The NewBeauty July TestTube box is here and I’m so excited to share it with you! As some of you know I recently joined the NewBeauty team as a Guest Editor, and have been helping curate their beauty subscription service, TestTube. TestTube is the original, editor curated beauty box and features 8 full + travel size beauty products valued at $180+ for $29.95! The July box is epic and valued at $267!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m so excited to announce I’m partnering with my friend Yazmin Ramos, Emmy nominated producer of The Wendy Williams Show and founder of Spicy Christians Clothing Brand. We’ll be collaborating to sell her “This Too Shall Pass” Face Mask with my Pretty Connected Mask Chain. 15% of all net proceeds from my site will be donated to Black Girl Ventures, which creates access to capital for black/brown women founders. Supporting small business’ is something important to both of us and as two female founders who have had to face a lot of obstacles we want to give back and create more opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Yazmin has been an amazing supporter of Pretty Connected accessories line, putting my multi-use chains on The Wendy Williams show several times. Last year, when she decided to launch her clothing line she asked if I would help mentor her on the ins and outs of starting an online store. We sat for hours going through Shopify and tips and tricks when it came to packaging, inventory and setting up a shop. She is one of the most ambitious women and quickest learners I’ve ever met.
This is not Yazmin and my first collaboration. I co-founded the non-profit, Share Your Beauty, which collects new beauty products from brands, magazines, editors, influencers and beyond and distributes them to women shelters and other organizations in need. Yazmin launched the non-profit, Polished Angels, which hosts regular beauty events at nursing homes and offers complimentary manicure, hair and beauty services to spread joy to the elderly. On several accounts, I had my program donate beauty products and raffle items for her events and have volunteered with her to paint nails for the elderly.
Finding new ways to work together and to be in a network of women who are committed to positivity, friendship and doing good in the world is probably one of my biggest joys.
Meet my friend Makeda Saggau-Sackey, or glamazondiaries.com. She’s one of the most amazing creators and photographers, and a longtime friend to me and my brand. We’ve hosted events together, done the Women’s March and countless collaborations. She was one of the first influencers to support my Pretty Connected accessories line, rocking both my chain straps and boss rings when we first launched and so graciously agreed to be one of my models for my mask chains. She has incredible style and is a great Instagram follow @glamazondiaries. She wrote this great post introducing herself.
We’ve been through a lot in our almost 10 years as friends and more so then “ally’s”, a word that is being used a lot, we’re family. Our support has always been a two way street and when I think of words like equality, that a great way to look at our friendship, as equals. We’ve created opportunities for each other, supported each other and her wins are my wins and vice versa. We are stronger together.
With a heavy heart, I write this blog post. Like many of you I feel an overwhelming weight of sadness over the state of our country. I’m sad that it’s 2020 and racism still exists. I’m sad that we’re in a pandemic, and families are struggling, kids are out of school, hunger relief programs need our support, small business are going under and our economy is at the brink of collapsing, the planet is deteriorating and we are only now having a serious conversation around Black Lives Matter and that police brutality is not okay. So here’s a quick list:
The other note I’ll make is to ask your black friends questions. The amount of fear to speak up out of the potential to be attacked is breeding silence. So ask questions. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to one of your friend then Instagram is an amazing tool as well, DM someone you admire in the black community. Open up. Say something along the lines of I admire your you and your posts, I’m trying to have more conversations with my community, is this statement okay? Or I don’t understand x, y, z can you help explain it to me, I’m working to educate myself and be a bigger ally.
Okay beauty lovers, as some of you know I recently joined the NewBeauty team and have been helping curate their beauty subscription service, TestTube. TestTube is the original beauty box and features 8 full size beauty products for $29.95.
TestTube comes out every other month (6 tubes/year). Each box is $29.95 (or you can subscribe for 1 year for $149.75). It features 8 full and travel size beauty products and has a minimum value of $180+. The May Tube is valued at $232!
I’ve been a long time Fornasetti admirer. That signature face, the black and white with a pop of red lips always caught my eye. The brand launched their latest candle as part of the Fornasetti Star Lina collection (300g size, $215). The range of candles are available on Olivela.com with 20% off all proceeds going to Save the Children.
Bearing the enigmatic face of Piero Fornasettie’s muse Lina Cavalieri, She was an internationally recognized artist who lived at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, who was known as ‘the most beautiful woman in the world.’ While Piero never met Lina, he considered her face the quintessential image of classical beauty and her face has since become a signature Fornasetti centerpiece.
During quarantine, my final shoot came out with Bella Magazine for their Influencer Issue. To be included online and in their print issue with such an incredible roster of entrepreneurs, designers and influencers and get to work with my friends at Caravan Stylist Studio at The Gregory Hotel feels like a dream now. The Bella glam team Lauren Vena (@makeupartist_lv) for makeup) and Jennifer Capella (@i_am_jennmichelle for hair) made me feel so on point. I loved my one sided braided hair and incredible makeup job that made me feel glam but still like myself. Photographed by Jessica Cirz (@jessicacirzphotography) outside the Gregory Hotel.
Outfit: C/MEO Collective top, Rag & Bone pants, Lagos Caviar Apple Watch, Chanel bag belt c/o What Goes Around, Roxanne Assoulin bracelets.
I love when people ask me to be on their podcasts. I’m so used to being behind the scenes and the interviewer that whenever you jump in the talent spot light it’s so exciting. Especially when the hosts are inspiring, bad a$$ women bringing so much light into the world. This month I was on 3 podcasts have 3 very different, relevant conversations that for anyone losing motivation or just needs a good distraction, join us!
1.Eat Live Love Indulge with Kathy Wakile Podcast
Kathy Wakile (@kathywakile) is a woman that needs no introduction. The Italian-American former reality star and author of the cookbook, Eat Live Love Indulge took her love of cooking and bring people together around the table into a podcast on radio.com, where she interviews various guests. I’m so honored to be on this weeks episode talking about my experience in the beauty world and ultimately the expansion of Pretty Connected and how I grew the brand over 10+ years. We talk partnerships, thinking outside the box and how right now a lot of us are pivoting, much as I have over the decade I’ve been in the business. What are my thoughts on the influencer world and advice for anyone starting out? Have a listen: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/eat-live-love-indulge-with-kathy-wakile/id1478131634
2. The City Confessions, Mariann Yip’s Podcast
Mariann Yip (@Mariann_Yip) is a native New Yorker and influencer, and started The City Confessions to interview various individuals living in New York. For this podcast we dive into the timeline of my career from starting in Marketing at Nars to being an accidental blogger that ultimately landed me several major consulting roles, on-air appearances, starting a non-profit, and my accessories line. I also talk about standing out, building your community, anxiety, and something I notice a lot of women do incorrectly, which is not believe in themselves. Or make excuses why they can’t do it, and how I used to be like that until I got over it and started taking control over my life. Take a listen: https://open.spotify.com/episode/2SEqJOpFitzQdAzk7RFkMG?si=1SaiU2sTQOGpFEk0vyEknw
Full discloser, Jennifer (@jenniferscamera) and I recorded this episode before quarantine, back when NYC was fair game. We talk my favorite places, career and get a bit more personal on this episode. She highlighted a quote I say often and one of the most beautiful parts about living in NY… “1 person in New York Can Change Your Life.” It’s my version of nothing good happens from staying in. Nothing beats the social life of NY. It’s so easy to strike up a conversation with someone or meet a friend through a friend that can change your life is something that truly makes my city so special and unique. Cheers to the good old days and may we see them again soon: Take a listen at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/nyc-local-guides/id1497140823?i=1000468945876
It was a very exciting weekend with the launch or rather rebrand of our strap as the first chain mask holder. Like many small business’ out there my shop has struggled. I closed the office for a few months and while we still got some orders through our waitlist, the future looked grim.
Over the weekend I was texted a photo of my Pretty Connected Lara Mulit-Use chain being used as a mask holder. Last year when I was in Vietnam and South Korea, where masks are a norm due to pollution I thought about this idea, but returning to the US where we rarely see anyone in a mask I didn’t put to much thought into it. The chain, which started as a camera strap turned into the true multi-purpose chain when I started using it as the first water bottle strap last year and my readers started to explode with creativity. I was getting posts of them wearing it as a necklace, bag strap, necklace… and beyond. I think this video does a great job of showing all the fun ways my straps can be used.
While I thought this was the year of the flip flop strap, the universe had other plans. And the irony is I opened the office back up May 1st not just for the accessories line but to fund raise for various covid-related causes. I donated 100 beauty products to front line workers/nurses/teachers and then did a beauty sale of 50 items to raise funds. All the while I’ve been speaking out regularly on social media about my disappointment over the lack of NYer’s not wearing masks and also my friend/influencers posting photos without theirs on or at least in their hands to show/encourage their audience to wear them. The universe really listened and gave me a stronger message in asking the world to wear their mask, and also a new outlet to raise money. 10% of all sales will be donated to covid-related causes. Since the start Pretty Connected has made donations to No Kid Hungry, Feeding America, Social Tees, masks for medical workers. Our latest fundraiser has been for hunger relief in Queens through a group of friends organizing the effort.