Article by Lil Nickelson and photographs by Rudy Collins
On Tuesday May 2nd , 2017, WeWork Harlem hosted a Small Business Pop Up Market at its facility located at 8 West 126 Street in Harlem, NY. The WeWork Harlem facility opened on December 1st and it is a beautiful workspace. The market showcased eight small businesses. Four of the businesses have work spaces in the WeWork Harlem facility that has been open for 6 months:
Harlem Candle Co – produces luxury scented candles in Harlem that is owned by Harlem resident Teri Johnson that originally hails from Houston, TX. The home fragrance collection was inspired by the Harlem Renaissance and jazz legends. I take her travel size candles with me when I go out of time to bring familiarity to my away from home surroundings. Teri’s experiences while blogging as “Travelista Teri” exposed her to so many marvelous fragrances around the world inspired her that start her candle business in September 2014. One of her five year goals are for her products to be sold in the three Bs: Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdale’s.
Art of Massaging – is owned by Debra Seidman who is a licensed massage therapist and certified lymph edema therapist that has been working her craft for the last 20 years. Debra specializes in Swedish, sports, pregnancy, medical and oncology massages that travels to do on site corporate and facility massages; she always has some specials. Debra says states massages relief stress, bring comfort and relaxation and make you feel wonderful and I can personally testify to her soothing hands.
Frederick Benjamin – named after his grandfather Frederick Benjamin Schubert, Michael James developed a men’s grooming product line to help today’s global men put their best looking forward. Michael parlayed his 10 years of brand management experience working for L’Oréal and Revlon along with his family entrepreneurial spirit into production to line for men of Color in search of a complete personal care and grooming experience. Men of Color like his late grandfather had a certain style about shaving and keeping get their selves well-groomed from the 1930s through the 1960s that inspired this Morehouse College graduate from South Carolina that lives in Harlem with his wife and two daughters.
Chez Noel Jewelry – owned by a mother and daughter team that has been creating handcrafted earrings and bracelets made of 14 carat gold filled and sterling silver for the contemporary looking for jewelry to facilitate every phase of her life. This business is what happens when a LA TV producer takes a jewelry making class seven years ago to relieve stress and discovers her passion for creating jewelry. Her mother now helps her run the business since the jewelry is made in Columbia, Maryland.
Start Small Think Big is another tenant at WeWork Harlem that is a non-profit organization that assist people that have or want to create small businesses. They partnered with WeWork and the other four small businesses are there clients:
Harlem Pie Man – has been selling his pies in Harlem and Brooklyn for the past 24 years. He started out with cheesecakes and branched into pies, peach and apple crumbs, bean and blueberry pies. He’s been baking his goods at Hot Bread Kitchen’s food incubator facility since 2015.
Em & El Organics – is a Bronx based simple skin care line developed by Emily after she developed a bad case of adult acne. Handcrafted from pure, high quality ingredients for people with sensitive and acne prone skin. Emily, a wood boat builder named the company you after herself and her deceased dog, Ellen has been selling her line for the past 5 years.
Izaskun Zahara- is a 3 years old company Brooklyn based costume jewelry line made from 18 carat gold plated materials owned by a woman with that same name. Izakun means “star in the hand” that grew up in Basque country exposed to museums, studios and artists and performers. She graduated summa cum laude from FIT with a jewelry design degree and later earned a business degree and creative enterprise ownership diploma. Before starting her own collection, she worked with nOir creating custom runway pieces for Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. and other performers like Rihanna.
Limation- is owned and operated by Darlene DaCosta, a former Harlem resident that is the 2013 winner of the Harlem Business Alliances business plan competition. She created Ligation based on a beverage she drank growing up as part of her Caribbean heritage coming from Jamaica. Limation comes in six flavors made with organic cane sugar, organic lime and filtered water as a base and bills itself as a natural alternative to all the unhealthy and processed beverages on the market. In heterogeneous past life, she was a singer/songwriter that co-wrote the Jamaican Bobsled Chantilly with Malik Yorba for the Cool Running movie soundtrack.