Tell us a little bit about your back story. Where are you from?
I’m originally from a small town in Mississippi. Growing up I always had a proclivity for nurturing and healing. I thought I wanted to be a doctor or a surgeon and after taking many courses on human anatomy and physiology, I became enamored with the human body and its ability to not only perform but, if cared for properly, to heal itself. During this time, the health disparities in the south and amongst communities of color became very apparent to me, so I set out on a journey to do what I could to create meaningful change. That journey included a degree in Exercise Physiology and spending time working in Cardiac rehabilitation. I then journeyed into Prosthetics where I made limbs for those who suffered amputations due to diabetes, peripheral artery disease, veterans of war, and those with congenital amputations or birth defects and finally becoming a licensed Esthetician so that I could hone in on the passion I picked up along the journey, for creating products for the body and skin.
When did you start your company and what inspired you to do so?
I started the original company (Meaux Moisture) in 2014. In 2017 a vision was downloaded to me as I slept one night, of a space for community, freedom, and authenticity where women could be educated on holistic living and clean product options. Where we could be cared for and practice radical self-care. So I reached out to another entrepreneur in the city just to get some insight on opening a brick + mortar in Philly, being that I wasn't a Philly native. I told him about my idea, and also shared that I needed help, as I didn’t think this was something I wanted to tackle alone. His response was “ah this is dope, I think you should talk to Bon about it.”
BON! His wife was already my friend in my head. Several mutual friends had already stated, “you should meet my friend Bonkosi.” The crazy part is, I had driven by Bonkosi standing on a sidewalk within the first few days of moving to Philly in 2014 and remembered thinking WHO? is this beautiful woman with lavender hair, with her head thrown back engaging in a mouth-wide open laugh (couldn’t hear it then as I was in my car but I’m all too familiar with that infectious laugh now). Our serendipitous friendship turned partnership, co-creating this amazing space is all apart of our alignment, a combination of both of our lives work, for a greater purpose.
Can you share about your process? What makes your product unique? What do you love most about it?
I’ve spent the last 7 years researching and formulating products, first for my family and then friends. The formations are almost always formed out of a need my family and friends have. The part I enjoy most is hearing how it has helped or given them the power to transition away from products with harmful ingredients. It’s more of a rebellion against the status quo of products. Freedom’s products are still formulated in small batches in my home using carefully sourced ingredients.
What do you value most about the community you have built at Freedom?
I value the partnerships we’ve built with fellow makers and the community of women we continue to foster and build. I really enjoy the exhale, followed by a deep inhale customers make when they walk through the shop doors. Also the radiant glow and lack of words after receiving a facial from Allyson, our holistic esthetician. It just lets me know that what we’ve worked hard to create is manifesting daily right before our eyes.
What does Women Supporting Women mean to you?
It means standing together. Collectively we can have more impact. Through collaboration, partnerships, discourse, and dialogue, we have more power to create lasting and meaningful change.
Can you share one other female-founded business we should know about?
There are so many. But right now, I’m loving Vinti. It is a uniquely curated vintage shop for the modern woman. Lori the owner has an amazing eye. I was virtually introduced to Lori by a high school classmate and I can’t wait to meet her in person once Covid-19 allows.
Why do you feel like it's important to support the Loveland Foundation?
One of the reasons I wanted to create Freedom Apothecary was to empower Black women and make space for them to exercise radical self-care. I’m also personally aware of how important therapy and like resources are in the process of unearthing your truths and traumas, in order to heal and be authentically you.
Photography by: Rachel Mayo (@rachelinthelight)