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Podcast Feature: The SimplyBe. Podcast

Podcast Feature: The SimplyBe. Podcast

The SimplyBe. Podcast: Episode 85 - Carve Your Niche and Serve the Greater Good with Orion Brown, Founder of BlackTravelBox®

Audio and Photo Source: The SimplyBe. Podcast and Jessica Zweig



Episode Summary

This week, our Founder and CEO chatted with Jessica Zweig to discuss  how she carved her niche and built an authentic brand, catering to her community that is all to often overlooked. Orion shares her vision behind the brand, the impact of 2020 on the brand and her vision for the brand moving forward. 

 Listen below to hear more about The BlackTravelBox's past, present and future.




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Episode Transcript

The SimplyBe. Podcast

Episode 85 - Carve Your Niche and Serve the Greater Good with Orion Brown, Founder of BlackTravelBox®

Jessica Zweig (00:00:02):

Welcome to the simply be podcast, a branding and lifestyle podcast. For those who seek to make a massive change in their life and their businesses by creating a stronger connection with what makes you, you, I'm your host, Jessica Zweig personal branding expert and founder of simply B. And through these conversations with my incredible guests and my own life experiences, I'm going to show you that the secret to developing a brilliant brand and a kick life, isn't more dooming. It's more being let's dive in. This is a soul fire production. You're listening to the simply be podcast episode number 85. Well, hello.

Jessica Zweig (00:00:51):

Hello. My beautiful friends. Welcome back to the show. Are you doing all right in December? How you're surviving the holidays? It's real. It's a mad dash sprint to the end of the year. That's what I call it. I call it like the December hustle. It's like a dance, like you just gotta dance fast until the year's done. And I hope no matter what's going on in your family and in your life, when it comes to a very different type of holiday season this year, I hope that you're getting a little bit of magic and sparkle. At least this is such a, a special time of the year. Nonetheless, for us to truly reflect, get cozy, be around the people that we love the most in whatever form we can. And I'm just sending you all so much love and light during this very different, very different season.

Jessica Zweig (00:01:40):

Seeing that it's December, we explore a different theme each and every month on this show, we call it the be intention. We switch them up. I choose the theme and the intention really based on what I'm feeling you as a community are really seeking as well as what I am personally exploring. And because it's December, it's the end of the year. It's a time. Yes. We wind down and celebrate the holidays, eat a lot of sugar. It's also the time of year where we set our goals. And we really think about the year ahead. And we've been through so much in 2020 so much has changed so much has been disrupted so much has shifted for better and for worse. And I really believe that 2021 will be the year that we want it to be so long as we get really, really clear and confident that it can be.

Jessica Zweig (00:02:30):

And I believe that there is no other way, no better way, really to write your own destiny, to call your own shots, to build a career on your terms, other than when you be your brand and being your brand is really about defining what makes you, you giving yourself the permission to live it, and then strategically, clearly and effectively executing it in a way that serves not only your business, but your community, your corner of the world, your clients, your customers, and the greater good. And today's guest is really the perfect guest. When it comes to building a brand at that level, she checks all of the boxes and I'm so excited to, to introduce you to her before I do. I want to remind you all that. I got a party I'm throwing in just a couple of weeks. I am hosting a new year's party.

Jessica Zweig (00:03:24):

It's a virtual one. It's happening on January 3rd. So y'all can have your December 31st typical new year's in whatever party fashion. Hopefully it's safe in whatever way you do, but on January 3rd, just a couple nights later on Sunday night, right before we all head back to work, I'm hosting a new year to be a celebration, a declaration, and an activation for 2021 hosted of course by me, I'm going to be taking you through some of the most powerful exercises I've ever created in my own personal life and professional journey. That's really been the secret sauce of my success. It's not the perfect platform and the bright yellow and all of the clients that really helped me, you know, build this thing. It's, it's been the belief that I could in the first place. And that's what we're going to explore on January 3rd together. I've got some very special guests, my best friend, DJ, Megan Taylor, I've got Lola Wright.

Jessica Zweig (00:04:22):

She is a Reverend, a spiritual goddess leader and Brian Carter, my agency coordinator, who's going to be emceeing the whole night. And you guys, of course, you guys are going to make the night. So I'm going to leave a link to a new year to be in the show notes. I want you to head on over there, sign up, you got to buy a book. My new book be hitting shelves, February 16th, 2021. It's called the a no guide to increasing your self-worth and your net worth by simply being yourself. And it's $25. You get a ticket to the event. You get so much more. I'm announcing so many amazing things to come in January and February at a new year to be, you'll be the first to hear it because you are there. So make sure you sign up and join me and all of my incredible friends to start this year off with so much high vibe, inspiration, activation clarity, and honestly confidence guys, and who you truly are born to be it's a new year to be.

Jessica Zweig (00:05:20):

So my guest today, I'm just going to dive into it because I loved this conversation. So much. This was one of my favorite conversations. And I know I say that a lot. And this one really was, was up there. So Orion Brown, she's the founder and CEO of the black travel box. And she created this brand with the goal to bring natural hair, skin, and body products, to travelers of color, her line of TSA, friendly products, help black and Afro Latinex travelers look and feel their best on the road. And she's really going to open up and share her inspiration, her vision, why she created it. She says that she didn't intend to create an existential brand. She wanted to create a solution to a problem that she saw herself and she created a product line around it. And I just think that that's honestly how every incredible brand truly does begin, but her point of view on women of color and just how brands in general, especially in the beauty space, but brands in general, just really neglect an underserved people of color.

Jessica Zweig (00:06:33):

And our conversation just is so important. It's so relevant. It's so needed. And I really hope that this conversation gets heard by as many people as possible. So please share this podcast, not only to bring more light to how brands can do a better job being inclusive, but to support Orion because she's the real deal. And her brand is so beautiful and intentional and has such legs to be successful and to create such waves in the travel industry. And at the same time, she's in the travel industry. And we all know that that industry took a big hit this year. And so I just really believe in her. And I believe in her message and I believe in her products and I believe in her as an entrepreneur. And so please share this show to really support her business. Now, prior to the BlackTravelBox, she led brand strategy at Oracle and branding marketing efforts at Hasbro and spent the bulk of her brand career at Kraft foods where she led key advertising, pricing, portfolio commercialization, and operations initiatives across six global brands. She's a boss. Her passion for businesses and brands has also led her to build a non-profit consultancy, where she helps clients strategize and scale their organizations. She's a lover of travel and food spending, much of her free time outside of the BlackTravelBox pursuing the best of both. She's been written about an essence. Beyonce covered her Conde Nast traveler covered her three Oh three magazine covered. Her

Jessica Zweig (00:06:33):


Jessica Zweig (00:08:13):

Hype hair has covered her.

Jessica Zweig (00:08:15):

She's gotten some incredible press and her Instagram game is fire her. Website's gorgeous and above all her product line is so conscious and in such service. But most of all, she is a type of aspirational and inspirational entrepreneur that we can all learn from and look up to. And I hope you take a page on how to carve your own niche in service of the greater good in your business, based on our conversation without further ado, let's get into my chat with Orion Brown. Do you know that Orion is my favorite constellation in the universe?

Orion Brown (00:09:00):

Do you know that it boggles my mind that people don't know what Orion is? When I, when I speak to them about my name and certain circles, it's sort of like, Oh, that's an interesting name. And I'm like this isn't Greek. Nevermind.

Orion Brown (00:09:17):

Sometimes It ain't even worth it. It ain't worth it,

Orion Brown (00:09:19):

But it is. I've had people correct me on the pronunciation there. Like I've never heard it said that way you, I was like, now I laugh at it. I just think it's so funny because people have this natural tendency to sort of condescend each other instead of just being open and not realizing that they don't know isn't that a concept. Yes.

Jessica Zweig (00:09:45):

I mean, I certainly can relate to people up your name because my last name is Y Z w E I G. And people have botched it my entire life. And now I'm at the point when someone asks me in advance of, you know, introducing me at an event or whatever, how to say my name. Right. I'm always so grateful because people just say, whatever the they want to say, and they, at the way they want to say it. And it, it matters, you know, your name, man, what's your name now?

Orion Brown (00:10:13):

It is it's it's identity it's. Um, and, and I think it's also care. Like we don't, as, uh, as people take enough care of each other and have each other's feelings and considerations. And so just taking the moment to go, I'm not sure if I'm going to get this right. And so can you help me out with it because what is there to be embarrassed about? You should know you shouldn't no, no, you're just showing that you care .

Jessica Zweig (00:10:40):

And that you're human, you know, and that's, that's such a beautiful...

Orion Brown (00:10:45):

Yes. and peaople have different names and different things that they care about. And so just like we want to change pronouns for people and be mindful of that. Like try getting their first name, right too,

Jessica Zweig (00:10:56):

This concept of, of caring and coming from a, a place that isn't one size fits all and that we are all different and we are all human and we are all just doing our best. And we all are just trying to find our place was very much an inspiration from what I can tell for your brand. And it's incredible, the BlackTravelBox, you know what you're doing now, and I want to talk about it, cause it sounds like it's doing amazing things, but let's back it up and talk about how yeah. Fingers crossed. I get it one day at a time, brick by brick, as I say, as an entrepreneur. However, I think that people are really inspired obviously by, by stories and, and yours is one that I think goes beyond beauty. It goes beyond a product, you know, it's about creating a space. So talk us about it or I, and how did, how did you come to create this?

Orion Brown (00:11:59):

Yes, I it's interesting. I didn't start out to make an existential brand. I honestly didn't. Um, my background is in consumer packaged goods, um, and brand management. And I had done that for years and I really loved the edification of having like a physical thing that I could show for my work. Um, and that was something that I was really passionate about. And then, you know, as careers change and you try different things, I got further and further away from that like tangible product and started doing, you know, had great jobs, but really missed having my hands in something that was, you know, my baby that was out in the world. And so when I came up with it, it was a practical challenge of I travel a lot and I'm sick and tired of not being in my own photos. Cause I looked crazy by day three.

Orion Brown (00:12:47):

Like all my pictures are like at the air airport where my hair is still nice. And I'm like, you know, I'm like happy and excited, but by day eight, it's like, ah, you know, I've run out of products. I don't want to run around and grab them. And, and so for me, I was like, you know, there's a, there's an opportunity. I just see a gap in the market just as my marketer brain. I see a gap in the market. You know, women of color are avid travelers yet. We're the ones that can't find anything, whether it be at the hotel or at the drug store for our personal care needs, which is a big, big part of it. Just feeling like yourself and feeling like your best self while you're out in the world. And so I didn't have this really big existential sort of, I want to change like the face of beauty or society or anything like that.

Orion Brown (00:13:30):

I was just like, we can make a product and it'd be cool. It'd be really fun to work on. As I started though, as I started talking to other women and men, um, and hearing the types of hoops that people are going through just to have basic products available to them and don't get me wrong. These are clearly first world problems, but they shouldn't even be first-world problems, right? You're are, you're a productive member of society. Um, you know, African-American spend black women spend nine times more than any other ethnic group on beauty and personal care. Uh, African-Americans spent $63 billion on travel in 2018 and that had grown billion and that had grown 20 billion from 43 over eight years. So we are avid travelers and we're avid purchasers of beauty and personal care categories yet. There's nobody talking to us. And when I'm talking to people and they're telling me, they're doing things like going to the grocery store and trying to find coconut oil and grape seed oil in whatever country or even whatever city, whatever us city they're in, because they know they can't find the products that's going to work for them.

Orion Brown (00:14:37):

It's like I edit if you had a really rare skin condition, like I totally get that. I get it. If you're like, I don't trust big products, I want something natural. I totally get it. Although you should have those options, but to be entire ethnic

Orion Brown (00:14:52):

Group. And it's not just us, like, there are plenty of people of all shades and skin tones and all of that stuff. Race is sort of a separate concept, but there shouldn't be the idea of the word normal on a pack of anything for your skin and for your hair, because there is no such thing. And if you can't pick up the normal one and use that, then what does that say about you? So it became existential very quickly.

Jessica Zweig (00:15:21):

Yeah. I, I clearly and, and rightfully so. I mean, the beauty industry at large feels rather exclusionary don't you agree? I mean, not just with haircare and, but I think this is why obviously we, we connected so organically. You and I, you sent me that beautiful email after you had heard my podcast with Dana and I was just like, let's talk about your business and your branding. But I think at this now time, these conversations around how to, how to really think about your business and your brand for now, at this time to be inclusionary and not as a strategy, you know, but because it's, it's what is needed, exists, exists because we're part of we're we're human beings and that's just the way it should be. Yeah. And it's almost, Dawn's, it's almost mind boggling to me that something like this didn't exist before you, and that is just crazy.

Orion Brown (00:16:22):

And so it's really dumb. And I, I take no credit for being like a maniacal genius and coming up with this idea, I'm like, it's a market, there are people, they need this thing, like, why not do it? Um, but you know, even as my entrepreneurial journey has moved along and I'm looking at investors and things like that, you know, I hear things like, Oh, it's really nice. It's such a small idea. That's so cute. And so, you know, I also get the, well, what if the big guys do the same thing? And I'm like, well, you guys are tickling me and telling me how cute I am. So I don't think they're going to take it seriously. And if they did great because we need it. And because, you know, African-Americans have trillions and spending power in this country. Like I think it's 1.3 trillion and spending power.

Orion Brown (00:17:11):

I think there's enough to go wrong around. And not only that, and I can get on my soap box... It's really interesting to me because I am unabashedly looking towards, you know, black female travelers. Right. But that does not mean that other people can't use the products. And it's, it has been a very interesting thorn in my side to have conversations with people who are offended, that the product isn't for them and that they cannot use it. And I'm like, those are both predicated assumptions are predicated on beauty standards, right? If you go into the, I call it the Clairol aisle, because I've just totally not respected their trademark, I guess. But you know, you go into the aisle for all the hair dyes, right? There's all of these women, many of them are very, very fair skin or Caucasian women in different hair colors.

Orion Brown (00:18:04):

Any woman that comes into that aisle, that's looking to change her hair, has to imagine herself, her face, her skin tone. Under that color, the five boxes at the end, I have black women on the end. We all do this. We all go, Oh, that's for black people. It's the same chemical. It's just that word showing a variety of people on the package. And yes, they did create those to make a space for Black women to see themselves on the package so that we could actually get an idea of what this is going to look like on us. So this idea of having any ethnic group, uh, sort of forward in the marketing, other than sort of this, you know, very White, you know, beautiful blonde running on the beach with big. Um, it's pretty much like that's the idea. And I'm like, no, he lives up to this and why should we equate what the person on the box looks like with what we should like, what's okay for us.

Orion Brown (00:19:07):

And what's not okay. Like we need to get rid of that concept of the beauty that you show me is the beauty I must attain. And at the beauty that you show me is I have to fit into that in some, in some sort of way. I mean, you know, I I've used the, the blonde, um, shampoo with the purple in it because it smelled really good. I didn't care. I know it was supposed to be like, keeping your blonde perfect, but I liked it and it worked fine. Um, and you know, which isn't something that happens often. So in any case, I it's, there's a lot to this concept of our translations of beauty standards and it's not standardized over the beauty that exists. It's this thing that lives out here that, that nobody's really living in.

Jessica Zweig (00:19:52):

I was just going to say, is who made up that beauty standard standard by who, whose rules, whose accordance was it a bunch of white dudes in a room back in the seventies coming up with some ad campaign of what beauty look like? That is just so not the fifties, just so outdated. And I think what you're speaking to, and I want to really talk about so many things, but this idea of building a brand that is authentic and of service and that whether it's for the people of color market or it's for women or it's for young people or it's for, you know, the new generation, whatever it is, it's really coming from a place that is mindful of authenticity and the full human experience and understanding that it is not about you, but about what you can give to others. And I say this the time of how do you create something impactful beyond your bottom line?

Jessica Zweig (00:20:52):

And you're doing that. You happen to do this in an incredibly smart space for a cause that is connected to your soul and at a beautiful, irrelevant, necessary time. So kudos to you. But what I want people to take from this is it doesn't matter what brand you're building. It has to come from this place. And it's how you stand out. It's how you attract your right audience. And the more inclusionary you can be, I think the more everyone wins and these old standards that were, were made up by the patriarchy, basically aren't relevant anymore. And to come to the table with something that is completely unique to you and it's of service and inclusionary is going to win. And you've done that so incredibly with your brand.

Orion Brown (00:21:47):

I, and I think the one pushback that I'll give is, um, because I have the word inclusion used against me by some folks, tell me more. So it's like, Oh, it's inclusive, but it's only inclusive of y'all kind of thing. And it's like, well, you're being exclusive because you're not including me in all of this stuff. Right. And I think there is, there's two sort of basic tenants that you should know as a brand maker, marketer, uh, owner. And one is you can't be everything to everybody. You just can't so inclusion isn't about, at least in the context that I use it inclusion isn't about being everything for everyone. And everybody is, you know, frolicking together, right? It is about being very clear about what we stand for and not discriminating, right? Like if we, if we stand for X, anybody who stands for X should be with us and anybody who is with that can come along, right. Anybody is welcome to that. And if you don't know, if you stand for X, you can try it. But like this concept of, um, you know, losing sort of the consumer targeting piece over an argument around inclusion diversity, and then ultimately fragility is, it's just such an annoying and circular argument. So I put that out there, not to say that you were saying that, but I've run into that a few times and I'm like, we still have to use the fundamentals. Right.

Jessica Zweig (00:23:20):

It's a beautiful point. What I think people are really craving right now is a sense of belonging, right? Not a sense of inclusion, as much as they are a sense of belonging community and the ability to connect with humans. It's where we've lost our ability to do that in a really big way in 2020, right? Because of the pandemic. And yet I think it's such a primal yearning as a human. They say that people, more people are suffering from like loneliness and therefore depression and anxiety and suicide because of loneliness over anything else. And so, you know, I've always set out to do the same thing with simply be it's like, I want to create a brand. That means something to people that isn't just an agency that isn't just like a services company that actually has meaning in people's lives that people can connect to and associate with.

Jessica Zweig (00:24:10):

And that is, I think, a, a cool reframe on this idea of like inclusivity of this, making people feel like they can see themselves in your brand and it touches a part of their life that's maybe missing and they didn't even know it. And coming from that place as a marketer, especially authentically and not manipulatively is really, really powerful. And yeah, you know, you've got some really incredible traction or I in to, to prove it. So let's talk about your product, explain, you know, what it is, you know, how, how you've scaled it, your go to market, what you're doing with it, where people can find it. I want to, I want to the whole audience to understand where they can go get it.

Orion Brown (00:24:55):

Yes. So right now we're primarily direct to consumer. You can find us and you can find us on IgG at black travel box. Um, and really our products, you know, we're not, I know we have box in the name, but we're not like the subscription box where you get like some mystery thing and we're actually bringing our subscriptions back. But you can, we have basically a starter kit of products that are really the, what I would call like the biggest pain points in travel, right? Like toothpaste, pretty much you can, anybody can use anything that's kind of around that even looks like toothpaste, to be honest, I've never done the towel trick. I've done the towel.

Jessica Zweig (00:25:36):

No, I haven't. That's good to know though.

Orion Brown (00:25:39):

Oh yeah. If you're, if you're absolutely stuck what a towel and just wipe them down, but in terms of like really polarizing products for me, and we've seen a lot of stories about this with like Mindy Kayling and Gabrielle union, and Halsy talking about, we go to fancy hotels and we still can't find stuff that, that like the people forgot. We have melanin people forgot that we have hair. Um, and so it's the shampoos, it's the conditioner. So we have bars, we have solid bars, um, again, not rocket science, but just formulate it to be better for tighter textures, textured hair, shampoo, bar, Rosemary mint, a co-wash bar, a conditioner bar that is, you know, smaller than the Palm of your hand and the equivalent of a 16 ounce bottle. So now you're not fighting with TSA, right? You have it, you pop it in your bag, you use it in the shower, you let it dry on the sink, pop it back in the bag and you're done.

Orion Brown (00:26:32):

Um, we also have body balms. So, um, for all of your listeners that are a little bit more melanated, we all know we put on the lotion at the hotel and immediately our hands look like the crypt keeper. And it's like ashy and white and streaky and dry. Um, it's because the ingredients in there are cheap and it's not great for anybody really. But when you have darker skin, you can see it. So not only are your hands dry and uncomfortable. Now everybody's looking at you like you've been playing and like talk about, or you've been doing like gymnastics or something. Um, because it's just, it's so bad for you. So we have that body bomb. We have a hair balm, which is a basic hairdressing again, you know, it's, you know, four to five. So we've got diamond, the count in different things for slipping, all, all of these different ingredients that are safe, synthetics are natural and really meant to help you keep up a healthy routine, um, while you travel. So we have those in a bundle with a lip balm because you can't go anywhere without. And they come together and this gorgeous little stuff, Yano, a leather bag that we put together as a kit. And then there's various sizes that you can come back and purchase whatever you like the most and, and, and try different things.

Jessica Zweig (00:27:41):

All right, guys, confession much as I love health, I hate making health food. I ain't got time for that. I don't got time to cook. I don't got time to clean and I certainly don't have time to juice. I bought a juicer. It's really nice. It was quite expensive. And it sits on my counter. And I look at it 325 days a year. I really don't use that often. It's just messy. It takes time. I don't have the time, which is why I love Organifi green. And I love this brand for so many reasons, obviously because it's delicious and it's chock full of all the things that I need, but it is convenient. And it doesn't shortchange us on quality tastes and value. I don't know about you guys were the days that I don't get enough green in my diet. I don't feel the same.

Jessica Zweig (00:28:35):

I also feel a little guilty, right? When I don't eat my kale or have my spinach, or have any sort of dark leafy greens for that matter. But organic by green is a one-stop shop for all of it. And so much more. It's got Maringa chlorella, mint, spear, Lena beet root macho, wheat, grass, ashwagandha, tumeric, lemon juice, and freeze, dried coconut water. It is delicious. And it checks all of the boxes that I need when it comes to my health. And most of all, my time and efficiency, especially now in this time of COVID you guys, we've got to keep our immune systems up. And in my view, green juice is a super power tool in the toolkit of health to help you do that. So I'm gonna hook you up. If you haven't already gone over to backslash SimplyBe you'll get 15% off when you do, or you can use code SimplyBe at checkout for 15% off. So happy a quote-unquote juicing staying well, maximizing your time. You're welcome. Now let's get back to the show.

Jessica Zweig (00:29:38):

You put a lot of attention, your packaging and your branding. I, I could so see that. Can you, why did that matter so much to you?

Orion Brown (00:29:49):

I personally think that there is many fabulous items out there, whether you're going to a beauty supply store or you're going to target particularly, you know, looking at ethnic hair care. Um, but we don't always get the resource and the talent into really create something elevated. So the brands, I just really wanted to see a more elevated brand. I'm like, why don't we have one? It's not, it's not, uh, I think there's fallacies around our willingness to pay. I think there's spouses around what our expectations are. And I also think a lot of the big brands will do things like slap a gold label on it, throw a curl in the corner and say, this is for you. And not really take the time to understand what we love and what makes us feel special. I mean, even with our fragrances, right, there are notes in the fragrance.

Orion Brown (00:30:44):

You'll see in our reviews, people will go, it reminds me of something and reminds me of home. It reminds me of that was on purpose. Just to make a fragrance. It's not a fragrance that you're going to smell like a blend that you're going to smell on the market. Um, because the notes are just cheating back to culturally relevant moments. Somebody posted the other day and they were like, it just reminds me of my grandma's house. And I was like, that's not how much it reminds you of something. And they said like in a good way, but those little notes that, that elevation and that acknowledgement of culture makes so much of a difference. And I don't see a lot of that on the market. Yeah.

Jessica Zweig (00:31:25):

You know what I love. I'm so glad I asked this question because if I were to peal into the layers of what you just said, it's, it's so beautiful to hear you speak to the consciousness of, you know, what, you know, as a woman of color is going to resonate with this audience and that there is a so many assumptions and just not a space and products like really in alignment with like what's real. And, and that you can tell a story subliminally and directly with your fonts and with your colors and with your labels that like communicates a really powerful message and that isn't, you know, reserved to, to just one type of person that anyone who's looking to build a brand can communicate who they really want to reach with those details. And with that intentionality, and, and at the same time, I just love that you're creating this product in the space for women that don't have it. And it's so smart and so timely. And at the same time, just a real masterclass in branding.

Orion Brown (00:32:36):

Yeah. You're giving me a pep talk.

Jessica Zweig (00:32:37):

That's true. Welcome to the simply be podcast. I just, I mean... I just, I don't know. I don't bring people on unless I genuinely believe in what they're doing and have something to teach me. And I really think that, you know, what you're I started did the same thing with simply be, I was like, you know, I don't, I don't wanna just be another marketing agency. And I'm like, the world doesn't need another marketing agency. There are, there's a lot of them, you could throw a stone down the street and hit one, any, any city. And I, I wanted to carve my niche and personal branding was that niche, but then I wanted to go layer deeper and I'm like, but I don't want personal branding to be a thing of ego and self promotion. I want it to be about empowerment and authenticity and truth. And so I spun that together and kind of found my niche and trailblaze that in a way. And I look at someone like you, that is trailblazing the beauty industry and having such an obvious, in my opinion, like obvious conversation, like, why doesn't this exist? Like why aren't these products available? And then you're you just go and you do it and it's working. And I just think it's so cool. I really do.

Orion Brown (00:33:45):

Yeah. I mean, it's, it's, it's still entrepreneurship and it's still hard and there's still days where it's like crickets. And then there's other days where Beyonce posts us on her website and I'm like, Lord, wait back up. What, what, what happened? Beyonce? I didn't catch that. Yes, we were. We were on beyoncé's website. We're actually still there. My face is on there, which is bizarre to me. Um, but for Juneteenth this year, she created, she launched her Black parade album and she also created a page with up and coming Black owned brands, Black and African owned brands. And so in the beauty section, I'm like the fourth one in there. And I got a text from somebody and I didn't believe them. I thought it was like spam or something. And then I looked and I was like, my face is literally on This is bizarre. Absolutely bizarre. Okay.

Orion Brown (00:34:31):

Wait, wait back up for one second. I just want to say that anyone listening with a dream, you got to have the vision of course, to do it, and you gotta have the, the balls to do it. But if you do it, if you put yourself out there, you can end up on Like anybody can like to me, I love stories like this because you think that stuff is so unbelievable and untouchable for you, and then you see someone else do it. And it's like any, you have to be in the right place, right time. I mean, I obviously think this is, this is such an incredible year for Black people and women of color and makes, I wanted to ask you too, how your business has, you know, what's happened with your business because of COVID and being in this tumultuous, but extremely important year. How, as a Black owned business in travel, you know, how has it all impacted you? And obviously the Beyonce thing is an artifact of impact, but talk more broadly about what's, what's how this year has been for you.

Orion Brown (00:35:35):

This year has been crazy, as it has been for everybody. Right? Like, um, and it's, it's one of those things that, uh, you know, e-commerce has moved, I think, 20 years ahead of what expectations were for total volume on e-commerce because everybody came home and started buying online. Um, but as you know, the travel industry basically came to a standstill. And so it's been a really interesting balance, um, you know, last year and I'm transparent because I don't think enough people talk about how hard it is. Like they want us to show like how good they are at stuff, which is fine. Like we need to, we need to give ourselves the props, but it wasn't until I heard, uh, I think it was the CEO or the founder of Pandora, talk about how he was in debt for five years and almost went to jail for not paying his people. But I was like, okay, I'm doing okay.

Orion Brown (00:36:25):

That just made me so better on, on, on credit cards. So, um, so this year has been an interesting sort of masterclass and resilience for me personally, I think as a personal, as an entrepreneur or your personal growth is your business growth period.

Jessica Zweig (00:36:40):

I say that all the time! Your business will only grow to the extent of which you grow as a person.

Orion Brown (00:36:48):

Exactly, exactly. So this has been a very interesting time and it's been, you know, um, uh, up in that I've been able to pivot and create new products and help drive relevance. Um, it's been down because I haven't had access to capital and supply chain is triple slow and UPS is maybe going away or not UPS, USPS the postal service. Um, and so it's been, it's been, uh, one of those, you know, triathlons, you know, each segment has been a new challenge.

Orion Brown (00:37:22):

Um, and it's been a lot of hard work and, you know, it's, it's one of those things that I'm fighting every day to keep this company going forward. Um, but I'm also getting notes every day from people who were like, I heard you on such and such podcast. I heard you here. I saw your article there. Oh my gosh, keep doing it. Like, keep doing it. I'm wishing you the best. I'm telling my mom about you, you know, that kind of thing. And so there's an interesting dichotomy of like the part of me, that's like, you know, there are easier ways to make your fortune in the world, you know? And then there's the part of me. That's like, this has to exist and nobody will do it. And I know how to do it. I mean, there's still stuff I'm figuring out, but it should just, I think it should, I think it should exist. I think it should be. And it shouldn't, you know, it shouldn't be like this radical new thing. Like it should just exist. And so, uh, in, in the endeavor to help this baby make it through those formidable years, right. Those early years where you're checking in and making sure they're still breathing in the middle of the night, that is me. That's where I'm at in the business right now. Um, it hasn't started running around the house and like breaking things yet, but I'm looking forward to those days.

Jessica Zweig (00:38:39):

I love the metaphor. So are you, are you fundraising? Are you, are you going after the venture money?

Orion Brown (00:38:47):

So it's been interesting. I have been going back and forth on this. I've been oscillating on it. I took 2019 to try to find funding for it. I was going to do some in-market testing. What we have in market right now was not meant to be like the product launch. It was just the test products, but people really loved them. So I kept selling them. Um, and so one of the things, you know, somebody asked me, how was fundraising going? And I'm like, it is reflective of the numbers. So the 4% women getting VC money. And then I think it's one and a half percent of women of color. That's what it's reflective of. And, and so I've been really playing around with, okay, going out for the free money, going for grants, things of that nature, um, because the run-around is true. I mean, it really is.

Orion Brown (00:39:32):

And I think, um, cognitively humans are like, I don't want to believe I'm biased. I'm not this, I'm not that. But when they start to behave in biased ways, they find sort of legitimize reasons for it. So one of the things I talk about is how do delay due diligence, isn't always diligent. Um, and so in the situations where Chad comes up with a great idea, he's written it on a napkin, he's talked to his dad's friend, and now he's got, you know, almost a half a million dollars raised on an idea that doesn't have a website yet, versus someone who's proved out a marketplace has customers has traction, and they're doing, they're running an entire company by themselves. So if you, if you invest in it, it can actually scale up and prove proven market. Those are very interesting conversations when people go well. Yeah, but we really need to know more. We need to see more traction me too. It's like, do you?

Orion Brown (00:40:30):

Do you?

Orion Brown (00:40:31):

So, uh, that's a long way of saying I am really on the fence in terms of investment, but my, my hypothesis has always been that, um, you know, a physical products, business, consumer, good. If you have a strong P and L you really only need investment twice at the very beginning so that you can prove it out and get it to where you need it to be. And then, you know, along the lines where you hit your scale cap, and then you need step change growth. And so if I'm having such a hard time getting 250 K 300 K over here, then I might as well just build it myself and wait five years when I'm ready for like a series a and ready to sell this sucker to somebody, you know? And, and that's so, so that's kind of where I'm at right now.

Jessica Zweig (00:41:19):

I have some suggestions for you. I had, I mean, it, I had an Earnest Sweat on my show. Did you, did you happen to listen to that episode?

Orion Brown (00:41:27):

Oh, I missed that one.

Jessica Zweig (00:41:28):

He's a Black investor based in Silicon Valley. He was in corporate, uh, venture. And now he's in one of the, you know, there's not a big market of Black venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. And so what he's done is he's created this kind of a conglomerate called Black VC. And they look for Black owned businesses to invest in. It's like a, not a non-for-profit, but they act as sort of like an, you know, interim sort of advisory board. And they, they, their job is to literally invest money and allocate resources into Black owned business exclusively. And he's unbelievable, and he's a client and he's a friend and he was on my show. We talked a lot about this and how challenging it is for not only Black people, but women.

Jessica Zweig (00:42:10):

And I explained my experience too. I mean, yes. And you are a Black woman. So I just think that he would be an amazing resource for you. And, um, a couple other colleagues that I have in Chicago that are also, um, people of color in the, in the venture and angel scene. And I would love to make introductions so sidebar, but we should we'll connect after the show. I would love, I would love to do that. But what you're saying is it's making me kind of, um, mad. Um, I, I, I watched, uh, I watched shark tank, right? So like a very, you know, I love that show. And there was a rerun on the air recently. I don't know if you caught it. It was a Black couple from Chicago. My hometown that started a brand called curl mix, which was, and I didn't get a deal.

Jessica Zweig (00:43:03):

And I was like, they had a business, they had revenue, they had a brand, they had validated the product that they spoke to. Some of the statistics that you brought up at the beginning about beauty industry and how Black people spend money. I mean, all of it. And they didn't, they didn't get a deal. And, you know, I'm just going to go there. This was pre George Floyd, this was pre 2020. And I was like, I wonder if things would have been any different, like, it really made me think what way, when that show aired. And it just made no sense to me because it was like clear they were going to get a deal. And then they didn't.

Orion Brown (00:43:42):

Well, yeah. And, you know, with, with, in their case, Kim, Tim Lewis curl, they're amazing. They're amazing. And they're doing great things with that. And they've, they pivoted that experience to build on their business even further. They're such an amazing and sweet couple. Um, so Shark Tank is kind of weird because it's, it's, it's entertainment, right? It's entertainment with an investment kind of underpinning. Um, but by the same token, I would, I would agree like B, B conversations that happen on there with founders of color have been questionable at times. Right. I, I, you know, when we see the lip bar, I'm Melissa Butler go on there and she's got her beautiful lip colors and they call her a colorful cockroach. I find that that should have been an apology from the network for even editing that into like, why you're anthropomorphizing her into an animal.

Orion Brown (00:44:42):

So glad you said that on television. Yup. Yup. But I just, I, so I personally took a pretty big offense to that and I thought somebody should have acknowledged that that was just inappropriate. You can not fund it. You can say that it's not a right idea. It's not big enough all of that, but at least BSS and show us some respect, right? Like don't just go directly to insults. And so, you know, to your point around George Floyd and the things that have happened, you know, it's a funny way, how I think God lets things happen. It's terrible that that happened to him and it's happening to people all over the country. And that's just one example. I mean, the videos are traumatic. We're in a trauma space as a, as a culture because of the people that are being attacked and murdered on the streets daily and being justified, that being said, this new, this renewed sort of, Oh, I guess we should support Black people because we feel really bad. This stuff is happening. I appreciate, and I think that that's good, but it can't be a fad. Right. So we were really, really heavy inn June, really heavy in July to August.

Orion Brown (00:45:53):

It's hard to tamper down September. Yeah. There's some programs and stuff out there. Um, but it really is something that we have to take a look at and go as a culture. We've got a lot of things to work through and getting excited overnight. Isn't going to change it, getting and staying excited, or maybe not excitement. Isn't the thing. Maybe it's just getting engaged, getting involved and staying involved ongoing is really what we need to see because women are marginalized, Black people or marginalized, Asian people are marginalized. All these people have a different, you know, uh, sexual orientation. There's so many things. And so many biases that we all have to work through because we're living in a culture that's predicated on white cisgender male ideas, period, and power play. And so, you know, maybe it would have been different if they had filmed just after.

Orion Brown (00:46:52):

Um, but I don't know if that would make a difference for the broader problem, right? Like that's like situational and by the way, their kicking ass anyway. So they're fine without it. Um, but yeah, I think that's, uh, that's really the thing that's on my mind in a year while people still care about Black business outside of the Black community. Um, and will we ever get to the point that we stopped thinking about Black business as this separate entity that we donate to because they're unfortunate, they're less fortunate. It's like, yeah, but we're at an inherent. So we're working three to five times harder to get half as much. And all we want is a level playing field. And we want people to look very clearly at the challenges and the same thing for women, stop asking women how they're going to like recover when their business fails, ask them how high they can go. Like that kind of stuff. That's the stuff that that's the same, the change that I want to see. And I think it's going to take a long time to do it.

Jessica Zweig (00:47:53):

I could not agree with everything you said more. And I agree, it's going to take a long time, but it's a marathon, not a sprint. And to your point about the June raise and the, you know, that clay climax and crescendo of, of energy and conversation and, and noise and chaos and emotion, and then it sorta did Teeter. Right. And my, my question in the midst of all of that was when what's going to happen, when it teeters, you know, how, how can we sustain this in a conversation that is more relevant than ever, and always has been. But now that we've got our attention on it, how do we keep our attention on it and not lose focus? Because people inevitably we're going to, and I've seen it personally speaking, I it's a part of my every day and I don't feel like I need a metal for that.

Jessica Zweig (00:48:45):

Or like, you know, it's not something I even talk about that publicly. But as a white person, I turned the mirror really hardcore on myself. And yeah, you read the books and you do the things, but it's about really walking the talk. And you know, one of the things that I, I have a friend who's my Black investor friend from Chicago that I'm going to introduce you to. And I was telling him about my, my business. We hired three new people this summer. We did 850. We had 850 people who applied for our, my company for three roles. It was bananas. And all three of my new hires happened to be people of color. There are the people who are the best people for the job, but because I took such a strong stand as an organization, we got this feedback from the candidates that applied, they felt safe and welcome to apply for my comp my business, because I, as face and founder, and while as well as the brand simply be made such noise around how in alignment we were with Black Lives Matter.

Jessica Zweig (00:49:46):

And we were taking our own accountability and doing our own work, and like just celebrating in a conversation of humanity and authenticity, always as a brand. And I will tell you that out of 850 people, these three people were the best people for the job and people who don't do that, organizations who don't make inclusion and initiative diversity, equity and inclusion, part of their narrative are losing out on talent and like the opportunity to really scale their businesses and in such an amazing way. And, and yes, it was, you know, I was proud of the fact that I said to Tony, my friend, I was like, you know, I want to say that I I'm proud that I, you know, brought on these, you know, people of colors, my incredible new staff. And I don't really want to say that. And he goes, you should say that you should be proud, but something that you should, you should share.

Jessica Zweig (00:50:37):

And I just think that's the work it's like reading a book. Okay. You know, listening to a podcast, cool. You know, doing an IgE live with someone fine, but like put your money where your mouth is and like play the long game. And I, I'm so invested personally in, in this narrative and this conversation, and I just, I want to keep sharing it because it, I think about my nephews who are biracial actually, and they're two and two and four, and the world that they're going to grow up in, like, will we change it overnight? Will you? And I see a different day in 2021, probably not, but will they? Yeah. If we do the right things now, that's, that's really what drives me future.

Orion Brown (00:51:27):

And I love that. I, you know, it's not even just about having it as a part of your brand or your business narrative. It's, it's having it a part of your DNA. Right. Because it's having safe spaces like that. People talk about the pipeline problem. They, every, every industry I've worked in, I've worked in banking. I, you know, financing consulting is that they're all like, it's pipeline problem. We just don't have enough. It's not that you don't have enough people. You're not going to places where they are and you're not making them feel welcome to come to you, period. You don't have a pipeline problem. You say, you take, you know, you're only taking a warm intros. Well, if they don't know anybody that you know, and you all know each other, and you're all shaking each other's hands that's, you know, and there's such a big piece.

Orion Brown (00:52:13):

I, I was talking to someone recently, um, I did a talk to my Alma mater. We were talking about the crown act, which a lot of people don't know even was a thing. The crown act was passed last year. Um, in, I want to say four or six States, it makes it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their hair. Let that sink in for 40, some of our out of our States still think it's completely fine to fire a person. If their hair is unprofessional. Now talking about things like professionalism and like how you come to work. I totally understand you need to be, um, uh, appropriate for the environment that you're in. However you're authorizing environment. Again, we go back to beauty and beauty standards is predicated on a standard that a lot of people naturally cannot reach. I do not wake up in the morning with bone straight hair.

Orion Brown (00:53:10):

I don't. Right. And so, um, it's interesting if you were to go on to Google and those that are listening right now, go on to Google and type in unprofessional hairstyles. And don't even focus in on the faces, just scroll and see how many of them have Brown faces. Right? And so, you know, women of color don't wear things like locks and braids and other styles that can be cloth very beautifully and very regally and very nicely. Um, because we know we can't show up at work that way, cause it could endanger our jobs. So understanding that you're in an authorizing environment that actually appreciates you, that is open to who you are and who you are authentically and is looking at your talent and your skill and the value you add by your difference is hard to find. And so that's exactly why you're going to have a pipeline of women or people in general that are interested in what you guys are doing.

Orion Brown (00:54:14):

It's simply be looking at your values and being bold and all of these other aspects of it. That's beautiful. And that's the kind of stuff that we're told the opposite of your two bowls or too loud or too aggressive. I've been told to whisper. I've been told to whisper, um, as, as official feedback from a boss, I should whisper. So people aren't intimidated by me. I should ask more questions because I sound too sure of myself. Wow. Um, and so, so thinking about the environment that you're creating as a business owner, as a brand leader and saying like, yeah, I want to have more people of color because it's the right thing to do, yada, yada, all of this stuff is going on. That's wonderful. But what are you doing day to day to make them safe and welcome and interested? They're your customer, right? So what are you marketing to them? Think about them psychographically. Don't just look at the color of their skin. We're not a monolith. Think about them, psychographically, what is it that they need you to stand for for them to feel like they can stand for you?

Jessica Zweig (00:55:13):

I think they'll, we'll pull that out as a quote and share that as a, as a meme on an Instagram, literally, that was so awesome and so beautifully stated. And I just really hope that resonated in people's ears as they listen to this. This is the great, this is gorgeous. Um, kinda coming back full circle to this idea of you didn't mean to create an existential brand, but you did. Um, you know, tell me about your vision for, you know, obviously you want to scale it, you want it to grow, but what's your vision for it. And, and what kind of team do you want to build and where do you see it playing a part? You know, not just as a product, but as a brand.

Orion Brown (00:55:55):

Ooh, Oh, there's so much here. There's so much. Um, and, and I'm really excited about it because I know I can dream bigger dreams bigger. And so I'm just sort of like if I come up with some really big stuff, this will be crazy once it actually comes together. Um, I, I really look at BlackTravelBox as like the longterm vision being the number one out of home, personal care brand period, number one, out of home, personal care. Um, I think we have a really, there's, there's so many spaces in places where we find ourselves in need of refreshing up a need of a touch up in some way. That's not necessarily like sort of makeup and cosmetics derived. And so whether you're going to the gym or you're at the office, or you're, you know, at a swim meet, whatever it might be at the beach, like what, you know, how can we get into all of those spaces in places in a really organic way?

Orion Brown (00:56:50):

And that people go I'm, I'm not going to be at home. I don't have the giant jug of whatever X, Y, and Z with me whole box is what I need to go grab. And so that's sort of my vision. I think there's also amazing legs for this within the travel space, in particular, in terms of lifestyle, lifestyle, branding, um, and creating extensions, where we really stand for travel and out of home experience and being, you know, my philosophy is, is that we want each person to be able to enjoy the experience that they're in, as opposed to being distracted by stupid things. Like why don't I have lotion, right? Why is my hair messed up? And so being able to create sort of an experiential media and hopefully in real life platform that will enable people to not only have experiences and enjoy them and be present for them, but really connect with BlackTravelBox as a community of people experiencing together. So it's a little, it's a little meta, but, um, I'm really excited because I think that can take it so many places

Jessica Zweig (00:57:54):

I Love it. I think it, I, it's more than a product to me too. It's a, it's a community, it's a platform, it's a conversation. It's, it's a brand, another idea that I had for you. And I'm sure you've already thought about this, but just sort of like looking at, you know, big travel brands like hotels and specifically hotels since the accommodations and it's where you'd have your shampoo. Me think about it. You travel like, Oh, I'll check into a Hilton or Hyatt or a Marriott or a Ritz or four seasons. I don't typically stay at places like that, but I like a boutique hotel personally speaking, but I, you know, whatever corporate travel, you go, you, you, you, we've all been to those hotels and you check in and you had your bathroom and you've got the suite of products. And personally speaking, if I went to a hotel like the four seasons or a Hilton or whatever, and I saw that there was an array of options for, for people like me and people who weren't like my color of skin, I would have more loyalty to that hotel brand. I would personally like that brand on a conscious or subconscious level and have a stronger affinity and support for a brand that was inclusive, truly inclusive. And so, I don't know if you've thought about like scaling in that way and forming partnerships with, with hotels to really bring your products everywhere in every room. I'm sure you've thought of that, but I, I could just see your products in those places.

Orion Brown (00:59:20):

And I love that. I agree with you.

Orion Brown (00:59:22):

I think that is perfect. And that's where we need to be. So if anybody's in the hotel industry hit me up. Um, but there's a few interesting things. So California and I believe New York is going to follow with removing bottles, right. For ecological reasons. Right? So the idea is they're just wasting bottles. People are tossing them out and they're just making all this waste. So they're going to the gym pump, you know, the pumps that they have at the gym, that's like the wall. And it's like just sledge in there and you don't know what it is. So that's going to be a really interesting impact. It didn't really hit us as much this year because people stop traveling. But next year, when people do start traveling again, it'll be really interesting to see the impact to sort of the personal care category, how consumers react to that.

Orion Brown (01:00:11):

My hypothesis is there's always going to be the PERT plus person, right? The clerk plus three, one's usually a guy. And he's like, like, I don't care. I'll wash my whole body with it. I don't really care that y'all use dish who cares. Right. Then there are people who are like many of us, you look at it and go, I don't even know what that is. This isn't like, I used to know that you carry like, you know, uh, what Peter Thomas Roth or whatever the brand is. And I knew I could use that, but now I can't tell. And it's just like this, this guy, I don't know, you can have dish soap in there. And so I think there will be a push for people looking to one, um, the hospitality industry offering options. So just like you can buy $12 nuts that like, you know, out of desperation, pretty much every time I love my $12.

Orion Brown (01:01:01):

Oh my gosh. And then I'm like, ah, I still want a meal. Um, but you know, so having those offerings either as a sundry or even having them as an option that you can just specifically request for the room. Right. And, and the beautiful thing is, is again, because we're bars, we're not the reason why they took the plastic out was because there's so much plastic. We use not even a 10th of the amount of plastic. And so even with that, I'm looking for ways for us as we start to scale to make it even more environmentally sound as possible, because why go around the world and just like we trash everywhere. So I think there's a, there's something there. And I definitely agree, particularly, I've been speaking with some boutique hotels who are thinking about their client base, right. And they're going, Oh, well, you know, we have a lot of people of color or we want more people of color coming here.

Orion Brown (01:01:52):

What are ways that we can make them feel at home? Because that's the whole thing. Hotel is meant to be home away from home. And so those conversations are starting to happen and they want to, I want them to continue to happen. Um, it's always, it's a virtuous cycle, but it's also a little bit of a vicious cycle because it's like getting in front of them and promising them product and promising them, you know, things that we can deliver to them, but then having to go figure out how to fund that so that we can deliver it to them so they can us so that we can do

Orion Brown (01:02:20):

It again. Um, so it's an interesting challenge as an entrepreneur. And I always put that caveat in, it's not just so straightforward of, Hey, you know, the Ritz decided to order for us globally. And, uh, you know, we have plenty of time to make it and we know exactly how we're going to do it, and we're going to make tons of money. Um, there's a, there's a lot of moving parts to that

Jessica Zweig (01:02:39):

I know there is, and you will get there and I can, I really truly see this for you. I'm going to put it out into the universe. I'm also going to make some introductions for you. I you're the real deal. And you've got such a smart product and a huge market for it. And you're clearly a hustler. You check a lot of the boxes that entrepreneurs need and you've, you've got it, girl. So just to bring it like totally full circle as you were talking. Cause I, I wanna, I wanna just, I want to ask you the last question that I ask every guest, but before I do, I just want to state that Orion is my favorite constellation. I wrote a paper on it in college and it was inspired by my favorite artists at the time. I don't listen to her anymore, but Annie de Franco and she had this song called untouchable face.

Jessica Zweig (01:03:33):

And in the song, she has a lyric that says, I look up at the sky and I see Orion and I say nothing. And it's sort of an ode to her independence and an ode to her, like what she's building inside of herself because she's going through a breakup or something. And I was going through a breakup then. And so I became obsessed with Orion and I look up in the sky and whenever I see it, I say nothing. And I wrote about that in my book. That's coming out anyway, Orion is a warrior of light, the worry of truth. And you, my friend are a warrior of light and truth. And I just, I'm just so happy to know you.

Orion Brown (01:04:12):

Thank you. Thank you. I'm just like, Ooh, goosebumps. I, um, I am grounded in those things. Um, I'm not perfect, no one's guru or anything like that, but I have the last couple years outside of, of building a business, which is its own hard thing, have just been some of the most challenging years of my life. Um, and in that, if you, honestly, if you can't grow out of really awful things, then you're just doing it wrong. Um, that's how I, my choice is either to curl up in a ball and die or grow. And so I've tried to grow and flourish as much as I could. And that edifies me to hear that. And not only because it's my namesake, but it is like a really cool constellation. Um, and wherever I go there I am. So I really liked that, that it grounds me as well. It reminds me that there's something bigger than me, um, that still has, that still is kind of about me, right? Like this idea that there's bigger than you should

Orion Brown (01:05:18):

Have that like humility and that, that, um, that separation from it and understand that you're small and it's big. And, and you know, the world doesn't revolve around you, but also knowing that you can be a part of that bigness, that there's something in that bigness for you is, is huge. And so that's what keeps me afloat. Um, give me, give me, give me goosebumps down. I mean, it, I want to out to that, to that end, I want to ask you the last question I ask every guest, and then I want you to share where everyone can find you, of course, but what do the word simply beat mean to you in all your failings and all your triumphs and all your pain and all your joy, recognizing your existence, just recognizing I am here. And it's not a mistake.

Orion Brown (01:06:22):

There's nothing on this planet that is a mistake. Whether you believe in divine design or science or both, everything came about as an effect of a cause it has a cause. And so just living in that and knowing that it's not a mistake, it's not a fluke. And also knowing that tomorrow is predicated on today, do something today to make tomorrow different if yesterday. So, so it's, it's existing in that I think is, is what simply be means to me at least.

Jessica Zweig (01:06:58):

I loved that answer. Probably one of my favorite answers. So, so amazing to have you Orion. I mean, uh, this was, I loved our conversation over the phone over the summer. And to have you on my show, I, we talked for like 15 minutes. I'm like, I need you on my show. I need you to talk and share this. And for us to connect more out loud in front of other people, it was just so beautiful and divine, thank you for reaching out to me.

Jessica Zweig (01:07:25):

Um, I just though see you girl, you are a true entrepreneur and everything that you're doing, I support and anything I can do to help you. I genuinely mean that you're just superstar.

Orion Brown (01:07:38):

Thank you so much, Jessica. I appreciate you. I appreciate your time, your energy, your I'm looking for meaningful conversations, not just, you know, promotional stuff. I think that's, that's it, it may or may not make more dollars in the end. I actually don't know. I'm not going to tell you it will, or it won't, but I think it really does make more of a difference in the end. And it's like, it's difference. That seems to be at least where I find like a C. So I think what you're doing is phenomenal and I really appreciate being a part of it.

Jessica Zweig (01:08:11):

Where can people find, you tell us your Instagram, your website, you, where can people go engage?

Orion Brown (01:08:19):

Um, so everyone can find BlackTravelBox online at And you can find us on IG and Twitter @blacktravelbox. Um, if you'd like to find me, I am on Twitter and IG as well. Orion O R I O N underscore Helena, H E L a N a. I made it as complicated as possible.

Jessica Zweig (01:08:42):

Complicated. I've heard worse and that's beautiful and I'll link it all in the show notes. So they'll find it easily. It's going to be fine, but that's your branding or your IG is on fire. Like you can see everything we talked about today, come to life over there. And I just really, again, thank you for this conversation. It was so I knew it was going to be amazing, but it was just so much more than, than I even thought it would be. And I know the people listening are going to be so moved by it. So thank you so much.

Jessica Zweig (01:09:15):

Hey guys, are you ready to learn how to tap into your intuitive gifts and manifest the life you've always wanted? Yeah, I do sign me up. Welcome to Christina, the channel. Oh my gosh. This girl is so the real deal in her podcast be prepared for deep conversations around all things, spirituality, wellness, business, and manifestation. And in my view, they're one in the same. You got to have them all. Christina Rice is an intuitive channel, seven D energy healer business mentor and manifestation expert for episodes include interviews with inspiring guests, amazing channeled messages and Q and A's with Christina herself. So head on over,

Jessica Zweig (01:10:00):

So head on over to Christina, the channel and wherever you find your podcasts, Oh, Hey, it's me again. If you love this episode, please be sure to rate, review, subscribe, and share it with all of your inspiring and authentic friends. And speaking of inspiring and authentic friends, have you joined the simply B society yet to look in a time of so much loss, grief and separation. I believe that community service light and impact are more central to the human experience than ever before, which is why I created the simply be society, my inclusive yet exclusive digital community, which is here to provide you with it all. So you can build your most authentic business brand and life. Each month you'll receive my virtual gift box. The B box filled with my expert branding lessons, private Spotify, playlist, inspirational mood boards, plus access to my upcoming VIP events, chances to be featured on my podcasts y'all and giveaways, lots and lots of giveaways. And best of all, you'll receive access to my private simply be society. Facebook group comprised of an international of bad-ass entrepreneurs, creatives, and leaders, all on a mission to bring more authenticity to their careers and thus the world registration to sign up for the society is in the show notes. Thank you so much for listening to the simply be podcast and I'll see you on next week's episode. Bye guys.


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