On this past Saturday January 6th, 2018, I hosted the third annual BrownGirlsLove POWER Day Presented by Toyota. Taking place at NYC’s hidden gem Helen Mills Event Space & Theatre, nearly 200 guests gathered on the first Saturday of 2018 for this dynamic empowerment day complete with networking, business panels, workshops and more.
Y’all. I had the TIME OF MY LIFE. I am so blessed to have cultivated a community of women who believe in the power of collaboration, education and transformation. We kicked 2018 off the right way – with love.
BrownGirlsLove POWER Day is a day conference crafted to cater to millennial women of color looking to turn their dreams into reality. Our panelists provided guests with tips on everything from thriving under 30 to being a mompreneur, developing a successful podcast, branding yourself and even preparing for life after college.
I created BrownGirlsLove because of you. You all sent me emails and DMs asking about my journey as an entrepreneur and often asking questions that I didn’t have the answer to. So I would turn to my sister-friends in the industry. I decided to take the conversation offline and host a LIVE event to answer some of your questions. That was the birth of BrownGirlsLove.
For the third annual event, I curated a powerful team of experts and presenters who have mastered the art of building and sustaining a brand. Special guests included Jade Kendle of LipstickNCurls, Gracie J of TheEditorialNail, Nicaila Matthews Okome of Side Hustle Pro Podcast, Rana Campbell of Dreams In Drive Podcast, Dreena Whitfield – founder of WhitPR, Melanie White – founder of Melanie Marie, Kim Roxie – founder of LAMIK Beauty, Mia Ray of Glamaholic Lifestyle, digital marketing strategist Emmelie De La Cruz, On-Air Talent & Journalist Gia Peppers, Charli Penn – Senior Digital Lifestyle and Relationships Editor at ESSENCE, Sheila Coates – Founder of Be Your Own Brand (BYOB), Kimberly Brown of Manifest Yourself, Radio Personality & Host Scottie Beam, Brand Manager Stacie Smith, and Nicole Sanchez – Founder & CEO of Hero Tax and so many more.
The two story venue was filled with black girl brilliance, welcoming guests from all over the country. BrownGirlsLove Power Day was made possible by presenting sponsor Toyota USA, platinum sponsor The Mane Choiceand silver sponsors Capital One and Cantu. Guests enjoyed a host of live activities provided by our sponsors and vendors.
The Mane Choice Beauty Lounge kept attendees refreshed and relaxed throughout the day by providing complimentary hairstyling and massage services using their products. Each guest received full size products from The Mane Choice in their gift bags as well, including the Heavenly Halo Shampoo & Conditioner and the Green Tea & Carrot Hair Mask.
LAMIK Beauty provided guests with professional makeup touch ups. Special thanks to Kim Roxie for providing her amazing team to primp our attendees.
Toyota USA revolutionized the idea of a photobooth by sending in a 2018 Toyota Camry for attendees to take selfies in.
Guests left with two luxe swag bags – one filled with products provided by sponsors like The Mane Choice, Capital One, Cantu, Made Beautiful, and EDEN BodyWorks. Toyota provided their own custom tote bags complete with customized “Brown Girl BOSS” engraved leather portfolios and makeup bags.
I couldn’t have asked for a better day. Women left empowered, inspired and geared up for 2018. And I was reminded of how important this work is that we’re doing. Love & light to everyone who attended and all who tuned in. You can see video from the panel discussions at LoveBrownSugar TV.
I am still on a high from this past weekend’s Shop LoveBrownSugar Holiday Pop Up Shop. As the third annual event of its kind, the 2017 rendition was bigger and better than ever. Hosted at The Mezzanine in downtown NYC, the snow didn’t stop you guys from coming out and supporting minority-owned businesses for the holidays and I am SO honored that I could host this event for another year. Here are a few of the highlights:
Our title sponsors had amazing VIP beauty services for our guests including makeup touch-ups, hair touch-ups and free giveaways.
Here one of their artists does a fierce touch-up for me during the event. Flawless look and their products compliment brown skin so beautifully.
CURLS offered free hair touch-ups in their VIP suite, and also had a bomb gif photobooth that guests were able to use to snap fun videos at the event.
They also gave away free samples of their Blueberry Bliss Leave-In (smells so good and works WONDERS!)
DJ Rubadub was on the 1’s and 2’s and she ROCKED it!
We had an amazing group of editors and digital influencers who came through to support. There are SO many to thank for their support. It feels good knowing people will trek out in the snow to support something you believe in.
Our vendors sell some of the coolest products you could possibly place under the Christmas tree.
They are so incredibly creative, and I feel blessed that they were part of this event offering some of their amazing creations to customers.
From beauty products to crafts to journals and jewelry. There was such a great variety of items at price points for everyone on your list.
Make sure you’re following me on Instagram @LoveBrownSugar because tomorrow at 9pm, I’ll be hosting an IG Live session with a “Holiday Gift Guide” featuring products from these brands.
I know many of you who don’t live in the NYC area wanted to support but couldn’t make it, so this my way of hosting a virtual shop so you can see and support the brands from at home!
There will be giveaways and exclusive deals just for LoveBrownSugar followers from some of these brands, so save the date & time and tune in for some fun!
Very special thanks to This Open Space for allowing this event to take place, by way of their Space Fund business competition. Winning first place in that competition was just the boost I needed to bring this event series back to NYC and support budding creative entrepreneurs display their talents. I’m beyond grateful for the support.
I can’t even express how EXCITED I am to make this announcement. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably already seen the incredible news. Thanks to a generous grant from the folks over at This Open Space, the Shop LoveBrownSugar Holiday Pop-Up shop is returning this December 2017!
It has been my sincere pleasure to host this holiday pop up shop every year since 2014. I am so incredibly passionate about supporting minority-owned business and brands, and there’s no better way to do so than to support with our dollars.
There are so many minority-owned businesses popping up left and right and the internet has made it so much easier to launch successful brands overnight. But the lifespan of a minority-owned business isn’t as long because there are specific hurdles (like funding!) that get in the way of growth. Though passion is truly the foundation of a successful brand, money is an absolute requirement to keep it going.
I have encountered so many amazing small businesses over the past 8 years since starting LoveBrownSugar. When I discover something beautiful, I have to share it with you all. That’s why I started my #BlackOnBlackFriday holiday shopping lists and it’s why I created Shop LoveBrownSugar. But last year, due to overwhelming costs and lack of funds, I opted out of producing the pop-up shop and instead launched ShopLoveBrownSugar.com. While you all loved the online shop, it wasn’t quite the same as the live NYC shopping experience. There’s nothing like seeing, touching, feeling and experiencing the brands in person.
So when This Open Space launched their $30K Space Fund business competition announcing that they would grant one First Place winner with $6K in space funding (i.e free venue!) I immediately applied with the hope that their Creative Council would see my vision and award me with the opportunity. Well, prayers were answered. I WON FIRST PLACE!! I won $6K to put towards a space to host Shop LoveBrownsSugar in NYC. I’m so incredibly grateful. Words can’t express how honored I am. And thanks to this generous grant, I can offer General Admission tickets for FREE!
Wanna join us in NYC for Shop LoveBrownSugar? Get your FREE tickets here:
Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend the Women in Tech Demo Day NYC hosted by Capital One in partnership with Women Who Code and AngelHack. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Capital One over the last year to spotlight some of their amazing associates and their corporation’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, so I was honored to attend their Demo Day. In a nutshell, Women in Tech Demo Day is an opportunity for smart and talented women to come together and pitch their tech-savvy ideas (whether it’s for an app or a web-based destination) to solve specific challenges that women in tech and business face.
This year’s theme was about solving the problem of unconscious bias and gender discrimination, whether it be in the workplace or elsewhere. As someone who primarily operates in the style and beauty industry, it was a refreshing change to be surrounded by so many brilliant tech-focused women. The teams could create projects in advance and use the time during WIT Demo Day to continue working on their ideas and were expected to present their projects to professional judges on pitch day. It was really incredible hearing the different presentations. I literally wanted to download every app – very cool.
One of the most touching parts of the Women in Tech Demo Day was hearing tech start-up founder and current Capital One employee Asmau Ahmed share her experience as a woman of color trying to secure funding for her startup venture Plum Perfect. Her experiences, as she explained, were not unique as many women (and women of color in particular) face these hardships. People just simply don’t believe you’re capable and inherent bias prevents them from taking a risk on you, regardless of how talented and innovative you are. Part of hearing these truths was disheartening. I mean knowing that she literally took her photo off of her LinkedIn profile to get more meetings with investors is a sad but true reality. But on the other hand, it was incredibly empowering to hear that she fought through adversity and eventually secured Series A funding for her idea.
Here’s one of the best takeaways from Asmau’s speech – a list of ways YOU and I can make a difference when it comes to women getting investment funding for their brilliant ideas:
1. Become an investor.
Now this may sound nearly impossible or like a far cry from anything you can do to help women get more funding for their businesses but it’s absolutely not far-fetched. Every time you make a purchase or support a Kickstarter from a women-led businesses, you are inherently making an investment in that business. You’re helping to keep the lights on, or providing raw materials or helping that business develop a new team. Your financial support is so important. If you can do BIG, by all means please do! Find a small company you believe in and pledge your support. But all investments – big or small – help.
2. Advocate for having more women and diversity on boards.
Most of the decisions that are made to invest, from venture capitalist firms, are coming directly from their boards. It’s typically a group of investors and more likely than not, that board is comprised of wealthy white men. Diversity is severely lacking in this arena. Do what you can to be an advocate for more women and people of color being included in the decision-making. The more of us there are making these decisions, the less bias and discrimination.
3. Get the men in your lives to become allies.
This is often underestimated as well. Having strong support from men is really important. At the end of the day, the industry over-indexes in male support and dominance. Once we can change and defy perceptions about what you have to “look like” in order for you to be considered capable, more opportunities will open up.
4. Amplify your voices by helping each other.
This is a BIG ONE. I’m always preaching about the importance of collaboration over competition. Partnership and collaboration is so incredibly important, especially among women. We’re so much stronger as a unit. Asmau made such a great point by stressing that we have to stick together.
5. Never settle. Don’t give up!
This was a great point to end on. At the end of the day, the strides that are being made in various industries, including the tech industry, are being made because there were women (our predecessors) who refused to give up.
Think about how much further my daughter’s generation will be if we push hard enough to open doors for women and girls everywhere NOW. I’m hopeful that with events like Women in Tech Demo Day, more women will get the exposure they need to make substantial changes in this industry. Thanks to Capital One for having me and for pledging their support to such an incredible movement.
Interested in attending WIT Demo Day? They’re headed to D.C next! Click here to register for tickets to attend or to pitch your ideas. Get in FREE with my code: “WITDDwithChristina”
I was invited to attend Women in Tech Demo Day on behalf of Capital One and was compensated for my time. All opinions expressed above are my own and not those of the company. For more information on Capital One Careers, click here.
We are only one week away from our 2nd annual Power Day! We’ve asked some of our amazing speakers to provide you guys with a few tips to kick off 2017 with POWER! First up is Tonya Rapley of My Fab Finance with 3 Tips for Fab Finances in 2017! Check them out below:
1. Take Regular Financial Assessments
Start with your first assessment during the first week of the year. That’s a given! But then regularly check on your expenses, and your progress. It’s better to realize that you’re behind on your goals in June, than to let the entire year pass you by leading to disappointment in December. Things you should assess include: your credit score, your purchase categories, your savings, and retirement savings progress.
2. Question Your Spending
All too often we buy out of habit and not out of understanding. I’m not saying don’t buy things. But you should ask yourself questions before you buy. Questions you should ask: “Do I really need this?”, “What purpose will it serve?”, and “Am I buying this to appeal to others or is it a legitimate investment in my goals?”. These questions are helpful in combating unnecessary purchases.
3. Join a Community
Accountability is powerful. It binds you to the relentless pursuit of your goals. When you align yourself with others who are committed to achieving the same goals, a healthy competition and camaraderie evolves that can super-charge your focus. In my Triumph Club, members celebrate each others’ financial successes and learn from one another. While your immediate circle might not be on the same financial page as you, it’s helpful to a be a part of a community that understands your journey.
Want more awesome tips like these? Join us for the “Girls Just Wanna Have Funds” Panel on this Saturday, January 7th at Power Day 2017 in NYC! Click below to purchase tickets:
Sometimes all you have to do is walk into a room and you just know that the space is going to be life-changing! That’s how I felt when I stepped foot out of the elevator and into Tiffany Hardin’s summit for aspirational, multi-faceted millennial women. The inaugural She Knows Now Summit took place on September 10th at LMHQ and I was lucky enough to be in attendance along with about 100 other women.
This one-day intensive summit was filled with dynamic and inspirational panels, interactive workshops, brilliant mentors, and so many opportunities to network with other aspirational women. We heard from women who are leaders in their industries from companies like RocNation, Trill Yoga, The Jam Stand, and Harlem Runs.
If you didn’t get the chance to join us for the She Knows Now Summit, I’ve got you covered with the 5 things I learned there:
This weekend brown girls from the the city that never sleeps braved the heat to join Christina in celebrating the end of the BrownGirlsLove Brunch tour at the Lower East Side’s Stanton Social. Attended by spokemodel and actress Africa Miranda, makerting expert Ylorie Anderson, lifestyle blogger and podcast host Simone Gittens and other likeminded powerful young women of purpose this final installment of summer 16’s brunch series was filled with love, laughter, and inspiration.
This year has been awesome as Christina has gotten a chance to connect with and hear the amazing stories of beautiful brown girls all over the country. But while she’s had a blast in places like Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Chicago we all know there’s no place like home. This weekend Christina and the BrownGirlsLove family will be hosting the final installment of the 2016 Brown Girls Love Brunch Tour sponsored by EDEN BodyWorks, Ouidad and Kinky Curly Yaki.
Here are three reasons you should prepare to send off summer ’16 with us at Stanton Social below.
1.Your Favorite Brown Girls
When brown girls get together there are plenty of fun, fros, and fab to go around. This brunch series is a great place to meet fellow bloggers, network with other entrepreneurs or just find new friends.
Previous guests at the BrownGirlsLove brunches have included Gabi Fresh of GabiFresh.com, and Jasmine Lawrence of Eden Body Works. Come sip mimosas while expanding your circle!
2. Instagram Heaven
The Lower East Side provides the perfect backdrop for your new profile picture because the streets are lined with social media friendly murals including the wall of hearts located on Freeman Alley seen below.
Come and check out all of the vibrant art and killer views that instant Instagram likes are made of and check out how Christina struck a pose in front of a rainbow hued wall here.
3. Location. Location. Location.
The Stanton Social is a super sexy spot with a wickedly talented chef. Featured in the New York Times, New York Magazine, Uptown Magazine and more this restaurant is a favorite of celebrities like Jessica Alba and has been a beacon of fine dining in the neighborhood for years.
We’re so excited to end this season’s BrownGirlsLove Brunch Tour here at home in the New York City area!
Tickets are available below We hope to see you there!
It’s that time of the year again! Essence Festival weekend is upon us and plenty of you brown beauties will be heading down to New Orleans for a fun-filled weekend of cajun food, NOLA street style snaps, good music and celebrity sightings.
NOLA is always an amazing time during 4th of July weekend. Though I won’t be at Essence Fest this year (this mompreneur needed a break to spend time with the mini me) there are TONS of really fun events taking place there and I want you to know all about them. See below for a list of What To Do at Essence Festival 2016 in New Orleans this weekend:
FRIDAY, JULY 1ST
Essence Beauty & Style Expo
Essence is hosting their very first Beauty & Style Expo at Essence Festival this year featuring some of your favorite influencers, celebs & more! Essence Beauty Box is the main sponsor and they have tons in store.
Bevel Lounge – an immersive, relaxed experience where you can try out the Bevel shave system and Bevel Trimmer. They will have a DJ, bar, and product giveaways. Guest appearances & meet CEO Tristan Walker.
Time: 2-6 PM CT | Venue: The Music Room at The Ace Hotel, 600 Carondelet Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
NOLA Luxe Pop-Up Shop w/ Blogger Hosts
Time: 12pm – 5pm | Cost: FREE w/ RSVP| Location: The Ritz-Carlton NewOrleans, 921 Canal Street, NewOrleans, LA 70112
Cantu at Essence Fest
The Cantu Crew of influencers will be in the building at the official Essence Festival Beauty & Style Expo. If you stop by, make sure you say hello! Cantu has such great products – I’m sure there will be free samples, tutorials & more!
Creme of Nature at Essence Fest
Creme of Nature has a great lineup of influencers hosting their booth at the Beauty & Style Expo. Check them out this weekend for giveaways, meet & greets & more!
SATURDAY, JULY 2ND
New Orleans Natural Hair Expo sponsored by EDEN BodyWorks
My baes Jessica Pettway, Romance of HeyCurlie and Yolanda Renee of EtcBlogMag are hosting the New Orleans Natural Hair Expo, sponsored by EDEN BodyWorks. Definitely check it out!
Chrisette Michelle will make a special appearance at the DESIGN ESSENTIALS Red Carpet Beauty Lounge
at the New Orleans Natural Hair Expo as well!
Notorious Kia at Sally Beauty
Kia of Notorious Kia will be hosting two meet & greets at Sally Beauty on this Saturday. Stop by – totally free!
The Great Girlfriends at Essence Fest
Check out Great Girlfriends Sybil Amuti and Brandice Henderson-Daniel for their appearances! Love these girls.
Don’t forget about the nightly performances at the Superdome! If you’re in town, you’ll want to get tickets for each night because this year’s lineup is ON POINT. My girl Jessica of HeyGorJess will be covering the nightly concerts for LoveBrownSugar.com so follow her on social media for live updates from the concerts!
This weekend, while Christina was at the LA installment of the #BrownGirlSLoveBrunch, I had the pleasure of attending the annual celebration of confidence, style, and self acceptance that is Curl Fest. Founded by Curly Girl Collective, Curl Fest is an amazing opportunity for the women of the natural hair community to connect with brands, local businesses, and each other at an amazingly over the top picnic in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.
Missed out? Check out the curls and street style that were on display below!