Accented Glory's accessory designer Tonya Cross (TC) got a chance to meet and chat with fellow woman entrepreneur Camille Brown (CB) of Hazel's Soapery. Check out their conversation below to learn more about Camille, her brand story, and natural products she create.
TC: Thank you for agreeing to share your brand story with our Accented Glory Family! I love meeting and engaging with other creative women in business. Please introduce yourself and tell us who you are.
CB: Hello Everyone. My name is Camille Brown and I am the Artisan and Proprietor of Hazel's Soapery. I am also a Mother, a Sister, a Friend, a member of Zeta Phi Beta, Sorority, Inc. and currently a South Carolinian (not sure how much longer that is going to last).
TC: Accented Glory's target audience is black women with natural hair. I know how life changing returning to natural hair has been for me personally. Tell us about your natural hair journey and how it has impacted you.
CB: I began my natural hair journey after researching the use of "relaxers" and its effects on uterine fibroids. I was curious why it seemed as though so many young African American women had them. Understanding I needed (Still do) to change my diet, I never considered how what I was putting on my hair could affect my internal health. It was an eye-opener for me. One that ultimately led me to create Hazel's Soapery.
TC: WOW...My natural hair journey inspired me to launch my brand Accented Glory as well! Tell us more about your brand Hazel's Soapery and how it came to be.
CB: Hazel's Soapery was created from a lot of major pieces that came together over the span of about 10 years. I'll give you the abridged version :).
On my 34th Birthday, I was getting dressed to go out with a group of friends. As I was getting ready I noticed a pain in my left breast. I didn't pay it much attention at the time and continued on with my evening. Well as time went on I ended up with a mass in my breast the size of an egg. After several treatments and scans, too many pain relievers and antibiotics. I had to have a partial mastectomy to have it removed. I was blessed to have a wonderful Dr. who was a world-renowned researcher in Breast Care. After removing the mass she was so curious about its make up that she studied it. She called me in to tell me that the mass was a build-up of toxins that my body was not able to secrete due to a blockage caused by using Clinical Strength deodorant. You can read the entire story here.
The second piece was my Grandmother, Hazel Whitman. I had the Grandmother that people put in movies. She was kind, prayerful, wise and for a little girl who would never be quiet, she let me talk as much as I wanted :). She was the person that people would call and say, "I have an earache and I don't know what to do." My grandmother would go into the kitchen, mix some stuff up in a bowl, put it in an old medicine bottle, and say, "Come on Baby, pick this up". So I got my beginnings by staying attached to her hip, watching her, and not even realizing what it was I was watching. In addition to listening to my mother talk and read about different roots and vitamins. It laid dormant until about two years after her passing.
The third piece was my transition to natural hair. My grandmother was also a Cosmetologist, her and my Great-Grandmother owned their own shop back in the 1930s. One of their early lessons was to "take care of your scalp and your hair will grow healthy without all that junk". So I have never been a fan of using a lot of products (Minus my Jerri Curl phase). When I decided to go natural, I couldn't find products that worked on my hair. So, I began to research and mix my own. I made itchy scalp sprays and all sorts of concoctions. Then one day, I came across an article that said; Whatever you put on your skin takes 26 seconds to get into your bloodstream. That was it, I needed to know what was in my soap, my lotion, my lip balm, of course, deodorant and here we are today. I found that I could create and therefore control the ingredients that I used on my skin. More importantly on my children's skin. We have seen such a change over time and its amazing.
TC: I'm a huge advocate of using products made with all-natural ingredients. Tell us why you chose to avoid using chemicals and harmful ingredients in your products.
CB: I avoid using chemicals and harmful ingredients mainly for the reason stated above. However, I will add this. My belief is that God created this world with everything we need to survive on it. So when you think back to our grandparents, for me I was blessed to even know my great-grandparents. I was able to watch them garden, cook, make home remedies, can food, hunt and cut up meat. All these things that we got away from because it was more convenient to buy it pre-made or packaged. So what many companies did was find a way to mass-produce the simple God-given ingredients to make a profit. The trade-off has been our health. So when I looked back and see, my Grandmother lived to be 80 yrs old, with clear skin, no real health problems, in her right mind and compare it to me who at before 40 had breast surgery, fibroids, Dry-skin. It was obvious, I needed to go back to what they were doing. Convenient or not. My main goal is to not have my children be dependent on the easy way. Or the junk food, the bad habits that I have, and am trying to break. I want to raise them without having the need to create new habits. But have healthy ones from the start. I want the same for my customers. I want us to understand those big companies are in the business of making our skin dependent on their product so that if we stop using it for an hour, we need to get more. I want us to reset our skin, so that it functions as it should on its own, with products that work for it.
TC: Love your mindset; everything we need can be found in nature! I also noticed that you have a blog on your website. Why do you feel it's important to educate your customers?
CB: I love teaching. I was a pre-school teacher and Parent Educator at another time. It is so little we understand about ourselves. About how to love and nurture our skin and our hair. I happen to also love doing research. So as I learn and grow, I feel I would be remiss to keep that knowledge to myself. We suffer in many ways because we know not. We don't know why our skin is so dry. Also, Hazel's Soapery didn't start out to be a business. It started out because I wanted to change the way I was taking care of myself and my family. I want to share what I learn so that if there are others out there who are doing the same we can help each other. For every piece of information I share, someone has poured more information out into me. Everything can't be about a profit or I wouldn't be holding true to the name of my company. Plus my Grandma will visit me in my dreams and set me straight :).
TC: I'm a forever learner and enjoy sharing what I have learned as well. Is there anything else you would like to share with our audience?
CB: Absolutely. If you ever have any questions about an ingredient or thinking of starting your own business feel free to reach out to me. I will help as best as I can. Also, a huge Thank You to you for inviting me to share a little bit about Hazel's Soapery with your community.
TC: You're very welcome! I'm so glad we got an opportunity to connect. I definitely feel like we have kindred spirits! Where can our audience find out more about your business and services?
CB: They can shop for my products at www.HazelsSoapery.com and send me questions at Camille@HazelsSoapery.com. They can also like/follow Hazel's Soapery on social media at links/handles below:
Accented Glory Family, I hope you enjoyed my chat with Camille of Hazel's Soapery! What was your take away from her natural hair or entrepreneur journey? Share your response in comments below.
Tonya Cross - Accessory Designer
Accented Glory’s “Love Duo” with Akwati Style is back just in time for Spring! We partnered with Angel Jordan; an amazing fellow black designer for the collab. In the duo, our Cowrie Tassel Hoop Earrings are paired with an off the shoulder white shirt. Matching Ankara fabric directly from Nigeria was used to create the set.
Accented Glory’s Cowrie Tassel Hoop Earrings are all that and then some! The African print center and cowrie shell tassel gives it an Afrocentric vibe that exemplifies our brand energy. They are light weight, so no worries of stretching your earlobes. The hoops are also lead and nickel free and are available in both gold and silver color.
What makes this earring design even more fabulous is that we also have customized matching headbands. These sets are available in our Etsy Shop’s bundle section. The headband designs are satin lined to protect natural hair from drying out and breakage. In addition, all of our headband designs are adjustable. What does that mean for you? No more headband headaches; you control the tension. Our bundle pairings are great gift sets for some self love or to bestow upon someone else.
So, what are you waiting for? Express your African heritage with Accented Glory’s Cowrie Tassel Hoop Earrings. No look is complete without great accessories!
Click Akwati Style to order Love Duo from their website.
Click Etsy Shop to purchase one of our Cowrie Tassel Hoop Earring and Headband Bundles.
Cierra - AKA Accessory Diva
Accented Glory’s visionary Tonya Cross shares what make her hair accessory and Afrocentric jewelry designs unique! Shop with Accented Glory on Etsy and Amazon for your hair accessory and jewelry needs. We have an array of one of a kind designs. No look is complete without great accessories!
Cierra - AKA Accessory Diva
Accented Glory has launched a new earring design! Our Cowrie Tassel Hoop Earrings are all that and then some. What makes this design unique is that it can be customized to match fabric of our African Print Headband designs. This beautiful design is the sassy cousin of our Cowrie Shell Tassel Earrings that were featured on Essence!
They are light weight, so no worries of stretching your earlobes. The hoops are lead and nickel free and measures 1.2 inches in width. They’re also available in both gold and silver color. No look is complete without great accessories!
They can be worn with either a causal or dressy look. The African print center and cowrie shell tassel gives it an Afrocentric vibe that exemplifies Accented Glory’s brand energy! Our bundle pairings are great gift sets for some self love or to bestow upon someone else. Click on bundle photo below to be directed to our Etsy Shop and make your purchase!
Cierra AKA Accessory Diva
Accented Glory (AG) has built an amazing network within the natural hair community! We have many curlfriends that manage brands, businesses, and organizations. Sade of Sprinkled By Nature (SBN) and Safiya Lotus Holistic Care is a part of our natural hair brand network. Read below to learn more about her brand.
AG: Please introduce yourself and tell us who you are.
SBN: My name is Sade` J. Sprinkle. I am 23 years old and currently an undergraduate speech pathology student at SC State. I have struggled with eczema, dry skin, bruises, dark acne marks, painful menstrual cycles, ovarian cysts, frequent yeast infections—just like some of you. I love all things concerning self-love and self-care. I commonly state that there is medicine in every plant, herb, fruit, and vegetable for our healing. I love to take a holistic approach to things that commonly affect us all. Although I am studying pathology, I plan to further my education in the research and practice of holistic medicine. I’m particularly interested in teaching black women and youth about the importance of our womb and the power that it holds. It is important to me to promote womb awareness due to the constant attack on the black womb. I enjoy speaking to women about alternatives to the products we use daily, monthly, and occasionally as women. I enjoy speaking with queens who are new to the natural route as well as queens who practice more holistic lifestyles.
AG: We love your passion for learning and sharing your knowledge! Now tell us about your natural hair journey.
SBN: I don’t remember the first time I had my hair relaxed, but I do know that relaxers played a huge role in my childhood. I remember my hair being so “course” that my mom would use the Super strength perm for my “tender” head. I learned from the early on to dislike my hair in its natural state. I wanted so bad for my hair to be silky straight so it wouldn’t need to be blow dried and hot combed. Looking back now, I realize that my dislike for my hair was not just internal. It showed externally in my dried, heat-damaged, and unconditioned hair. I didn’t know then that my body is my temple and my hair is my crown. During my freshman year in college, I decided to do my “big chop.” I remember feeling like a burden was being lifted as my damaged hair I had loathed so long fell to the floor. In the days and weeks following my big chop, I saw myself in a way I had never seen before. I looked in the mirror at myself with short curly fro and fell in love. If you’ve never heard it: When a lady cuts her hair, a change is coming. In the midst of my journey, I ended up going through life’s tests as we all do. When I felt that I was ready to get to heal and get myself to a better place, I decided to get my locs
started; and this is when the real journey began. I always say that the term “natural hair journey” is so fitting. I love my locs and would not prefer my hair any other way because they have grown with me. My locs are all natural which means I had to go through what some people call the “ugly phase.” During the time when my locs were short, I poured love into them and nurtured them with plant based products (made by me of course). They show me each day how with time and dedication, we can grow through what we go through.
AG: The Natural Hair Movement has created a more conscious consumer. Many desire to return to their African roots, support black owned businesses, and purchase natural products. Tell us more about your brand Sprinkled By Nature, LLC and how it came to be.
SBN: My brand developed during a tough time in my life. I went through a period where I was placing other people’s worth above my own. Prior to this experience, I had been such a pure person, and it was clear that this situation had caused me to lose myself. I felt myself slipping away, and I wanted to catch it—I wanted to heal myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. My brand was developed through much fasting, praying, and meditation. I’ve always loathed my “coarse” hair, so I
figured I would start there. The “natural” products on the shelves just didn’t work for me, so I decided to start mixing my own hair oils. I used my oils for months, and noticed my hair regenerating and growing softer and stronger each day. My eczema has always been a huge insecurity and aggravation for me. So, I concocted a mixture to tone my skin and tame my eczema. After weeks, people were complimenting my skin, and complimenting my hair texture. They were even asking me what I was using. And so, while I was healing and pouring into myself with meditation, self-love and plant medicine, the people around me were also healing and pouring into me with compliments. That’s when I knew it.. This had to be the light at the end of the tunnel. I bottled up my hair and skin oils and gave them away to people who had issues with eczema, dry skin/hair, dark spots, etc. Over the course of weeks, I watched their skin and hair regenerate. It was so beautiful to see their love for themselves begin to blossom. When I noticed that these products helped my people look and feel like royalty, I knew that this was my calling. There is no better feeling to me than seeing a queen or king glow and grow with my products. I know now that when I went through my dark place, I was
only being planted. And with self-love, the love of my people, and getting myself back to nature, in 2016 Sprinkled By Nature bloomed.
AG: We are huge fans of holistic wellness and discovered on your website that you provide additional services! Tell us more about Safiya Lotus Holistic Care and the services you provide.
SBN: Safiya Lotus currently provides yoni steaming services. Yoni (vaginal) steaming is beneficial for women who have painful or irregular menstrual cycles, ovarian cysts, fibroids, PCOS, endometriosis, and more. It is the act of sitting over a
container of steaming herbs and allowing the herb’s medicinal steam to enter the vagina. We provide yoni steaming sessions as well as womb awareness talk. We provide yoga sessions, and book individual and group yoni steaming sessions.
AG: We love the fact that you use your brand and services to also educate! Why is this important to you?
SBN: There is a lot that I would have done differently had I known better. Most of our parents and grandparents only teach us what they know, and most of them have not learned about the healing benefits of plants. I have been blessed with the urge to seek knowledge, and to whom much is given much is expected. I learned and always say that the difference between ignorance and stupidity is that ignorance is when you’re unaware of something, and stupidity is when you know better, but you still choose to act as if you don’t. I realize that most our people aren’t really into doing research. I happen to like research. Therefore, I feel it is my responsibility to share the knowledge that I gain with my community, especially my African community.
AG: Is there anything else you would like to share with our audience?
SBN: Herbal teas and herbal bath soaks are coming soon to Safiya Lotus! We offer individual as well as group yoni steaming sessions. We also offer yoga sessions as well as womb wellness speaking events. Please contact us via website or social media for any questions and to book.
Website: www.getsprinkledbynature IG: @sprinkledbynature @safiyalotus FB: @sprinkledbynature
Accented Glory (AG) has built an amazing network within the natural hair community! We have many curlfriends that manage brands, businesses, and organizations that are members of our Facebook Group Accented Glory Naturals. Liz Girolamo (LG) of Tee-Owels and Ethnic Hair Forum is a part of our natural hair brand support system. We collaborated with her on a recent Instagram Giveaway she hosted. Check out our Naturals In Business feature on Liz below. **This blog post contains affiliate links. Click here for Accented Glory's Affiliate's Disclosure.**
AG: Please introduce yourself and tell Accented Glory readers who you are.
LG: Hi! My name is Liz Girolamo, I’m an entrepreneur, marketer, content creator, esthetician and natural hair care enthusiast from New York. I’m of afro-latina descent with type 4C hair, and the owner of Tee-Owels – The Ideal T-shirt Hair Towel for Curlies.
AG: For many naturals, their hair journey has been a catalyst for so many things! Tell us about your natural hair journey.ll
us about your natural hair journey.
LG: I began my healthy hair journey at 22 years old. It was 2011, I was in college, and I had just started exploring and applying my knowledge of SKIN care to my hair care routine. But first, a little background -- Growing up I was adopted, and I never knew a thing about how to take care of my hair. My parents had straight hair, and although they tried relentlessly to help me & take me to people who could help me, I really struggled with my hair and spent a lot of time crying over the damage. It didn’t help that back then ethnic hair options were extremely limited and the internet was virtually non-existent. Everything I did to my hair seemed to ruin it: Brushing it, washing it, drying it, dying it - and I just couldn’t figure out how to manage it! So, like many curly & afro women I turned to relaxers, extensions, wigs, hoods, anything to cover it up for years. Thankfully, in 2010, the early years of the natural hair movement, I started to explore and apply my schooling and knowledge of skin care (esthetics) to my hair care routine. Only then I realized the link between skin and hair health. One big thing about skin is that it needs moisture to stay JUICY. It sounds funny, but moisture is really a KEY component to having healthy and lively skin and hair, and this little piece of knowledge was a game-changer for me. So, I started experimenting with essential oils and water based moisturizing products. This coupled with taking protective measures were key for my natural hair journey and helped me grow my hair down my back. As a skin specialist, being able to characterize my hair as a dry hair type (like a dry skin type) made me realize the science of texture and find solutions to breakage and dryness. My hair wasn’t “bad” it was misunderstood! I wished someone had explained to me that my hair was breaking because the nature of its texture makes it difficult for natural oils to slide down the strand to the tips.
AG: You have a unique natural hair product! Tell us more about your brand Tee-Owels and how it came to be.
LG: Tee-Owels, like so many products, came to be out of necessity and need for innovation. I was using t-shirts to dry my hair until I had a lightbulb moment and realized that I shouldn’t have to. There should be a nice hair towel product designed just for women of color’s unique hair needs. Now there is an awesome hair towel for them – the Tee-Owel. It falls under the category of protective hair care. The soft t-shirt material reduces breakage and frizz, and is 100% curl-conscious so we can achieve our hair goals with ease. I see future generations of curly and kinky haired women having this accommodation. To me, if everyone understood the need for a Tee-Owel than that means they understand their own hair type and what works and what doesn’t. I’d be thrilled knowing that less young women felt lost as I did growing up about their hair, so a huge part of our company and what we do is dedicated to education. Our logo is an adorable curly haired owl wearing her own hair t-shirt hair towel. I thought of this when I was combining the words t-shirt and towel into “Tee-Owel”. Each towel is called an “Owel” in our world. And each Owel helps protect your hair!
AG: We're a huge fan of sharing knowledge among the natural hair community. Tell me more about Ethnic Hair Forum.
LG: Ethnic Hair Forum (EHF) was my first social media experiment. I was in college studying women and gender studies, and I was full of relief to learn that others thought and felt the way I did & I was empowered and very passionate about building a community centered around information – again helping those who like myself felt lost with their hair. What really set us apart at first was how information, and education oriented it was – not another “hair inspo” page. There’s so much to share on the topic, and the response to it was great.
AG: We see a connection between Tee-Owels and Ethnic Hair Forum. Why is it important for you to provide a product that educates and resolve a natural hair concerns?
LG: There is absolutely a connection. EHF, at first, was to morph into EHCO (Ethnic Hair Care Options), where I wanted to have a full line of protective hair care products/ publications. Tee-Owels was created to be the first product in the line, but it had a such a great response from the start that I decided to keep my products under the name Tee-Owels for now. Since opening, we added Satin Hair Scrunchie Sets, and there are more really cool and unique protective accommodations to come! It’s so important to me to do this because it’s what I wish I had when I was younger. Options and information. They say be the person you wish you had growing up & I certainly aim for that.
AG: Is there anything else you would like to share with Accented Glory's audience?
LG: Yes, I’d like to share that Tee-Owels at the core is about bringing people together through fun hair care products. It’s what the ethnic hair industry has always lacked in – fun, innovative, diverse hair care solutions. Thanks for tuning in today!
AG: Where can our audience find out more about your business and services?
LG: You can learn more about Tee-Owels at our website www.teeowels.com, on Instagram @teeowels, and Tee-Owels on Facebook. Our products are available on Amazon, Etsy and www.teeowels.com.
Cierra - AKA Accessory Diva
What have your natural hair journey been a catalyst for?
Click "Shop Now" below to purchase Tee-Owels on Amazon.
Meet Accented Glory's #BeDifferent Feature Marsha! Marsha is a beauty, health, and lifestyle blogger at Sassy Critic. Read below to learn what being different means to her!
To me, being different means to be your true, authentic self. To not allow others to influence you to act out of character. To not follow ideals, trends, or actions that do not align with who you know yourself to be just to fit in. Fit in with yourself and do what you like! - Marsha aka Sassy Critic
Meet Accented Glory's #BeDifferent Feature Elaina! Elaina is the talented creative of The Lovely Locks Co. Read below to learn what being different means to her!
Being different means expressing myself through my creative talents and sharing them with the world! My gift is creating things with my hands. My talents include, crafting, crocheting, sewing & diys. - Elaina
Shop with Elaina at www.Etsy.com/Shop/TheLovelyLocksCo!
Summertime by hip hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince is one of my all-time favorite songs! Its smooth beat and lyrics create a celebratory and relaxing mood. The month of June is one of my favorite months because it’s the beginning of summer! This month is cause for celebration for several other reasons, as well.
1. June is Accented Glory's anniversary month! We turned 5 years old on June 15th. I use this time of year to celebrate and reflect upon how far my brand has come. I also set new goals that'll help expand my reach! You can read more about Accented Glory’s brand story here.
2. I'm a history nerd and I especially LOVE African American History! With that being said, each year I look forward to celebrating Juneteenth. Juneteenth means more to me than any other American holiday because it acknowledges the emancipation of slaves. I rejoice in the strides African Americans have and continue to make in the US and identity how I can use my sphere of influence to assist in overcoming obstacles we still face.
3. In June, my natural hair Facebook group, Accented Glory Naturals (AGN), hosts an event for Loc Appreciation Day (LAD)! LAD was started by YouTuber Qochemist back in 2011. It's an annual occurrence that happens on the 4th Saturday of June. LAD celebrates the diversity of natural hair community and different ways to style natural hair. This year, AGN content curator Lorna Brown will be hosting a Facebook Live convo in our Facebook group relating to locs. Click here to join our natural hair group!
4. Lastly, but certainly not least, June is the love of my life’s birthday month! My husband and I have been married for 24 years and he continues to be my #1 fan. We are both entrepreneurs and fully understand the highs and lows of the small business owner's journey. I look forward to to celebrating a new year with him!
I welcome June and Summer! This month and season brings so many blessings. I’d love to hear what your favorite month/season is and why?
Tonya - Visionary of Accented Glory
P.S. Check out our NEW hair jewelry we have added to Accented Glory's Amazon shop just in time for Loc Appreciation Day! Our hair cuffs can be worn on locs, twists, and braids. Click here to shop!
Meet Accented Glory's #BeDifferent Feature Qwania! Qwania is a natural hair and holistic health blogger. Read below to discover what being different means to her.
Hi, I’m Qwania Dixon and you may also recognize me as natural hair blogger Naturalista4me. Being different, to me, means having the ability to be who you are no matter what. You stand in your truth and use your strengths to uplift others in the world. Being different is a feeling of freedom and self-acceptance. Being different is powerful as it is those who are memorable who have the most impact.
Follow Qwania at...
Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/naturalista4me2/
Facebook Group- https://www.facebook.com/groups/Naturalista4meGroup/
Receive her eBook for FREE- I’m Ready to Return Natural- http://bit.ly/2ks467W
Cierra has been a part of Accented Glory since its launch in June 2013. Outside of being an "Accessory Diva", she's a millennial who's currently navigating adulthood. Click Not One Of Your Little Friends to check out her podcast!