The Storm Resistant Tree: Coconut

Martinique, a little French Island that sits between Dominica and St. Lucia.  The town of Trois-Ilets is where it all started for me.  A little girl from Brooklyn, NY who came to this Island of Martinique, known as Madinina, to begin on the unsuspecting journey to the evolution of Madinina Kiss, the brand.  L’Anse Mitan is where my family’s beach home is located, and where I spent every vacation time I had from school.

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The Beach where I spent my vacations, L’Anse Mitan

While I know all too well what is like to survive a Hurricane,  still the images and videos are still shocking and heartbreaking.  Even so, this video also depicts the Power of God, the God who created the Heavens and the Earth.

It is in the place that I learned about the importance of natural beauty.  On the beach house property, we have coconut trees, almond tree, papaya tree and a mango tree.  It is during my time at the beach that I learned about the goodness of the coconut tree, from its roots to its leaves.  It is in the place that my Grand-mother had me look at the coconut tree, in all its grandeur and show me how amazing it is.  I remember the year when we were told that a hurricane was coming.  The coconut tree that stood in our front yard was damaged..sort of.  There was a deep cut, right in the middle of the tree, as if someone had once attempted to unsuccessfully to cut it down.  So as we are preparing for the arrival of the hurricane, my grandmother and I looked at the tree and hoped that it would not break; because if it did, it would have caused damage to the house.

As the storm landed, I watched the tree as it swayed from left to right.  I prayed that the tree wouldn’t break.  It didn’t. It swayed, and stood up, it swayed and stood up.  The coconut tree to me became a symbol of what my life was going to be: Storm Resistant.  Madinina Kiss has weathered some storms.  But like the coconut tree, the tree that produces our favorite base oil, we are still standing.

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Join Madinina Kiss in supporting the 2017 Hurricane Relief Fund.  Purchase any of our 4oz. Coconut Body Oil and receive 10% off your purchase by entering code MARTINIQUE.  All proceeds will go to the families on the Island of Martinique (Madinina, L’Iles des Fleurs)

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Merci et Bisou

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My love affair with Baobab Oil

I am absolutely in love with coconut oil!!! Madinina Kiss uses coconut oil as the carrier oil for all of its products, especially my body oils.  I have to confess…I have been introduced to baobab oil.  I am going to be an adulterer.  I am not proud of the term. I am admittedly cheating on coconut oil.

So as much as it pains me to say this, yet excited at the same time, Madinina Kiss will be launching its Body Oil Collection with Baobab oil.  After careful research about the healing properties of the oil, some–not all–of our body/massage oils will be made with Baobab oil.

Before I get into baobab oil, let’s just talk about the benefits of body oils in general.  Oil has been deemed the black sheep of the beauty business because of its greasy nature.  However, the right natural oils can keep your skin moisturized, smooth, and glowing — and even fight breakouts.  Depending on the type of oil you use, it absorbs quite wonderfully into your skin.  My first love, of course, is coconut oil.  Here is why:

 

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Coconut Oil:

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Coconut oil is great for people with sensitive skin, eczema, and dry hair.  I recommend coconut oil, as a body moisturizer, but not everyone likes the smell of coconut oil.  So it is best to use it as a carrier oil.  As a solid, coconut oil’s creamy texture makes it the perfect light moisturizer to slather all over. The light tropical scent that lingers after it’s applied is a delight to me. There are so many other benefits to the use of coconut oil, in and out.

Baobab Oil:

See the tree below? Big, strong and Black…

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Regarded as the largest succulent plant in the world, the Baobab tree – [Adansonia digitata] is steeped in a wealth of mystique, legend, and superstition wherever it is found in Africa. Called the Tree of Life for its almost mythical powers, it provides food, water, shelter and traditional medicine.

The Baobab tree is found in very remote areas of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and other tropical African countries where suitable habitat occurs. It is restricted to hot, dry woodland on stony, well-drained soils in frost-free areas that receive low rainfall. Surrounded by the sounds and smells of the African bush, these iconic trees can live up to 2000 years and the biggest Baobab tree ever recorded has a circumference of over 43 meters.  Now that we got that out of the way…

I am going to have an affair with the oil that this tree produces.  Baobab Oil. Pure goodness from the Mother Land.  I am cheating, with Baobab Oil.  I feel guilty…not really!  Madinina Kiss will be using this oil as a carrier oil for its body oil collection.  I am so excited.  I understand that it has a nutty smell, much like my favorite butter, Shea butter, so it is going to be excited to use it.

Baobab oil is made from the fruit seeds which are extracted and air dried in the hot sun.  Madinina Kiss will use Baobab oil across the collection for its excellent softening, healing and regenerate skincare properties:

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> Rich in powerful antioxidants which protect skin against free radical damage.
> High Vitamin C content (6 times more than an orange) assists with skin elasticity.
> Vitamins A and B firm, tighten and hydrate skin.
> Omegas 3, 6 & 9 fatty acids help maintain the integrity of skin cell membrane.
Are you as excited as I am? I am not leaving my first love the coconut oil. I may just combine the two to make a new exclusive line of our body oils.
Stay Tuned for the Madinina Kiss Body Oil Summer Collection.
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Susan L. Taylor on Why we need to Support Black Owned Business

It’s not a race thing, it’s not an ethnic thing, it’s a community thing.  Americans are quick to become defensive when we as African-American declare to “recycle the Black Dollar”. “Support Black Owned Businesses”.  We are not seeking exclusion, we are seeking inclusion in the American Dream.  I stand by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, in his I have a Dream Speech, saying : “In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check…It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. (My Lord) Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds… We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. (Sure enough) And so we’ve come to cash this check (Yes), a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom (Yes) and the security of justice. (Yes Lord) [enthusiastic applause]”

I want my check. I am an African-American Female Business Owner of a Natural Hand-Made Bath Body and Hair Products Company.  Mainina Kiss. In the article, Susan L. Taylor revealed how “each of us has everything we need to live free and fully and wonderful.”  

She cautioned, “It doesn’t mean that our lives will not fall apart.” What it does mean is that if calamity strikes, we “can use it as a wake-up call.” 

Taylor later shared how the African-American community is losing ground and that we need “able, stable Black people” to “link arms and stand for something, link arms and aims with a plan.”

Earlier during her remarks, the former Editor-in-Chief of Essence said, “Every dime spent is a political decision made.” 

Taylor suggested when corporations perform actions that disproportionately impact African-Americans, we as a community “need to take account of that and stand up and say to that organization, ‘This cannot happen on our watch.’” At that point as a collective body, Blacks should then apply economic pressure to the entity by refusing to patronize that corporation.

“The only thing understood in capitalism and in capitalist society is money and it’s all tied to Wall Street, it’s all tied to profit,” she said.

Later during her address, Taylor shared how taking a few minutes a day in silence can open the ears to hear the “still small voice” inside. This simple practice allowed her the opportunity, as well as insight, into how to forward her career to astounding heights.

So on today, International Women’s Day, support a Women Owned Business. #BeBoldForChange

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Miko Branch, Entreprenuer of Excellence

In my last blog post, I wrote about the women who made it possible for me to believe that Madinina Kiss is going to be the next beauty empire in this nation, even internationally.  I am so glad that Miko Branch, thought well enough of “us” sisters, to leave a blueprint so that we as African-American women can continue to leave our mark in the beauty industry.  I am grateful for Annie Malone, and Madam C.J.Walker for the footprints left, that women like myself, can follow.

And then there was Miss Jessie’s.  Two sisters, Miko and Titi Branch of Japanese-American and African-American parents, re-igniting the Natural Hair Movement and revolutionizing it.  Unlike our foremothers, Annie and Madam C.J., who were meeting the need for “straight hair” Miss Jessie’s was reclaiming our natural hair.  I remember it so well.  I will admit that I did not understand what was happening at the time.  But I knew, it was something.  It had to be in the air…lol. I no longer desired to have my hair chemically treated.  I don’t remember how I came across the Miss Jessie’s Curly Hair Movement—but I remember traveling to D.C. to get that “curl” pattern.  Miss Jessie’s LLC, is the company behind the premium hair care product line, Miss Jessie’s, that caters to the diverse spectrum of all curly and textured hair types. Miko founded the company with her sister, Titi, and they named it after their beloved and fiercely independent “do-it-for-yourself,” and “tell-it-like-it-is” paternal grandmother – Jessie Mae Branch.

Miko and Titi Branch were from “around the way” as I too live in Queens, NY in the same area of South Ozone Park as they did, and still do.  So it makes me proud, not only as an up and coming pioneer in the natural beauty industry but also as an African American woman who shares community ties.  Sadly, in December 2014, Titi passed away.

 

Miko carries on the legacy Titi Branch and continues to develop innovative, original and effective solutions for textured hair needs. She has received numerous accolades for being an innovator, pioneer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and leader.

Miko also is the author of the national best-selling business memoir “Miss Jessie’s: Creating A Successful Business from Scratch – Naturally” (Harper Collins) and has been recognized by WWD’s Most Influential Women in Business, Ebony Power 100, and the Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Award. She has been featured on the March 2016 cover of Black Enterprise Magazine as a result of her remarkable business acumen.

Miko on the stages of life women go through (including women entrepreneurs)

• In your thirties, you get to know how who you are.  You start to tap into how you are built. 

• In your 40’s you are going to embrace and love yourself.  What you did in your previous decades affects you now. 40’s is the decade of satisfaction or regrets. It’s a transitional time.  This decade is a time where you get to make some changes and you still have the opportunity to make corrections. 

• In your 50’s, it is what it is–just accept it.

As CEO of Madinina Kiss, a natural, handmade Bath, Body and Hair Company in NYC, I am honored that Miko will an Honoree at the women’s organization I belong to- The National Association of University Women where Miko will be awarded the 2017 Entrepreneurial Excellence Honoree Award. Click on flyer to attend this event

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Miko is my inspiration, as I read for the third time Miss Jessie’s “Creating A Successful Business From Scratch…Naturally”.  With my planner and book in tow, Madinina Kiss is building its empire, brick by brick, stone by stone.  I cannot wait to meet her in person!

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Beautifully Yours,

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On Her Own Ground-Madam C.J. Walker

I will admit that I don’t know all of the African Americans that made an impact in the way we live today.  I don’t know every inventor or entrepreneur.  But I was pretty sure that I knew enough to have a decent, intelligent conversation about certain people. Harriet Tubman, Fredrick Douglas, W.E.B Dubois, Nat Turner, and my favorite Madame C.J. Walker. So when a trivia question was asked about the First African American Female Millionaire, I was the first to answer “Madame C.J. Walker!!!”  Wrong!…what do you mean wrong? As the CEO and Founder of Madinina Kiss, a Bath and Body Products Company, Madame C.J. Walker has been my inspiration…still is.  She is my role model. But she had one too. Her name is Annie Malone.   In my recent blog, entitled The Mother of the Black Beauty Industry, I wrote about Annie Malone who is recorded as the U.S.’s first black female millionaire based on reports of $14 million in assets held in 1920 from her beauty and cosmetic enterprises, headquartered in St. Louis and Chicago.

I am currently re-reading On Her Own Ground which is only the first comprehensive biography of one of recent history’s most amazing entrepreneurs and philanthropists, it is about a woman who is truly an African American icon in the beauty industry.

Learning about Annie Malone only confirms what I know: Someone has already started building the bridge on which I will walk.  Madame C.J Walker had Annie Malone and I have Madame C.J Walker and Miko and Titi Branch of Miss Jessie’s Products.  I am currently reading Madam C.J. Walker: Building a Business Empire and Miss Jessie’s “Creating A Successful Business From Scratch…Naturally”  I want to know what they did to make their businesses great.  From slavery to millionaire… From South Jamaica Queens, NY (Where I am from) to Millionaire.  If they can do it, so can I.

Madinina Kiss recently re-launched its Hair Care System, called Madinina.  We currently have the Madinina Conditioning Hair Butter made primarily with Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Neem Oil and Kokum Butter, which is a customer favorite.

So in honor of Black History Month, I will be reading about Madam C.J. Walker, the business woman.  I cannot wait to learn from her because Madinina Kiss is going to be the next Bath and Body Products Empire!

 

How are you honoring Black History Month?

Unveil the Beauty Within

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The Mother of the Black Beauty Industry

 

Madam C.J. Walker, Shea Moisture, Carol’s Daughter, Madinina Kiss.  These are are some of the descendants of Poro Beauty Products.  So why has the mother of this trillion dollar industry not given the respect that is rightfully hers?

As the owner of a natural skin care company, I can let the month dedicated to Black History Month go by and not talk about the woman who paved the way for Madinina Kiss and other African-American female owned business like mine to be in existence.

Who is the Mother of the Black Beauty Industry? Annie Turnbo Malone. Perhaps you have never heard of Annie before. If not, you’re in good company. Most everyone reading this page has never heard of Annie.  And if you are in the African American hair care or cosmetics industry, Annie is the “mother” of what you are doing. You are about to meet a remarkable woman…

Before Madam Walker, Rosa Parks, Mary McLeod Bethune, Oprah Winfrey or Cathy Hughes there was Annie Turnbo Malone (aka Annie Minerva Turnbo Pope Malone and Annie Minerva Turnbo Malone), a remarkable woman who made her mark during the early 20th century.

Malone is recorded as one of America’s first black female millionaire based on reports about her beauty and cosmetic enterprises — Poro — headquartered in St. Louis and Chicago.

Annie Minerva Turnbo Malone (August 9, 1869—May 10, 1957) was an African-American businesswoman, educator,  inventor, and philanthropist. Annie was two years younger than Madam C. J. Walker. She had launched her hair care business four years before Sarah Breedlove (later known as Madam C. J. Walker). In the early 1900s, Madam Walker worked as a “Poro Agent” for Annie for about one year.

Annie Malone is the “mother” of the African American
Cosmetics, Hair Care &
Beauty Industries

PORO BEAUTY PRODUCTS — from  Freeman Institute Black History Collection

ANNIE MALONE’S LEGACY: Credit Where Credit is Due

Malone’s business failure tarnished her image. Her former employee, Madame C.J. Walker, often overshadows Malone because Walker’s business remained successful and more widely known. Walker is often credited as the originator of the black beauty and cosmetics business and the direct distribution and sales agent system that Malone developed.

Many historians believe Malone deserves more credit for her devotion to helping African Americans gain financial independence and her generous donations to educational, civic, and social causes.

HER LEGACY STILL LIVES ON: St. Louis honors her memory with the Annie Malone Children and Family Service Center whose mission is “is to improve the quality of life for children, families, elderly and the community by providing social services, educational programs, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.”

St. Louis honors her memory with the Annie Malone Children and Family Service Center whose mission is “is to improve the quality of life for children, families, elderly and the community by providing social services, educational programs, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.”

Did you Know?

 Annie was one of the first in Missouri to own a Rolls Royce
        * Annie paid over $40,000 in taxes alone…in 1926
* Annie owned a whole city block in Chicago
      * Annie’s philanthropy was legendary
* Annie gave diamond rings for five years of service
    * Annie gave cash awards for savings accounts & home purchases
* Annie trained well over 75,000 women entrepreneurs
 * Annie  trained Madam C.J. Walker to be a “Poro Agent”

Click Here for More Information about Annie Turnbo Malone