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Audio and Photo Source: Hello Beauty and Joyce Platon
In this podcast feature, our Founder and CEO, Orion shared with Joyce Platon what she learned as an entrepreneur when it comes to setting boundaries with your time and and how she implemented a healthy work-life balance. We are all reminded that protecting your energy and saying No more often is also a form of self care. Orion also gives the scoop on some of the clean and natural products in our hair and skincare.
Tune in! You don't want to miss this.
Episode Also Available on:
The Black Travel Box: TSA-Approved Beauty Essentials for Women of Color and Your Companion to Indulge in that Wanderlust with Founder/CEO, Orion Brown
Joyce Platon (00:00):
Hi everyone. It's Joyce. I just wanted to say that I hope you're keeping safe, healthy, and hanging in there. Sending love your way and my thoughts are with you.
Orion Brown (00:09):
It's about who you are on the inside. If you are feeling really comfortable inside around who you are, what your purpose is, um, what your values are. You start, you started to catch yourself in the mirror and be like, Oh, you're cute too.
Joyce Platon (00:28):
Hello, beauty. Yes, you join me. Hosts Joyce Platonton. As I chat with today's beauty, wellness and lifestyle visionary, let's discover the motivating journey together as immerse my love for the yard and my passion and revealing once shoe inner beauty. Hey there, Joyce Platon here and welcome to hello. Beauty today's special guest is, uh, Ryan Brown. She's the founder and CEO of the black child box. The black travel blog gives women color the confidence whenever they travel, or actually live the modern on the go lifestyle by providing them essential personal care product that works for their unique skin and hair. Welcome to hello, beauty Orion.
Orion Brown (01:10):
Thank you so much for having me Joyce. I appreciate it.
Joyce Platon (01:13):
I'm so excited. So during our last conversation before, I really feel like we connected. I don't know about you, but I felt that good connection. I'm so excited to share her brand. And I really think that I also in a sense resonate with it because when I do travel, I'm like, what are these harsh ingredients that I have to just like, I have no choice, but five. So I'm ready to jump right in and share with my listeners and viewers, what your band is all about. So first off, what is your background and tell us all about it and what compelled you to start the BlackTravelBox?
Orion Brown (01:46):
Yeah, so, um, I have a pretty eclectic background. I sat a, probably gone through like four of my nine lives if I were a cat, but primarily my background is in consumer goods. So I was in the food industry, my second love next to travel, um, and you know, worked for some of the big brands and companies that, that you guys know and love. And, but I've been in corporate for 15 years. And over that time, um, for those of you who are just starting out or who have been in that corporate arena, especially women, it's just it's, it can be a challenge every day. And so while I was doing well, I was also very stressed and so very much happily took my vacation days as much as I possibly could and tried to travel as much as I could both for work and outside of it.
Orion Brown (02:32):
And over the last decade or so, I just really noticed that I was having the same issue. Every time I traveled, I would go somewhere and like one big frustration I'd love where I would be at, but I'd be like, Oh, I'm not taking pictures past day one. Cause I looked real cute when I came in. Right. I have enough stuff and I have my everything together and I'm like, all right, I look cute on those first couple of days. But then after that it was like, all right, well we're just relaxing and enjoying the space and we have to choose that over like sort of the beauty of it. Right. Um, so I have a lot of vistas and photos of buildings and photos of other people. And it was one of those things that I was just like, this is ridiculous. At some point, I just want to see a product that works for me that lasts long enough that I'm not like out of it halfway through the trip. Um, and then I can just kind of feel comfortable in my own skin and enjoy myself, um, you know, in a way that I hadn't been before. And so that was sort of the impetus and the, the idea around black travel box.
Joyce Platon (03:29):
Isn't it annoying when you're you feel like just talking yourself into it and like, yeah, I don't really care about pictures, but you're like, no, I have no choice, but to not take pictures because I look like, I don't know, I just rolled out of bed or like I'm drenched in sweat. Yeah.
Orion Brown (03:45):
And it's, it's one of those things that, you know, unless you're like an editorial model where you can just like get the hip angles and all of that, it's just like, I want to look like me. I just want, I just want to feel presentable. And, and even I think in a space where, you know, we think about natural beauty and not natural as a natural ingredients, but just natural beauty as in this is what I look like. We still wear things to make us feel like our natural beauty shines. And so when you don't feel your best, you kind of can't interact with the world in a way with the, with the level of, I don't know, excitement and joy that you would if you did. And so that's one of those things that I was like, you know, I shouldn't be trading off the amazing feeling that travel gives me, like, letting that be diminished by my own. Like, I don't want to say self-consciousness but a little bit. Right. It's not so much that I'm like, I need everybody to accept me. It's just like, I want to put my best foot forward.
Joyce Platon (04:45):
Yeah. I know. I mean, be it just like a swipe of like your trusty lipstick or even eye shadow, even just blush, like it could be bare face or blush, but for me, it's like, I could be bare face, but I will need lipstick like every day. And like that already, that little thing already like boosts your confidence and the way you talk or present yourself, like we said to people. So I feel like that's important. And if it helps you, I feel like by all means I'm all for it.
Orion Brown (05:11):
Yes. And I'm here for like glowing skin. And I usually don't wear like heavy foundation or anything when I'm traveling. It's about like letting my natural skin breathe in because usually most of the places I'm going to are high pressure areas, get all that, get all of that in. Um, but it is at least, you know, it's having that, like if you enjoy a dip in the pool or if you, you know, enjoy a hotspring and you don't want to come out and look like, like hot Springs feel good, they don't look good. All the pictures you see of people in hospitals, they just got in like, and they've only been there for 20 seconds. Cause then the hair starts to frizz. They start to sweat. Maybe you start to get a little blotchy. And so you want to have something when you come out smooth the hair, cool off the skin, just be back to yourself. And I think that's that sort of the space that I like to do.
Joyce Platon (06:03):
Oh, I know all about that. I mean, I grew up in the Philippines. It's a tropical Island and blowing you shower. You're already sweating.
Orion Brown (06:14):
I love the Philippines, Oh my gosh.
Joyce Platon (06:15):
Oh really? You've been so that's exciting. I mean, you do know all about like, it's beautiful, but it's like super humid weather. So it's hard to look cute. It's like, you have to be indoors to look cute.
Orion Brown (06:27):
Wore like these little ponies when I was there. And then I just had them in buns. Like the whole time. I know it was also it's irresistible because you're in the water and likeand you want to be able to be like, it's okay. You don't have to be done up and you just want to be like together.
Joyce Platon (06:46):
I totally agree. Yeah. So what, at what point did you start this next chapter and what we're allowed to be? The initial challenges that you've experienced?
Orion Brown (06:59):
Ooh, girl. There's like, I feel like the initial challenges continue to roll on, but that's, that's the process of building something. That's a process of birthing something. Um, but basically I, um, back in 2017, I went on a trip to Japan and I planned for Kyoto and Tokyo weather. But then we took a little detour to Okinawa and Okinawa has... I had no idea. Okinawa has like the Filipino weather. So we're in there. So it was one of those things you land in Tokyo. It's like a sunny day. It's like DC weather mild is like a may mild, beautiful out. It's like cherry blossoms, all that greatness. And then we have a flight to Okinawa and I get off the plane and I'm like, am I sweating? Like, you know, when the war, when the air sweats for you, like it was that muggy.
Orion Brown (07:45):
And I was like, Oh crap. I only had like a little bit of conditioner because I had, I had my washes plan. Right. It was like, you know, one wash somewhere in the middle in case I need it. But everything else, like go wash and conditioner. Those are really just to style my hair and I have just enough for the week. And then I basically went through them in like two days. Cause my hair, I have a photo that I always want to use as an example, but I'm still too embarrassed, you know? And, and, and I was like, this has got to be like, there's gotta be something out there. And my partner at the time was like, didn't you do this? Weren't you like in brand? Like, why don't you create that brand? And so I sat on the thought, I sat on it.
Orion Brown (08:25):
I noodled it in the back of my mind for about six months. And then finally I was like, girl, you're either going to do something or you're not going to do anything with it at all. And you need to choose. And so I, I incorporated, Nope, we're going to just like put a name on it. We're gonna put together an LLC and then I'm going to work on it. And then the holidays came. So then I didn't do anything until like 2018. And I'm like, what have you done? But I did over that, over that period of time to talk to people. And I wanted to see, I was the only one having this issue. And that was where it really opened my, my eyes that, you know, there aren't folks going to grocery stores to get ingredients when they get to different places. Cause they know there's no point in trying to go to a pharmacy or a beauty supply or anything like that.
Orion Brown (09:12):
Cause they won't find things that'll work for them. And so, and certainly not at the hotels. And so that was really the, the start and the impetus and, and the creation of, of the brand. Um, and it paralleled, it happened to parallel with, um, me deciding that I was done with corporate. Like I can't, I can't with y'all leave me alone. You're you're, you're making, I've seen these mistakes over and over again. I do not want to live through this one. I'm just going to go. And so I was at a place that I was like, Oh, I can just get another job. And then I got this passion project I've been working on. Let's take some time and really focused on this and see where we can do and build with it. And I've been an entrepreneur ever since. And you know that the earliest, I think challenge for me, the number one earliest challenge was being an entrepreneur like learning how to be an entrepreneur.
Orion Brown (10:07):
It doesn't matter what you're selling or what it is that you're trying to build. But just understanding you have to have boundaries on your time. Like I didn't sleep for like three months. That was not healthy. That was not a good idea. Um, but I was excited and I felt like everything was urgent. It was just me working on it. And so I had to learn the balance I had to learn, um, that it's a very different space. Um, and the urgency of having your livelihood directly tied to every single thing that you're doing in a day, you know, you have to learn how to kind of divorce yourself from that a little bit, cause you want to make good choices for the brand and for the business. Um, not just based off of all right. Well, one of these days you got to get a check out of this.
Orion Brown (10:50):
So, so those were the early, those were the early challenges. Um, and then of course, you know, as a woman, as a woman of color, when we start talking about things like funding, very interesting conversations, lots of, um, I think this is a really niche market. You sound like you maybe know what you're talking about, but I don't really get it that, you know, just really interesting conversations, which is an ongoing challenge. But, um, you know, there's a reason why women are only getting like 4% of the VC money out there and then women of color are getting like half a percentage point. So, you know, that's, that's a huge challenge in of itself.
Joyce Platon (11:28):
Yeah. How did you know, um, who to approach for funding or investment? I mean, yeah, if you have one already or in the beginning, how did you acquire that?
Orion Brown (11:37):
Yeah, so, so, um, in the beginning I did do a friends and family round, which was more of a friends and friends round. Right. Cause I don't come from that kind of wealth where people can, can invest. Right. Um, but I've been blessed with an amazing network through my undergrad and graduate and professional career. And so I did have some early, you know, sort of pre pre-seed friends and family money, um, to, to help me work with that. And then I bootstrapped quite a bit as well. And so, um, in terms of looking at investors, that was another big piece. That was a part of the learning how to be an entrepreneur. Um, because I honestly, I went after a lot of shiny objects because I was like, okay, I don't know anything about being an entrepreneur. I don't know anything about this space. Um, I knew that I wanted to test some product and market and like continue to like understand what's working.
Orion Brown (12:33):
What's not working connect with people, understand the positioning and all that. So I was doing it very, very small scale. And then I was like, okay. And then I'll spend the rest of my time fundraising so that I can like raise enough to start up a team, get space, you know, yada yada and, and get us up and running. And so I had a lot of people being like, you should talk to this person, you should talk to that person. I've got somebody you should talk to, Oh, we just heard about you. So I got a ton of PR just kind of organically, thank God. Um, I got a ton of PR PR of organically, but then I had people reaching out to me. And what I found was is that the process of finding an investor is a lot like dating. Right. And it's right, exactly.
Orion Brown (13:20):
No, I was in, I was in a dating pool and so I was like, Oh, investment is investment. And like people look at a deal and sort of surgically decide whether or not it's a good deal. And it's like, that is not at all the case. And you do have to be very careful about who you're spending your time with because your time will get sucked up so, so quickly. And so even now I'm still going through the process of getting just even emotionally comfortable, to be honest with the idea of saying no to the noise. Cause it's a waste of my time and it's always still there.
Joyce Platon (13:57):
That's such a good tip. I mean, even if people are approaching you, you have to be careful about that. Yeah. I totally agree with that. That's really great. So I want to talk all about your product. It's so exciting. I read about the ingredients, um, amongst many skews, you have the shampoo and conditioner bar. Talk to me about the idea behind the shampoo and conditioner bar.
Orion Brown (14:20):
Yeah. So you know, the reason why we went with bars and I'm very particular about being focused on the out of home experience, right? So your bottles that sit on your shelf and in your cabinet and your backup bottles that you have in the, in the closet, right of different shampoos, conditioners, glazes, curl creams, all of that, they work for you and you have them at home and you have them where you want them. And you've got different things that you're, but the second you step foot out of your, out of your house. And while I'm all about travel and thinking about travel, this is relevant for going to the gym. You know, there's nothing worse than like hopping in, you know, going to the gym in the morning, having a great workout and then trying to figure out how to look like a human again, to go to work, to happen in your car and go to work. Um, and having those challenges and for Black women, we're trying to like tie our hair up and do all kinds of stuff. And so the bars in particular were meant to be, um, you know, super convenient. Oftentimes what we're doing when we get the 20 ounce bottle or the 16 ounce bottle of, of shampoos and conditioners up to 80% of that is water.
Orion Brown (15:34):
And so particularly when you're talking about travel, I mean, one is just, it's clunky, right? It's clunky to try to carry that too. It's messy. So even if you put them in the smaller bottles for convenience, like I just want a few shampoos at once. It's like, you're now trying to do that weird thing and pour it in. And then you have to put the saran wrap on. I mean, I was looking up travel, hats, travel, packing hacks. And there's so many where I'm like, why are people working around the product? Why isn't the product packaged for this? Right. And then now you've got your saran wrap on it and you've got it in three Ziplocs. It doesn't ruin your shirt. And then you get there and it's still like, well, this isn't enough or it's already spilled and you've wasted some of it or, you know, and there's just so many different challenges. Whereas if you have a solid bar, our bars are the equivalent of about a 16 ounce bottle and you just, you know, you take them in the
Joyce Platon (16:27):
Totally packable, not heavy,
Orion Brown (16:29):
Totally packable, not heavy, smaller than my palm.
Orion Brown (16:36):
And it gives you the ability to, and you're not paying for water too. That's the other thing, right? So typically when you get the tiny bottles, they're not even the full three and a half ounces. They typically sell at one to two ounces, which is crazy to me. They don't even max out the amount that you get and then you're paying for the water. You're carrying the water and then you get there and you're adding water to it. So it's like take out the middleman, use the bar, put in the shower, run it through your hair. It works just like a regular shampoo. Leave it on the counter, dry, chop it back in your bag, no muss, no fuss.
Joyce Platon (17:10):
What are some of the special ingredients from the black travel box that is great for women of color and why?
Orion Brown (17:18):
The thing is for us, particularly with our hair and our skin is just having really emollient ingredients, ingredients that nourish the skin, bring in moisture and seal it. And so you'll see things like, um, you know, we talked a little bit before our call about like the butters that we use. Um, our body balm is anhydrous. There's no water in it. So again, it's less of a chance that it's going to go like everywhere in your bag. Um, but the key thing is, is it's butters and oils. And so when are, you know, blended our Shea butter is really rich in a emollient. It gets down in the skin, um, the mango butter that we use, it's a little bit of a drier butter. So what happens is, is when you use mango butter, instead of having a greasy slick on top of your, on top of your skin where you're like, okay, so I'm going to be slipping sliding until this finally comes in. It pulls in those rest of those oils,
Joyce Platon (18:12):
Grease marks everywhere, like on your laptop, on the table, so embarrassing
Orion Brown (18:18):
Beauty, skid marks there's as I would call them, you don't want to leave little beauty, skid marks everywhere. And so the mango butter actually really draws those oils into the skin and it leaves almost a powder dry sort of finish on the skin. Right. So skin is moisturized and I always tell people, you know, like after you take your shower or whatever, seal it with the bottom butter, right. Or after you've been like in the water or something like that. And it just, you know, and you don't, and you can snap your finger because I'm on my hands right now. Um, and so it's about really thinking about what our skin needs, but it's also thinking about what is, um, would it be natural and effective? Um, and so like, I think a lot of brands throw Shea on their, on their packaging and it's like, you know, 50 skews that don't work for us, but then two in the corner that are like gold colored. And they say, Shea butter and Shea butter is like the third to the last ingredient.
Joyce Platon (19:20):
Oh yeah. I've noticed that
Orion Brown (19:23):
Our number one ingredient. And then we get into our other butters when we talk about our bars and our, um, shampoo conditioner, co-wash, we're using things like honey as, as a really beautiful, uh, humectant, right? So it's drawing the moisture in, and then you're using things like our conditioner to then seal off the cuticle, um, with our shampoo, it's a very gentle shampoo. That's clarifying, but it's gentle. So that Rosemary mint is literally Rosemary and spearmint and...
Joyce Platon (19:55):
It's like potent ingredients because, you know, you're taking out the water and everything
Orion Brown (19:59):
Well, it's potent. But also when you're looking at like essential oils, they can do the work that, you know, sulfates activity without leaving crazy buildup. And it's very natural and it's stimulating actually for the scalp. So if you're trying to do things like, um, keep your scalp healthy at home. And then you're like, well, I'm going on vacation for a couple of weeks. It's like, when you're on a diet and you're like, well, I want to stay like, you know, I still want to say slim, but it's the vacation and it's going to be too hard to like, keep it up. Instead of having to, to make that trade off, you can still have products that keep you on track and keep you, you know, where you want to go in terms of like your, your beauty regimen. If you're growing your hair out, if you're trying to be more healthy, all of those things you can still do with our products, as opposed to kind of taking a vacation from, you know, your, your hy- not even your hygiene, but like, you know, your regular routine.
Joyce Platon (20:53):
Yeah, no, I love it. So I noticed one special ingredient that I'm not so familiar with, which is the murumuru butter. Talk to me about this and the benefits.
Orion Brown (21:03):
Oh my gosh. So murumuru butter. There's some amazing butters out there. And again, when you talk about like sort of beauty and marketing, you'll get waves of interesting ingredients. Like they'll just like, it's the newest thing these things have been around, murumuru butteris, um, it's like a Palm tree that grows in, in Brazil. So it's like the fatty part of the seed similar to a Shea butter. And it's really, really rich. Um, it's harder and drier than Shea butter. So if you've ever held Shea butter in your hand, it kind of like it's kind of greasy and kind of crumbles a bit. It's a very like natural, like butter, butter, right? Like, you know, putting it on toast. So murumuru is more hard butter, um, and it really helps for your skin and your hair to retain moisture. Um, it helps that, that, um, that hydration to stay in, um, and it also has antioxidant antibacterial anti-inflammatory anti allergenic effects, right?
Orion Brown (22:04):
So this is a really good, um, ingredient that should be a less likely to be an irritant. Right. Um, cause everybody has allergies to all kinds of things. So, you know, you're, you're never going to get like a hundred percent away there, but, um, it's a really good ingredient that a lot of people can use. Um, and it's, like I said, it's extremely moisturizing. So even when you have sensitive skin, it's a great ingredient to use. And so when we think about things like our hair balm, we want to have the hairball is for the scalp. It's not, you can use it on your hair to seal it and get the shine and all of that, but to take care of your scalp, like I had my little part over there. Um, I have to be really mindful of that. And the Philippines, I got the worst sunburn because I was not used to being that close to the waiter. And I was, I was, uh, I was a tomato. And so things like making sure that I'm keeping my scalp moisturized, sealed and protected while I'm in places that may be really sunny, really smoggy, that kind of thing is really important while also still continuing to nourish it. So my hair grows. Um, so yeah, that's why, that's why we have murmur or butter in there.
Joyce Platon (23:14):
No, I'm so excited. I'm definitely going to try out your product. These are like amazing ingredients that I feel like will work for my skin as well. You know? Yeah. Being like melanin rich, I feel like these are great ingredients for my skin. So I know that your, uh, your brand focuses on travel essentials and you know, we've been experiencing a global pandemic or where travel has slowed down. Talk to me how it affected your business and what are the shifts you've been doing and the lessons you've learned along the way as well. Definitely. Um,
Orion Brown (23:46):
Oh most definitely. Um, It was pretty Swift in March, right? So it was like people were starting to hear, Oh, we might have to like shelter in place. And then it was like, all the flights are down. Nobody's going anywhere. And you know, very quickly I saw, you know, our conversions go, our site visits go cause people were like, well, I mean, I don't, I don't need it right now. And I'm like, you know what? I am never going to be the marketer. And I think that's a, that's a big part of why I have my own company is I'm not going to trade off sort of, um, convincing people to do something that's not healthy for them just so I can sell a jar of body. And so, um, my first struggle was just kind of figuring out, okay, we need to pivot. What is that pivot? How far do I take it?
Orion Brown (24:34):
Right? Because I am like trying to die on this Hill, of Black travel, um, because we're, we're missing a $63 billion industry opportunity, um, with people who are crazy about travel and this is new to them, it's a new generation of travelers and there's no brands that are talking to them in any arena that hasn't has to do with travel. And so I was like, I really believe in that, but how do I stick close to it? And the secondary piece was, and I've talked a little bit about this like travel, um, travel is a big piece of self care for me. And so while body bomb, isn't going to save the world. I do believe that if you can extract the most out of every travel experience, your wellness, your personal wellbeing will be that much better. And, and I really feel for my community in particular, is that like that's really important.
Orion Brown (25:26):
And so with that thought about wellness and travel, I said, I'm not going to get away from travel, but I will find ways to continue to help us to be well as we isolate. And so the first thing was, um, looking at the statistics in my hometown of Chicago, Illinois, I looked at the statistics there for COVID and we're about 40, 43% of the population there and 80 to 90% of the COVID deaths. And I was just, I was floored. I was absolutely floored. And so it was one of those things that in looking at that, and then also, um, realizing my own challenges like at home, I'm like washing my hands all the time and I'm putting body balm on constantly. Cause my hands are just like so dry. I'm thinking, you know, using, um, um, you know, the disinfectant spray and washing with saop I was like this, I can't imagine what this is like for those frontline workers who have people wrapped around the corner to come get tested and they're wearing three masks and they're washing their hands all day.
Orion Brown (26:26):
And so I wanted to figure out something that we could do for them. And so we created the COVID bundle, it's a COVID kit. And basically that kit allows you to come onto our website, get to know us, but also, um, donate a body balm and a lip balm to a frontline worker. Who's got the dry skin and chapped lips from being in the mask all day and the dry skin from washing their hands. And it's a great opportunity to say, we appreciate you. Um, and just give them a little kindness and give them a little self care. Cause a lot of them aren't able to take the time to do that. Um, and so we launched that and it was, I thought it was wildly successful. We, we sent about a hundred of those kids out to the West side of Chicago, um, in, in partnership with a local nonprofit there and we've sent them all around the country.
Orion Brown (27:15):
Um, and it's just been, uh, a really nice way to keep that, um, keep, keep connected with our community, with our, our, our BlackTravelBox community while also helping our broader community. Um, and then, so that was sort of the first step. Um, after that, then it was starting to become, okay, so what can we do? Product-wise and the latest thing that we've done, we've got masks now, which are essential for travel and they're essential for everything. Um, but at the point that it was announced that they, that we do need to use masks in order to travel and to be on planes. We got the, we got the masks in the works, and then most recently we launched a staycation collection, which I'm really excited about because at the end of the day, I want you to be well. And if you're a travel kind of sewer like me, you like still consuming content around travel and thinking about traveling and planning that next trip, even if you don't have the dates quite yet. And so we launched with three candles that are, um, basically sense that are meant to they're inspired by travel. Um, and that are meant to kind of really immerse you. Um, we have a London fog that has a beautiful rain sentence, do it rain and fresh greenery. We have Harlem speakeasy, which there is I'm going to is going to remain nameless, but there are a couple of speakeasies in Harlem, New York that I just I'm like that smell that whiskey.
Joyce Platon (28:40):
Yeah. That caught my eye. When I was like, looking at your website, I'm like, I'm definitely ordering this.
Orion Brown (28:47):
It smells so good. And it's just like, you kind of want to just like throw on some jazz and then lightning just be like, yep. Once the COVID is gon I'll be right there.
Orion Brown (29:01):
And we have a Riviera Bordeaux which is like a really beautiful rich red wine scent with a little bit of that dusty musty, um, scent of, you know, kind of when you go into, uh, you know, a French winery and they kind of bring out the old bottles and you know, like the barrels and stuff
Joyce Platon (29:22):
It's made me want to travel now
Orion Brown (29:23):
And well that's the thing. It's like, you know, you can still get the benefits.
Orion Brown (29:30):
We know what it's like every time when you have a trip plan, those endorphins that you get, when you just know, you're like, okay, two more months, and then I'm going to be on this trip. Your endorphins are up the whole time, excited about it. And so that's what I want to do for our customers while we're all still sheltering in place, giving us a bit of that, feeling all over again.
Joyce Platon (29:50):
Yeah. Transporting you back to these wonderful memories, just so at least, you know, we can kind of like forget about like the situation that we're in and have something to look forward to, even if you're just going to be at home the entire day. So we look forward to lighting that candle. I'm so excited. So would you have any new tips and tricks that you've learned during quarantine to maintain your beauty regimen?
Orion Brown (30:15):
Yes. Um, so it's interesting because I think we all sort of fell off of everything. So at first we're like, now we can do this. We're going to be cute for every zoom meeting. We're going to be, you know, whatever people had different reactions. So I can definitely, I can almost go through that. Either went really hard for trying to like, you know, pretend like it wasn't happening and I'm going to be completely ready. Or we were like, screw it. I'm not wearing pants. It's just over, you know, there's some really great examples that are, there was a, I think there was a, uh, an SNL skit where a woman was like, um, she's doing a zoom meeting and she's, she's doing a makeup tutorial. And she puts on like, like Crayola markers. I found like a really great work around and she's like Crayola marker in her face.
Orion Brown (31:05):
And that's sort of what the craziness is. What I found is that I had to do some really basic things to keep myself from one being stressed about having meetings like this and recording stuff with you to actually just kind of, again, let my natural beauty come out. So sleep, not too much, not too little, actually, regimenting your sleep. You know, if I did, when I wasn't doing that, I would have these calls and I would have super crazy bags that I would be trying to pack with makeup. So you couldn't see it. And it's like, just sleep properly. Lots of water. Um, I mean, I know these sound like super, super basic for the time that I wasn't doing it. I look like, Oh, Holy hell I couldn't. I was like, what, why do I look so terrible? And then I started to be okay, you have to control what you're eating. You have to control your, you know, like have fresh fruit. Uh, you know, when you're, when you're ordering food and that's fine, but like get some fresh apples, get some fresh mangoes, you know, get those electrolytes and those antioxidants in because your skin will blow better. You won't have to do as much. Everybody knows. There's that little extra Zoom filter somewhere in the video that you can, like, it'll kind of clean you up a little bit.
Joyce Platon (32:16):
Oh my God. I didn't know about that. I was not to say like, there is no filter to like help you. So you really have to do these basic or, you know, like tips that you're talking about. I was like, okay, now get to know. But then, I mean, Oh my gosh, I'm like mind blown right now, but then
Orion Brown (32:32):
Yeah, where you set up your zoom background, I saw there was like a little button that you push. So that'll not be of gives you a lot, but again, it's like, if you don't, if you don't have, you don't come with like a basic palette, a basic, you know, a base to work from is to help with like butterflies floating or butterflies floating around. And it's like really faded and they have the fake lashes. Like you don't need all of that. Just make sure that keeping yourself healthy and rested. And then the big things, my big actually big tip and I'm not doing it right now. So it's kind of bad. But if you have a lot of zoom meetings, um, and you're having like complex conversations and things, I like to put on a red lip, like a good, bright red lip, what happens is people read your face in order to understand what you're saying.
Orion Brown (33:23):
Like when we all do this, we don't pay attention to the fact. But like when people have masks on, it's not even the muffling of the mass, that MSU is that you can't see their lips, but you're also watching their mouth. And so I'll use a really bright red lip or a bright pink lip. Um, Hey, Fenty Um, and people were like, this was so interesting. It happens every time. There's a study back in the eighties with, um, teachers and especially little boys, they pay more attention and learn more when teachers wear lipstick. Um, it helps them to, I mean, there's, there's some sexist stuff in there too, but like,
Joyce Platon (33:59):
Maybe that's why my number one item is always a lipstick. Maybe like subconsciously I received these like positive feedbacks. I don't know. Maybe
Orion Brown (34:09):
I didn't really understand that. Like I get fewer interruptions. It's, it's just a really nice way to help people pay attention better. And it makes your teeth look brighter.
Joyce Platon (34:19):
Yeah. I love it. I love that tip. Yeah. Oh my goodness. And I will keep note about like the zoom filter. I will try that out. Um, yeah, but remember the time when we were all hoarding frozen food, and I think that really like messed up my skin and everything. I was like, I don't know. But finally, like, I dunno, I'm in that little back to my normal regimen where I'm just now I'm afraid of frozen food, which was a good thing. I guess I had to go through that. I was like, let me go to trader Joe's. Oh, I've been wanting to try this frozen food. Let me get all this stuff that I've been wanting to try. So that's what happened to me.
Orion Brown (34:53):
So it's a balance. One of my big nutrition things that I've been doing to force it to focus is I will take like frozen pizzas or frozen, frozen, um, like, you know, trader Joe's has like a really good truffly mushroom me. Like, I'm like, that's fine. You can have it big salad with it. And my favorite style is like the kale with like the brussel sprouts with like a little lemon poppy seed. It's really good. I actually really enjoy it. So I'm like, I'm not going to try to get right into all these, all these diets are like, if this works for me, I'm going to eat this all the time. So I have that. And I actually have like half the amount of what I would curl up on the couch and watch Disney plus with out with a salad that I really enjoy. And then how that's helped me a lot as well. But the water is huge. Cause I eat, forget. I forget. At least I'm like, have I not had water all day? My goodness. So now I keep like a big, I don't have it next to me, but I have like this big actually a con it's a big, um, a water bottle that I got on vacation sometime. And I'm like, great. So vacation mindset, drinking, lots of water hydrating myself. So I can go.
Joyce Platon (36:05):
I totally agree because I drink a lot of coffee and tea. And sometimes you forget just because of the liquid, you think you're drinking and hydrating yourself, but you're not, you're actually dehydrating yourself because those hydrate you like crazy. So water is so key. And I, yeah, I remember like sometimes like why do I have a migraine? Like I've been drinking. I was like, Oh, it's because I didn't ask, I didn't have actual water. I had like random liquids, you know?
Orion Brown (36:27):
Yes. Or juice or, you know, and I, at one point I realized, I was like, I think I would have like some type of vitamin deficiency. Cause all I want is orange juice. I was craving orange juice. And I was like, okay, well you can have the orange juice, but you also need to drink water, drink water.
Joyce Platon (36:46):
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So here at hello beauty, we have a philosophy and it say hello to the beauty in you. What advice can you give to those who are trying to discover their beauty within? Ooh,
Orion Brown (36:58):
Um, there's a, there's a saying that I grew up with with God don't like ugly. Now people use that to kind of like make other people feel bad, but I think it's like, it's about who you are on the inside. If you are feeling really comfortable inside around who you are, what your purpose is, um, what your values are, you start, you started to catch yourself in the mirror and be like, Oh girl, you're cute too. You can't help it because you, you value who you are. It's like, I always, I like it. I liken everything to dating, but if you ever dated somebody you're like, they were so attractive and then they did something really ugly. Right. They kind of showed their soul was ugly. Then also you look at them and you're like, he's just not that cute. We perceive people not just on what they, how they present themselves, but how they behave and who we perceive like their inner person to be.
Orion Brown (37:54):
And I think, you know, everything that we judge others for, we judge ourselves for more harshly. Um, we don't always talk about it. We don't always think about it consciously, but that's just the way our brain works. And so, you know, in a time where you are at home, where you're not able to be as cute as you want, you're not able to go sit out at brunch and, you know, have your everything and just be fancy and be seen. And all of that take this time to really look at yourself and really ask yourself the big questions and ask yourself, is this the life you want, if tomorrow you got sick and you didn't know that you were carrying this and you would put on a ventilator a couple hours later, have you done things that you should? I mean, you know, given the time that you've had in this world, have you done the things in the way that you would want them to have been done and have you lived your life in the way you would have wanted?
Orion Brown (38:46):
And it's not about regretting. It's not about that. It's sort of like, have I learned from my mistakes? Have I created a sense of self? Do I have a true North, um, those types of questions and the answers to them can really help you center yourself. I've done a lot of that through travel, to be honest, um, because some of the challenges that I've had as an African-American woman in the United States, I don't have in other countries. So I do, but others, I mean, it's something, there's something amazing about being able to say I don't hate people. I don't hate people. I hate things that people do and people can be cruel, but they can also be beautiful and wonderful and connect with you. Even if you don't speak the same language and laugh about the same things. When we all think cute babies are cute and ugly, babies are well. And you know, and, and those are beautiful things. And being able to connect with people around food and all of that. So I feel like I live my life in a way that I have good perspective. So I feel good about myself. And when I feel good about myself, I catch myself in the mirror and I'm like, Yes
Orion Brown (39:53):
Um, and, and my emotional, the emotional head space that I'm in actually really does correlate with how cute I'm feeling. And there are some days where I'm like, y'all are not getting any makeup because this skin needs to see the world. Right, right. Cause there's other days where I'm like, thank you. But there's other days where I'm like, all right, so hoodie and shades, hand mask, we're going to go, thank God for the mask. We're happy about the mask. Let's just cover it all up. And so I really, I really encourage people, you know, you'll get more out of the lipstick. You'll get more out of the lashes. If you get more out of yourself,
Joyce Platon (40:37):
I love that. That's so beautiful. I resonate with that a hundred percent. Thank you for sharing that quickly. Talk to me about your morning to night makeup, skincare and hair routine quickly include products.
Orion Brown (40:49):
Hmm. Okay. So I am now on a, um, foundation ish free, um, kick mostly because every time I order stuff, it takes 15 years to get here. Um, but what I am doing, so things that I'm doing, I'm making sure I'm cleansing my face. I am lazy. So I am not going to lie. I'm very, very lazy. I'm very simple routine kind of person. I like using face wipes. Um, recently, um, I've been switching to Black owned brands. Um, and I use honeypot already for like personal wipes, but you can use them on your face too. And they're, they're they're they have a sensitive skin, one that I use on my face. It cleans everything off. It smells nice. It's not harsh. So sometimes the face wipe can be like rough and they actually irritate my skin. So I'll end up all splotchy after I love this too, to remove makeup.
Orion Brown (41:46):
I love it to like kind of remove the days oil it's really, really gentle and easy. Um, there's also a Glossier. What is the name of it? It's a little milk something. Um, um, but yeah, I did, I can link that. I just ran out. I just, just ran out. Um, but I'll use that sometimes too as well. And I try to like keep it in the shower. So I actually remembered it. I'm one of those people, I will just like rub water on my face. And I'm like, this is not, this is not a regimen. You're almost 40. You can't be doing this. So not a really crazy routine in terms of skincare, but I do try to make sure that even if I'm not wearing makeup as a rule that I'm like wiping down my face at night, um, because I will know notice breakout, especially from hair product, right?
Orion Brown (42:30):
So I'm not washing my hair every day. So the hair product will kind of make its way to my face. Um, in terms of my hair, I've been actually, this is like a little, a little weird actually. Um, but just braiding my, twisting my hair up at night, um, writing and twisting it. I will take our hair balm and run that through, brush the hair out, put it in a nice twist. Maybe add a little water if I want to make sure that the waves are nice and tight in the morning. Um, but just to kind of make sure that I don't get breakage. Um, because again, stressful times tend to toss and turn more. So you're rubbing into the pillow and you're going to end up with a lot of breakage or at least I ended up a lot of pretty good. So, um, I like to like twist my hair up at night, bring it down in the morning, tease it out, do whatever it is that I'm going to do with it. But I like to kind of keep it braided up at night. Um, and then in terms of makeup, honestly, the only rule is, is I must have browse at all times.
Orion Brown (43:26):
I looked like Snoopy and there's like,
Joyce Platon (43:28):
No, I don't believe that
Orion Brown (43:32):
My only out of home beauty routine that I have kept up is going to my bra lady. And she threads me every three to four weeks. Um, I have my mask on she's wonderful. The chat was, she keeps a really clean shop and so she gets my shape. Right. And then I just, you know, I get my, my, um, my, my brow pencil from her and fill it in. She's a brow snob out of, uh, Denver browse snob. I love it. Um, and so I use that, but I mean, you know, whatever pencil you use, but if you have a good arch and a good shape already built into it, it's really just doing a little bit of fill in. And again, with all of these video conferencing people, aren't gonna be able to see you. It's going to just use blank canvas. So you want to have eyebrows and lips. I find, um, usually I have, I have just like a light pink, cause I've got the light pink here and I was like, I don't want to clash too much, but, um, just a little bit of lipstick. And actually the lipstick that I have is this, uh, I normally do Fenty the liquid. Um, but this is actually your lane and I've messed this portal thing up. It's been in my purse for so long, but it smells amazing. And this is your lane.
Joyce Platon (44:44):
Oh yeah. Yeah. And the shade is,
Orion Brown (44:47):
Uh, Ooh, gosh, I can not see
Joyce Platon (44:54):
The reading glasses
Orion Brown (44:58):
This is what I see, but it looks neon pink on here
Orion Brown (45:02):
When you put it on, it's a very soft pink.
Joyce Platon (45:06):
Oh yeah. Girlene has like really nice, like subtle, you know, like once you apply it, it's very natural, really great for everyday
Orion Brown (45:14):
Thing, really moisturizing. I will put this on when I actually have, I don't like putting lipstick on, like if I get sunburned, I get sunburn all the time. I really have to learn how to use better SPF. But, um, when I have like really dry lips, when I have sunburn, I don't like putting heavy lipsticks on because it ends up making it worse and then it cracks and it feels and all that. This is one, I don't know what the ingredient is. I do need to look. Um, but it's very moisturizing. And so I, this is like the only color I'll put on, especially if I'm at like a beach or something like that. I'll put this on. Okay.
Joyce Platon (45:44):
It looks natural on you, it's like your natural color, but better. I love those types of shapes. Yeah,
Orion Brown (45:49):
Exactly. And then another tip, um, our, our, we have a lip balm and you know, people go, Oh, well, lip balm is lip balm, but ours is all natural. It has, you know, some flower oil and it's really emollient. We have a little bit of vitamin E so it's really great for skin. So, um, you know, I've been getting a lot of notes back from our customers that are like, well, you know, I had cracked dry cracked lips and I put this on for like a day or two and it's like soft pillowy, um, you know, softness again. So what I'll do is probably once a week, I'll take a tooth brush and go over my lips just like while they're wet and just to get rid of any like dry cracked skin. And then I'll put the, um, lip balm on and I wear the lip balm most days under lipsticks. So what I'll do is I'll put it on and let it soak in, you know, maybe 10 minutes or something like that. And then go ahead and put the lipstick on top of it. And it keeps it from getting sort of, I don't know if you ever get the two-tone where the inner lip. Yeah. And so it really helps it to stick as well as to, to remove any dryness around the edge
Joyce Platon (46:53):
oooh lip primer. That's really great. Yeah.
Orion Brown (46:58):
Maybe not the biggest makeup girl,
Joyce Platon (47:01):
But I mean like, I mean, it's, it's cool. It's like doubles as a conditioner lip balm conditioner. So that's amazing. Yeah. You always want to put makeup
Orion Brown (47:10):
On moisturized skin. I think that's just the one, one, and only rule that I know for sure your skin needs to be really nicely moisturized and sealed before you put it on other ones
Joyce Platon (47:20):
For it to blend. It's like not blinding.
Orion Brown (47:22):
I don't want to like, unless you are a drag queen, which God bless them, they do amazing makeup. You don't want to, you don't want your makeup sitting on top of your face. It's such an obvious level that like, if you ran into somebody, your face would fall on them. You know what I mean?
Joyce Platon (47:34):
I was thinking videos like that when you're like bumped like a wall or like their entire face thing,
Orion Brown (47:42):
moisture actually keeps helps that that makeup set really well and you don' have to use as much. So, yeah, I totally agree. So I am really excited. This is a weird time to launch new products. So I'm excited to continue to extend the staycation collection. Now it started out with the candles because we wanted to create ambiance, but we're going to start putting some more, um, bath and body products with that so that you can have a fully immersive experience. And so those will be coming really soon. I'm really excited about that. And, you know, as we kind of wait out and see what's happening with travel, um, I've been really taking time to build out our community. We have almost 10,000 followers on Instagram, which I'm really congratulations. So, you know, it's, that's, that's a wonderful thing. So, you know, we've been doing things like wine down Wednesday.
Orion Brown (48:33):
So Wednesday evenings taking 30 minutes, I bring on a guest, we have a glass of wine. We just, again, I'm going to follow this five 30 mountain time. Cause I'm in Denver. Um, by 30 mountain time, every Wednesday and we have different guests and we talk about travel and talk about life and we just kick it for 30 minutes because you know, you cannot spend hours online. Like I've seen people have lives that are like two hours long and I'm like, Oh gosh, I've been on video today. Like I just need to have fun. And we, we kick it. We have a great time. And so I'll be doing more of that. And I was to be honest, a little bit chicken to be like out in front of the brand like that. And I'm like, uh, you know, going live, this is really crazy. But, um, I, you know, our audience is amazing and I just look forward to doing more and more of that. So if we're all hunkered in baby, I'm here hunker down with you. We will have a great time. We will still talk about travel. We'll talk about life. We'll talk about food. We'll give ourselves a moment to, to kind of center and, and have a little community
Joyce Platon (49:36):
Travel and food. I'm definitely there.
Orion Brown (49:40):
I'm thinking about doing a series of, um, basically cooking classes online to show some of the foods. Cause they have a lot of what personal passion of mine is, is food. And when I travel, I try to go and find someone, you know, needed to show me something that they make locally. And so I have a collection of recipes that I think I might start sharing.
Joyce Platon (50:02):
Okay. Okay. So what are your social channels I'm working? They find you and learn more about the BlackTravelBox
Orion Brown (50:10):
Yes. So, um, for the BlackTrave,Bo, you can find us online at www.thelacktravelbox.com. You can also find us pretty much every social channel, but our bread and butter is Instagram @blacktravelbox. You like to keep it simple. And then if you want to find me, my name is Orion O R I O N underscore Helana, H E L a N a middle name. And you can find me on every platform, um, under that handle.
Joyce Platon (50:38):
Amazing. Thank you so much Orion. I had so much fun talking to you.
Orion Brown (50:42):
Thank you for having me. This was fun.
Ellee is in the building - and this week she's showing us what it means to be a globe trotting Travel Crush. This native New Yorker has climbed the pyramids of Egypt, took her whole life in her hands on the swings in Bali, and she's still pumped for more challenging, new adventures. Read on for her tips on having magical experiences without breaking the bank, her favorite hack for buying cheap flights, and how she stays in villas without the hefty price tag.
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