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!

10 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.

10 months ago


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.

10 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.

11 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. 

11 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?

11 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

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