And On That Note…

Recognizing the energy each new year brings, especially at the closing of an entire decade with 2020, I thought it best as the year comes to an end to take some time and reflect on goals, experiences and lessons learned. Realities that needed to be reconciled and things I am personally grateful for.

Photo by Freshh Connection on Unsplash

2019 brought with it a lot of pain, growth, stretching, miracles, lifetime opportunities, realizations and truths. It showed me what true love looks like. Not the sappy romantic stuff you see in the Hallmark movies. I mean, get down in the pit with you and wrestle your demons on your behalf kinda love. Ugly, unconditional love. I brought a lot of undue stress into my life, flailing, trying to find a place for my ego to rest comfortably. (And it is no secret that the ego never really rests. So one can imagine how successful that may have been.) I wasted a lot of time feeding into negativity. Doubting tangible truth and replacing it with illusory nonsense. Allowing feelings to fester and not doing the personal work necessary to kick every single door down when it was time. To be quite frank, I all but about blew up my entire life! I owe many apologies to a lot of people and more than a simple “Thank you” to one in particular. That much is not lost on me.

I’d be remised not to mention this year also brought me one of the truest sisters I could have ever asked for. Second chances at real friendship. Redemption. I have a squad like no other!! I love you two! It also showed that though people are pretty messed up, we can all be used by God if we get out of our own way. I’m blessed to have seen this in my life.

Now we’re here. Present day and the smoke has cleared. (For the most part) Everything I am a part of right now has been laid before me. On a platter if you will. Both in Divine Purpose and by the relentless support of one somebody who has moved mountains clearing a path for said purpose. Made introductions, brainstormed strategies, found funding, literally turned hot into cold, and created a way out of no way. For that I am immensely grateful. There are parts of my story that only this person will ever be able to attest to. I assume at some point we may choose to share it all.. and boy when that day comes….. Look out NETFLIX!!! 

Photo by Myke Simon on Unsplash

The short of it all though is that when you do not fully believe you are worthy of the path you are clearly called to it is easy to disrespect it. Easy to not fully appreciate it. Even easier to sabotage it. The place my feet are standing in right now despite all of that calls for great celebration! And I’m excited for the day we can look back on EVERYTHING from a place so far removed from my stupidity that it is all laughable, unbelievable even.

Photo by Jake weirick on Unsplash

Many people look at my situation and they see a very basic surface level hustle. (Shoutout to the infamous “Backpack”!!) And that’s fine at first glance. I will not dispute that vantage point. In fact, I take full responsibility for it. That also means being responsible for pushing the narrative in a creative and fulfilling direction. For my sake and the sake of those connected to me. Not to prove anyone wrong but to show God’s work. Because I’m sure you’ve heard me say this before.. This is about SO MUCH MORE than Shea Butter!! RaJean Beauty is touching lives, healing people, creating connections and conversations. Changing what it means to be a “Small Business Owner” and even more so a “Black Owned Business”. Not to mention being a female CEO. And I absolutely cannot stress enough this is STILL JUST THE BEGINNING!!!

Photo by Charles on Unsplash

Next year, there are so many opportunities that lie ahead of us! I will not commit the crime of speaking on them all explicitly but I will say that my ultimate intention is to grow up and outward in ways that will reach many sectors, different audiences and spread the essence of what RaJean means across the country and even the world abroad! “Victory of the people!” There will be more content! Product expansion! Travel, partnerships and as many creative ways to serve you all as we can possibly muster up! 

I say this from a place of complete humility, knowing that as I write in this very moment, my story will not reach many. Nor does anyone really care. But if at some point in my life I manage to find my peace and stand up in who I truly am, others will eventually find this and appreciate just what it means. In the meantime, I am pushing myself toward greater Spiritual connection, artistic expression and mental expansion. Here’s to great health and massive manifestation for all of us in 2020!!

Keep dreaming Y’all!!! 

Photo by Deva Williamson on Unsplash

How Do You Take Your Coffee??

I was speaking to a very successful and distinguished gentleman at an event a while back and he said to me, “The way someone takes their coffee says a lot about a person. I like mine straight black. No sugar, no cream”. 

I sat for a quick moment. Thinking “You know what? That makes a lot of sense!” I was never much of a coffee drinker but Nursing school and a relationship with someone whose morning cup is some what of a ritual had changed that over the years. Yet and still I like mine heavy sugar, heavy cream and a splash of coffee. 

What does that say about me!? Well without over-analyzing, I’ll say this much. I appreciate my comforts. In a perfect world for me all things would be soft, palatable, easy going and agreeable….. Sounds “Vanilla” AF right!? I am a person who has avoided conflict sometimes by any means. I totally use “PR talk” to express my disdain and pat others on the back when a swift kick in the ass was probably more suitable. (This includes myself..) But think of how bold and straight forward of an individual one likely is to just take their coffee straight black!? 

Here this man had a certain thing about himself. There was a bit of “No nonsense” in his appearance, a subtle certainty in the cadence of his walk (borderline strut). And though one must engage in small talk at these types of events, there was a depth beneath his statement. No fluff, just facts. 

Photo by Adeolu Eletu 

Now, here I am, examining my need for cream and sugar. Thinking of all the other people in my life who take their coffee straight black. There are very few if any more than literally one person I can think of that may POSSIBLY add a little “tap tap” of each.

I’m not saying this statement made me rethink all my associations based on my coffee preference. Rather, just as with our Zodiac and Numerology, it is a simple but telling glimpse into someone’s personality. That doesn’t mean that people who prefer dessert for coffee can’t be straightforward. But I would almost bet that if you ask anyone who does and is if they’ve always been that way, you may be in for a few stories about the journey to assertiveness. 

I challenge you to consider how you take your coffee and compare that to the person, you and those close to you, know yourself to be. You may be surprised and I’d love to hear what you come up with! Either way, there’s no judgement here. You all know that by now! So whether you love straight black, a quick “tap tap”, Hazelnut-Cinnamon Vanilla with a dollop of ice cream, or you loathe coffee all together (and thus probably prefer a nice adult beverage instead)…. drink up and live life!! 

Photo by Wil Stewart 

Oh and don’t forget to Shea!! 😉

Love y’all!

It’s ALL Good!

There is NO SUCH THING AS RIGHT OR WRONG!! I don’t care. Fight me!

Now before the holy rollers rain down fire and brimstone on me, I’ll explain. All things exist in relation to something else. Literally EVERYTHING depends on one’s perspective. The Law of Relativity. One cannot know what it is until it knows what it is not. This particular post idea came to me immediately after a phone call I received regarding my most recent Facebook post. It was a picture of me in a blue dress and some bad ass high heels standing in downtown Cincinnati. Part of our upcoming RaJean Beauty campaign line up.

I answered the phone to hear abruptly, with no “Hello” or anything, just “I don’t like your picture you posted on Facebook.” To which my response was “Ok….!?!?” I was then informed that we needed to talk about what I was doing. I know what the caller was eluding to. The picture, though not much skin is showing is a provocative photo. And this impending conversation was intended to remind me of my worth. Because apparently, showing a bit of leg in a form fitted dress is a slight to my “lady-likeness”.. Whatever that means… I suppose….

Those who’ve been with me since the beginning will recall me stating I was raised fairly traditional and entirely Baptist. So this photo must have struck a nerve. But I’ll be honest, in that very moment I realized just how much I truly did not care what anyone thought. For a couple reasons..

One, it is quite interesting how as humans we are innately egotistical and self-centered. In which case we tend to think that our opinion is valuable to people outside of ourselves. Even if that opinion is regarding something we’ve never in our entire lives done before. I am building an Empire and everything that I do is with that in mind. So believe me, I’m not taking any pictures that don’t benefit my end goal.

Two, most times people bold enough to share their opinion on something they’ve never attempted are highly likely to not have much else to offer beyond their opinion. Hence the time conveniently on hand that allowed for a phone call to simply state “I don’t like your picture.” Meanwhile, I am in need of funding to open a retail location, increase my inventory and travel to new cities with my products, but that is not the conversation. It is never what can I do to help you? Only “I don’t like your picture.” Welp… Thanks! It is evident to me that “My picture” though intended to be literal is also metaphorical. When someone cannot envision great success for themselves they sure as hell can’t accept it happening for you!

Photo by Dallas Reedy 

I am learning more and more that there is no right or wrong way to do what I am attempting to do. Only what will help or hinder the journey. There is no blueprint for my path because my path is unique and made only for me. That means I am writing the manual as I go. So as long as I am staying focused and making the strides I need to accomplish what must be accomplished I am winning.

The same is true for every one of us! Please don’t get caught up in what people say or think of you as you forge your path to your destiny! It is a sure shot way to sabotage it and lose sight of the destination. People will ALWAYS have something they do or don’t like about what you are doing. That is also why it’s important not to get caught up one way or another in the praise or the criticism. Nothing is right or wrong. If you’re moving closer to your dreams then guess what???

IT’S ALL GOOD!

What’s in a No???..

I attended an event centered around Black Mental Health the other day at the newly opened blaCk Coffee Lounge, Downtown Cincinnati. (Side note… if you’re in the area you should definitely check them out! Great music, real vibes and so many cool peeps!) Something that came to me while recapping the day was just how precious the word “No” is.

Embracing the shining “No”
photo by Jon Tyson

I am speaking from a personal place of recognition when I say “No” can quite truly unlock your potential and freedom, as counter-intuitive as that sounds. That is not to say that I have personally unlocked my own, rather I recognize that I can, if I choose my “No” wisely. What I am learning on my own journey is just how much of other people’s mess I am carrying around with me daily. To the point where now I’ve fused that into my own mess and adapted to the weight of it all. Oversimplifying and abbreviating my problems with the “God ain’t through with me yet” rhetoric.

What does that have to do with the Black Mental Health conversation you ask? Well, I am by no means the authority on Mental Health issues but I can say in my own experience, much of the negative feedback loop that plays on repeat in my mind comes from internalizing the expectations placed on me in certain roles that I so happen to be in. None of this has much if anything to do with who I am as an individual and all I came into this world with. Just other people’s expectations of me. I’m a daughter, niece and cousin and that comes with expectations. At one point, a coworker/employee. Again expectations. I am black. I am a woman. Enough said right?

I’m going to dig a bit deeper right here because this is a safe space I think… I am a woman who loves to feel sexy. I give off flirty and playful vibes as I move through the world enchanting others. It is not intentional but it is me. In my truest form. Now where I fall into my negative feedback loop is in the suppression of this for fear of offending others but also for the sake of getting myself into something I can’t get out of.. or rather cannot say “No” to. My solution has always been not to make myself susceptible to any situation where I will have to even say no. Remove the scenario and the need for “No” is moot. I could elaborate on that for an entire post trust me, but I will hold off for now. The same is true for all my other roles though. Avoid the need to assert myself and upset those expecting something of me and I can maintain peace… at least for everyone else. Meanwhile, I’m pulled in many directions and pulling my tiny hairs out of my bald head!

Who’s Hiding?!?
Photo by Autumn Goodman 

The problem here is that walking in my purpose requires my full and complete presence. As myself, in every facet. Meaning I must embrace every piece of who I am and find a way to make it all work to my benefit. If this means flirting with random people then what’s my intention and how does it serve my purpose. If I am a bit vain, how can I monetize that? If I like to embellish truth, how can I use that part of my imagination to best serve myself and others? All of these traits are as pertinent to my existence as my ability to sing, cook, write, and other “Good” traits. It’s all about what I use them for. Shonda Rimes said (To paraphrase) “I am a liar.” How can I get paid to be a liar? I’ll write fictional worlds where I can embellish everything and make Thursday nights my bitch on prime time television! (I believe she was obviously onto something.. point and case!) I am learning that my personal mental health is disturbed when I shy away from any of these traits and try to conform to the roles others have placed on me. Attempt to be anyone other than myself. To put it plainly, a good “Fuck it” can change your life!

Do You Mind?!
Photo by Simone Pellegrini

Please know that I am not diminishing mental health to simply saying “Fuck it” all the time. That obviously won’t solve every problem. But it will begin to quiet the other voices we hear over and over telling us we’re not enough. And I swear I am not saying any of this because I’ve got it figured out and have managed to master this for myself. A recent “Aha” moment was given to me when my ‘Person’ said,

“You’ve been telling yourself the same bullshit others have told you for far longer than anyone else has. If you listen you don’t even hear it in anyone else’s voice but your own at this point.”

#Facts.

That shut me right up. And what that says to me is that once you’ve said “Fuck it. No.” to everyone else, it is now up to you to tell yourself the same. Tell yourself to shut up sometimes. Say no to your own mess. Eventually those voices will begin to quiet and you can hear Truth much louder and clearer.

That my peeps is Freedom!! Get free!!

Worth the Fight.

Have you guys ever thought you were fighting through a war scene in “300” or “Troy”

Just to get to the next level?

Photo by Hasan Almasi 
“The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him”
Sun Tzu

Like an all out brawl with sweat and blood everywhere!? And the threshold is an inch from your fingertips!?!?

That’s what this last month felt like for me. I THOUGHT May was a rough one. But BABY!?!? When I tell you Gemini Season came in like a Wrecking Ball!? Whew!!! I am physically, mentally and spiritually worn theeee hell out!!

The fight we’re in goes beyond the realm of anything visible or tangible. This fight is for purpose and against anything that stands in the way of that. For knowing who we are and living it out unapologetically! It’s been really real out here in these streets!!!

Oftentimes we see the reflection far more than we can see ourselves.
Oftentimes we see the reflection far more than we can see ourselves.
Colin Savon

Yet and still, God continues to show grace and mercy. And as cliche’ as it sounds, we’ve been beaten down a bit but NEVER broken! The small moments when The Spirit speaks, rather through a random encounter, or a constant noticing of the numbers 33/333 giving glimpses of sweet and ever-present salvation. I am aware that this journey has been forged for me. I’m still on track. And I have to stop and make it clear how much all of my Beauties mean to me, inspire me to keep pushing when things get tough. You all are the reason June didn’t beat us! The reason I am currently in another state taking a moment to pause and breathe before I get back home and go harder than I’ve ever gone before.

We need you guys to know how much it matters that you all share our page and videos, leave us reviews, bomb mentions in your IG stories and tell all your friends to tell their friends to hit me up so I can come through with the backpack and save yet another dry soul!! Lol! (I can’t make this stuff up. I really do get those calls and texts!)

The year ahead of us is one filled with promise. It is written. And we’re here for alllll the sh*ts!!! I am declaring that we will not be shaken and RaJean Beauty will continue to rise and serve all you amazing Beauties! Thank you guys for believing in us!

Here’s to a new month!… And sold out backpacks! Stay tuned!!

End of The Beginning…

May is an interesting month for me every year. In my home it is a month filled with celebration and sorrow. Birthdays, anniversaries and death dates. This year it has been especially bittersweet. There is absolutely soooo much to be grateful for and so much to feel a bit down about. We’ve agreed, the month of May is for building character! (As a Taurus I feel pretty good about that!) And this particular birthday was a milestone for me.

To those who I’ve told the story about the conception of RaJean Beauty , know that on my 30th birthday I said I wanted 2-3 additional streams of revenue by 31.

I made that decision, committed to the process and RaJean Beauty became the 1st additional stream of revenue outside of my regular 9-5 corporate job! As 31 got closer and closer, I began to get on myself about the fact that RaJean was only the 1st endeavor when I’d given myself a goal of 2-3. But I had to stop and remind myself that at one point, everything was only an idea in my head. Ultimately it took me YEARS of fighting off my fears and insecurities to even see this company through to fruition. So for that, I am extremely proud of myself! Grace.

Thanks to our AMAZING customers (or Beauties as we like to say!) RaJean Beauty has seen much success and great positivity over the last few months. Our app is fully functioning and we have been filling orders from there successfully. We make regular trips out of the city to backpack and have even been offered the opportunity to vend at some events. All of this is wonderful and could not be happening at a better time. We find ourselves at a crux. The infamous question “What’s next??” is beginning to reveal its answer.

Hussle and Flow!!!…

This past weekend was such a phenomenal ride y’all!!! I just wanna speak to the God moments and how much they mean to me!

So a couple weekends ago I met a young lady while out selling butters. I walked up to her and her boyfriend and another woman she was with and introduced myself. “Hi, my name is Megan! I make scented Shea butters and sugar scrubs and I was wondering if you may be interested in trying some of them out?” As random as this moment was she was so receptive and even eager to give my products a chance. She fell in love with the Softest Touch (Which of course I’d just ran out of in my backpack, cause Murphy’s law.. *Eyeroll*) but she went with the Caramel Apple Pie as her 2nd choice. I showed her my app and gave them all business cards and we went on our separate ways.

Fast forward a couple weeks and this young lady is sitting in my Airbnb, in Cincinnati, being mic’d up to speak with me on camera about my brand and my products!! She’d written an amazing review of her experience and her excitement was incredible! So I reached out and asked if she wouldn’t mind helping me out with a visual “Meet the Brand” type of piece to put on my app. She eagerly agreed and brought her beautiful raspy speaking voice and bubbly personality in all its magical glory to help me tell my story!

The ride down had been met with a couple shenanigans and the foolery spilled over into the next morning with an awful breakfast experience. But our interview quickly turned into 2 girlfriends spilling tea and feeding into one another. And this turned the entire day around! The energy was wonderful and we got soooo much great footage! My boyfriend / videographer / PR Rep / Agent / everything I never have time to be.. did an AMAZING job capturing the great moments between her and I and the conversation flowed effortlessly. We were running a tad bit behind and still managed to get more than enough and everything we needed with time to spare!! Time enough to hit the shops in Cincy before close with the infamous backpack!! And when I tell you it was LOVE!?!? Honey!! Everyone was so receptive and willing to point me in the direction of another shop that I could run over to! I made some new acquaintances, got some suggestions on events coming up that I could potentially sell at and got lots of downloads on the new app!!

But the highlight of my entire backpacking experience yesterday was being sent to a plaza that is completely owned and run by black people. This place was EVERYTHING!! Multiple shops, clothing stores, salons, barbershops, restaurants, a bar… and the parking lot was LIT!!!!! Black people EVERYWHERE!!! Enjoying one another! BBQ grills out on the sidewalk near one food place, people hanging out near their cars, talking laughing, everyone spoke. I felt so safe and at home! People were happy to support and no one was fussing or arguing about a thing! I met a chef who was also out backpacking with her desserts! We exchanged info and she made a purchase as well. I pray that we each in our lifetime experience the feeling that was in that plaza! Black excellence for sure!

So today we get out in the Over the Rhine area with my backpack and I faced the challenge of approaching random strangers headed about their own busy day, asking for a bit of their time. I’ll admit it was slightly intimidating at first but then I found my groove. I even got bold enough to approach a parked car and that turned out to be the best most meaningful sale of the day! These women had been looking for some natural products and up walks little ol random ass me! Lol!! The encounter turned into an opportunity to educate about exfoliation, and sincere bonding over the culture Cincinnati seems to offer as it relates to art and entrepreneurship. Their spirits were so beautiful and happy and I hope that they read this and know without a doubt that I’m speaking about them!

To end the night I ran a contest to help boost our app DLs up to 100 as that was the goal by the end of this week. It was down to literally minutes before midnight when I got the message that we’d hit our goal!!

There were many memorable experiences and encounters this weekend and I’m happy for those moments. Each of those is what the “Backpack” is all about! Put the work in and watch the universe make good on it! After it was all over and I decided it probably best to go ahead and hit the highway home so I don’t lose my holiday pay at my normal 9-5 *Insert another eye roll*, Nipsey Hussle played the entire drive back. My Marathon is in the early stages but I’m grinding for it and I’m grateful for each of the wins we’re getting along the way!!

Til next time…. Hussle and Motivate!!

Apps are LIVE!!!!!!

It’s officially official!! RaJean Beauty apps went live this past week on both the App Store and Google Play Store!! Now it’s possible for anyone to easily order from anywhere and shipping is only $5 or free on orders over $40!! And!!… for all my Fort Wayne peeps! Click the “More” button in the middle of the home page for an In-Town Delivery code! Free Delivery for customers in the Fort and nearby areas!!!

Y’all. This means soooo much to me!! It’s been a looooong (and fairly expensive) journey!!.. But we finally made it! There has been so much to learn along the way and I couldn’t be more proud of my team for pulling thru for me!! (By my team… I really only mean my boyfriend who wears multiple hats such as Business Advisor, Videographer [peep the promo video on the app], Film director, Coordinator, Liaison, PR rep… and now App Developer…. lol) What can I say?? Get you a HIM!! He saw me struggling to get what I needed done and made it happen!

Anyway, this app now gives RaJean Beauty the ability and opportunity to have its own multimedia platform for communication with my amazing customers on a unique level! Streamlining content from inception to your fingertips!

So stay tuned lovelies!! This is the beginning of something super dope!!

Be sure to go download the app on your smartphone so that you have exclusive access to all RaJean Beauty is doing!! Shop!!! Experience!! Rate!! Share!! Repeat!!!! Download links are below!!

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rajean-beauty-1/id1457798650?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.app.rajeanbeautye

Being the Change We Need.

I can vividly remember as a little girl, my mother would sit in her bed after a bath and mix her Vaseline, Cocoa butter, lotion, Aloe Vera and Vitamin E cream. She would oil up and say to me “You know I need something that ‘sticks’ to my skin! They don’t make stuff that sticks to our skin!” We would mix up Sulfur 8, Blue Magic and African Pride for hair grease and use olive oil for hot oil treatments. I think we can all agree that we’ve always had to get creative with the things we need to get the most out of them and I’m pretty positive that other black women remember similar stories with their moms, aunts and grandmothers too.

As of late, I’ve noticed a trend toward Natural and Organic products on commercial shelves. The “Ethnic” section seems to be growing just a bit. But check the labels on a lot of these products. Many of these products are simply the same items repackaged. Brilliant marketing really! But so unfortunate. We still need what we need. And we shouldn’t have to keep waiting on large companies to get with the program!

Part of what makes RaJean Beauty so special to me is that full-circle moment when I am mixing oils and whipping my butters, creating new products to try out. I’m in my kitchen doing just what my mother did when I was a child and sharing that gift with others who need “something that sticks to their skin!” The love and attention that goes into each batch of butter and scrub is sent right back to me every time I walk into one of the shops with my butters and those who’ve experienced my products for themselves tell others how much they need it! I get to tell people all about the benefits of Shea Butter and hear stories of how people’s skin has been repaired and rejuvenated. I’m humbled and honored to engage with real people, make real connections and help real issues and I’m grateful to be changing lives one jar at a time!