February is #blackhistorymonth and we want to celebrate local black woman owned businesses!
Did you know that Black History Month has a theme every year? The 2022 National Theme is Black Health and Wellness.
This theme acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways in which the Black community have contributed to healthcare (e.g., birth workers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.)
We asked our audience to tag their favorite black health and wellness mom bosses or their FAVE black woman owned businesses….and we will be featuring them right here in February! Stay tuned each week for a NEW mom boss!
Meet Mom Boss:: Mila
Jamila Muhammed founder and owner of Mila’s Front Porch
Mila’s Front Porch was started in 2013
What was the inspiration for starting Mila’s Front Porch?
I have daughters who have differing special diets, my oldest is vegetarian, my middle is sensitive to dairy (like mom) and my third daughter is an adventurous omnivore. I found when we would go out places sometimes it would be challenging to find things that were “safe” and clean to eat. So, I started experimenting with my own baking and developing my own recipes like the vegan/plant-based carrot cake and black bean brownies. I started my business in 2013 when I learned East End Market was holding a workshop for foodaprenuers. At the end of the workshop was a feedback fair to show off our business. I debuted Three Girls Bakery (now known as Mila’s Front Porch).
What are some trials and tribulations you have faced at Mila’s Front Porch?
I am a single mom who parents alone without financial support so my initial investment was finding opportunities (some unpaid) to get my name out there. That led to farmers’ markets and pop-ups and eventually to full-time entrepreneurship (commercial kitchen Jan. 2020 and retail location May 2021). When I started my daughters were 4,6 and 8. Most times they were at events with me so it took creativity to keep them happy.
How has COVID affect Mila’s Front Porch?
- Covid created a need for specialty baking that I could provide. there were limitations I had to learn to overcome, like shortages of supplies but I found that orders came in and people really wanted to see me succeed.
What do you wish people knew about Mila’s Front Porch?
It’s only me! Most times when you visit I’m working alone, producing alone, marketing alone, and invoicing alone (big smile). I enjoy customer service and the challenge each day brings to learn new things!
Meet Mom Bosses:: Natasha and Jennifer
Natasha Byrd-Gaylon and Jennifer Peets are the founders and owners of Naked Bar Soap Co
Naked Bar Soap Co was started in 2013
What was the inspiration for starting Naked Bar Soap Co?
Natasha’s family’s skin conditions were the catalyst for her to begin creating handmade soaps and crafting her own bath and body recipes. In the beginning she was only crafting soap for family and friends as well as selling at a few farmers markets. Her best friend Jennifer was a huge fan of her soaps and helped her envision taking what she started to the next level. Through their Afro Latina roots they shared a cultural bond as well as a love for all thing’s natural beauty and skincare. It was the goal to create a brand of natural beauty products reflecting a bit of Natasha’s subtle sexiness as well as Jennifer’s bold tongue in cheek personality. The Yin and the Yang is how they view their friendship and our partnership.
What are some trials and tribulations you have faced during COVID at Naked Bar Soap Co?
We have certainly had to adapt during this time of the pandemic. In 2015 we opened our brick-and-mortar store located in the downtown Orlando neighborhood of College Park. Early in the pandemic we made the decision to not re-open our shop due to its small size and limitations for social distancing. Over the course of the last 2 years, we have focused our energy on servicing and growing our customer base through social media and email marketing. While we do miss the direct connection to our local customers, we have been receiving nothing but positive support and love for our business growth.
What do you wish people knew about Naked Bar Soap Co?
When crafting our products, we like to work with tried-and-true ingredients such as shea butter and coconut oil. Occasionally we will incorporate ingredients currently trending in our industry. The scent combinations we use are subtle, sexy, and often a blend of essential and fragrance oils. We use our friends and family as our guinea pigs to try our sample batches of products. Of course, they love it! They give us honest feedback on scents, textures, and product effectiveness. Either we go back and revamp our recipes or we get the greenlight to get the ball rolling on production. When it comes to soap I love to use vibrant colors to create unique designs. Each soap is a small work of fragrant art. Our soaps and bath and body products are created in small batches to ensure the absolute best in quality.
Meet Mom Boss:: Vanetta
Vanetta Anderson is the founder and owner of Hydrolux Wellness Lounge
Hydrolux Wellness Lounge was started in March 2020
What was the inspiration for starting Hydrolux Wellness Lounge?
Working in healthcare over the years, I was getting tired of seeing patients who dealt with preventable diseases (sometimes multiple preventative diseases). I witnessed children develop conditions that were commonly seen in older adults. I knew that I wanted to focus more on preventative healthcare. I took a leap of faith and developed Hydrolux Wellness Lounge. During the pandemic I started a business without any entrepreneur experience. My inspiration has been helping others live healthier lives and promote self-care.
What are some trials and tribulations you have faced since opening Hydrolux Wellness Lounge?
In March 2021, Hydrolux officially opened located in Maitland, FL. Some of the services include: IV vitamin therapy, vitamin injections, weight loss services, facials, and massage therapy. Over the last year there have been some “uh oh” moments. I called this a journey, because there have been many ups and downs. I had to step out of my comfort zone, make mistakes, deal with naysayers and rejection. During this journey I have learned that there is always a solution to a problem and to trust the process. I no longer get upset when things don’t go as planned, I look for an alternative and know that everything happens for a reason.
How Covid has affected your business?
Covid-19 has affected my business because it made people more health conscious. I have clients who say they want to lose weight or boost their immune system because of Covid. On the downside, it’s hard to get supplies and dealing with price increases for supplies.
What do you wish people knew about Hydrolux Wellness Lounge?
Although it is becoming more popular, there are a lot of people who have never heard of receiving an elective IV. I wish people knew the wonderful benefits about IV therapy. Such as, you get 100% absorption of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Nutrients go directly to the bloodstream and start to work on a cellular level. Also, I wish more people in Orlando knew about Hydrolux.
Meet Mom Boss:: Sharday
Sharday A. Joseph BS, RDMS, RDCS is the founder of Advanced Ultrasound
Advanced Ultrasound FL was started on 3/02/2020
What was the inspiration for starting Advanced Ultrasound?
- Due to the lack of black Sonographers (Ultrasound Techs) throughout Central Florida, my husband and I opened Advanced Ultrasound to improve equality and diversity in the workforce.
What are some trials and tribulations you have faced since opening Advanced Ultrasound?
- Not having a mentor or consultant to seek help from. There are lots of mobile ultrasound consultants however there were none readily available to help Advanced Ultrasound in becoming an (IDTF) Independent Diagnostic Testing Facility. We had to learn as we went along.
How Covid has affected your business?
- Unlike the most medical offices or hospitals we still allow our expecting moms to bring more than one guest to their ultrasound appointment; however, we now recommend everyone to wear a mask.
What do you wish people knew about Advanced Ultrasound?
- We provide all types of ultrasounds such as adults, pediatrics, and maternal fetal medicine- with same day ultrasound appointments and a same day medical report. We service Kissimmee, Davenport, Poinciana, St. Cloud, And Orlando FL.
Meet Mom Boss:: Gina
Gina Alemán, M.Ed. is the founder and owner of New Blossom Maternity Services
New Blossom Maternity Services was started in 2020 but she had been serving in the role of doula (without realizing it!) since 2018
What was the inspiration for starting New Blossom Maternity Services?
My inspiration came from being an educator. I knew that creating positive self-worth and cultivating strength in a birthing woman and providing resources to teach her to care for her baby can change an entire community for the better, especially our BIPOC communities. Also, I find birth and postpartum to be a sacred time, and I’m forever intrigued by the physical, mental, and emotional transformation that happens surrounding birth.
What are some trials and tribulations you have faced since opening New Blossom Maternity Services?
- I am always learning, but initially I had to learn to balance being hands-on with mothers and babies along with the technical unglamorous side of owning a business. While also caring for myself, my family and other loved ones, and my hobbies outside of work! The balance requires lots and lots of intentionality.
How Covid has affected your business?
Many families have discovered home and birth center births thanks to restrictions put in place in hospitals as a result of COVID. This has created an “uptick” in interest in alternative routes, and therefore, interest in doulas. That part has been awesome all around! COVID did make it difficult to meet families in person for birth education and attend births during the height of infection rates. We made it work, but it’s really tough to imitate in-person, hands-on support from a trained brith professional.
What do you wish people knew about New Blossom Maternity Services?
That I care for each birthing person and family with respect and a gentle quiet that I pray and hope brings calm to their lives during our time together (and beyond).
Meet Mom Boss:: Tamiqua
Tamiqua Torres, IBCLC is the founder and owner of Latching in Love Lactation Services
Latching in Love was started in April 2019
What was the inspiration for starting Latching in Love Lactation Services?
- The idea started while I was breastfeeding my son. Instagram and hashtags where still new and I would post pictures of us with the hashtag #latchinginlove.I didn’t know that it would become a business or that I would become a Lactation Consultant. It all started with me going back to work and not having a safe, clean place for me to pump while at work. I started my work in lactation by advocating for myself and other moms working who wanted to provide breastmilk for their babies. I became the person to talk to about breastfeeding, making more milk and how to manage pumping while at work. Any person I came across while at work who was expecting I made sure that they had a right to pump while at work and what that should look like. I started doing more mom to mom encouragement, sharing of safe evidence based resources. I quickly became the person people would tell “you know, you should talk to Tamiqua” and before I knew it I was happier helping others meet their breastfeeding goals than I was at my day job. I started researching how to do this full time. The plan was to start by becoming a Certified Lactation Counselor, but sometimes plans are halted. I was diagnosed with a rare Desmoid Tumor and needed to start radiation treatment immediately putting my training on hold. I completed 28 rounds of radiation and then had to go back to work almost immediately, only I wasn’t ready physically or emotionally. I went back because I had to. I’d used all of my family and medical leave time getting treatment. In the mean time I signed up once again to take my course and exam to become a Certified Lactation Counselor. A few weeks later my employer announced that they where downsizing and we could volunteer to take a package. Without hesitation I did and started working on Latching in Love in April 2019 Full-Time. Since then we relocated to Orlando where I now reside with my husband and two children.
What are some trials and tribulations you have faced since opening Latching in Love Lactation Services?
- I’ve faced a few trials along the way of growing Latching in Love, what I wished more knew about my business as a Lactation Consultant is that 1:Seeing a Lactation Consultant while you’re pregnant for a Prenatal Class and a Breast assessment is important. Learning what to expect with breastfeeding and early newborn behavior the first few weeks is important in establishing a good milk supply. 2:Getting help from a professional lactation consultant should happen within the first week or two home. 3: I meet each and every parent and baby where they are physically, mentally and emotionally. My goal is to help you meet your goals and whatever that looks like.
How Covid has affected your business?
- Like other businesses COVID has made it harder. Parents are concerned about people being around their new babies and sometimes that may prevent them from getting help sooner than later. Which is why I always offer parents the option to do a virtual appointment before doing an in-home appointment. I wear PPE when in the visit and do my best to keep myself and family protected. I saw the impact first hand of how COVID impacted new families. For some I was the only provider besides a pediatrician that a family was seeing. I saw how impacted some families and I knew I wanted to do more. It led be to become a Postpartum Doula. I can now to do more to help families. Families are now able to get Postpartum Doula Services from an IBCLC. I am doing more to help moms recover and families get to know their new person.