First off, Toronto is known best for its diversity. It is always so refreshing when different events are being held to help bring cultural awareness. The feeling it gives you is a feeling of togetherness and love. As we approached the venue where AfroChic would take place, what we can remember clearly is the excitement we felt being in the elevator and the suspense of what is going to be on the other side once those elevator doors open. We could not wait to see what magic Amoye created this time. This was not the first time that we attended one of her events, so we were excited to attend another! I remember the elevator doors opening and us just being blown away by how beautiful everything looked. 3 beautiful girls painted in body paint greeted us. To our right, there were these big paintings of females, all which were captivating to the eye. As we looked ahead we saw all of the different vendors. The decorative aspect was mind-blowing. It felt as if we were in a real-life jungle. The scent in the air smelt fresh, it smelt natural, almost like burning incense.
One of our favorite vendors whom we interacted with was Matthew who is the founder of Shantea. As I am getting older I am becoming a lot more conscious on keeping my mind, body, and soul as refreshed as possible. Matthew specializes in Kombucha, which is a drink that is known to be a probiotic; it is an antioxidant that is good for digestion and indigestion. Let’s be real… As we get older, our food just does not digest the same. This Kombucha drink, which I purchased, proved within the first week to help with my energy levels, my digestion, as well as my tendency to feel bloated. I asked Matthew what inspired him to create his own brand of Kombucha?
“ As I got more and more into yoga, I became more in tune with my health. Gut health affects your overall health. I did more research into Kombucha and figured out it is really good for your gut health and improving your immunity and good for your digestion so I figured instead of buying Kombucha every single day, I should start making it myself.”
I have to say, I have purchased about 4 batches from Matthew since this event, and I am in love! If you have not tried it – I would highly suggest it!
As we continued to walk through the venue, we saw what almost looked like a secret passageway. We had to walk through trees, which lead us to a different section of the venue. Once we stepped foot in there, we were in awe. The aura we felt being in there was breathtaking. It was a calming, securing feeling. We felt a sense of calmness. As I looked to my left, I saw two young ladies by the name of Cola and Rochelle asking people to come and get a free hand massage. Of course, we were there in a heartbeat.
We sat there waiting for our turn. As we were waiting I had a chance to speak to Rochelle who invited us over for the hand massage. They run the business together, and it just so happens that they are sisters. I have a sister who I am very close with as well, so right away I felt a connection. It was so great seeing two siblings coming together to create a small business. I commend them for that.
As I observed her giving people hand massages, I couldn’t help but notice how present she was with each person. When she was with someone, it was almost as if it was just her and that person in the room and nothing else mattered. It’s very rare to find that type of connection with a person who is running a business such as a massage. Massages can be tough to connect with everyone especially because it is so repetitive. But you could tell she had a natural talent. I know everyone that left that seat not only left with soft hands but also left feeling as if they mattered. I also noticed she had deodorant, and lotions for sale. I then realized that it was more than massages they were trying to promote. When it was my turn I had to ask her, what inspired her to start her business? Rather than her making it about others, I wanted to take this moment to make it about her.
“ Our company name is UP beauty. It stands for Unforgivingly Pure. The reason we got started is because 4 years ago my son passed away due to congestive heart failure. He was 8 years old I was 25. I went into depression. I had a lot of anxiety. I did not want to get up and I did not want to bathe. I needed something positive to focus on. I asked myself the question – what do I need to keep going every day? I need to bathe, I need deodorant and I need to lotion my skin. That became the basis of the company. The more we made it the more we tried it, I was forced to bathe because I had to try it out.”
I was so grateful for the fact that she felt comfortable enough with me to open up about something so personal. It added so much more meaning to what she was doing, and it helped me understand her personality more. She was genuine.
“After a year the depression and anxiety are completely gone. Now we focus on not just natural skin care products but on natural health and what it does for our community and what it does for our clarity. Everybody loses somebody. When we lose somebody we lose ourselves. That is why we need to remember self-care.”
How amazing? I love hearing people’s stories because it helps you get a new perspective on life. I am so happy for her and I would highly suggest if ever you come to Toronto to hit up UP Beauty.
The rest of the night was filled with different performances, a mini fashion show and a lot of African vibes all around. The mood of the rest of the night was amazing. It was a great event, and we would gladly attend again!