other black person on the line

I felt a tiny frisson of excitement at this point because I could count how many people were ahead of me and I was definitely in the next group of twenty five. I didn’t fantasize about what I would buy, I was just excited about being outside for so long.

4:30 pm

A wristband!!!

So now I’m so close that I got a wristband. This is where things got dicey because while I was quietly happy and ready to move on signal, the people ahead of me were mad and wanted to fight. The entitlement kicked in and there were questions about how long people really got to shop. Why were we still out here? What? Why? How come? And then It was 5:15 or so and they waved me forward and I forgot about taking pics because I had half an hour to hunt for treasure.

Mission accomplished:

So after five and a half hours my line cohort moved forward into the promised land. A bare bones store front with racks of extra small clothing, tables of luxe handbags and shoes and bins of purses and smaller accessories. Plus a jewelry counter. I had already made a mental budget, and once I saw that the clothes were a no go ( I can’t do anything with extra small, plus the clothing was already picked over), I went straight to handbags, then hopped to shoes, then dug around for purses and phone cases and hit up the jewelry counter. Rung up and checked out and back on the streets in twenty minutes.

There were some nasty cats hanging around the door, mad because they couldn’t get in and making comments and trying to peep in people’s bags as they passed by, so I beat my feet to the train station in case they were the type to snatch and grab. I’m not usually carrying large shopping bags of designer merchandise so I was nervous all the way home. I was not trying to lose my $550 investment. I got a decent amount of stuff and I kept a phone case and super cute purse for myself, and the rest goes into my side hustle inventory. Now I feel brave enough to hit the thrift stores again.

Until next time,

Faith/SEBMARKETBK

Fashion

The Business

So. I’m back.

My soap empire

During quarantine, when everyone was getting murdered, I was in my apartment trying to think of a way to earn money since my job is retail based and it looked like stores would never open again. I don’t sew, so masks weren’t an option. I already have a reselling side hustle selling new, used, vintage and upcycled fashion items (links on this page so you can buy stuff), but I wanted something more basic. Something that would be deemed essential. After brainstorming and searching social media, I decided on soap. I felt like that gave me a lot of room to be creative and its something that makes people’s lives better. Washing your hands is imperative, but a nice fragrant and moisturizing soap makes it a self care event, too.

Making lemon eucalyptus hemp oil soap

I have wanted to make soap for years, and I took a soap making class to learn how to do cold process soap a few years ago. Cold process takes weeks to cure (I never even got my soap back from that class, tbh) and I wanted to get in there and start producing right away. Thanks to the massive unemployment check I was getting every week, I could invest in different melt and pour soap bases, fragrance oils, molds, dried flowers, coffee, sea salt from Malta, essential oil, packaging, etc. I bought a big sketch pad to keep track of my recipes and methods. I fucking love making soap. My bathroom is full of soap.

And … it’s been selling! Since July, in addition to tucking soap samples into every package, people were actually purchasing my soap samples and bars. That has been such a major blessing. I haven’t made back all the money I spent, but it was a healthy number for $4 samples and $8 or $10 bars. My job came back a little and I still have to rely on unemployment, but making money from this gave me some hopeful feelings.

Washing up with that lemon eucalyptus hemp oil soap sample

So that’s what I’ve been doing instead of blogging the last few weeks. Just trying to get a handle on life in late 2020 and trying to be loose in anticipation of 2021. I’ve been tie dying, reworking items with sashiko mending, and working on relying more on my creative skills as a way of life. You can’t rely on anyone else to give you a vision for yourself or to care about giving you anything. It’s imperative to try and carve out some space in the world were you can do something that fulfills you, regardless of race or gender or religion or political affiliation because at the end of the day, it’s your life. Like voting. People say Trump, people say Biden- but after all the twitter fights and ig comments, it comes down to who or what satisfies your ideology and beliefs. Make soap, draw pictures, sing songs, and don’t get caught up in other people’s agendas.

Feel free to buy some soap. Buy a bunch, I need the money. Plus, you’ll probably get free candy or something.

Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/sebmarketbk

Depop: https://www.depop.com/sebmarket

Poshmark: https://poshmark.com/closet/sebmarketbk

Aliwazas: https://marketplace.aliwazas.com/vendor/seb-market-bk/

Until next time,

Faith/SEBMARKETBK

Fashion, food, lifestyle

The Budget

New York is slowly opening up and I’ve been working kind of regularly for the past month. Not full time hours, far from that, but keeping my toe in the water while I try and build up my online businesses. Sales picked up while people were locked in the house with an extra $600 a week from unemployment (I mean, who wasn’t shopping?) but that extra benefit is gone and we’re all back on a budget again. Possibly with nicer clothing and a red wine habit to kick, but back on a budget So let’s talk about that right now.

  1. Buy staples and stock up for winter: I’m sure you have toilet paper, but now that people have relaxed a bit, stock up on flour, yeast, dried or canned milk, beans, dried salted fish (it can be delicious), canned goods (I love canned potatoes) dried fruit, etc. If you know how and have room , make some preserves and pickles, and cook ahead and freeze it. You may not need it… but then again, you just might.
  2. Save: hopefully you put away some money ever week while it was pouring in. I get that you may have kids and bills, but a piece should have been put away every week. If you didn’t save then, well try to scrape your pennies together now because winter is coming and all your grasshopper friends will have is an empty fridge and a lot of liquor bottles to share (if they even have a place to stay anymore).
  3. Cook at home: you’re not rich anymore and there are too many cooking websites for you to keep pretending that you’re too good to even try to learn how to feed yourself. There are even meal kits (but really, you should just make a list of foods you like and then google recipes on how to prepare them).
  4. Wear the clothes you have: yesterday I was out in Manhattan for work and suddenly realized how nice everyone looked. Months of online shopping got people looking right for the summer. If you don’t have a ton of money coming in then you need to stop shopping. Cut it out. Learn to sew up holes (sashiko mending looks cool and makes garments last longer), turn stuff inside out or upside down. Go thrifting, a lot of places are open and practically giving their inventory away.
  5. Double up: if you and your friends are realizing that you can’t keep paying individual rents and mortgages then pick a place and move in together. Create a food budget and chore schedule, decide on which bills to split. Go home to your parents and help out. Don’t be ashamed, just get on with it.
  6. Start a business: tbh, you should have been started a side hustle but if you just hung out and ate lobster (I did, too, so no judgement and I also developed a crab leg addiction to kick) then try to make something out of the discarded shells. Maybe you can recycle the wine and liquor bottles you have around the house. Sell some of the clothes you can’t fit anymore. Give lessons! I paid $150 for some guy to come help me learn to ride a bike and I’m waiting for swimming classes to open up. I took a zoom dance class (never again, I felt like she was looking around my apartment and it freaked me out). If you have knowledge, charge other people to learn it from you. I invested money in crafting supplies and spend hours making soap, paper and cement soap dishes. This is in addition to selling new, used, vintage and upcycled items on various retail platforms. Make a list of things that you think you’d be happy doing, google about how to do those things and then do them. Try. Then try again. Then try some more.

It’s been a crazy year, and since we’re about to have another election, the crazy is only going to get ratcheted up (at least on twitter where it’s a trash fire free for all) just remember that no matter who wins you still have bills to pay, kids to raise, food to forage for. Regardless of what your political preference (I am and have always been a republican) you are going to be on the hook for credit card debt and utilitities no matter how much you protested and marched and instagrammed for justice. Wake up right now. Winter is coming and you need to get it together. Stop bullshitting yourself.

Until next time,

Faith/SEBMARKETBK

art, diy, entrepeneur, entrepeneurship, Fashion, recycling

The Paper

Way back in the mists of time I studied photography and at the time I already felt like I wasn’t going to make a lot of money taking pictures, so I took graphic design, public speaking and book and paper making to give myself a fall back plan just in case. As we all know, just in case is happening right now.

Book and Papermaking actually made me really happy, and I loved making books. For a little while I was actually selling my handmade blank books at Quimby’s in Chicago (apparently they moved to Brooklyn, too), which let me know that if I were willing to put in the work, making books and paper could be a real hustle. Unfortunately I let it fall by the wayside as I chased a photography career and it’s been years since I even thought of making paper or books.

Enter the pandemic!

My papermaking warehouse on the windowsill

When it became obvious that this quarantine was going to be a long haul thing, I racked my brains for ways to stay busy and creative and make money. My job is retail adjacent so I wasn’t optimistic about going back full time. With unemployment kicking in an extra $600 I bought supplies for all of my creative endeavors so when the money ran out I would have everything I needed to sustain my efforts. One thing I bought was a papermaking kit. One sunny day I ripped up about two cups of printer paper and some Starbucks napkins and got started making my first sheets of paper in a decade. And it calmed me down.

Once you get started, it’s like riding a bike; you just get in and start creating. And since I can never just leave stuff alone, I started experimenting. Using water color paint to color pulp or paint on finished sheets, layering in found objects, and finding new ways to recycle paper scraps. I spent some time tie dying and saved the paper towels that I had laid down to soak up excess dye during the process. When I ended up with excess pulp, I put it in baggies an popped it in the freezer. It’s a zero waste kind of hobby.

I used one of my little cards as packaging for my first custom soap order. I think I’m going to make cards with envelopes to start with, because I’m really liking the process. Of corse I posted everything on instagram, as one does these days, and I was approached to create a papermaking tutorial video for Creative Sunday, which is going to be a new app and marketplace for creative makers. Much respect to bloggers, because I found making a video to be a monumental pain. I shot in little steps and over the course of a week figured out iMovie and realized that you need a compression app to make the movie small enough to email.

But check out my reward… and since I was curious, I did a little interview with Creative Sunday founder, Lauren Michaels.

Click to check out my igTV video on Creative Sunday’s instagram page!

Creative Sunday interview:

SEBMARKETBK: What is Creative Sunday?

Lauren Michaels: We are a new app to get crafty! Creative Sunday was made to help anyone create and shop their craft, whatever that may be. With thousands of supplies, that next project (big or small) is just a checkout away. You’ll be able to peek at projects from other makers and share what you’re doing too. 🙂

SEBMARKETBK: What inspired you to do this?

Lauren Michaels: I always loved making (drawing actually, but I’m not very good!). It is pure joy and gives me comfort. But, starting a new project is sometimes really overwhelming for me. Plus, I found myself shopping materials from multiple places and always wanting to see how others do their craft along the way, so that’s when I realized there might be a way to bring this all together. And, here we are! With a great team, we are creating a new app to bring ease and fun to your next project.

SEBMARKETBK: When do you launch?

Lauren Michaels: We are hustling and building away! The team is making strides each day and hope to have this coming your way soon. 

SEBMARKETBK: How can makers participate?


Lauren Michaels: I absolutely love meeting new makers (like you, Faith!). It’s the highlight of my day. 🙂 Our Instagram celebrates the process of creating—messy, colorful and all. We love highlighting amazing creations from all types of makers, so just use the hashtag #creativesunday, to show us your project for a potential feature. And, please feel free to DM us anytime—we would love to hear from you and do something fun together!

You can follow Creative Sunday on ig until they get their app built and watch my papermaking tutorial here. Keep checking my etsy for paper products to drop in the next few months. handmade holiday cards! (Or thank you cards, I’m leaving them blank). here’s a list of Papermaking Resources on Amazon if you’re interested in trying to make paper yourself.

Until next time,

Faith/SEBMARKETBK

accessaries, black fashion designer, Fashion, ootd, personal style, recycled fashion, streetstyle, Style, stylist, upcycled

The Fresh Stylist

I started following Jerelyn Tavarez of DresslikeJ on instagram after participating in a #consistencychallenge led by lifestyle inluencer The Mattie James during quarantine. I got to witness her work at stayI got creative when we were all stuck inside and slowly I started looking forward to her fashion styling magic. It’s not just about looking at some random person wearing clothes? It’s that she messes with her stuff so that it completely expresses her personality. At this point, I cringe at them word fashion (honestly) so it takes a lot for me to like personal style bloggers. But how can you dislike someone who will turn her clothing inside out, upside down and backward?

You can’t. It’s impossible. She makes dressing up look like fun, plus she will have you running to your closet to play with your own stuff which can either lead to a lot of compliments or just a fun evening drinking wine and dressing up. What I like about DresslikeJ is that she leaves her followers room to be delighted, both with her ingenuity and their own possibilities. Who doesn’t need that? So I sent Jerelyn a few items from my online shops to work her magic on.

The dress:

Jerelyn chose a Farm patterned kimono top dress that slimmed down to a pencil skirt, bold statement earrings and an upcycled denim jacket that I designed. I can’t lie, I was really excited to see how she would work with these pieces. She did not let me down.

Jerelyn Tavarez of DesslikeJ

Perfection! Jerelyn gives off a casual but glam summer vibe, and I love how she puts a red and blue dress with a bright yellow shoe and gold bag. It’s a subtle nod to the gold flecks in the earrings, and brings a shot of surprise to the outfit that makes it a head turner.

True to her style, she turned the dress around and it’s stunningly sexy. The tie across the front is reminiscent of a harness bra or a lariat necklace. It’s sensational. Jerelyn told me “I loved the dress as is! Wanted to add a pop of yellow to feel a little vibrant. Then I thought of wearing it backwards. Instead of hiding the strings figured I would create a cute little detail in the front. Voila, a different outfit!” 

The jacket:

Jerelyn Tavares of DresslikeJ wears SEBMarketBK upcycled denim jacket

Here’s how Jerelyn styled my upcycled piece: “The jacket was the main focus so I didn’t want to take away from it. Decided to do something different and align the jacket a bit uneven. Paired it with a pair of blue track pants and wore my strappy sandals. Decided to wrap the straps around the pants for a more stylish look!”

Of course I had to get Jerelyn to give a little interview for the blog.

The DresslikeJ interview:

SEBMarketBK: What got you into fashion blogging? 

DresslikeJ: I would always get compliments on my style. People would ask me, “where did you get that?” I would tell them it’s just a top I wore backwards or a dress I wore as a skirt and they would be shocked. Social media started becoming such a huge source for information so my friends started pushing me to start expressing my love for clothes and style on IG. In November, I started with Fashion Tip Fridays then during quarantine, I was able to dedicate more time and work on new ideas. I also have to thank Sidewalker Daily. I was taking a group coaching class and they played such a huge role in me creating the newsletter. 


SEBMarketBK: You have such a fun, sexy style! Where does your inspiration come from? 

DresslikeJ: Thank you! My inspiration comes from everywhere. I get ideas from anything and I also like to switch up the way we might normally wear a specific item. I love both Solange & Tracy Ellis Ross’s style. & I love combining different patterns and prints. Accessorizing is key to me. 


SEBMarketBK: If you had to pack a bag for a mystery trip leaving in an hour, what would you grab? 

DresslikeJ: Giiirrrlll!!! I’m going to assume this is a summer trip and it’s for the weekend haha! So I would grab two swimsuits, sunglasses, 2-3 head wraps, a maxi dress, a bikini top to pair with some dressy pants, Nike sandals, two pairs of biker shorts, two tees, one sexy fitted dress, a pair of dramatic earrings. Oh and a pair of cute flats that go with everything plus a pair of sexy heels! Oh and can’t forget my liquid highlighter!!! Need to have that glow where ever I am!  

SEBMarketBK: Have you picked up any new styling skills from quarantine? 
I’ve been able to be more creative with my own fits and recycle pieces I never thought I’d wear again. I’ve also been trying to learn how to use safety pins correctly! Sounds crazy but I would always have my friends do it for me. 

SEBMarketBK: Where do you see DresslikeJ in five years? What do you want for yourself and your brand? 

DresslikeJ: Wow! I am hoping to have my own fashion consulting business and an online boutique where people can buy my pieces! 

Check out DresslikeJ on instagram and don’t forget to sign up for her Fashion Tip Fridays newsletter. You can also shop her closet here.

Until next time!

Faith/SEBMarketBK

art, black fashion designer, Fashion, fashion designer, fashion photo, influencer, photo, Photography, recycled fashion, upcycled, vintage

The Beautiful Flowers

I don’t usually feature other photographers, but I have a soft spot for perfection and I had to do a post about an amazing woman who makes art out of old clothes, bedsheets and her gorgeous daughters Jayla, Jada and Ella. I’m usually super jealous… but her work is so good that I had to get over myself.

photo courtesy of Alissa Bertrand of @jabellafleurs

I started following Alissa Bertrand’s page during quarantine and it kept me engaged with the old. I started waiting for Alissa’s posts. They’re like a portal to a fairy tale world where all the princesses are black with beautiful natural hair. Her work reminds me of old Ralph Lauren ads, or Sally Mann’s revealing body of work that starred her pre-pubescent children. Every image is stunning. The lighting is soft, the girls are self aware and graceful, and the clothing is everything a girl or woman wants in her wardrobe.

Phot courtesy of Alissa Bertrand of @labellafleur

I studied photography at Parsons and Columbia College Chicago, and I don’t think that I’ve ever seen such a cohesive body of work or such consistent excellence. Enter the fact that she is doing all of the styling with clothing that she designed, and all of the hairstyling and grooming for the girls and you have a one woman fashion army. If she decided to sell prints, I’d buy them. And I wouldn’t mind a grownup version of this stunning white cotton dress with eyelet lace, either.

photo courtesy of Alissa Bertrand of @jabellafleur

I got Alissa to answer a few questions about her images and her plans for the future.

Alissa Bertrand with her daughters Jada, Ella and Jayla

The Jabella Fleur interview:

SEBMARKETBK: What inspired the photographs that you take of your daughters? Was there an artist or designer or magazine that informed your distinctive photography style? 

Alissa Bertrand: What inspires the photographs I take of my girls is just simply trying to capture them and the clothing I make for them! It’s also a way for them to have some really amazing pictures of themselves as children, to look back upon and remeber all the times we spent together along with all the fun adventurous stories too. I don’t look to others to inspire what I do. I’m a vintage fanatic and I love vintage aesthetics, so a big part of my look is evoking that style. 

SEBMARKETBK: Did you study photography or take any lessons? 

Alissa Bertrand: I’ve never studied photography! I wish I had some more knowledge in photography. I simply know the basics of what I like and what I want to capture along with the feeling.

phot courtesy of Alissa Bertrand of @jabellafleur

SEBMARKETBK: When did you start designing clothing? Do you remember your first garment? 

Alissa Bertrand: I started sewing from the 8th grade, and designing and repurposing about 10 years ago! The first garment was a maxi dress for the girls. 

I don’t look to others to inspire what I do. I’m a vintage fanatic and I love vintage aesthetics, so a big part of my look is evoking that style. 

Alissa Bertrand, creative designer and stylist

SEBMARKETBK: Do your daughters take pictures or create clothing like you? 

Alissa Bertrand: My daughters don’t take pictures. They’re just my mini-muses. They do enjoy sewing and creating little things. 

SEBMARKETBK: Where do you see your artwork taking you? Are you interested in being in galleries or museums? 

Alissa Bertrand: I see my fashion and photography taking me to the next level in fashion. I’m currently working on a fashion collection for girls, hopefully coming out SS21! I hope my work will end up in magazines and introduce myself and designs to the world! 

So as a way to thank Alissa for helping me hold onto sanity during the horrible weeks of quarantine and then the first weeks of the protests against the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others, I’m doing this blog post. She reminded me that art has the power to heal, and that consistency is key in creating a successful art process. Her work reminds me to look towards my family for inspiration and savor the small pleasures and victories available to me.

Please follow Alissa and her girls on @jabellafleur (and tell others!) so that she’ll be a mega-success and I’ll get the coffee table book I keep begging her for. Any requests for collabs or publication should be directed to her on instagram.

Until next time,

Faith/SEBMarketBK

Fashion

The Fro Expert

I have a hair issue. Not about my 4C texture, and I only just learned about porosity, so that’s not it. I’m ok with the length, it’s kind of thin if you straighten it and apparently my edges are not even close to the standard of fleetness necessary these days. But…these are not my hair issues. Not even close.

Curious?

My hair issue is lack of knowledge and inconsistency. Period. I’m not sure why but one day I was minding my business and realized that Black women’s hair had had a revolutionary upgrade. natural is not just in, it’s supported, studied intently and discussed with passion and fervor. Suddenly everyone seemed to have a huge mane of unprocessed hair growing out of their heads and I was caught out there, completely unaware of how it had happened. I think I tested some products from Cantu and Ojon back in the day, but only because pr people gave them to me. On my own, I had no clue what was good, so I had to start researching.

I used to buy from another brand, and while I loved the products, I wasn’t crazy about the shipping times or customer service but I wasn’t going back to the drugstore aisle brands. I found Fro.ology on etsy when I was looking to add to my list of natural haircare brands and ordered immediately. I liked the minimalist design of the labels (very important for me, because I think clean design is a sign of clear thinking and efficiency). I started with the Onion & Garlic Oil, Aloe Vera and Agave Deep Conditioner and conditioning Tea Rinse and I was not disappointed. My scalp and hair are completely satisfied.

So of course I ordered more. And I follow the brand on instagram like a stalker so I can stay up to date on new products like the Avocado Pre-Shampoo Mask and Growth Oil. This week we have a short interview with the amazing founder of Fro.ology, Gianni Alexander, who shared her reasons for starting the business and some insights on Black haircare.

The interview:

SEBMARKETBK: Where did you get the idea to start your hair care brand? 

Fro.ology:  I got the idea in fall of 2018 after I got my mini chop. Everyone at my job was so amazed at my Afro and kept coming to me with their hair questions. While most of the feedback was positive, some was not. I didn’t let the negative offend me or trick me into thinking that I needed my hair straight again but it did trigger a light bulb in my head: 


Why is my hair and how I wear it such a big deal? 


My friends told me that if I made hair products they would buy from me for sure. I made my goal to have my business started in April of 2019, the same month I quit both of my jobs and moved back home to Atlanta. I used it as a hobby and a way to keep me busy and out of depression while I looked for a job.


SEBMARKETBK: I love using your products, and my hair is definitely improving. How did you develop your recipes? 

Fro.ology: I began researching how to make my own formulas after I realized most of the chemist I found used toxic ingredients. I started with basic formulas that didn’t require a preservative: butters, oils, dry clays…and then found whatever I could on different beauty formulating blogs and YouTube. They taught me how preservatives and formulas work. I worked with one product at a time until I had the formula perfect, logged the formula down and moved on to the next product.

SEBMARKETBK: What is the one best thing a woman with 4C hair can do to encourage growth? 

Fro.ology:  The best things a woman with 4C hair can do to encourage growth are: sealing in moisture through proper protective styling and not getting upset at shrinkage. Shrinkage means your hair is healthy!


SEBMARKETBK: What do you think the beauty industry can do better for black women? 

Fro.ology: The beauty industry can start by hiring more black models and stop brainwashing us into thinking that we need to have straight hair to be hired or simply just to be beautiful. 


SEBMARKETBK: Where do you visualize Fro.ology going in the future? What is your ultimate goal for the brand?

Fro.ology: There are a lot of things in the works with Fro.ology! I am hoping to be in a major retailer by year 3. Right now I am just taking it one day at a time.

Keep up with ro.ology s it develops on instagram and order Gianna’s amazing products (recently featured in Teen Vogue) at fro-ology.com.

Until next time,

Faith/SEBMARKETBK

american made, beauty, beauty products, black fashion designer, Fashion, fashion designer, influencer, makeup, recycled fashion, summer beauty, upcycled, woman boss

The Beauty Boss

I was thinking about what to blog about this week as I was scrubbing up in the shower and then I realized that I wanted to write about some of the black owned brands that I’ve been buying from. As a former beauty and fashion influencer, I now hate everything. Partly because I was just used as a lure for big businesses that find it cheaper to throw a party and give away merchandise that they can write off and still profit. Partly because after testing so many products that were not meant for my skin or hair I realized that I was a pure idiot to keep promoting a system that doesn’t really see me as valuable. So, now I try to buy from small, independent and Black companies. If I’m going to influence people, then I want to influence them to help build new companies and business moguls.

I came across Goldenbrownskin LLC after they posted on Fashion Bomb Daily’s instagram page. I started with the Rose lip gloss ($4) and ended up going back for the Coconut and Rose brown sugar scrub ($27.95) that looks super expensive and pretty in the bathtub edge. My items were created, packaged and shipped quickly, and the owner was really nice about answering messages and whatnot. You really feel that there’s a human being behind the screen making beauty magic for you.

8 custom tubes of lipgloss, with custom labels from Goldenbrownskin LLC

One night I was looking for something to buy and I noticed that they were offering Wholesale lipgloss. You get 40 to 100 tubes custom made for you. I chose five flavors and GBS worked with me to create the colors that I wanted. They basically went flavor by flavor with me specifying my color choices and then sending me photos of the progress. I sell them and give away tubes with items that I sell in my online shops and people adore them.

Of course I had to be nosy. I love finding out about people’s processes and ideas. So here, in her own words, is Goldenbrownskin LLC:

SEB Market BK: What made you start a business for yourself? 

Goldenbrownskin LLC: I started a business for myself because I noticed I work better alone. I’ve always been a leader, a creative & I enjoy helping others. 

SEB Market BK: What inspired your Upcycled designs? Did you go to fashion school? 

Goldenbrownskin LLC: I have a lot of old clothes & I don’t like being around crowds of people so I normally just rework the items I have. I love to see ideas come to life. I’ve never been to any fashion school, I just watch a lot of YouTube, lol.

SEB Market BK: Your lipgloss is amazing! How did you get into creating your collection and what got you into selling wholesale? 

Goldenbrownskin LLC: Thank you so much! I started making lip gloss because I wanted to experiment with a variety of products, that women would shop for all the time. I enjoy doing wholesale more than making individual lipgloss because I like helping others start their own business.

SEB Market BK: You’re taking orders for custom t-shirts now. Are you going to be designing a collection exclusively for Goldenbrownskin? 

Goldenbrownskin LLC: I have started taking t-shirt orders, but I am still practicing. I’m not sure if that’s something I’d get into, I really enjoy making custom tees for other people. But of course a branded t-shirt with “Goldenbrownskin” has to happen! 

SEB Market BK: Tell me about your latest product, Dragon Butter. It looks like the secret to perfect summer skin! 

Goldenbrownskin LLC: Yes, so my body butters are my new favorites. Everything is natural & homemade. My fav body butter is the dragon butter, I love the strawberry scent. The body butters a natural raw African Shea butter. The Shea butter is great in healing and evening out your skin tone. Works great for individuals with any skin disorders via eczema, psoriasis, rashes etc 

SEB Market BK: You’ve been really outspoken about the protests. How has the current climate affected you and what are you doing to make a difference?

Goldenbrownskin LLC: I haven’t personally been too affected by what’s been going on. I have a blended family so it’s a hard subject to speak on, but I have been donating 30% of each order to fund the BLM movement. It’s a very sad situation, something I truly don’t understand.

So, basically a savvy business owner with empathy, kindness, and social conscience as part of her business plan. In other words, a Queen building an empire of love. Yes, I do see what just wrote. I said what I said. Click to check out Goldenbrownskin, and follow her awesome instagram, too.

Until next time,

Faith/SEBMarketBK

black fashion designer, Fashion, fashion designer, lifestyle, recycled fashion

The Chair

I promised las week that this would be about nothing, and here it is…nothing.

This week I had a job at Macy’s Herald Square and I was scared that it would be all ruined and busted up because of looting. It was actually normal inside, down to the snotty security guard who always tries to imply that I’m a criminal (no, he’s not that color, he’s African). I basically had to go in with a team of two and supervise sending a company’s merchandise back because it’s all stuff that was on sale while we were in the house on quarantine. So that’s reality; stores getting ready for all of us to go shopping this summer.

I tried making bath bombs, using a kit that I bought from Organically Bath Beauty. I’ve been thinking about making them for a long time, and this list solved all of my issues by having pre-mixed dry ingredients and a decent sized mold. I also got the refill kit, so I’ve have a lot of material to experiment with.

I sold this jacket. I was really proud of it the day I finally finished it, and I was so sure that it would get snapped right up. I even paid for photos because I wanted to make it as appealing as possible. A year later someone plopped down $225 and it was gone. Amazing, right?

This is a chair. I broke off the leg of this chair in February, I think. For some reason I was convinced that I couldn’t fix this chair. I was using a spray can to prop it up instead of fixing the problem. This week I managed to fall off of the chair four times because the cap on the spray can was not meant to bear the weight of a quarantining woman who knows how to cook. So I finally resolved to fix the chair. It took about 15 minutes.

This chair symbolizes my procrastination issue.

I will do anything but the thing I’m supposed to do. Which is why I went into quarantine with an expiring state ID and an expired passport. I had also put off studying to take the driving test and I had put off bike riding lessons (I’m terrified about riding in the street, I just need lessons for reassurance). I had put off fixing up my apartment, buying a new mattress and calling my mom. It was really sad. It’s a terrible thing to know that a pandemic was the best thing to happen to you. I needed this time to get a life.

I’m still putting off exercise, though. As you can see…

I’m not big on combing my hair anymore, either. I take care of it with Fro.ology products, I twist it and then let it out to be free. It’s summer now. My head gets hot really quick, so wigs are out right now. The world is going to get this 4C perfection.

Anyway, that’s it. Until next time,

Faith/SEBMarketBK