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Black Wellness Matters… Naturally

The Sleep Club Editors

August is a celebration of Black Owned businesses. We’re all about that. We’re excited about any entrepreneurial endeavor, quite frankly. We know a little bit about having an idea, believing in it passionately, and risking pretty much everything to make it happen. Sort of a theme for us at Sleep Club, really. And as our focus is the health and wellness of all of you, we thought it would be pretty great to highlight those Black-owned wellness brands and African American entrepreneurs who are making waves in the hba space. But not just any waves. Torrents of movement with nature-made products that truly enhance the well-being of every person who uses them.

Historically, the Black community has relied on homemade products for better living. Stories abound of boxes full of handwritten herbal remedies that work better than any store bought brands. Legacies of aunts, grandmothers, local women who acted as the community go-to for all cures by whipping up brews, salves, and poultices from their garden. Necessity is the mother of invention, they say, and it is easy to see why people of color have relied on their own wits to address whatever ills or beauty challenges they were facing when the only products stocking shelves were notoriously geared to those who are NOT of color. It’s very difficult to feel good about yourself if all you can find to help you feel good inside yourself does not reflect who you truly are. 

Seeing the influx of African American entrepreneurs providing healthy, thoughtful solutions for the inner and outer life by creating natural wellness products for people of color is exciting and empowering. So, let’s get to it, shall we? Here are just a few incredible folks reinforcing just how much Black wellness matters.


Ethel’s Club: Free to be you and me

“Our Mission: We believe that people of color deserve spaces and experiences that prioritize their healing and joy.” Naj Austin’s grandmother, Ethel, was a pillar of her community. A go-to in times of need, an ear, a shoulder — basically, the matriarch we all wish for. The entrepreneur took that legacy and built it into Ethel’s Club, a subscription-based safe space where anyone can find support for whatever your heart is struggling with in the company of those who get “it” in a fundamental way. The club has ten company ethos, ranging from their zero-tolerance of “No ‘-ists,’ ‘-isms,’ or ‘phobias,’ through “Consent is sexy” as a reminder that all who enter this space — whether virtually or IRL (in real life) — are to be respected, and ending with “This is a living document,” reminding members that as the community grows and changes, so will the rules that govern how they engage and that it’s the responsibility of all to keep abreast of and honor the Code of Conduct in all of its guises. 

Currently, there are eight guides on the site who focus on various aspects of well-being and expression: Culture, Writing, Sex/Romance, Nutrition, Queer/Gender, Mind/Body, Spirituality, and Mental Health. The goal of Ethel’s Club is to provide a place where people who feel they have no voice can be their authentic self and discover a community of caring without any bias or judgment. 


{blade + bloom}: The gifts that keep on soothing

What started as a hobby making soaps to give as gifts at Christmas has turned into a full-blown product line of lotions, aromatherapy, candles, and more for entrepreneur, Terri Foster. Using all natural, plant-based ingredients, she created {blade + bloom} for the African American market while working to promote (as she says on her website), “black-owned + female entrepreneurship, self care and eco-consciousness without sacrificing style or a sense of humor.” 

The packaging and branding are simple and witty, accomplishing Terri’s desire to indulge in self-care without “sacrificing style or a sense of humor.” Whether you’re planning to purchase the “All My Hair Care Products or Why I Always Smell Like I’m on a Tropical Vacation” Candle or the Rich Salt Soak/Glow Getter to “inspire feelings of energy + empowerment,” you are sure to experience a well-deserved pampering.


Justina Blakeney and Jungalow: Sleep on the wild side

Adventurous beauty describes the Jungalow collection of bedding and decor. None of the prints can be defined as merely tropical or safari — this is much more. Justina Blakeney’s design sense is immersive and infused in nature, making all who experience it feel as if they fell into the world she shares. With a product line that includes linens, live plants, wallpaper, art prints and more, color and whimsy infuses each room they touch, creating a welcome escape from the day-to-day.

Jungalow is a celebration of life — not only in what it brings into your home but through its mission. Spreading sustainability and a reverence for nature are key goals for this diverse, unique brand — at least two trees are planted when you purchase anything from their shop — as well as inspiring creativity in all who come their way.   


I See You Wellness: indulge your inner self

Four years ago, Mariam “Mar” Mouna Guessous was a highly paid Madison Avenue ad executive who felt something was lacking in her life. She found herself called to a yoga ashram — no idea why, she’d never been to one, but something shifted in her. Without any plan in mind, Mar quit her job and basically went on a walkabout, writing affirmations that caught the attention of others, and finding her purpose by creating a self-care line for people all over the world.

Pulling from her journey of self-discovery, Mar began I See You Wellness to present different ways to enlighten the mind, cleanse the body, soul and home, and focus the heart. Teas, room cleansing smokes, affirmation cards, and mindfulness sessions are just a few of the revelatory products and events the brand offers. These experiences are available for all to engage in as a way for Mar to share that light at the end of the dark tunnel for all those who are seeking a better way to give back to themselves.   


BLK + GRN: pamper with Mother Nature

With one click, you can discover a world of open market opportunity geared toward and presented by women of color. The “all natural marketplace” of BLK + GRN is a one-stop-shop repository for an array of female African American entrepreneurs presenting products to enhance your life, nature’s way. Their categories include Bath+Body, Skincare, Beauty, Grocery, Hair, Home, Menstrual Care, and Mom+Baby. As the website states, at its core BLK + GRN values “health, wellness, and community cultivation.” 

This sisterhood of self-care and wellness providers is a bit like an artist colony — a place where like-minded, creative individuals discover and are discovered. The vetting process to join is very specific and as all the products in this natural marketplace are of the purest ingredients, there is a list of toxic no-no's — called the “Toxic Twenty List” — that shows what you will NEVER find in any of the offerings their artisans carry. 62 women of color have “booths” on the site, each one geared toward other women, and all nature made.


“See me, feel me, touch me, heal me…”

From skin tones to hair textures to culturally specific mental health concerns, the world of Black wellness is opening up. The “self-care” industry has been viewed as the domain of the white upper class since its inception but as you can see, that is changing. People of color are forging their own path and creating their own well-being dynasty that not only highlights pure ingredients as its source, but promotes humane and holistic honoring of the Earth and each other.

Not just in August. Each and every day.

Night Sky Night Sky