Royalty At Its Finest, Getting to know Lost Queens

Royalty At Its Finest, Getting to know Lost Queens

Meet young business owner Eboni M.
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The greatest part about this year of 2016 is that the Black community has begun to join and ban together in the midst of all the chaos and injustice happening within the law system in America. Deterring the attention away from current world issues, one topic that has long been ignored is finally starting to come to light. Black owned businesses and why we should support them. One of the many solutions to Black people in America gaining not only human rights equality, but all around equality is to stop following this "American Dream" concept that has been put before since childhood. We must obtain, create, and control OUR OWN. In other words, in order to break the cycle its time for us to stop following this pre-packaged American Dream of working some type of 9-5 that you have no passion for and follow your dream. The human default is to automatically think that something like this unobtainable, its "too big" or "too much". but the truth is you can fulfill any desire that you are passionate about and are skilled in. Especially in this day and age.

After the Alton Sterling shooting, the Black Community came together so strong all over this country, not just outwardly but on social media as well remember the internet is powerful. I'm always making new connects on Twitter and I see so many of the young black youth (the cool kids are like what I like to call them) thriving within these small and sometimes even big businesses that they have created for themselves. They start small and it grows into something bigger more and more every day. It is truly inspiring to see and it's also a reminder that you can do it too. It just takes some perseverance and hard work. Thinking about the potential of the power of Black owned Businesses inspired me to interview one of my fav business owners, Eboni Merriman, founder of Lost Queens.



I've been obsessed with Lost Queens ever since I discovered them through seeing my friend "DazziDazz" (who I interviewed a few weeks ago) model some their pieces. I saw the diversity of the models, the set up, and I thought it was amazing. When I saw Lost Queen's "Formation" inspired photo shoot I fell deeper in love! Ever since I've been keeping up with LQ and many other black business as a supporter and witness that establishing your wildest dream is obtainable.

Eboni is 24-years-old originally from New York City, but currently resides in Richmond, VA. We had a little email chat over the weekend just so I could look in the genius of just what Lost Queens is.


So, when was LQ (Lost Queens) first founded?

"AUGUST 2014"

Where did your Inspiration to start Lost Queens come from?

"I wanted to celebrate black womanhood in all of its fullness and the Pharrell "Lost Queen" song kept looping in my head. I've always loved jewelry so it was just natural to go this way."

So I wanna know about this process its' so interesting! You come up with all of the designs yourself?

"I either work with an individual vendor to come up with Lost Queens exclusives or I choose from a few specific vendor's selections based on what I like."

How is the jewelry made? Is it all made by hand? Do you/will you ever use a manufacturer to produce your work?

"We use a few vendors in LA, NYC, Turkey, India & China currently. We had thigh chains and faux septum clips made by hand in previous collections and we hopefully want to expand to Ghana soon."

How long does it typically take to make a piece?

"We're able to get most of our shipments in on a weekly basis; if something is limited edition and that vendor only made a certain amount, I make sure to note that on it's listing."

Do you have a team of people that help you?

"Currently, I have a creative director that I work with. She's helping me clean up the site, streamline the processes, pull some interns together, and take us to another level. I had an assistant for a few months and I made all of my friends help me in the beginning, but I do almost all of the day to day operations solo."

How did you begin to make connections in business? I feel like living in New York would be an advantage. Was easy to find people (photographers, make up artists, etc) to work with?

"Yeah, I pretty much just used my friends and social media network to find everything I needed. I had a blog in the past with a friend of mine and I've been on Twitter since 2009 so I was able to network fairly easily."


What is your ultimate goal with LQ?

"I want to create a retail empire that impacts and provides representation for ALL Black women"

How far would you say LQ has come since it first started?

"We've come such a long way. We celebrate our 2 year anniversary this month and we've already landed major press and seen our pieces on television, print newspapers and magazines, celebrities, major music festivals, etc."

So now that you've come to this established place in your business, what future plans do you have for lost queens?

"Events, becoming more engaged with our community and growing the business/streamlining our processes."

http://www.lostqueens.com/

https://twitter.com/LostQueens

https://twitter.com/EboniRM


Cover Image Credit: Lost Queens

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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The Gillette Controversy: Should Companies Share Their Views?

"We Believe: The Best Men Can Be" by Gillette is about creating a conversation, whether you agree with the commercial or not.

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We Believe: The Best Men Can Be | Gillette (Short Film) www.youtube.com

January 13, 2019, Gillette released a commercial that takes a new focus on their tagline "The Best a Man Can Get." The commercial weighs in on the Me Too movement and showcases different moments of toxic masculinity.

These moments include boys bullying another boy through cyberbullying, two young boys beating each other up while fathers are watching them saying that "boys will be boys", a set of a 1950s sitcom where a man grabs his maids butt to which the audience is encouraged to applause and laugh at his act, and a businessman laughing at his female colleague's statement and then says to the other male colleagues, "What I actually think she means…"

A voiceover in the ad says, "Is this the best a man can get? Is it? We can't hide from it, it's been going on far too long. We can't laugh it off, making the same old excuses. But something finally changed [implying the Me Too movement and people speaking up], and there will be no going back..."

The commercial then shifts to showing a man stepping in when another man tells a woman to smile, when a man stops another man from following a woman down the street, and video clips of men stopping fights and having two boys shake hands, as well as a father encouraging his daughter to say she is strong. There is also a moment when a father from the "boys will be boys" scene tells those kids fighting, "This is not how we treat each other."

The voiceover continues with "...Because we…We believe in the best in men. To say the right thing. To act the right way. Some already are, in ways big and small. But 'some' is not enough. Because the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow."

This commercial sparked controversy with people saying that not all men show toxic masculinity, many people saying that this commercial is anti-male, and people saying they will now boycott Gillette and their partner company. Whereas others are praising the commercial with many saying that, if you're offended by this commercial, then that is why it was made.

But regardless of what you think of the commercial as a whole, the big topic of discussion is whether or not it is okay if companies should be political and put their two cents in through marketing.

I say yes.

I believe it is very okay for companies to express their thoughts and concerns about political and social issues through marketing. When the Me Too movement first came into the light, many people wanted Hollywood to stay out of politics/social issues. The public did not want to hear about the sexual harassment allegations throughout Hollywood, however, because of these celebrities bringing light to this issue more and more people, celebrity or not, are coming forward and speaking their truths.

More and more people are realizing the signs of harassment and speaking up before it can get worse. Society is more aware of these social issues because people with a platform are talking about it. Unfortunately, many people still do not want to listen to people with platforms, but having the conversation is important, so how else can we keep the conversation going?

That is where commercial and other forms of advertisements can come in. The commercial did exactly what it intended to do: to create a conversation. Talk shows like "The View" or "The Talk" are talking about, news outlets are talking about it, people on YouTube are talking about it, and here I am writing an Odyssey article related to the topic.

The commercial created conversation. It got people thinking about and discussing their concerns, their feelings about the idea of toxic masculinity, as well as how this commercial could or could not be the new wave of change. It is important to have conversations, as it is the only way for things to change and for people to see that how things used to be are not the way they should be now.

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