Jul 30, 2019
So I've FINALLY got around to doing a Budding Business Interview. Its been a very trying summer thus far. Between debuting Bare Skin by Brittani, having ACL replacement surgery and keeping my 7 year old busy, I just haven't had much time to sit and actually FOCUS. In fact, I'm currently typing this interview surrounded by massive piles of folded laundry, lol. But without further ado, I'm ready to introduce the mastermind behind this weeks Budding Business Interview. And what better person to introduce to you guys first than my one and only sister, Alaura.
Aside from being my baby sister, she is the founder of the hair and skin care line Honeyed Lotus and the artist behind all of the beautiful pieces you'll see below. Alaura is currently senior at Indiana University of Pennsylvania where she is the President of the university's NAACP chapter, a AKA Soror, and a stellar student majoring in Criminology with a double minor in Pan African studies and Women & Gender Studies.
Despite having all of those responsibilities on her plate, she still has time to volunteer, work on her Honeyed Lotus line and PAINT! Whew!!! Alaura is and has always been an advocate for equal rights and treatment of women, persons of color, and the LBGTQ community, participating in numerous events across the State of Pennsylvania. Much of her advocacy is expressed through her artwork, and her love of black culture and representation is a huge part of why she created Honeyed Lotus. After reading this interview, please be sure to visit her website www.honeyedlotus.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram to learn more and purchase some of her amazing products. To visit her sites and social media pages, just click their names or the pictures throughout the interview or search them. Now hereeeeee we go!
For starters, could you please share a little about what inspired you to start Honeyed Lotus and what services/products do you offer? I taught myself that beauty is more of a feeling than an appearance. From that, I began creating products that not only make me feel good, but that also do good to my body.
In the current age of social media, everyone uses outlets like Facebook and Instagram to advertise their businesses. You really have to give prospective buyers a compelling reasonto want to buy your products. You must also be willing to give away something for free (even if it's just advice or information). What strategies have you used to promote your products and artwork? One strategy that I've used to promote my business is staying connected with my supporters. That means creating interactive posts on my Instagram where people can vote and give their feedback. It also provides a place for me to respond to their comments and let them know I am listening. This makes the business more realistic than just a page for me to post products.
What does it mean to you to be a young, African-American, female entrepreneur? Would you mind sharing any challenges you face from a business standpoint, and how you are able to overcome them? It's hard starting a business surrounding natural skin and haircare because it is such a large industry in our community. From major companies like Cantu and Shea Moisture, to small businesses like Etae and other black women who started from where I started. The competition is heavy. But there is so much beauty in that, and that's why I am okay with it. We can all have a seat at the table. I just remind myself that every brand is different and there are things I have to offer that let's say, Shea Moisture, may lack at and vice versa.
I've always known you to be creative. What made you decide to start sharing your artwork with others? Is there a message that you're trying to deliver through the pieces collectively, or do they each have a unique subject? LOL. I always get embarrassed looking at my first few paintings because they were so trash! But now as I learn more about art and watch more videos on YouTube, I feel like I am better at expressing myself. They rarely have any meaning. Sometimes I just pick up the paintbrush, some paint colors that match how I feel at the time, and go to work! I wanted to share my feelings and expressions with others so I took those feelings/expressions and turned them into something pretty. Hopefully people can feel inspired to do the same with my art.
What inspires you to paint? Do you have to create a certain atmosphere to paint, or can you just do it anytime, at anyplace? I can paint literally anywhere. The issue is that I cannot do my best work unless I'm at peace. So I might make a nice picture if I'm at home or somewhere in public, but only I know it could be 100 times better if I had been at peace. The best place for me to paint is at the lake (I don't want to give my secret location up LOL). I go to the lake and I am 100% at peace. There are no distractions. I can lay in the grass, breathe fresh air, and just paint.
Will you be showcasing your artwork anywhere soon? I will be showcasing some of my pieces on Sunday August, 5th 2019 at Voices of Power Open Mic in Philadelphia, PA. This is the first time my art has ever been publicly onh display. I am super nervous, happy, and excited all in one!
Where can people go to learn more about Honeyed Lotus or to purchase your products and artwork? My art can be found on my personal Facebook page Alaura Johnson and Honeyed Lotus Natural Beauty Products and on Instagram at @acj.xi My natural products can be found at www.honeyedlotus.com and on Instagram at @Honeyed.Lotus
Lastly, if you had one piece of advice for someone just starting out, what would it be? My biggest tip to anyone who is new to the business world is to just pace yourself. It's not a race, don't compare, and move at your own pace.