SHOPPE BLACK

Key Lessons from Glam-Aholic Lifestyle and Milano Di Rouge, Two Black-Owned Fashion Brands with $100M+ Combined Sales

4 mins read

The fashion world is witnessing the rise of two powerhouse Black-owned brands: Glam-Aholic Lifestyle and Milano Di Rouge. These aren’t just about selling style; they’re about inspiring and empowering people.

Founded by Mia Ray and Milan Harris respectively, both Glam-Aholic Lifestyle and Milano Di Rouge have carved their own unique paths to success. Their journeys are testaments to resilience, creativity, and unwavering determination.

Glam-Aholic Lifestyle has reportedly achieved impressive sales of over $50 million, while Milano Di Rouge boasts sales exceeding $70 million.

This remarkable success story proves that diversity and authenticity are more than just passing trends; they’re the cornerstones of enduring achievement in the fashion industry.

Mia Ray

According to Mia, Glam-Aholic Lifestyle isn’t just a brand; it’s a movement. From its inception 14 years ago, her vision of affordable luxury has resonated with women from all walks of life. Starting with a fashion and lifestyle blog, Mia built a community of loyal followers, leveraging the power of social media to showcase her designs and connect with her audience. Her live product drops on Instagram became legendary, creating a sense of excitement and urgency that propelled Glam-Aholic Lifestyle to new heights.

Milan Harris

Similarly, Milan Harris’s Milano Di Rouge is a testament to the power of authenticity and representation. Rejecting the conventional approach of naming the brand after herself, Milan created Milano, a name that embodies her creative vision and entrepreneurial spirit. Through social media, she connected with celebrities and influencers, showcasing her designs and celebrating diversity. Her commitment to authenticity and community has created a loyal following that sees Milano as more than just a brand but as a reflection of themselves.

Challenges and Lessons Learned

Both women faced challenges on their journeys to success. From navigating the complexities of the fashion industry to overcoming financial hurdles, they encountered obstacles at every turn. Yet, they persisted, learning and evolving with each setback. Their stories serve as reminders that success isn’t just about the destination but about embracing the journey, one step at a time.

One key lesson from Mia and Milan’s stories is the importance of authenticity. Mia designs clothes that she would wear herself, ensuring that each piece reflects her personal style and values. Milan, on the other hand, celebrates diversity and representation, showcasing real people of all body types wearing her creations. This authenticity has resonated with their audiences, fostering a sense of connection and loyalty that transcends mere consumerism.

Another lesson is the power of community and empowerment. Both Mia and Milan strive to uplift those around them, whether it’s through sharing stories of resilience or supporting social impact initiatives. They understand that success isn’t just measured by financial gains but by the impact one makes on others.

As Mia and Milan continue to chart their paths forward, they offer words of wisdom to aspiring entrepreneurs. Let go of negative thoughts and negative people, embrace uncertainty, and don’t be afraid to fail. Every setback is an opportunity to learn and grow. With unwavering determination and a commitment to authenticity and empowerment, anything is possible.

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LensRxLAB: Navy Veteran and Optometrist Partner to Revolutionize Diabetic Eye Care

1 min read

Imagine the unique collaboration between a Military Submarine Force Veteran and an Optometrist.

Now, envision them uniting their expertise to confront one of today’s most pressing health challenges: diabetes.

The result? The birth of the first Black and US Navy Veteran and Optometrist-owned ophthalmic goods manufacturing company.

Enter LensRxLAB, a Philadelphia-based healthcare startup poised to redefine diabetic eye care through a blend of pioneering technology, accessibility, and social consciousness.

lensrxlab

In this interview, Anthony Miles and Dr. Chelise Firmin share how their innovative products cater to the needs of individuals with diabetes, offering innovative healthcare delivery platforms alongside specialized lens technology.

They underscore the pivotal role of partnerships—be it with investors or strategic allies—in propelling their venture forward, aiming to scale operations with a recent $830,000 seed funding and an ambitious $3.1 million fundraising goal.

Their vision? To transform LensRxLAB into a billion-dollar enterprise fueled by innovation, commitment, and collaborative endeavors.

Join us as we explore their inventive strategies and audacious aspirations to disrupt the ophthalmic goods manufacturing sphere and extend their impact to millions worldwide.

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Lorraine West Creates Jewelry Steeped in Symbolism and Power

2 mins read

Brooklyn-based jewelry designer Lorraine West isn’t just creating accessories; she’s crafting talismans.

West, a self-taught artist, imbues her pieces with spiritual and cultural significance, drawing inspiration from her Caribbean roots and a desire to empower the wearer.

West’s clientele isn’t limited to everyday people who appreciate the heart and soul poured into each piece. Celebrities like Beyoncé and Zendaya have been spotted wearing her creations, a testament to the unique blend of symbolic design and elegance that defines West’s work.

Lorraine West

More than just adornment, each of West’s pieces is imbued with meaning. She uses precious metals and gemstones to craft pieces inspired by nature, flow, symbology, and geometric shapes.

The result is a collection that is both beautiful and powerful, designed to help the wearer connect with their own inner beauty and strength.

Lorraine West

West’s dedication to her craft extends beyond the design process. All her pieces are handmade in NYC with love, ensuring that each necklace, earring, and ring is not only a work of art but also a testament to her commitment to quality and tradition.

Lorraine West

Whether you’re looking for a piece to add a touch of elegance to your everyday look or a symbolic talisman to empower you, Lorraine West Jewelry is a collection worth exploring.

With its unique blend of beauty, meaning, and quality, West’s jewelry is more than just an accessory; it’s a conversation starter and a way to express your inner strength.

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Acclinate Secures $7 Million to Revolutionize Health Equity and Clinical Trial Diversity

4 mins read

Acclinate, a Birmingham, Alabama-based healthcare technology company has secured a $7 million Series A funding round. Led by Cencora Ventures with contributions from Labcorp and Latimer Ventures, this investment fuels Acclinate’s mission to empower underserved communities and transform healthcare equity.

Building Trust, Empowering Participation

Acclinate’s approach breaks the mold of traditional clinical trial recruitment. They focus on building trust and creating long-term engagement with diverse communities. This is achieved through culturally sensitive education and outreach programs. Their platform, NOWINCLUDED, provides a safe space for individuals to learn about health issues, clinical trials, and the importance of representation in medical research.

But Acclinate goes beyond simple information sharing. They leverage data and analytics to personalize the experience for each user. This ensures individuals receive targeted information and resources relevant to their health background and interests. This fosters a sense of ownership and transforms them into active participants in their health journey.

Data-Driven Insights for Inclusive Trials

The data generated from this community engagement is another crucial aspect of Acclinate’s approach. They translate this data into actionable insights through their e-DICT (Enhanced Diversity in Clinical Trials) platform.

e-DICT: Powering Informed Decisions

This powerful tool utilizes predictive analytics technology to track user interest and report on community engagement at the individual level. This empowers organizations to:

  • Predict behavior: By understanding user interest and engagement patterns, organizations can anticipate how different communities might respond to a particular trial.
  • Plan inclusively: Armed with insights into diverse communities, organizations can design and plan clinical trials that are inclusive from the start.
  • Execute effectively: Acclinate’s data and insights help organizations refine their outreach strategies and improve their ability to connect with and enroll participants from underrepresented communities.
  • Learn and improve: The data collected throughout the trial process allows for continuous learning and improvement. Organizations can use these insights to refine their approach for future trials, ensuring ongoing progress toward greater diversity and inclusivity.

A Win for Patients and Pharma

The $7 million funding round will propel Acclinate’s growth and further enhance its data-driven approach. This benefits not only patients from diverse backgrounds who have a greater chance to participate in research and see themselves reflected in medical advancements, but also pharmaceutical companies.

By facilitating a more inclusive clinical trial landscape, e-DICT helps companies gain access to a richer pool of data, ultimately leading to the development of safer and more effective treatments that work for everyone.

Acclinate’s story is one of innovation and social impact. This investment marks a significant step towards a future where clinical trials are truly inclusive, healthcare is accessible to all, and diverse communities have a rightful voice in shaping the future of medicine.

In addition to its core platform, Acclinate offers a suite of services to further support organizations in their diversity efforts, including the Affective Trust Framework and custom training programs.

By combining community engagement with cutting-edge data analysis, Acclinate is paving the way for a future where clinical trials are truly representative of the populations they serve.

by Tony O. Lawson

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Help Brooklyn Photographer Russell Frederick Overcome Vision Loss Related Hardship

4 mins read

Russell Frederick, a highly respected Brooklyn-based photographer, is known for his profound portrayals of the African diaspora and his beloved Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Russell Frederick

As a Brooklyn native of Afro-Panamanian heritage, Russell is a self-taught photographer with a career spanning 25 years. He began documenting the African diaspora in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, in 1999, after realizing his passion for photography during a black and white photography class at the International Center of Photography.

Russell’s work has been widely exhibited in galleries, museums, and photo festivals across the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia, including ‘Photoville’ in Brooklyn, ‘Visa Pour L’image’ in France, ‘Lodz Photo Festival’ in Poland, and ‘On the Move’ in Italy, among others. His distinctive talent for capturing the soul and resilience of his subjects has earned him numerous accolades and the respect of his peers.

Russell has also helped raise funds with his artwork for the National Association of Black Journalists and the Kamoinge-Ferman Scholarship at Columbia College in Chicago.

Russell Frederick

Despite his achievements, he is currently facing a challenging period and is reaching out for support. His journey has been complicated by health issues, including a series of eye surgeries due to glaucoma, which has led to blindness in one eye and threatens his remaining vision. These health struggles have also impacted his ability to work and his financial stability.

Russell Frederick

Russell described the situation as follows: “The past few months have been really hard due to a depression I went into after being informed last year I would need a sixth eye surgery and then experiencing a work stoppage that has put me on the verge of losing my apartment/work space.”

He also expressed concern about broader industry challenges affecting his livelihood: “The dismantling of Affirmative Action is being felt. The increased usage of A.I. photos is also hurting my workflow. Plus budgets changing for productions. All of this has put me at a deficit and it is why I’m reaching out to you today.”

To help Russell through this difficult time, a GoFundMe campaign has been launched to support him. Contributions to the campaign will help him catch up on rent and secure affordable housing in Bedford-Stuyvesant, allowing him to continue his important work in the community.

Russell Frederick
IslBG

Russell is determined to remain in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where he has spent years documenting the rich history of the neighborhood. “Bed Stuy is home and I have a lot of unfinished work to do documenting the history in the neighborhood,” he stated.

His art has had a meaningful impact on the cultural landscape, and now he needs our support. We encourage readers to contribute to his GoFundMe campaign and share his story with their networks.

By coming together, we can help Russell continue his crucial work documenting the vibrant history of Bedford-Stuyvesant and the wider African diaspora.

Any entity or individual interested in licensing Russell’s work for editorial or commercial use can email russellfrederickphotography@gmail.com

New Orleans Teens Discover New Angle to 2,000-Year-Old Math Problem

2 mins read

Two New Orleans high school students, Calcea Johnson and Ne’Kiya Jackson, have sparked significant interest in the mathematical community.

On March 18, Johnson and Jackson delivered a presentation titled “An Impossible Proof of Pythagoras” at the American Mathematics Society’s Spring Southeastern Section Meeting at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

The St. Mary’s Academy seniors revealed a proof that demonstrated the Pythagorean theorem using trigonometry without relying on circular logic. Despite prior beliefs that this was impossible, their findings were reported by local CBS affiliate 4WWL.

At a regional conference in late 2022, the students introduced a new twist on proving the Pythagorean Theorem. For nearly 2,000 years, it was thought impossible to prove the theorem with trigonometry. However, Johnson and Jackson’s work has challenged this long-held belief.

The Pythagorean Theorem, a fundamental aspect of geometry, posits that the square of the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle) in a right triangle equals the sum of the squares of the other two sides. Despite the existence of hundreds of proofs, none had used trigonometry, which heavily depends on the theorem itself.

The apparent contradiction intrigued Johnson and Jackson during a school-wide math competition. The bonus question asked them to construct a new proof using trigonometry. Motivated by curiosity and the challenge (with a competitive prize as an added incentive), they set out on a path that could reshape mathematical history.

Their method involved reinterpreting trigonometric functions within the right triangle. Though not entirely avoiding circular logic, they discovered a way to employ trigonometry without directly depending on the Pythagorean Theorem.

The mathematical community is buzzing with anticipation. As the proof undergoes thorough peer review, its potential implications are causing excitement. New insights into well-established concepts could pave the way for unexpected advancements.

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Black Owned Mother’s Day Gift Ideas – GOODEE Edition

4 mins read

This year, explore Black owned Mother’s Day gift ideas from GOODEE.

GOODEE is a leading curated, marketplace of the world’s most coveted and collectable products that promote good design, ethical sourcing, and positive social impact.

GOODEE founders, Byron and Dexter Peart

In this article, we’ll explore some of GOODEE’s gems, from beautiful handwoven baskets to unique homeware pieces that spark joy.

Whether you’re shopping for a gardening enthusiast, a self-care queen, or a design aficionado, there’s something perfect waiting to be discovered.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

The Fazeley Flow

Meet the perfect small watering can for keeping your interior jungle in tip-top condition. Its elegantly curved non-drip spout delivers pinpoint watering accuracy, helping avoid splashes around your potted plants. Available in hand-polished copper, or galvanised steel in a green, it comes beautifully boxed and makes the perfect present.

Tiny Pakurigo Basket

Black Owned Mother's Day

A tinier version of the classic Pakurigo basket, this smaller silhouette boasts the same intricate patterns, shapes and expert weaving techniques of Baba Tree’s Ghanaian artisans, along with a signature wave-like silhouette that few weavers are able to master.

Classic Jug

Black Owned Mother's Day

Looking for a seasoned all-rounder? HAWS’ metal jug will happily water your pots or proudly sit on your shelf as a flower display for those freshly cut blooms. Built for the ages, its heavy gauge galvanised steel offers total rust protection for indoor or outdoor use.

Twin Flame Candles

This 100% natural candle made from two hand-dipped tapers carefully wound together is perfect for special occasions and every moment in between. Each unique piece promises approximately 2 hours of (clean) burn time, slowly dripping into captivating golden sculptures that only add to the aesthetic, while releasing a subtle honey scent.

Ard Cushion Cover

Black Owned Mother's Day

This unique piece carries the soul of old Damascus, reflecting the vibrant life of the traditional checkered-tile courtyards (or Ard Addiyar). Its design, rich with the nostalgia of family gatherings, children’s laughter, and nature’s palette, brings a narrative of resilience and beauty into your living area.

HA KO Leaf-shaped Incense

Delicately crafted from Japanese washi paper and infused with natural essential oils, each one of these dreamy incense leaves offers a distinct scent to evoke different moods: No.1 Spicy Jasmine, No.3 Elegance Citrus, No.5 Smoky Cinnamon, No.6 White Floral, No.7 Green Grass, and No.8 True Aqua. If you can’t bear to burn these beauties, they’ll double as potpourri.

Kalam Wrap Towel

Black Owned Mother's Day

Adorned with a cotton braided fringe, the exquisite fabric, which is ethically crafted in Ethiopia using naturally dyed, locally sourced cotton, makes for one high-quality towel that can also double as a picnic blanket, a throw, or a beach cover-up.

Cairn Centrepiece

Black Owned Mother's Day

Whether you’re seeking a sculptural wooden fruit bowl for your kitchen or an elegant catchall for your entryway, the Cairn Centrepiece stands out as a superb choice. Crafted from solid, FSC™-certified ash wood and adorned with soft curves and sculpted details reminiscent of cairn stones, this piece serves both as practical storage and a decorative showpiece, offering a warm, organic aesthetic

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Black Owned Grocery Co-op Opens in Detroit

2 mins read

The Detroit People’s Food Co-op (DPFC) has finally uncorked its dream, opening its doors in the North End after over a decade of planning and community effort.

This Black owned grocery cooperative goes beyond selling groceries; it aspires to be a cornerstone of the neighborhood’s health and economic well-being.

More Than Groceries, A Community Hub

The DPFC breaks the mold of traditional grocery stores. Owned and democratically controlled by its members, the co-op prioritizes the needs of the North End community. This translates directly into offering affordable, fresh, and local produce, tackling the documented issue of food insecurity. Residents now have greater access to healthy food options, a crucial step towards a stronger and healthier community.

Building From Within

The impact of the DPFC extends beyond its shelves. The co-op plans to forge partnerships with local businesses and growers, creating a network that fosters mutual benefit. By sourcing locally, the DPFC keeps money circulating within the community and supports the growth of Detroit’s independent businesses. This collaborative spirit strengthens the entire North End.

A Brighter Future for the North End

The DPFC’s arrival marks a turning point for the North End. It stands as a powerful testament to the potential of community collaboration and a ommitment to a healthier, more vibrant neighborhood. The co-op not only nourishes bodies but also the economic and social fabric of the North End, paving the way for a brighter future.

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Black Owned Ceramics Businesses For Your Space

3 mins read

The world of ceramics is brimming with talented artists, and Black creators are leaving their unique mark on the craft.

From functional mugs to stunning sculptures, Black owned ceramics businesses offer a range of beautiful pieces that elevate your space.

Whether you’re searching for a distinctive gift or want to add a touch of artistry to your home, look no further! Dive into our guide to discover some incredible Black-owned ceramics businesses you should know.

Black Owned Ceramics Businesses

Kera Clay

Black owned ceramics

Virginia Felix is a ceramicist born and bred in Brooklyn, New York exploring the dichotomy between function and form. She designs decorative and sculptural vessels using the unpredictability of clay. Her work ranges from tableware and lighting to creative projects.

The Coy Collection

The Coy Collection is a brand of ceramic tableware designed by artist Sequoyah Johnson. Her collection focuses on bringing joy to everyday rituals through unique, handcrafted pieces.

Ekua Ceramics

black owned ceramics businesses

Sara Ekua Todd is a ceramic artist raised in Belgium and now based in Los Angeles. Her functional clayware exhibits a reverence for shape and surface — and is often bursting with juicy color.

Claude Home

Claude Home is a design gallery that curates and sells unique furniture and home decor. The company was founded in 2018 by Maggie Holladay, a former fashion stylist with an eye for design.

Malene Djenaba Barnett

black owned ceramics businesses

Malene Djenaba cement tiles, which blend contemporary art with traditional craftsmanship, epitomize this vision, adding a sophisticated touch to any space.

Sio Ceramics

Sio Ceramics is a ceramics studio based in Washington, D.C. They create handcrafted small-batch ceramic art that ranges in function and use, from wearable pieces to functional pottery.

Utility Objects Ceramics

Utility Objects Ceramics is a brand of handmade ceramic home goods designed by Aleisha Ellis out of her Atlanta, Georgia studio. Her work is known for its minimalist aesthetic inspired by modern Japanese ceramics.

Porcelain Sneakerhead

black owned ceramics

Porcelain Sneakerhead is the artistic creation of ceramicist London James. She handcrafts incredibly detailed ceramic sneakers, bringing the world of kicks into a unique and long-lasting art form.

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East Chop Capital Closes Second Fund at $11 Million for Luxury Vacation Rentals

3 mins read

East Chop Capital, a leading Black-owned private equity firm in the vacation rental space, has successfully closed its second fund at $11 million. This new capital infusion will allow the company to expand its portfolio and target the luxury vacation rental market in the United States.

east chop capital
Pictured left to right: Zerik Scales, Managing Partner; Calvin L. Butts, Jr., General Partner; Carrington M. Carter, General Partner; Photographer: Yirmeyah Leonard.

“The market is certainly much more competitive than when we first started nearly 10 years ago,” said Carrington M. Carter, Co-founder and General Partner at East Chop Capital. “This capital infusion provides us with the opportunity to scale further and move higher up into the luxury spectrum, with some custom built homes that will create amazing guest experiences.”

The company, known for its focus on building wealth within the Black community, expressed gratitude for the diverse group of investors who participated in the fund. “We are tremendously grateful for our investors who believed in us,” Carter added. “It’s extremely humbling to have support from Hamptonians, who make up 11% of our individual investors, other HBCU alum, countless fraternity brothers (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. – Carrington; Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. – Calvin), and others in our community. Teamwork truly does make the dream work, and we must focus more on working together.”

East Chop Capital’s focus extends beyond the luxury vacation rental market. Co-founder Calvin L. Butts, Jr. highlighted the company’s commitment to real estate development and fostering entrepreneurship. “Real estate development will continue to be a focus for East Chop Capital, and we’ll break ground on additional projects later this year,” Butts stated. “We are equally excited about our angel investing vertical that we piloted over the last two years with our base of 200 investors. We see both of these verticals as key components to building wealth, and empowering the next generation of startups and other businesses.”

With a growing presence in the private equity landscape, East Chop Capital is well-positioned to make a significant impact in the luxury vacation rental sector while fostering financial empowerment within the Black community through various investment strategies.

by Tony O. Lawson

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