The best thing about living in Baltimore is the abundance and prominence of Black-owned businesses, with a heavy emphasis on businesses that are run by Black Women. No matter what my needs are at any given time, I know that I can be sure to find a specific person who focuses on what my desires may be.
For this free game installment, I decided to focus on some very special women based in and from Baltimore who not only have businesses that can brighten people’s days, but also make a difference in our community. Some of these businesses are establishments that The 4th Quarter has personally interacted with, so we know for a fact that you’re getting a quality experience and/or product.
Here’s six Black women-owned businesses in Baltimore that you should know:
The Makeup Artist You Need: @ZhanéAshanti
Picking a makeup artist is a challenge in itself. Why? Because not only do you need someone with skill in makeup, but also someone who cares for your skin as well. Sitting in Zhané Ashanti’s chair grants me the opportunity to get both of those things and then some. Her attention to detail and passion for all things beauty is what sets her apart from others. To start off her career, she decided to take the leap of faith from corporate retail beauty to becoming a freelance makeup-artist and hasn’t looked back since.
Since doing this, she has launched her own lash collection and also teaches makeup classes to those daring enough to learn the craft on their own time. Zhané is special to me because I’ve seen the passion and the evolution of her work with each look that she perfectly crafts. She even runs a $55 Fri-Yay special, so at this point, you have no choice but to go.
The Hairdresser Who Has Growing Hands: @coco_montrese_creates
One thing about Baltimore is the abundance of hairstylists who are ready and willing to give you either braids, weaves or even sell you some bundles. An initial argument about how much time she spent enhancing lives through hair made stylist Coco realize that she was indeed working in her dream field. So much so that she decided to pursue it full time. In speaking with Coco, she passionately affirmed to me what you would hope a stylist would say and it’s that your hair is your crown.
She takes pride in making sure you leave her chair not only exuding confidence, but also with healthy hair that grows with each visit. An amazing thing about her is that she caters to the ladies as well as men, and hopes to eventually open up a couple of her own barbershops and hair salons later down the line. I know her work is the truth because our beloved Juwan goes to her for his hair needs and sings her praises. With that being said, book your appointment with her ASAP.
Baking From the Heart: @funwith_sugar
Now I don’t know about you, but for me, finding a great baker is extremely important. I say this because you never know when and what you will need desserts for. I was currently in a situation this past week where I knew I wanted treats for Easter, but didn’t necessarily know what I wanted and where I wanted it from. A chance search through the Baltimore treats hashtag on Instagram brought me to Shanaira, who happens to be a local dessert maker.
Her customer service from the time you place your order to picking it up is impeccable. This says a lot for me as I drove from Windsor Mill to Dundalk in rush hour traffic to pick up my Easter snack box yesterday and it’s literally gone today. That my friends is a testament to the quality and the love that she puts into her desserts.
Hand Poured with Love: @Scentedjawns_
Even though the pandemic put a damper on things this past year, the silver lining of it happened to be the businesses that were born from it. A perfect example of this is Scented Jawns – which was initially created as a distraction from the pandemic, but also out of love for the perfect smell goods for your home which happen to be candles.
Communicating with Ty made me fall back in love with why I bought candles in the first place because they’re such an understated item that’s a statement piece in themselves. With encouragement from her peers, Ty decided to make the leap to sell her one-of-a-kind scents and with that move, she not only encountered success but joy as well.
As a business owner she explained to me that going to people’s houses and seeing her candles there is what keeps her going. I had the opportunity to smell the TWT Jawn that was made for the lovely men over at The Working Title Podcast and I was pleasantly impressed. Right now she is in the process of relaunching her collection and when she does, I will be placing an order with her and so should you.
Shoes That Are a Conversation Starter: @Shoparchnyc
Women’s shoes really go a long way in telling you who she is, what she’s like, and what she does with her life. Quality footwear is important to me for a multitude of reasons as not only is it what ties an outfit together, but it’s also the statement piece that catches the attention of onlookers. The collection over at Arch NYC not only does that, but also raises the bar by creating pieces that are innovative, bold and spunky for the everyday woman.
I first discovered Jazmin’s brand – based in New York – through rapper Mack Scott and then through the spiral of shopping through Instagram for slippers which led me to discover her popular and subsequently sold-out plush edit slippers. Currently, Arch is running a crowdfunding campaign with the intention of scaling and elevating the brand to provide a quality product and experience for customers. That alone should make you want to support her.
The Community Change-Maker: @theBryReed
There are some people you meet whose conversation challenges your views and forces you to take a look at what you’re doing to shift the world around you. Bry Reed – a current doctoral student with a Bachelor’s in Africana Studies – focuses on exploring Black feminism as it relates to gender, geography, and literature.
Her service now is focused on offering a supportive environment rooted in education, implementation and extensive action. Right now, we live in a society where ignorance is praised before research and Bry works tirelessly to change that narrative. She works as a circle keeper, doula, and also has a Patreon dedicated to educating the masses on Black feminist content. Working with her will uplift your mind, body, spirit and third eye.
If anything, I want to reiterate the importance of why Black-owned businesses run by women here In the city are so important to our community. It’s because of the love, time, and effort they each put into their craft that allows them to not only expand their brand, but also enhance their customers’ experiences. Thus, creating a cycle for successful businesses to prosper.