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EVE MILAN NYToday’s guest on Shades and Layers is Eden Gilliam, founder of the award-winning luxury skincare brand, Eve Milan New York. Eden is an esthetician and went all the way to London to study skin nutrition during the past decade or so of her practice as a skincare professional. There are two factors that contributed to the start of Eve Milan New York. First came the need to provide for a baby. Eden was 19 years old when she had her first daughter and like she says, this put a fire underneath her to make something of herself.  Second: while helping her clients to reach their skincare goals, she also wanted to offer them luxury products with no toxins or harmful ingredients. And when she heard her customer’s concerns, she coined the phrase, “ Wear Make Up because You Want To, Not because you have to.”™   In 2021, the sheet mask (first product she launched) won a Best In Beauty Award from ALLURE magazine  and she’s been growing from strength to strength since then.  Our conversation centers around the work that she’s been doing to establish and grow her brand, we explore some industry trends and the importance of being realistic and patient while building a legacy.  I was so glad to finally connect with Eden after three failed attempts and I hope you enjoy our conversation. 
DR. OMOLARA THOMAS UWEMEDIMOWelcome to Season 4 of Shades and Layers: On Intersections (Beauty, Health and Wellness)For the first episode of this season we have partnered with  Melanin and Medicine, who are doing important work helping Black, LatinX, and Indigenous women in the medical field build, fund, and grow their own businesses. Our guest is CEO and founder, Dr. Omolara Thomas Uwemedimo. In our conversation she discusses how a health crisis forced her to take a pause and reflect on her 15-year career as a pediatrician, professor and healthcare advocate. During her recovery, she took time to connect with her colleagues in the sector and found that she was not alone in her quest for an integrated and balanced life, and so she created Melanin and Medicine.She also took the chance to use the program she offers through Melanin and Medicine, to co-found and launch her own social enterprise, Strong Children Wellness, where she continues her passion for bringing quality healthcare to children in black and brown and other marginalized communities. In our candid chat, she gets in to the details of what she does on a day to day, being raised by a nurse, growing up in a Nigerian household and all the other factors that came together to influence her career trajectory and passion for social justice and advocacy. I hope our conversation will inspire you to find the intersection of all the things that make you thrive in life and work. LINKS & MENTIONSIf Dr. Omolara's mission resonates with you, feel free to reach out to her and the team for FREE and get a review of your ideas and answers to your relevant questions.Strong Children Wellness - Co-founded by Dr. Omolara Thomas Uwemedimo , this is one of the companies that have been through the Melanin and Medicine incubator, a case of the doctor taking her own medicine if you will. NPR  - https://www.npr.org/ ESSENCE Magazine - https://www.essence.com/Politico - https://www.politico.com/
Today’s episode takes us to Atlanta Georgia, where we meet Stacie A Sanders Martin, the founder and designer at the bridal and formal wear fashion house, Sparkle and Sass. When Stacie was pushed into entrepreneurship five years ago, she took all her experience of participating in beauty pageants, styling friends and family for ten years, as well as her dream of owning her own retail space and turned it into what has become her growing fashion house. Hers is a story of ambition and resilience. Therefore, this conversation includes discussions on how loss can shape you as a person and the value of letting things grow at their own pace, in their own time. We also discuss working across time zones, how the conflict in Ukraine affected her business and all of this while she’s holding down a full-time job. One more thing you will learn about Stacie is her obsession with customer service and attention to detail. 
Today’s guest is South African visionary creative, founder and uber curator of experiences, Nandi Dlepu aka, Mamakashaka.  She’s a self-confessed romantic and I hope you will be inspired by her approach to life.  After graduating from film school, she worked for many years in television and advertising, establishing herself as a top tier creative. And in 2017, seeing new opportunities for expressing her talents and serving her community, she gathered the courage to jump into entrepreneurship and created her very own marketing agency, Mamakashaka.   Today she designs curated events for clients, she’s a sought-after speaker, Interviewer and gives talks on various aspects of creative entrepreneurship. She’s the founder of the music-driven events Feel Good Series (@feelgoodseries), the fashion-centered Pantone Sundays (@pantonesundays), as well as co-founder of the women’s gathering Women In Bloom (@womeninbloom_johannesburg).  In our conversation, we get into the details and greater purpose of each brand. To Nandi and her team, it’s not worth doing if it does not entertain, empower or inspire.  
This week, Shades and Layers is proud to present the story of Digital Collage Artist, Puleng Mongale. Puleng grew up in the cultural melting pot of Soweto township. Her young years there are filled with joy, but they have also been a source of pain and a feeling of displacement. While Soweto is a cultural melting pot, it is also a place where South Africa's cultural and language groups compete for superiority on an imaginary cultural totem. In our conversation we discuss dealing with displacement, radical self-acceptance, using art as a tool for healing. Puleng has always had a passion for the arts (especially writing and fashion) and started out as a copy writer at an advertising agency. During this period, she was also sharpening her skills as a creative director and exploring photography.  After being laid off at the start of the Covid pandemic, she bought herself a camera, learned to use it and never looked back. In our conversation, we discuss her various projects, putting a monetary value on her work and also how to approach life with curiosity. I hope you'll enjoy this amazing conversation and will be inspired to follow your own authentic journey into the things that you're passionate about. MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODELatitudes - Online Art platform that represents Puleng and many other cutting edge contemporary artists from the African continent. Seshoeshoe (Seshweshwe) - Cotton fabric named after the Basotho King Moshoeshoe and originally bearing designs inspired by traditional murals in Lesotho. Today it is a fashion staple at traditional weddings across South Africa and can be seen at other formal occasions as well as everyday fashion.  Jake - Famous and iconic public swimming pool in Orlando West area of Soweto. The link goes to a photograph captured by South African photographer Jodi Beiber. Badimo - A SeSotho word meaning ancestors or spirits. 
Shades and Layers returns for the New Year and wishes you all the good things you desire in 2022.This is episode 7 of Season 3 of Shades and Layers: On Creative Entrepreneurship… Today my guest is Candice Lawrence, Founder and Design Maker at the Cape Town-based furniture and interiors company, Modern Gesture. So, the picture of successful entrepreneurship that we are often sold is that of fast paced growth - you know, the famous hockey stick sales and growth projection, millions of dollars in venture capital investments and a superstar celebrity CEO. Nothing wrong with that, if that’s your vibe, but there’s a lot  to be said for a different approach. Candice and her team of four have been plugging away at their designs for the past six years and they are growing steadily and sustainably while achieving international success. I love the story of how Modern Gesture started out as a hobby. Most importantly, the impact that this team is having, not only aesthetically, but within their community, is truly meaningful and visible.  After completing her Bachelor’s degree in Surface Design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, she soon won a prize for her now famous Woven Necklace Lampshade. That win catapulted her into full-time entrepreneurship, and the rest as they say, is history.  Starting with an in-depth description of her work, Candice shares her story generously in this conversation and I hope you will walk away wiser and as inspired as I was after listening. Thank you Candice, it was an absolute pleasure chatting with you. MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODENando's Woven Necklace Lampshade 
Welcome to Episode 6 of Season 3So, you’ve read and heard a lot about the change in the future of work and of course, all the excitement centers the so-called "Great Resignation". Many professionals and business owners have either pivoted or left their jobs to pursue something new. That is the case with my guest today, Melodee Ndigaye, a Danish creative professional who left her corporate job to start her social media strategy consultancy, Cre8tive Social. She also has a personal blog (melodeendigaye.com) where she posts about mental health and her life journey. Definitely read her essays on there!   Our conversation was recorded during the summer of 2021 and we got to reflect on the one year plus duration of the Covid-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter, self-reliance, the security of a job versus the reward of being your own boss, and of course navigating race and identity as an immigrant, in a place where open conversation on the topic is brand new and maybe public discourse is not yet nuanced. But mainly, I wanted to speak to Melodee because she took the brave step of breaking out during the most uncertain period of our generation....You will enjoy her easy manner, open heart and joyous nature.Thanks for sharing your story @melodeendigaye It was a great pleasure talking to you 😊Link in profile to hear the episode. MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODEA Seat At The Table Podcast by Naima Yasin and Ingrid Baraka Mary Consolata Namagambe - https://maryconsolatanamagambe.com/ Lucia Odoom Vesterlund Lesley Ann Brown - Author of Decolonial Daughter: Letters from a Black Woman  to Her European Son and the platform that was my lifeline during my stay in Denmark Black Girl on Mars
In this episode, the guest is Thabisa Mjo, the vivacious and talented founder of the Johannesburg-based design company, Mash T Design Studio. Famous for the Tutu Light and Mjojo Cabinet, the studio has been rising from strength to strength since it was founded five years ago.  These two designs are part of the Louvre's collection at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs In this conversation we not only talk the ins and outs of running a creative company, but also the passion behind the work, the nature of collaboration, having a seat at the table, the meaning of accolades and the importance of being validate by your family. There are many legends and famous names mentioned and her are some of them: Scott Billy and Bon Esperance Gallery : https://bonne-esperance-gallery.com/Qaqambile Bead Studio : https://www.instagram.com/qaqambilebeadstudio/Bambizulu Studio: http://www.bambizulu.com/?v=fb1c5b0d2f97Beauty Ngxongo : https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/318684Alfred Ntuli : http://www.bambizulu.com/product/orange-alfred-ntuli-collection-ukhamba/?v=fb1c5b0d2f97 
LINGUA NIGRAWelcome to Episode 4 of Season 3!I am super excited to share with you, the story of Alicia Goodwin, founder of the jewelry brand, Lingua Nigra.   It was a great sit-down during which we talked about her career trajectory, the name of her brand, her inspiration, the revived interest in handmade goods, sustainability and plenty of other personal insights. We also got into the George Floyd murder and how the resulting spotlight on black-owned brands has played out for her own businesses since 2020.  Alicia Goodwin is from Chicago and has been making jewelry since she was a child. She has moved on from beads and wire to brass, silver and gold. Making memorable, everyday wearable pieces.  She started her career out in New York city after graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She has worked with small and large jewerly brands and got to ride the first e-commerce wave when e-bay was taking off in the early 2000s. She now has her own e-shop and distributes her jewelry to stockists throughout the USA , as well as local and international customers. MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE Candace Owens- (in)famous black conservative. Easy to find through a search…  Arkansas Diamond Mine – Fun fact: the only live diamond mine in the USA where you can Soweto – infamously built “close” to the gold mines where an innumerable number of migrant men died underground. It is surrounded by mine dumps whose dust can blind you during the windy months of the winter. A link here to the effects on the health of those living near these dumps.  
RICH AFThis week, Shades and Layers is all about being Ghetto Fabulous with one of my favorite South African illustrators, Rendani Nemakavhani, better known as PRSDNT Honey! To say that I love her work would be an understatement. It’s not only the images that she creates that I find striking, but the way in which they are presented. And, also, her why not spirit is infectious. She approaches life and work with curiosity and she’s truly not afraid to try new forms of expression for her work.  In her latest work, she ventures into the world of fashion and if you are lucky enough to live in Johannesburg, you can now buy some of her illustrations printed on stretch satin to wear, frame or do whatever with. Our conversation centers around the accessibility of art, affordability when there are bread and butter issues, making art that is a conversation starter, the kinds of conversations she wants to be having about her own work and how black people are introduced to art. We also discuss what I believe is our common areas of interest: women and blackness, being an outsider and relationships with the women in our lives. She talks extensively, deeply and fondly about her relationship with her late grandmother.MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODEGerard Sekoto - South African artist an musicianSouth African Protest Art - Posters created (mostly) anonymously under apartheid to protest the repressive regime that ruled between 1948 and the early 1990s. 
MALUTI MAGICIn today’s episode, we head to the magical kingdom of Lesotho, where we meet Moliehi Mafantiri, the co-founder of the fast-growing sustainable homeware brand, Barali. Moliehi co-founded the company with her high school friend, Mookho Ntho, with the aim of sharing Basotho culture through storytelling, preserving local traditions and contributing to the Lesotho textile industry in a sustainable way.  The two women also run a design studio, which funds their homeware brand, while amplifying their fellow Basotho’s voices, and they have started a digital story archive called Bonesa, which means to illuminate … In between all of this Moliehi is pursuing her Masters in Environment and Society at the University of Pretoria.  We had this conversation just as she finished her mid-years, and we had the chance to explore topics like the challenges of finding local interest in sustainable design, the joys of reflecting traditions they treasure in their work with Barali and paying homage to other trailblazers who are choosing the road less traveled. Mentions and Links in this episode Fair Trade - this links to an article that cites the pros and cons of Fair Trade. In the context of this episode of Shades and Layers this topic is discussed with Barali's working environment in mind. They source directly from mohair producers in rural Lesotho and South Africa,  with the intention of bringing fair, equitable and sustainable manufacturing practices to the Lesotho Textile industry.  Could the Fair Trade model be one to copy?Dianamarena (pl.)/Seanamarena (sing.) - Lesotho traditional blanket Here is more about Mookho's art: Mokorotlo Hat - Traditional Basotho hat made from grass.Bonesa - A Sesotho word meaning 'to shine a light on or illuminate'. Follow the link to read the story 'Mapei' by author Moso Sematlane Mohair Industry - for a deep dive. A good read if you're interested in some facts an figures about this fine textile. 
LOVE AFRICAIn this first episode of the season, Sweden-based South African designer, Nkuli Mlangeni-Berg discusses her take on Sustainability, Collaborative Partnerships on and Artisanship. Nkuli is an award-winning designer and Creative Social Entrepreneur, who uses her collaborative platform  The Ninevites, to tell stories about her beloved South Africa, amplify African voices and to reignite interest in the work of weavers and other underappreciated traditional craft makers.Nkuli grew up in Kagiso, in the west of Johannesburg where she lived with her grandmother and her cousins. This is where she spent most of her time daydreaming and cultivating a love for fashion and the creative industries. She was also subconsciously taking in the influences of her Ndebele and Swati heritage, the echoes of which can be seen in her work. What you also get from the story behind each Ninevites rug or throw cushion is Nkuli's love for archives and deep research into South African and other African history.She deeply believes in creativity for social good and in this conversation we discuss slow design, sustainability and being conscious about how we consume goods. You are going to love her personal story.Mentions and Links : Nkuli was recently part of a new international design event,  South Sweden Design Days, where she brought together her fellow South African designers to exhibit their work. In this interview she discusses her approach to creative entrepreneurship and preserving traditional crafts. Thomas SankaraRobert SobukweMiriam MakebaWinnie Madikizela Mandela
Hey, welcome back! Shades and Layers is ready with a third season! But before we get started, I just wanted to thank all of you for your support during the past crazy year and your contribution to the ongoing conversation about black women entrepreneurs working in spaces where they are still largely excluded. If you are new to the podcast, welcome! Please feel free to explore past episodes and get some inspiration from the many amazing black women who are claiming their space in ways that are as unique as each one of them.  I’m Kutloano Skosana Ricci, your host, and for the remainder of 2021, we will be exploring Creative Entrepreneurship. The interviewees in this season contribute their own unique aesthetic to their chosen area of design, ranging from graphic design to jewelry design, to interior décor. There is a wide range of topics in each conversation, and you will hear how these women find creative solutions to business issues like sustainable production, which resources they tap into to make professional progress, how to create partnerships and successful collaborations, finding your space in places where you are not welcome, self-care, balanced living and much more. Shades and Layers Season 3 episodes will be available on your favorite podcast app, every fortnight, starting on Tuesday the 5th of October. 
RISE TO THE OCCASIONToday we are talking passion, profit and impact with the founder of Hele Rose Skincare, Day Bibb (@yoga.and.nectarines)  Day is based in the Pacific Northwest city of Portland in Oregon, where she not only has a store, but also runs a non-profit for survivors of domestic violence called OM Thrive Foundation. There are multiple reasons why Day started her natural skincare company, including a mission to resolve her daughter's sever eczema , a Covid-related shove into entrepreneurship, as well as a need for a steady source of funds to keep OM Thrive going.  This conversation veers into discussions about creating your own alternatives, advocacy, injustice as a driver for change, balance and self-love. Day’s story is the perfect guide to moving from idea to implementation, realizing your true worth and rising to the occasion.  
BONUS EPISODE My guest today is Taryn Gill, South African entrepreneur and founder of haircare brands such as The Perfect Hair, Curls in Bloom, and the trademarks SuperCurl and Soft Sista. Taryn’s story is a true masterclass on how to manage your career, spot opportunities and using your experiences for business success. She has worked for some of the greatest names in SA publishing and media. She’s an alumna of the business reality show, Shark Tank, and the high priestess of a community built around her first brand, The Perfect Hair. We caught up at a time when South Africa was starting to reckon with the riots that shook the country after  former president Jacob Zuma was arrested (story linked below in the mentions). The country was also in the middle of yet another hard Covid lockdown. Mind you, while all of this was going on, she was also in the middle of finalizing a partnership with a local distributor and hosting Taryn’s Table Talk, a series of important conversations about natural hair under the auspices of her own brand, @curlsbytarynMentioned In this EpisodeSouth African RiotsSowetanTownship EconomicsJustice MalalaDawn RobertsonPhumzile Mlambo-NgcukaJane Raphaely
UNSUN YOUR MELANIN (BONUS EPISODE)This bonus episodes of Shades and Layers focuses on something that a lot of darker-skinned people barely think about: sunscreen. To many, this is something that is only of concern to the light-skinned and of course this is reinforced by the white residue that is left behind by a lot of sunscreen, leaving you with a ghostly/zombified look. Enter Katonya Breaux and her solution: Unsun Comsmetics. They make natural and clean, tinted sunscreen products for all skin tones. For Katonya (CEO and founder of the company), this is both a personal 'victory' and a service to those, especially to women of colour, who want a natural sunscreen that does not irritate your skin and eyes like many of the chemical ones do. This conversation is so much fun, it's educational and  you will walk away inspired to do something. Katonya has founded two successful companies in two unrelated industries and her background has been key to how she approaches her projects and passions. She makes it sound so simple, almost natural, while acknowledging the challenges that come with learning about and running a growing business in an industry she previously knew nothing about. Most importantly she is claiming her space and diversifying  a space where women of colour are still not the default.I hope you'll enjoy this chat. 
SEASON FINALE - Season 2, Episode 10Happy Birthday Shades and Layers! Yes, it all began one year ago in June of 2020, while the world was deep in the throes of wrestling with how to manage the Covid-19 pandemic. It is fitting that this final episode of Season 2 (On Wellness/Well-being) brings the podcast full circle to where it all began: the beauty industry. Mathebe Modise, Founder of BeautyontApp, is my guest on this episode. Her e-commerce company has been growing in leaps and bound during the last while, thanks to a convergence of various factors, including South Africans being more comfortable with online shopping, the recent Clicks scandal and the obsession with skincare that goes hand in hand with living under on-and-off lockdowns of the Covid-era. Skincare has become something of a go-to ritual for self-care and wellness enthusiasts, bolstered by the launch of a countless number of celebrity skincare brands, from Alicia Keys to Pharell Williams. In South Africa, there is one main stop for all your shopping needs in this category and today's conversation is all about the company and its founder. This conversation is very inspirational and I hope you'll enjoy Mathebe's bubbly personality, her take on how to balance a busy life, her sheer determination to succeed and her belief that it is possible to create a successful company made for black women, by a black woman.  
EXHUME OR HEALSeason 2 Episode 9 We continue profiling the entrepreneurs and game changers who are changing and adding to the diversity of the wellness space and today it’s the story of life and relationship coach, Rosemary Mupambwa.  When the Zimbabwean-born Rosemary lost her husband in the year 2000, and soon after that her parents and not long after, her siblings, she felt as though her world was ending.  Being the resilient person that she is, she somehow found the courage to leave her three small kids behind and seek her fortune and healing in the Americas. She has now found a home in Calgary Canada. This is where she runs her Life and Relationship Coaching business and celebrates many great successes and family milestones that you will hear about during our conversation.  Rosemary Mupambwa has written a book called Exhume or Heal: A Widow’s Memoir, which is both the story of her journey to healing and a toolkit for other women who are struggling to cope with their life challenges, including divorce, widowhood and other life changing events.  Our conversation explores some of the tools she uses in her practice, the most difficult cases she has dealt with and her no-nonsense approach to getting clients to do the work that they want to do.  As you will find out, it’s not all serious talk, Rosemary is a great storyteller, and she has a wicked sense of humor. First up, let’s find out how she views the work that she does … 
EPISODE 8 OF SEASON 2 If like me, lo-fi beats have given you the peace of mind you need while working during this pandemic, then you already know something about mindful hip-hop. And that is the topic of my conversation with Brooklyn-based hip-hop artist, Toni Blackman., who is an advocate of mindful hip-hop. Our conversation is a journey that takes us to the start of her career in the 90s as a recording artist, through the years while using her platform for education and healing. Toni has also been wearing many hats throughout the years; from consulting/facilitating workshops for corporates, co-creating work with  A-list celebrities and using hip-hop cyphers as a tool for healing and education in her immediate community of Brooklyn, and other parts of the world.She was one of the first  US global hip-hop ambassador selected by the State Department, and continues this work through her artist residencies throughout the world. So far, she has taken her various hip-hop projects to 47 countries and worked with a countless number of artists in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia.Toni's work and commitment to hip-hop has now led her to mindfulness and meditation, where she creates safe spaces for healing on various platforms including a  YouTube Channel, a podcast and a theatrical performance called 'Let The Cypher Say Amen'.This is an awesome conversation about dedication, commitment and above all, well-being. LINKS TO TONI'S OTHER WORKHow To Freestyle: https://youtu.be/SJWqZcewxsU The Wisdom of the Cypher: https://youtu.be/8W4yro7ESWUMORE HERE: https://www.youtube.com/user/ToniB104
THE ULTIMATE DINING EXPERIENCEThis is Episode 7 of Season 2 of Shades and Layers. This story is inspiring because it's about believing in yourself and the importance of surrounding yourself with people who support your dreams. Rebecca Morgan, better known as Chef Bella B, She quit her restaurant job eight years ago, fashioned herself as a private chef and never looked back. She tried a few things in her new profession as private chef and found that she truly shines when she's the host, and so she chose the tag line "The Ultimate Dining Experience". Chef Bella has also quickly earned herself a good name as the Airbnb chef, serving travelers visiting her current home city, Denver in Colorado, USA. Rebecca believes in food as medicine, the power of growing your own food and knowing exactly what it is you are putting into your body, whether you choose to continue eating meat or changing to a plant-based diet. In this conversation, she is so very open and generous in telling her story. And she has a fantastic sense of humor. You will definitely love this chat. Connect with me on Instagram @shadesandlayerspodcast and let me know what you think. 
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