RACHEL BELLE

Seattle’s QueenCare is teaching young Black women how to be entrepreneurs

Mar 2, 2021, 11:36 AM | Updated: 1:56 pm
Black owned business, queencare...
QueenCare owner, Monika Mathews, cuts the ribbon on her new space in the Central District. (Photo courtesy of QueenCare)
(Photo courtesy of QueenCare)

A few weeks ago, Monika Mathews was able to open a second location of QueenCare in Seattle’s Central District, selling her handmade, all-natural body oils, scrubs, and creams.

“If it wasn’t for Vulcan, we would not be able to be in this location here,” said Mathews about the new space she’s renting on the ground level of the Jackson Apartments. “Vulcan, along with a lot of African-American community members, advocated that these spaces be dedicated to Black businesses. Vulcan took it a step further to actually subsidize some of the rent so that Black micro businesses could actually afford to be in a beautiful location like this.”

“Where we stand right now, there used to be a plethora of Black businesses; it saddens me that they’re not here anymore,” she added.

Vulcan is a company started by the late Paul Allen, and the real estate branch is famous for redeveloping Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood.

But QueenCare is a whole lot more than shea butter creams and sugar scrubs.

“QueenCare was founded, actually, to support our nonprofit work through the Life Enrichment Group,” Mathews said. “We started a nonprofit 19 years ago to really help our youth academically, to provide positive mentorship for them, and to help them with economic development opportunities. Young Queens Seattle/King County is one of our longest running programs. It’s leadership and personal development for young ladies where we focus on self love, personal development, and academic achievement.”

Money spent at QueenCare goes right back into funding the nonprofit’s programs. Girls from Young Queens are eligible to partake in Youth In Business, a program Mathews developed to help young Black women start their own businesses.

“They receive a $600 stipend to help them with logos, collateral materials, inventory, and business plans,” Mathews explained. “We also host pop-up shops for them and we use our access and opportunity to promote them and their businesses. The second half of the program is more of them delving deeper into how to market, how to retain customers, and the professionalism of running a business. Then, from there, they fly! We’re always available to help them, even outside of the yearlong business development program.”

Nineteen-year-old Alexia Johnson started with Young Queens in 2015.

“Now I have Lexi’s Customz where I do customized resin art,” Johnson said. “Youth In Business helped me learn the marketing skills I needed and helped me get the inventory I needed, like the molds. It put me in a group of other girls that want the same thing that I do, to start their own business, want to be entrepreneurs, and want to be successful in life.”

Life Enrichment Group also facilitates tours of Historically Black Colleges, which is how Johnson was able to visit many schools back east.

“On the tour, we got accepted on the spot and so it gave me that experience of, oh, I can do this and I want to do this,” Johnson said.

Ninety-three percent of the the young women who take the college tour end up going to college.

Mathews also offers five paid internships each year at QueenCare, where the young women learn to make the beauty products, work in the shop, and learn about marketing and business plans.

“I think the most fulfilling thing is that all of our young ladies pretty much have become very altruistic, working in social service fields, working in fields where they give back,” Mathews said. “I think that is the basis of why we’re doing this; it really is about community development. I really am dedicated to making sure that the African American presence grows in the Central District. We want to welcome everyone to come and add to the vibrancy of this neighborhood.”

In honor of International Women’s Day, QueenCare is offering 10% off their products now through March 8, 2021. Go to queencareproducts.com and use the promo code “Queen.”

Listen to Rachel Belle’s James Beard Award nominated podcast, “Your Last Meal,” featuring celebrities like Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, Rainn Wilson, and Greta Gerwig. Follow @yourlastmealpodcast on Instagram!

Rachel Belle

Rachel Belle...
Rachel Belle

Belle: This isn’t goodbye, it’s see you later

After 20 years in news radio, I'm leaving my post at KIRO Newsradio to focus on making my podcast "Your Last Meal" full-time!
3 months ago
emily post etiquette...
Rachel Belle

Emily Post’s “Etiquette” goes modern: Advice on pronouns, hugging

In 1922, Emily Post published her very first etiquette book. Since then, 18 editions have been published by five generations of Posts.
3 months ago
Friluftsliv...
Rachel Belle

Combat winter blues with friluftsliv, the Nordic tradition of being outside

Friluftsliv is part of the culture in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Denmark, places that are darker and colder than Seattle in winter.
3 months ago
small talk...
Rachel Belle

Most Americans hate small talk, but Seattleites continue talking about weather

Out of 1,000 people surveyed, 71% said they prefer silence to small talk and 89% of Gen Z use their phones to avoid making small talk.
3 months ago
(Igordoon Primus/Unsplash)...
Rachel Belle

Seattle sperm bank in desperate need of Black donors

Only 2% of American sperm donors are Black men, which is causing a lot of heartache for women specifically looking for a Black donor. 
3 months ago
Photo courtesy of Rosie Grant...
Rachel Belle

Woman cooking recipes engraved on gravestones says they’re all ‘to die for’

You know that recipe your family requests at every holiday, potluck and birthday party? What if you had it engraved on your tombstone?
3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Seattle’s QueenCare is teaching young Black women how to be entrepreneurs