CA: Explain Lost Queens for us?
LQ: I was going through a dark place in my life and Pharrell’s new album “G.I.R.L” came out with a track called on it called Lost Queen. I listened to it on repeat and it became like an anchor for me. Through my blogging days with A Tale of Two Biddies, I was introduced to a lot of different women. We talked about a lack of self-love and lack of representation of all types of women of color. Things that were not necessarily mainstream, I felt needed more representation. I was on a friend’s laptop and I just started typing some stuff out and the idea of jewelry kept looping in my head. I had no formal experience in business and e-commerce. I did transfer over the skills I learned from running the blog over to the brand. The brand is a safe space for women of color and women in general. We don’t adhere to labels or lanes and we accept women from all ages, sizes and walks of life.
CA: I feel your pieces have a soulful vibe to them. What music would you cite as your influence to your creative juices?
LQ: I actually listen to trap music when I work. I also like Erykah Badu, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Jhene Aiko, Fab, Kendrick Lamar, Trey Songz, and a lot of Drake.
CA: On your facebook page you have a quote that goes as follows: “All women should feel powerful beyond measure, fearless, in tune with our divinity and magical. Our goal is to give you that feeling.” In what way does your jewelry collection tap into the magic and divinity of the womanly spirit?
LQ: A lot of the women say they feel royal while wearing the jewelry. They get a ton of compliments and it makes the women feel good. I always have that in mind when I’m picking what I have to add to a collection. I have an instagram post from a customer where her son put one of our necklaces on top of her head like a crown and said she was beautiful. This is an example for what this brand is all about. Those small moments where you’re being built up is what means the world to me.
CA: Do you have a dream collaborator?
LQ: I would say Beyonce, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Solange, and Jannelle Monae. Each of them represent elements of women we all have. Rihanna is carefree and doesn’t care for your opinions. I love her aesthetic in general. Beyonce is all about her development from her Destiny’s Child days to the woman she is right now. She is hard working and her aura is really dope to me. Solange’s creativity and her vibe makes me love her. Janelle Monae’s style is what I love about her. The rationale behind her wearing white and black as an homage to her parents in regards to wearing uniform. Nicki because I am from Jamaica, Queens. I get it and I love it. I hope Nicki never changes.
CA: What is your short term and long term visions for the brand?
LQ: Short term is to have a successful tent at Afropunk this year. I want to get our followers on IG to 10k as well as have influential people wearing our collection. I also want to develop our handcrafted line more as well as work on some original designs I have. I do want to have the one year anniversary celebration soon (We started last year August). I also want to have a couple of events this year as well called eat-and-shops.
Long term would be opening up a brick & mortar retail store. Have an office as well. I want to vend in music festivals across the country and abroad. I definitely want to travel abroad to source materials. At some point, I want to open a community center with a garden, some quality grocery stores in the community. Maybe a girl’s group home as well.
CA: What is your plan to expand your reach to gain more clientele?
LQ: We recently just completed 300 giftbags for the CurvyCon gathering this year. Another big opportunity is Afropunk which brought in 60,000 people last year. If I can get 5% of those people in my tent, that would be an incredible amount of people for me. Currently, my best friend helps me with the brand but I will be looking to get an intern to streamline our shipping and marketing process better. I have over 150 brand ambassadors right now and would love to expand that program as we progress.
CA: The variety of body sizes on your shop and instagram makes women of all shapes feel welcome. Explain how important it is to display how different the female body can be from one another?
LQ: It is SO important I think to display that. Representation for varying body types in women of color is lacking so whatever opportunity we have to put it on a pedestal, we should. These are women who look like me, my aunt, my mom, and my friends. We don’t necessarily look like the models in mainstream ads and it alienates us when we go shopping and see these billboards of sticky bony white girls. We want to keep our culture intact and show our diversity. Black women are not JUST hourglass figures with a loose curl pattern and light skin and I wanted to display that variety.