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!

  • listen to rachel belleTune in to KIRO Newsradio on weekdays to hear Rachel Belle.
Who is Rachel Belle?

Your Last Meal

Rachel Belle

Kat Lieu bakes in her home kitchen. (Photo by Jake Young)...
Rachel Belle

A Renton woman inspired bake sales around the world to stop Asian hate

Renton's Kat Lieu created Subtle Asian Baking on Facebook to create a community conversation around baking Asian treats, but it transformed into a fundraising effort that's raised tens of thousands of dollars. 
1 day ago
Owner Sophia Walker believes in fitness AND doughnuts. (Photo courtesy of Sophia Walker)...
Rachel Belle

Seattle’s No Judgement Fitness is a safe space for the LGBTQ community to workout

No Judgement Fitness is mirror free and focuses on body positivity, not weight loss. 
7 days ago
(Brooke Lark/Unsplash)...
Rachel Belle

New LinkedIn data shows more women are promoted to manager in Seattle than any other city

Women in Seattle are 80% more likely than the national average to advance to manager. 
9 days ago
Marsha and Matt Owen opened Skein & Tipple, in Clinton, last Tuesday. (Photo by Rachel Belle)...
Rachel Belle

Skein and Tipple: Whidbey Island’s newest craft cocktail bar is also a yarn store

Yarn up front, cocktails in back! When the liquor control board told the owners they must have live entertainment, they cooked up Tuesday Knit Night. 
14 days ago
Irene Crawford (left) looks at Beatles memorabilia in her little sister Barbara Horn’s scrapbook....
Rachel Belle

Seattle sisters saw the Beatles in 1964, return to the same venue tonight to see Paul McCartney

Barbara Horn and Irene Crawford reminisce about seeing Beatles at Seattle Center in 1964.
17 days ago
(Photo by Ingrid Barrentine, courtesy of Alaska Airlines)...
Rachel Belle

Alaska Airlines is the first US carrier to introduce gender neutral uniforms

Alaska Airlines' new policy gives also all employees permission to wear makeup, earrings, fingernail polish, and gender-neutral uniforms.
23 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Seattle’s QueenCare is teaching young Black women how to be entrepreneurs