5 Black Owned Businesses You NEED to Check Out!Feb 01, 2023
I’m big into celebrating people, their achievements and cultures. Knowing what people have gone through, created and contributed to from our past is so important and gives us a chance to reflect or expand upon their good that can impact our future for the better. Connecting with ancestral teachings, building or starting something new, even being within an industry where one isn’t represented enough is worthy of celebration.
During this time I take a closer look to reflect on the impacts of oppression, the goals and creativity of Black people all over the world. It’s a time to uplift and to recognize the efforts within a community and honour those before me that still went to do amazing things despite the world around them telling a different story. From there taking that knowledge and applying it in my own community by uplifting those who are doing the same thing right here and now; the change makers, risk takers, energy builders and community leaders.
It’s been amazing to see the growth within the Ottawa Valley because representation opens the way for others to see their own potential as well. It creates an abundance for small business and tourism. When it comes to inviting family and friends to the area they can see themselves either living here. Most of all they can feel more COMFORTABLE in this area.
Here are 6 amazing Black entrepreneurs making big waves in the Ottawa Valley. Visit them, uplift their work, share their info and explore all that they have to offer this month and every month!
re.Planted Farm & Floral Studio
“I hope more people come to the valley looking for sustainable experiences that will be etched as a positive time in their memories forever!” - Akos
Located in Deep River, ON - Akos and Bernard have created a space that is not only on their own terms but aligns with the way ancestors lived before us and that constant pull back to nature. From floral bouquet arrangements for weddings, organic produce using regenerative practices and on-farm workshops they provide an experience like no other. I’ve been really intrigued by their socials lately and how they educate me on the use of specific seedlings, the reasons why they grow specific vegetables, information about their approach to entrepreneurship, community and family life. Ok, even the descriptions of flavour, because we all know flavour is important!. I can see how conscious they are of their impact on the soil, and people around them and that their goal is to expand and nurture the next generation.
With Deep River being the 4th best place to live in you’ll be able to see that this really comes from the people that are there. re.Planted Farm consider themselves one of the stewards. Feeding people, growing things for people is an act of love and compassion and by doing so it provides the tools for anyone whether new to the area or been there for a lifetime to connect on another level. With huge support from the community they have been able to find a non-competitive connection with fellow entrepreneurs/friends. And you can see, feel and hear the impact whenever you ask “Where can I get produce or fresh flowers?”
Sustainability is re.Planted's jam! With being a military family they've moved quite a few times. This lead to their farm blooming from a sustainable perspective. Their growing space (1500 sq ft) is smaller than most farms but their energy is mighty. To hear/read about their goals to grow beyond what they have now, to collaborate with artisan grocery stores across the Valley and provide as many Deep River blooms for couples getting married, special occasions is inspiring. Care, compassion and intention to nurture these blooms and that nurturing intention is placed into each and every the bouquets created. I mean, this is where I’d like to get my wedding flowers from someday! Stunning!
Photos by: Captured By Sage
Definitely putting their spot on my list and planning more trips to Deep River!
Cool info about re.Planted Farm & Florals
They love collaborating with:
- Reco Refillery in Deep River. Zero Waste and Household product store.
- Captured by Sage If you take a look at the photos that re.Planted puts out there Sage has an eye.
Before re.Planted Akos owned an e-commerce business:
Essence Luxe Couture (Custom Wigs) which landed a deal on CBC's Dragons Den.
“Being an entrepreneur is risky, and I know there is a lot of fear and worry, when deciding to start a business, but I challenge everyone to go for your dreams. Even if it is scary.” Emily Peters Woolley
Facebook: EPW Creations Group
Handmade custom items and being able to use them in your everyday life can make a big difference. I really enjoy the artistry that Emily has put into her creations and her attention to detail but also her attention to those she’s creating for. This is really what captured me as I found her work ethic and how she invites others to be kind and loving through her work and designs.
Emily will tell you that her entrepreneurship journey started with making earrings which turned into more design work. From following her on social media and exploring her products I noticed she’s not only a humble human being but an exciting entrepreneur.
EPW Creations hails out of Pikwakanagan with her husband and two children. From custom shirts, tumblers, earrings, pillowcase and more. When I’m shopping or looking to pick up her items - I head over to the Rusty Lantern Boutique in Eganville or over to Big Franks in Pikwakanagan! Out of noticing that there wasn't a huge range of cultural products, wares or outfits in her area she was inspired to create something and I enjoy that her dreams, her hopes not only are to serve the community around her but to offer her services to those in other communities who notice the same!
Emily has had her own share of racism and hate, she explains that living in Renfrew County is beautiful therefore she focuses on the support that is always around her, the love that is always around her which keeps her inspired.
To find her creations head over to her Facebook Group which she hopes to expand to an Etsy E-Commerce store in the future. I strongly suggest connecting with her there and take notice just how amazing she is as a parent, community supporter and business owner.
Meghan Stewart - Mindfulness Meghan
“All of my success has not come with difficult and courageous decisions at some tough crossroads, in fact, they have been defining elements of my success. That being said, the community, my amazing group of friends, mentors, mothers also in entrepreneurship and fellow small business owners have all contributed just as much to my journey in positive ways. “ - Meghan Stewart
Meghan is a mindfulness coach, belonging teacher and empowerment guide who operates in the Ottawa/Ottawa Valley area. Her entrepreneurial roots come from within the hospitality and human resources area and I’m telling you right here and now she is one of the most effective individual and group coaching experts I’ve had the pleasure of working with.
Meghan’s journey started by noticing the lack of awareness and understanding of how race and mental health intersected. In needing to find resources for herself, being propelled into a journey of self-healing and community connection, creation, sustainability she began exploring more.
Now, if you have ever chat with Meghan or been able to take her services/immerse in the experiences she creates, she’ll mention the need for wellness/mindfulness services not only for the individual but for those in the community. Even though through her own search she found there to be a lack of spaces and local businesses with Black representation, it pushed her into the non-profit sector in which she began to work with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of the Global Majority) communities in the education system and youth. Meghan has a way of connecting people together through reflection and her authenticity shines through when developing educational programs within schools and spaces.
Her goals of creating retreats that ensure coinciding events for both children and adults that would amplify wellness and cultural diversity within the Valley are strong. It’s been great to witness her meditations, her offerings at spaces like Union 108, Elements Luxury Tented Camp and more.
Photos by: Salako Photography
More about Meghan
Hopes for transformation of tourism within the Valley?
To see more diversity in entrepreneurship, to see more youth empowerment offerings and collaboration.
Business’ she loves to collaborating with:
Trailhead Lake House
“I love the wildlife and never tire of seeing the deer, ducks and lions and otters and foxes and eagles - it’s my happy place”. - Kendra
Website: www.trailheadlakehouse.caInstagram: @trailheadlakehouse
Callllllllabogieeee has been growing and it is so good to see entrepreneurs like Kendra in the accommodation space. As a Jamaican-Canadian she provides an experience that is rooted in her love for hosting family and friends and her dreams of creating comfortable spaces for people to enjoy. And I can tell you that their hospitality is fantastic and compassionate.
The village has a feeling that’s hard to experience anywhere else and the wildlife, naturescapes and beautiful people really solidified where to create the Lake House. There are so many adventures to explore all year round and Kendra highlights that every time with her guests. It’s also why the Lake House has two unique spaces called the Loft & Chalet. Each their own private entrance or one can use the entire space together for big gatherings.
This place is fantastic, with access to an in-ground saltwater pool, hot tub, tons of space to roam, private waterfront and tons of space to rest. I can see why her face lights up when she talks about it and her journey. Kendra knows that businesses like hers contribute to the transformation of tourism within the Ottawa Valley. Spaces that offer versatility while setting a high benchmark for hospitality. The Trailhead Lake House for me personally helps me know that many different people from many different backgrounds can feel welcome and when I chat with others they are excited to see AND they know that this type of representation is so needed.
When asked about the future, Kendra speaks about the hopes of Trailhead Lake House expanding into hosting more retreats that reflect wellness and community building events that really connect people to the wonders that Calabogie has to offer. With many of their guests looking for a place to heal or connect I can see how this space will grow. Definitely on the top of my list to nestle and disconnect but reconnect to my own roots and community.
More about Trailhead Lake House:
- Up to 16 people can stay, which makes it great for retreats and big gatherings.
- Amazing fire pit space for community connection
- Calabogie Cleaning Company keeps their space fresh and clean!
- Otterburn Maple Farm with good quality food.
- Cafe Laurent, can’t deny the delicious ice cream and treats from there! They are one of a kind!
As I mentioned before it’s been so amazing to see the community grow but to also see the representation in tourism and offerings around the Ottawa Valley. It’s been inspiring to see up and coming Black creators and entrepreneurs create spaces, events, retreat spaces and really invest into the places they live.
Take time this year to check them out and let me know what you think! I, for one, think this is a real gem in the area.
The Prosper Company
“We really love the community feel and support. The Valley feels like home to us and felt like the right place to start our photography business.” - The Prosper Company
Capturing those special moments in your life are important. From weddings to achievements, from marathons to business events. Big trips and milestones plus everything in between and I find that The Prosper Company tells a story like no other. I’ve had the honour to work with them and from the beginning all the way to the final product is even a story itself.
Dane retired from the Canadian Armed Forces in 2019 and at the time wasn’t sure where he wanted to place his focus. From his interests in highschool with photography/videography and the closures in 2020 it gave him time to not only reflect but learn more about a craft that brings him joy today.
He was able to incorporate photography while he volunteered for Walk for the Wounded in the Ottawa Valley and those moments solidified him and his wife Shelby to moving their family later that year (I’m grateful they did!). The exploration from real estate photography to helping small businesses create their brand really gave them a view of all that could be found within the Valley in terms of adventure, nature and different tourism aspects.
Dane mentioned and always mentions when we work together the supportive small business community and how they work together to really showcase the people, the spaces and the energy. Which makes me really excited to see their rebrand in Spring/Summer 2023 as they give us a showcase of all they’ve learned. They continue to offer real estate photography/videography and branding for small businesses BUT now I’m excited to see their new offerings into wedding photography/videography and adventure storytelling.
Exploring different stories of people who are traveling and bringing those stories to life. I can’t help but mention that both Dane and Shelby take such immense care when discussing their projects with clients, asking them about their love for their businesses, learning more about the person, their feelings and you can see it when they present the final product. I’m speaking for personal experience because they are constantly surprising me each and every time we work together and I hear it from others as well.
More about The Prosper Company
Hopes for transformation of tourism within the Valley?
Dane/The Prosper Company would love to see the Valley become a more safe and visibly accepting space for BIPOC people (Black,Indigenous and People of Colour) through more encouragement from municipalities, organizations and all industries. And overall more proactive support for businesses everywhere whether they are just starting or have been operating for a while.
Business’/Initiatives they love to collaborate with?
- Dane and Shelby mentioned me so I’m going to add in a small plug because why not?! Ro Nwosu “Ro’s truly become family to us and we are excited to continue working with her in the future.We enjoy collaborating with Ro because of her realness, raw energy, and passion in creating and providing a safe space specifically for BIPOC in the Valley, but just her overall inclusivity and love for everyone. It’s been cool watching her grow and develop over the last 2 years of knowing her and we can’t wait to see what happens for Ro in 2023.”
- Holly Molenaar of Ottawa Valley Boss Babes/OV Boss Babes had the opportunity to work with her in the Summer and have collaborated ever since!!
- Walk for the Wounded after capturing their first walk from CFB Petawawa to Ottawa in August 2020 and watching the change over the past few years in providing veterans and first responders with mental health, wellness while personally knowing the waves of that profession themselves. It’s captured their hearts and they continue to love seeing and being a part of that growth.