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HU Grad Opens Online Organic Food “SÜPRMARKT”

Olympia Auset, a 26 year old Howard University alumna, has founded SÜPRMARKT, a low cost grocer that provides 100% organic food in low income communities in LA.

Olympia got the idea in 2009 while attending college. During that time she became vegan and soon became interested in creating solutions for food deserts.

According to the USDA, food deserts can be found in 371 California census tracts. 85 percent are in urban areas. More than 1.9 million people live in these census tracts, and about half of them have low access to retail food stores.

When Olympia realized that people won’t change their food habits unless the food is appealing and close to them, she decided to make good food and information about it, accessible. She does so through weekly pop up stores.

According to Olympia, since its inception in July 2016, SÜPRMARKT has provided nearly 200 cases of organic fruit, veggies, and seeds affordably in South LA, a community which has 1.3 million residents but only 60 grocery stores.

Her website has recipes and links to resources about nutrition and healthy eating. SÜPRMARKT also offers a subscription box with an assortment of fruits and vegetables. Through the subscription, you will receive a box full of organic produce each week.


by Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson



Learn more about another California business owner providing a solution for the food desert problem here.



The Brown Crayon Project: The First Organic Skin & Hair Care products for Children of Color

Many of the chemicals that come in contact with our skin can be absorbed into our bloodstream. That being said, it’s important for us to be aware of what’s in the skin products we use on ourselves and our loved ones.

A notable line of products to get into is offered by The Brown Crayon Project. They offer the first certified-organic, all natural line of skin & hair care products intentionally designed for babies, toddlers and children of color.


We recently caught up with the founder, Selma Idris to learn more about her and her business. This is what she had to say:

SB: What inspired you to create The Brown Crayon Project?

SI: My boys. When I couldn’t find the products I needed and wanted to care for my boys in the way I wanted to, I decided to make them.

Brown Crayon Project

SB: What did you have to learn and what did you already know about creating a quality skin and hair care brand?

SI: My background is in identity development for new products and companies. I have helped clients plan, launch and extend their products and services. The experience has been invaluable but I know my role was a very small component of what it takes to create and sustain a quality product, company and brand. I knew what I didn’t know, which was a lot.

the-brown-crayon-project-collection-2016SB: Your brand is made with babies of color in mind. Are there certain skin and hair care needs specific to Black babies?  What ingredients do you incorporate to ensure the best results?

SI: Yes, my children’s hair looks, feels and needs different than the regimens, products, formula textures, colors and smells previously available to me in mass market products.


Our formulas are based on recipes that have been in my culture for centuries. We refined them replacing ingredients such as animal fats with plant based fats (example: lamb fats to avocado oil) and tested them on my children and children in our community.


We believe healthy skin grows healthy hair, so we nurture the scalp and skin with super-nourishing ingredients such as aloe vera leaf juice that help heal skin but keep locks moisturized all day long.

We are continuously researching and developing new products to fill the void in products available to our children, always sourcing and testing to find the combinations that work best for us.


SB: Sometimes the difference between success and failure can be finding the right production partner to help you grow. How did you find yours and how did you know they were the right one?

SI: Finding the right partner was a long and frustrating process of trial and error. I believe the right partner should be excited about your work, invested in your vision and demonstrate their own track record of success, professionalism, corporate and social accountability. My partner met and exceeded my needs and has earned my trust.


SB: You are the mother of two young boys. I would bet an unreasonable amount of money that they keep you on your toes on a daily basis. In your opinion, what is the most important skill to master as a mother and entrepreneur?

SI: For me it’s been staying conscious and aware of how I am feeling and performing, when I am at my best and when it’s time to retreat and ask for help. Neither my boys nor my business accept “No” for an answer, so I’ve had to rely on both my personal and professional communities for support. But first I had to be aware of when and how I needed it.

Brown Crayon Project

SB: What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

SI: Make time to be alone and think. Write, meditate, nap…disappear to wherever you can best hear yourself. Give yourself an opportunity to develop and work through your own ideas and learn your process.

For more information about The Brown Crayon Project, check out their website.


-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson