Eboni Merriman started lost queens a few short years ago and has already made waves in the media after she dropped a jewelry collection and fierce photo shoot to match inspired from Beyonce's Formation video.
With statement pieces named after inspirational women such as Betty Shabazz, Tina Turner and Lisa Bonet, every purchase carries its own spell of Black girl magic.
One thing that I'm noticing about the designer is that she is real, uncompromising and absolutely magical.
Why Lost Queens Was Started
" At the time (August 2014), I had been asking the Universe to lay out a path for me. I felt lost in every area of my life and I was battling depression. I knew that I wanted to do, be and have so many things but I wasn’t sure how to get there. I felt that I would never get there, honestly. I would try my best and fail, over and over again.
One day, the stars aligned, the vibes were right and an essay I was jotting down on a friend’s computer mixed with some eBay success of personal belongings sparked the idea of a retail business.
I wanted women to break the chains of the media, men, society, our churches, ourselves.
I was going through my own process (I still am), and I wanted to share some key things that changed my life. The magic of sisterhood, the importance of self-care, how falling in love with myself saved my life. How could I relay these messages in a way that would make women pay attention?
Since I was in high school, I’d always been distracted by pretty things. So I did what the Pharrell “Lost Queen” song said, “You’ve gotta go inward to experience the outer space that was built for you”; I started to put together a plan. And (very much to my surprise) it just took off.
A lot of this business has been built from my gut feelings, the support of my tribe and my personal development. "
Evolution + Starting A Business With No Experience
"Lost Queens is constantly growing and changing. I have no retail experience, funny enough. I’ve never even worked in a clothing store. So many times when I’ve wanted to quit, I’ll get an email, Instagram comment or tweet from my customers telling me how I’ve brightened their day, how the jewelry makes them feel, how they support me and want me to keep going. And it makes me get my ass back up and get to work. I’m so controlling over every aspect of the brand because I don’t want the purpose and intention to get lost.
It’s incredibly important to me the work that I’m doing. I’m trying to be what I, and so many other girls like me, need.
There are so many times that I’ve wasted/lost money, friends, opportunities, relationships, my apartment, EVERYTHING but all of it is outweighed by the wins and the community I’ve created. I’ve made so many mistakes and have second guessed myself more times than I can count, but deep down I know that the best is yet to come and if I just keep digging, I’m going to hit something."
"What would surprise everyone about this business is the fact that most of things we’re loved for were not conscious decisions. I am a Black woman. An American Black woman, with a mother from Orangeburg, South Carolina whose mother had her at 16 and a father with a blended family holding many secrets. I grew up in the Black church.
I’ve been so blessed to be aligned with extraordinary Black women as friends, mentors and associates.
It wasn’t a decision for me to use my friends as models. These are the women around me. This is what I find to be beautiful. We have so many things out there telling women that look like me that we are not enough, so I wanted to create settings where we were FREE. I’ve never been thin or pretty enough for SOMEONE. Women have been shamed for cellulite, stretch marks, body hair, big butts, little butts, whatever.
I wanted to create campaigns where women were just allowed to BE."
On Building Her Dream Team
"All of our makeup artists, photographers, set help, models, videos, graphic design, etc. have been collaborative efforts with growing creatives aka my friends who do cool shit. I very much believe in the power of pulling your friends up with you when you’re given a platform.
My motto is that if I eat, we all eat.
Plus, building a business means that you’re likely to be broke a lot of the time. I’m really thankful for everyone that has believed in me and what I’m building and put their time and efforts towards it."
Daily Operations + Customer Service
"I currently pack and ship every single order myself. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and I know that eventually I’ll need to let go of SOME control but it brings me peace of mind to have that responsibility on my shoulders. My customers are so important to me.
These are my sisters, you know? So I want to make sure I treat them as I would want to be treated."
"Positive thinking, good intentions, and hard work have been the formula I’ve followed. I’ve stuck to my guns and I’ve not compromised my focus on uplifting women of color and providing all of us, just not the “right” type of us, a seat at the table. It’s my hope that women start to be introduced to different notable Black women and that their stories change their lives like they did mine, which is why it’s important for me to name each piece after one. Plus, I think it’s good juju. It’s like casting a spell of the magical Black girls before you to guide and protect you."
The Future of Lost Queens
"Right now, I’m in the process of creating our next campaign and collection, trying to go to the next level and uncover ways we can reach more women. I REALLY want to start having events, so that’s a focus for me. I also want to keep challenging the standards of retail."
Make sure to follow Lost Queens on Instagram and to support this entrepreneur at LostQueens.com.
(For a 15% discount, use code QUIRKYBROWNLOVE)