I’m starting to believe Mother Nature is cool with us again. The sun has been shining consistently, and our days are less rainy and gloomy — that means that spring has finally arrived and I am so happy! This is the perfect weather to walk down the streets of New York City. Grab a quick bite to eat or peek in a boutique for a little something-something. Don’t you just love those types of days? I live in Westchester which is right outside of New York City, so I don’t mind hopping into my car to enjoy the beautiful sceneries, and the natural distinctive vibe the city has to offer. A couple of weeks ago I stopped by an event hosted by my colleague Autumn, May Blooms: Pop Up Shop located in Harlem. I really enjoyed myself. Honestly, I almost spent all of my money on the various vendors. All of the vendors were Black women, which is so inspiring. Autumn is an entrepreneur as well, her products for Royalty Treats and ActiveWithAutty were displayed. It is motivating to see women in their 20s take advantage of their free time, talent, passion, and hobbies for a profit. Each product was impressively creative ranging from clothes, accessories, jewelry, and food. Who doesn’t love an event with food — soul food and desserts to be exact. It was all so intriguing that it was only right I interviewed the ladies as I shopped so I can share the tea.
I truly commend Autumn for hosting this inspiring, wonderful event running multiple businesses and working full-time can be beyond stressful. It empowered women, brought awareness to social issues, and showcased the talent within the community that we sometimes tend to overlook. “Honestly I established ‘May Blooms’ to showcase the awesome Black women-owned businesses that I have interacted with the majority of the year. I envision the ladies and myself as blossoming flowers, eager to show off our beautiful petals to NYC and all the great places our businesses take us. As the saying goes, “April showers, bring May Flowers”. I undoubtedly will be hosting ‘May Blooms’ annually”. — Autumn
All of the vendors were individually creative, some of them hand-crafted majority of their merchandise. I was truly influenced by the abundance of creativity showcased throughout the event. I respect their hustle way more now that I spoke with them and learned of their journeys. Autumn also had some great advice for all the new and upcoming entrepreneurs, “do not DOUBT your business. We can be our hardest critics, and sometimes we overthink such a beautiful idea to the point of devastation. Believe in yourself, your products, your brand, and everything will fall into place.”
If you’ll like to learn more about the businesses at the event, check the list below:
• Body Shop Crochet: A clothing company pertaining handmade crocheted clothing, and even accessories such as purses, bucket hats and etc. Cynthia, the owner began crocheting in elementary school, which lead her to continue to enhance her skills over the years. She use to create custom pieces for her friends and family members for a few years before establishing her business in 2016.
•Enhance by Nature: Jameelah has been creating skin and hair care products, using natural herbs and ingredients for the past decade before considering turning it profitable. She is a two-time breast cancer survivor, throughout her journey she realized most hair and skin products that she was using are harmful to the body. Through her products, she’s able to educate her customers, peers, and community about the harsh chemicals and the damages they can have over time.
• Harlem Plates: Chef Nia has been supplying food for the community for a while after graduating from Culinary High School. She always enjoyed cooking for others, more than herself. The women of her family also sold food over the years, and now that the torch has been passed down, her love for cooking continues to grow. She is passionate about giving back and spreading love to the community. Nia expressed it is a beautiful reward as she watches the faces of customers light up once they taste a forkful of her delicious meals.
• Untrapped Minds: is a clothing company designed and owned by Brianna Burton. Throughout the 2020 pandemic, she realized how many people battled with mental health issues. It is something people should not ignore, mental health takes a huge toll on your body physically, emotionally as well as a person’s social life.
• Soto Strong: Empowering women daily to become better women than they were yesterday. Diamond, the founder of Soto Strong organization developed this to inspire women through creativity, healthy lifestyle choices, and wellness. She’s continuing the legacy of her mother and grandmother. After the passing of her mother, life became more real than ever. Which led her to develop this wonderful organization, she stated “becoming an entrepreneur made me believe I can be unapologetically myself, support and motivate myself, seeing it starts with me and people will follow — along the journey that has been the best part“.
• Curry Life Candle & Co.: This is my new favorite candle company! Tia’s wax melts has my room lingering with the sweet aroma of cotton mixed with sweet pea — also known as ‘Sunset’. Tia is a self-taught chandler and owner of Curry Life Candle & Co., her personal love for candles intrigued her interest and motivated her to establish this company in February.
• Designs By Dai: Some of the cutest tote and wine bags I’ve seen so far! Although the color is beige, the message across her products is bold which is what caught my attention. It was established in 2020 during the pandemic and has been a success since. Dai’s boutique is available on Esty, and will be coming soon to stores near you!
• L A Drinks: Alani sells homemade drinks and specialized gift baskets for holidays and special occasions. Although she has established L A Drinks only two years ago, she has customers all over! She ships out orders weekly to customers within the Tri-State area and Florida. One of her main goals is to become popular nationwide and open a storefront in Harlem.