It was a perfect Saturday afternoon in Hyde Park that epitomized the aesthetic of "Summertime Chi". I had been to Hyde Park before, but I had never been able to thoroughly take in all of the culture, art, fashion, and diversity that makes that makes Chicago effortlessly beautiful. Walking down the street to the Starbucks on the corner, I was able to witness the magic in being black that isn't as prevalent in the suburbs (where I'm from). Then, I met London Purnell, who quintessentially represented black girl magic.
Sporting a stylish blue-jean outfit with jordans and pink lipstick, it was clear to me that Purnell had her own unique flavor to offer. Then she opened up to me about her business, House of Lo'Ree, and I became even more intrigued. The 17-year old entrepreneur has her own bath company that is simply designed for soothing and relaxation purposes.
"My company is mainly to help with stress, relaxation, healing, anxiety; all about just helping yourself become relaxed and in tune with yourself and not worry about everything else", said Purnell when asked about her company's mission. But the vision stemmed from her test anxiety. After going into testing rooms very stressed and nervous, she used her love for STEM to do her research to see what oils and natural products would help her relax. "I found out that lavender helps with healing, and vanilla helps with relaxation", she told me. She even mentioned that her confidence and grades got a boost from using her products.
Self-care is the best care (which is something that I'm trying to work on in my life), and I think it's crucial for black women and girls to understand that. Too often, we get so engrossed in our work and things going on around us because black females have always had to work twice as hard as everyone else to battle racism and misogyny on their way to success. But the bath products at House of Lo'Ree (which the name, I learned, is a mix of Purnell and her mom's names) solve those issues of stress and worry and help others relax.
Purnell hopes her her journey in becoming a teen entrepreneur can also inspire and help other black girls to become leaders. "Become confident in who you are as a person and as girl because we need a lot of black girls to step out.......Everybody's following the trend of doing this and doing that, and everybody's getting pregnant, but nobody is starting their own business. We need leaders to show girls to step up, so that's what I'm doing with House of Lo'Ree because I know a lot of girls who suffer from stress and anxiety and need something to relax.
Her number one piece of advice for young black female entrepreneurs-----step out of your comfort zone. "Be able to just step out of your comfort zone for a little bit because sometimes you get too comfortable with the same results and maybe you want a little bit of difference", she told me.
To be young, black, and female is a work within itself, but adding the title of an entrepreneur to the mix almost seems impossible, but London Purnell, although she knows things won't be easy, manages being all of those things by remaining true to herself and being an inspiration for others.
For more information about House of Lo'Ree visit www.houseofloree.com