Fitness Fridays: BLK + GRN Is Your New Destination For Natural Beauty And Wellness Products Made For Us, By Us
There are a wealth of health, wellness and beauty products on the market, and many of us don’t know that more and more Black women are stepping into that realm to create them. They’re developing products you can use on your hair, on your skin, or in your home. But the problem is, locating the work of people who look like us, and who care what we put in and on our bodies, can be difficult. But Dr. Kristian Henderson is hoping to change that.
The 30-year-old is the brains behind BLK + GRN (aka, Black Owned + Green Beauty), the first Black-owned and operated shop for holistic, ethically sourced, toxic-free products made by Black artisans. Henderson, who has a master’s in public health from Johns Hopkins, decided to create this space to provide people of color with more access to the products that “cultivate wellness and support forward-thinking Black artisans.”
Henderson, who operates out of Washington D.C., has put together a shop that has everything, including products for before and after your workouts, makeup, hair oils, cleansers, detergents, soap, jewelry and more — all created by Black women across the country. Not to mention, the brands displayed on her online shop also feature Black women prominently in their marketing.
Henderson is certainly changing the game, and it all started from her desire to bring together the Buy Black Movement and the rise of healthy living, or the “green” movement. Check out her story.
MadameNoire: What was the inspiration behind creating BLK + GRN and when did you develop it?
Dr Kristian Henderson: In 2017, I founded BLK + GRN, an online e-commerce platform that curates natural and holistic products created by Black artisans and entrepreneurs. There are two key movements that are currently happening in the United States: the Buy Black Movement and the green movement. The Buy Black Movement is an acknowledgment of the tremendous buying power of the African-American community and the realization that we can literally vote with our dollars. The idea that we can build our communities by supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs.
The green movement is a movement towards holistic health. It is the idea of removing toxic chemicals from our diets and products and instead using the power of plants and nature to heal and thrive. BLK + GRN was born out of these movements, allowing Black people to be conscious, politically and socially, with our consumption decisions.
As someone with a background in health, how has that informed your desire to help people of color find these high-quality, toxic-free products?
My doctorate degree is in public health, and I have always felt like my purpose was to address health disparities. Black people still have worse health outcomes than their white counterparts. There is an array of potential root causes – systematic racism, unconscious and conscious bias, and mistrust. If we do not begin to question our habits and change our behaviors, our life expectancy is only going to continue to shorten. I want to empower our communities to take control of our health and wellness, and BLK + GRN is the first step.
Why is it so important to have this space for Black women artisans?
According to the Environmental Work Group (EWG), 75% of mainstream products marketed to Black women contain toxic and harmful ingredients. Health hazards linked to ingredients in those products include cancer, hormone disruption, developmental and reproductive damage. Moreover, most of these products are not even created by Black women. That needs to change. We have discovered hundreds of Black women artisans who are creating non-toxic and healthy products for Black women, but they are hard to find. They needed the space that BLK + GRN creates that makes it easier for customers to discover their favorite new brands.
The mugs at the BLK + GRN were such a hit, we had to make them available for purchase on the site! – Our limited edition, ceramic mug was handmade by a DC-based Black woman artisan and makes the perfect gift or edition to your mug collection! – Shop our mugs and other home goods at the HOME section at the link in our profile! 🌿 #ShopBLKGRN – BLK + GRN Founder @drkristianh 📸: @erikalaynephoto 👗: @omiwoods • • • • #BlackGirlMagic #BlackGirlsRock #BlkandGrn #Blkandgreen #GreenLiving #LiveBlackandGreen #selfcare #selflove #celebrateyourself #loveyourself #mindbodysoul #BlackGirlGreen#BuyBlackandLiveGreen #selflove #selfcare #NaturallyShesDope #blackgirlsoul #mindbodysoul #blackartisans #blackwomenowned #supportblackwomen #SupportBlackOwned #QueensSupportQueens #WomenSupportWomen #loveyourselffirst #mugcollection #mugcollector
How do you find the individuals featured?
We curate natural products that are handcrafted by Black artisans and entrepreneurs. We partner with the best Black-owned brands that are creating specialized products that support a holistic and healthy lifestyle. Our brands use ingredients that are high-quality, ethically sourced, plant-based, vegan, organic, toxic-free, and cruelty-free. Our brands boldly feature women of color in their marketing and branding. Our brands take quality, sustainability, and integrity seriously. From perfecting your skin routine and cleaning your home, to establishing a self-care routine, BLK + GRN has you covered.
What are some of your own go-to products that you have featured on BLK + GRN?
I truly love all the brands on BLK + GRN. There isn’t a brand on the platform that I haven’t tried. Seriously. We carry herbal infused feminine care products by Honey Pot, which are absolutely fabulous, and it often shocks people that a Black woman is creating products in this category. I also love our wool balls from loohoo, which has revolutionized the way that I do laundry, removing toxic chemicals from a place I wouldn’t haven’t even considered may be toxic. I also love the hair oil from Afro Hair and Skin Co, and I am so happy because we are the only place in the U.S. that you can even buy these products.
Where do you see the site in the next five to 10 years? Driving our mission forward.
Our core mission is connecting people with high-quality, toxin-free products that support wellness, and to cultivate forward-thinking Black artisans and entrepreneurs. Our vision is to radically disrupt the global economy to equitably include small, black-owned businesses by empowering artisans to grow and scale their businesses. We will revolutionize holistic health by providing people with a customer-centered platform to discover products from all-natural, black-owned brands.