Huami Magazine NY/NJ July/August 2022

Page 1

N E W YO R K / N E W J E R S E Y


July/August 2022 Volume 1 Issue 9

ManikinBeautyBox NY/NJ - July/August 2022


The Benefits and Burdens of Your Assignment A Letter From The Editor

There Are No If, Ands, Or Buts About It!

With the onset of each new day, there is always a list of things for me to accomplish waiting for me. I prepare my day based on the A available hours; you can probably say that I am routine. I would Letter from the Editor beg to differ and counter by saying I work better in blocks of time and with a plan in place. I have been fortunate to learn that I don’t What if tomorrow All of your plans, hopes efficiently function withoutdidn’t one. arrive? That’s just me. and dreams wouldn’t have a street to park on. What if everything you decided to for puthaving off until tomorrowtonever On the otherthat hand, I am grateful something look happened? There would be no reason to save for a rainy forward to doing. While often things may appear overwhelming, youfact could someone making I canday, restand in the thatspare God has chosenthe metrouble for thisofexperience. What if your lastaopportunity seemingly expired This promises. is my assignment. It’s not “why me Lord” question that I ask; today? would youLord” do? affirmation expressed. instead, it’s What a “why not me

toldways thatto I often seem like I do too much. ThereI’ve arebeen several understand or comprehend God’s Honestly, I feel I am enough and I’m diligently a firm to assignment upon We cannot facedoing it head-on and work complete theinmission or that not. God What I find soput fascinating that believer knowing wouldn’t anythingison mewhen Godthat initially blessedhandle. me withI sometimes purpose, I wasn’t shown what the end I couldn’t wonder how life would would Hetodidn’t brief on the events that would be be if I like. chose sit idle andme accept what it presented to occur, me. I and have I mustfound say, there have beenboring. some good and some bad ones. If that to be very In my opinion, opportunity I have thus far, I know that the same pattern will is alearned blessinganything that isn’t afforded to everyone. A challenge likelytorepeat itself at some time orisanother. Still, once tapped into me is an adventure. What the worst that canIhappen? God’s presence and listened for His voice, I realized it was time for If I do nothing, I fail, and if I try I don’t, but instead learn me to get moving. that’s whatRelinquish I did. something newAnd about myself. your pride and in return acquire life. God also gives us the freedom to ignore our assignments. While it’s notThe wise, running calls us into only delays our best advicefrom everwhat givenGod to me happened when someone destiny God’s word says His yoke is easy to bear, toldand me purpose. to make my tomorrow happen today. In doing so and the burden He givesmy is light. Becausedoors I believe word, desire to I have pressed way through withHis a key thatmy only complete my missionI is ignited. Even more, I understand that I am hope provided. have also learned the difference between not alone in the fight, and someone else islife actually carrying bulk what God blesses me with and what can burden methe with of my load. All I have to do is put one foot in front of the other and as well. I compare it to knowing when to be confident and move. when to be quiet, because someone may get it confused The blessing in our assignments is with being arrogant. revealed to us once our attitude about the assignment is changed. We can Make you tomorrow embrace the assignment and trust the happen today, but most processimportantly or ignore it.make Remember it count.that God gives us a choice. He Life is but a whisperalso andblesses us withwe life;must withput thatourselves gift comes in aa plan. I position encourage you to tap into to hear what it is what God has assigned telling us. you to do and enjoy a life full of purpose and promise.

Terry Terry L. L. Watson Watson Editor/Founder



November/December 2014 Terry L. Watson

Publisher Monica Montgomery Editor In Chief Writer Terry L. Watson Writer Terry L. Watson Alana Allen - Deputy Editor Ellen Richardson Writer Dorjae’ McClammey Writer Writers

Tonya Dixon Terry L. Watson Micheal Duncan Alana Allen Photographer Tamara Smith Charles Beason Jeuron Dove Photographer Photographers Perfect Lenz Photography Todd Youngblood Photography

Shaw Photography Group General Inquiries Still Shots Photography

Howard Gaither Photography Who Shotya Photography Layout

Mykel Media Company Linda Bennett (336) 340-7844 Email

336-340-7844 HUAMI MAGAZINE is published quarterly by the Media Company LLC Mykel MediaMykel Company. Any reproduction of any Greensboro,isNCprohibited without portion of this publication 2022 Allfrom Rightsthe Reserved written permission publisher prior to doing so. Mykel Media doesn’t accept responsibility for statements made by individuals featured or advertisers. Comments concerning this publication may be submitted to the editor by E-mail at or to Mykel Media Company, LLC P.O. Box 20102 Greensboro, NC 27420 HUAMI MAGAZINE 2014 All Rights Reserved

Scan The QR Code Above To Visit Our Website

Want To Advertise? On The Cover 336-340-7844 PhotoCall by Shaw Photography Group

Want To Advertise? Call (336)340-7844




Divine Strategy LLC

Joslyn Kelly

On The Cover


Dearsis Podcast Myrtha Jasmin

BOUVI’J Suites

Agatha Grimes



Symonious Fusion

Monique Simone Joe

Huami Magazine Cutest Baby

Love Monae’ Anthony



Also Featured

Tijania Goodwin Learn more about the face and founder of Divine Connection Agency LLC. Philadelphia, PA


Ava Smith She has spent her entire life and career serving and pouring into her community. Learn more about her journey. Greenville, SC


Terry Thomas Jr. He is proving that it’s not about how you start, it’s about how you run your race. Learn more about his journey. Houston, TX



ManikinBeautyBox By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Myrtha Jasmin Born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Trenton NJ, Myrtha N.Jasmin, also known as MJ, has grasped the concept of entrepreneurship with ease. While being faced with the challenge of being a young parent, she was able to persevere and eventually find her purpose and calling in life. Myrtha describes herself as a woman with many talents. Another description is her being a single mom, transformed into a mogul mother. Myrtha says she saw the world for what it’s worth and ultimately found her own unique gift as a hairstylist. Throughout the years of hair and beauty, Myrtha practiced the craft of hairstyling in endless salons while grasping an understanding of the connection between beauty and culture. After graduating from Lawrence High School, she attended the Gordon Phillips Beauty School and studied the arts of hairstyling and makeup. Her experience in numerous salons helped her understand the connection between beauty and culture. Soon, Myrtha started her own cosmetics line in 2010 called, Nadegecosmetics. However, after being in the cosmetology industry for more than twenty years, Myrtha’s focus changed, and she explored another journey; writing.

Today, Myrtha is the face of ManikinBeautyBox and the host of the popular Dearsis Podcast. She also uses her voice to inspire women all over the Tri-State area by way of video conferences and her social media platform. As a result of her movement, she selfpublished her first novel series, The Black Lily-The Frame, in 2015. ManikinBeauty products were birthed 12 years ago and are noted for their long-lasting with vibrant colors. The Dearsis Podcast was launched in 2020. “Podcasting is my life,” Myrtha says. “I eat, sleep, and breathe podcasting. Having my own podcast was my goal, but my challenge was that I didn’t know where to begin.” Today, the Dearsis podcast comforts and encourages people to be the best they can be. Myrtha credits her mother with inspiring her the most. “She’s my number one cheerleader,” she says. Myrtha also acknowledges her children as being a constant source of inspiration and support for her. As life continues to happen for her, Myrtha has plans to take her brand to higher heights. This includes making her voice heard through the radio as a personality. To learn more about MJ, please visit her website and follow her on social media. h 7


NY/NJ - July/August 2022

Divine Strategy LLC Joslyn RW Kelly is the owner of Divine Strategy LLC, a conglomeration of services focused on building legacies while converting dreams into reality that include restaurant ownership, restaurant management, event planning and business development consulting. Joslyn is from Gary, Indiana, and is committed to giving back to the community as much as it has afforded her the ability to dream, aspire to achieve, and ultimately achieve many of those dreams. She is a graduate of Gary’s Lew Wallace High School. Joslyn completed her Bachelor’s Degree majoring in Economics with a minor in Management and Organization from Spelman College - Atlanta, Georgia, in 1996. She also attained her Masters of Business Administration Degree with a concentration in Finance from Keller Graduate School of Management - Chicago, Illinois 2014. Her professional experience spans over 20 years in the financial services industry and over ten years in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Her professional experience has fostered a customer-centric foundation that recognizes not only the needs of customers but also the importance of incorporating the fulfillment of the needs of her team. It’s through encouragement and the development of their talents. Joslyn shares how she believes that everyone is a piece of the puzzle and is vital to overall success. Joslyn’s most recent accomplishment includes the opening of the first location in 2015 of J’s Breakfast Club and soon opened a new, more prominent location in Gary on June 1, 2017. Joslyn is married to James E. Kelly, Jr. She is the mother of the Late Pvt2 Jalyn D. Jones. It is important to note that although her son is deceased, she devotes a significant amount of time to upholding his legacy and promoting life through services provided through the Love For Jalyn Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation focused on empowering youth transitioning into adults. Joslyn’s motto is “dare to dream, but make it happen,” and her mantra has become love to live and live to love.

NY/NJ - July/August 2022


Joslyn RW Kelly is not only the brainchild behind This is Gary. She describes herself as being a born native and staunch advocate for all things Gary. “As the proprietor and visionary of J’s Breakfast Club, I am an individual who invests my time and effort into my beliefs,” she says. The story leading up to this celebration began with Joslyn’s journey to find a home for her restaurant. This resulted in the journey to build her very own facility. As it goes, things don’t just happen; they happen justly, she states, and after several attempts of purchasing existing buildings with the hopes of rehabbing them, she was unsuccessful. She then began the tasks of identifying spaces to build, and after two unsuccessful bids to acquire land, the third go was the charm, a charm that became a diamond in the rough, better known as 26th and Broadway. “As a result of working with several local government agencies, we finally were successful in acquiring the land that came with being further challenged to come up with a plan to locate J’s Breakfast Club and envision what could be of the entire area,” she says. “I accepted and understood the assignment.” The vision for Victory Way was born, and Joslyn worked to acquire more land. They endured for over four years and survived the Covid 19 pandemic, and have moved forward with the construction of the first phase of the Victory Way plan and the construction of J’s Breakfast Club. “Through this process, I have continued to cultivate the vision and engage numerous people who dream, hope, and work like me to be the change for our community that many dream about. Consequently, a part of this process has afforded opportunities to engage local and distant advocates to take part in the development of one of the major arteries into the city of Gary that has never been formally developed. This opportunity not only aims to change the aesthetic narrative of Gary, but will also focus on everything good about Gary, including its past, present, and limitless opportunity for the future.” The aim of this focus helped to create the initiative “Be the Change”. It began with a commemorative walkway, complete with engraved bricks that form a path that will serve as a welcome corridor amidst numerous commercial developments, art installations, an eventual amphitheater, and more. “These are big dreams that require significant investments and buy-in from our local stakeholders, starting with the people that call Gary home,” she says. h


NY/NJ - July/August 2022


Cutest Baby

Love Monae’ Anthony The daughter of Alneshia Torian

NY/NJ - July/August 2022

To submit photographs to be placed in the Huami Magazine Cutest Baby feature, please send a detailed email to



NY/NJ - July/August 2022


G oodwin The Divine Connections Agency By Dorjea’ McClammey Photos Provided by Tijania Goodwin Tijania Goodwin of Philadelphia, PA, is the owner of The Divine Connections Agency. The self desrcibed “jack of all trades” shares how the plight for her success began as a young child. Her mother enrolled her in the best magnet schools. Yet, at eight years old, Tijania was thrust into the responsibilities of life after her mother suffered nerve damage from an accident. Tijania didn’t allow these changes to slow her down, and she made the most of her life, enjoying it with her mother as they traveled all around the world and more. As life continued to happen for Tijania, the picture would become clear that she was destined to leave a positive mark on the world. She would attend West Chester University and receive a Bachelor’s of Science in Professional Studies. Minors in Health Education and Sociology. She later received her Master’s Degree from St Joseph’s University without missing a beat. With all of her accomplishments, Tijania knew there was more she needed to do. Currently, Tijania is the founder and owner of The Divine Connections Agency. Her company received its official name just four years ago, but she says it has been developing over the past ten years. “It all started when I left my corporate job to become a full-time event planner and entrepreneur. My first company, Events

NY/NJ - July/August 2022


to the T, allowed me to plan birthday parties, weddings, and more. Yet, I still felt unfulfilled. Next, I created ‘The Tijania Experience’, a graphic design agency. I was on the right track, and both of these experiences helped me to establish valuable connections,” she says. “I realized that if I can assist a client in developing what people see, I can also help them become more in tune with their target audience.” Soon Tijania figured out what she wanted to do, and The Divine Connections Agency was born. TDC offers three branding packages; however, Tijania can tailor a product based on a client’s specific needs. In addition, TDC has a la carte services such as makeup artists, photographers, videographers, available resources, location scouting for upcoming events, and product content development. Her versatility helps TDC to be an all-in-one, one-stop-shop for branding services. Like any other entrepreneur, there have been challenges that Tijania has faced along her journey in business. “I was my biggest challenge,” she says. Tijania explained that there were moments when she was developing TDC and did not feel worthy enough to do what she was doing. “In the back of my head, I know I can do it, but then I would find excuses for not doing it. For a while, this kept me from reaching my full potential.” Through it all, what Tijania loves most about her business is the reactions she receives from her clients after her work is done. Being able to help others and give them the advice or strategy they may need to execute their business makes it all worth it, she says. “Knowing that people trust me enough with their brands, gives me all the excitement I need to keep going.”


NY/NJ - July/August 2022

NY/NJ - July/August 2022



NY/NJ - July/August 2022

“I was my biggest challenge....In the back of my head, I know I can do it, but then I would find excuses for not doing it. For a while, this kept me from reaching my full potential.”

As for her inspiration, Tijania loves seeing other entrepreneurs win, especially other Black women, “I fall in that bracket as well, so when I see them winning, I know I’m winning,” she explains. “I enjoy seeing all accomplishments, especially the little ones, because I know that the small victories are the bigger dreams.” For anyone wanting to follow in Tijania’s footsteps, she advises you not to get discouraged and let the naysayers say what they want. “It’s easy for us to get discouraged, especially when we’re building something for ourselves. While we can’t see the future, we must be hopeful about the end result. You must resonate and sit in the process, prepare and enjoy the ups and downs, but don’t doubt yourself. Also, find your support system, even if it’s just two or three people,” she says. As for the future of The Divine Connections Agency, you can expect continued growth. Tijania plans to start working and collaborating with corporate clients so that more people can see her agency’s value. She also plans to dive into more production projects. Her final bit of encouragement for the readers is, “Being an entrepreneur is dope, it’s a good place to be and something people should consider. You are an entrepreneur, and you will win. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.” To learn more about Tijania Goodwin, please visit her social media pages, and check her on YouTube.


Instagram @thetijaniaexperience Facebook @DCagency Check out her podcast: Purposely Bossin Up

NY/NJ - July/August 2022



NY/NJ - July/August 2022

Terry Thomas Jr. Proving That It Can Be Done By Terry L. Watson

Photos Provided by Terry Thomas Jr. He describes himself as a 46-year-old black visionary. Raised by his father since the age of 13, Terry Thomas Jr. has experienced life from both sides of the coin. At one point, he had hit rock bottom, but with determination and grit, he pulled himself back up and set out on a journey of promise and has yet to look back. “My mother moved to Houston, TX, pursuing a job opportunity with my sister. I stayed with my father in my hometown of Detroit, MI. I grew up watching him work a (9 to 5) job at Ford Motor Company and running a nightclub. After graduating from Southfield High school in 1994, I attended Alabama State University. Unfortunately, I dropped out and began working full-time as a waiter. Soon I got caught up in the street life of grinding and hustling and fell into a dark psychological place,” Terry shares. “My ability to speak my vision to myself became my light through the darkness and is what kept me strong.” Things would soon change for the better in Terry’s life. In 2004 he met his wife Samitra. “The experience of meeting my wife was life-changing because she believed in the man that I was becoming and loved me unconditionally. Although I felt I didn’t deserve her, I knew she was the woman I envisioned to be my wife,” he says. Terry and Samitra dated for two years before getting married. One of the things that connected them was entrepreneurship. Terry says, “Right after we got married, we started our first business, which ended up failing. After that, we went through a series of failed businesses. While struggling to get our businesses off the ground, we birthed our two greatest joys - our sons Terry III and James.” Fast-forward to 2016, and things were happening for the ambitious power couple. In addition to having kids to raise and love, Terry found himself overweight at 305 pounds. “I had been laid off from my corporate job and had to deal with judgment from family and friends for not having an income. It was during that time that my wife suggested that I do photography. She saw my love for taking pictures, and we even published our magazine, Over Flow Magazine. I wasn’t sold on the idea initially because I didn’t think it would be financially worth it, but it was the key to my purpose,” he shares.

NY/NJ - July/August 2022


With his company, Terry Thomas Photography, some of the services offered are studio and on-site photography, events, weddings, corporate functions, birthday parties, fashion shows, lifestyle photography, and so much more. He also provides a social branding component. As he began to master the art of photography, Terry also practiced living a healthier lifestyle. When he was overweight, he had to deal with high blood pressure, diabetes, and back issues, and with the new positive outlook on life, he was sure not to revert to those conditions. “I saw myself with a lean body. I saw my wife and I running a successful business from the ground up. I also saw us owning acres of land and living self-sufficiently,” he says. The things that Terry envisioned has now become a reality. In April 2022, he and Samitra closed on 10 acres of land. Today, he is known as a photography king and has has birthed T’s Tea Herbal Bar, which contains his Herbal Seasoning called T’s Seasoning and his line of herbal teas called T’s Tea Herbal Blends. “I was drinking Herbal Tea for years before it fell on my heart to share my blends with the world. Now, I grow herbs in my garden, and my first non-store-bought tea came from natural herbs that I mixed from my garden,” he says. While Terry loves to share the good things in his life, he is clear not to forget where he came from. He shares that his darkest season taught him how to live in gratitude. “I am grateful to be a husband, a father, a Herbal Healer, and a photography King. My vision has been my guide, my self-love has been my strength, and my purpose has been my foundation. Even more, my gifts are keys to doors that house the opportunity for me to be a light in this unbalanced dark reality. Today, I am set in harmony. My soul and flesh are working under my command as one, evolving to be an inspiration to all of mankind.” h


NY/NJ - July/August 2022

“I saw myself with a lean body. I saw my wife and I running a successful business from the ground up. I also saw us owning acres of land and living self-sufficiently.” NY/NJ - July/August 2022


I’m Here To Serve


NY/NJ - July/August 2022

By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Latisha Miles

She is known for her unceasing devotion to serving others, an attribute the Upstate area of South Carolina has grown to cherish and appreciate. Without hesitancy, she eagerly answers the call to assist in any way, whether in business or from a personal perspective. In addition to leading and serving, Ava Smith is also an accomplished entrepreneur. She is the owner of Flat Fee Recruiting and Ava Smith & Associates. Flat Fee Recruiting is a permanent placement recruiting firm that provides quality employees at affordable rates. It also assists companies in various industries and with all types of vacancies. Ava Smith & Associates is a full-cycle HR Consulting firm that operates as an outsourced HR Manager or Director for small businesses, non-profits, and ministries throughout the United States. Some offered services include onboarding, compliance, benefits, risk management, wellness, and training. The New Jersey native holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Human Resource Management from Limestone University and is a Lifetime Member of the Sigma Beta Delta Honor Society. She has over 25 years of experience as a Human Resources Professional. That includes employee relations, compliance, recruitment, retention, and training. Ava began her career in the non-profit sector and shifted into manufacturing, the corporate arena, and staffing. Throughout her career, Ava progressively moved upward in her positions, serving in various roles from HR Assistant to HR Director. In August 2002, Ava began her own firm, HR Specialties, which specialized in providing HR services, training, and recruiting. She later expanded this firm by adding additional experts and rebranded it into what is now widely known as Ava Smith & Associates. In 2010, she formed a permanent placement agency called Flat Fee Recruiting. Her agency received the Minority Business of the Year Award in 2013 through the Greenville Chamber of Commerce. Ava is also a noted Diversity Trainer and has delivered hundreds of sessions throughout the Southeast since 2005. Her clientele involves corporations, manufacturers, non-profits, service organizations, government officials, municipalities, universities, hospital systems, local chambers, and faithbased organizations. Ava is known for her unique style and approach that captures her audience’s attention, allowing them to discuss diverse topics easily. Even more, she was the Recipient of the 2015 Excellence in Diversity Award, given by the Greenville, SC Chapter of SHRM.

NY/NJ - July/August 2022


Ava has served the Upstate of South Carolina in various roles, including current Board Member with the Simpsonville Area Chamber of Commerce, current Board Member with The University Center of Greenville, Board Member with Greenville Technical Charter High School, Board Member with Junior Achievement (Greenville, SC), Diversity Director of the SC Society of Human Resource Management State Council, Advisory Board Member with the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Steering Committee Member with the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Advisor with Greenville Chamber of Commerce CAPACITY Builders program, Chair with Greenville Chamber of Commerce’s Greenville Women at Work (GW@W) initiative, Advisory Board Member for Virginia College, Advisory Board Member for ECPI School of Technology, Board Member for the Greenville Society of Human Resource Management (GSHRM), Chair of the Diversity/Inclusion Committee for GSHRM, President of the Board of Directors for the YWCA of Greenville, Board Member of Fostering Great Ideas, Advisory Board Member for Clemson Small Business Development Center, Steering Committee Member for MLK Dream Weekend, a member of the Clemson CU-ICAR Diversity Committee, and member of the Greenville Technical College Multicultural Advisory Board. These accomplishments and contributions have resulted in her being honored extensively. How did Ava get to where she is now? She says, “I originally started my career in accounting. After obtaining a two-year certificate, I became a bookkeeper for a large finance company. I thought I was destined to have a 10key calculator under my hand until I retired. However, a restructure left me without a position. As a single mom, I had no choice but to pursue any vacancy I could find to make ends meet. After searching for several weeks, I found a position at a local non-profit that would change the trajectory of my life.” Her career in HR began when Ava was only 24 years old. “At that time, the industry called it the “Personnel Department”. My job description had two line items. I was to pass out applications and answer the phone. I was unsatisfied with those simple tasks and began asking for more responsibility. A year-and-a-half later, I was the HR Manager of a facility with 400 employees. As my career continued, I would eventually hold HR roles in various industries,” she says. Ava says while serving in her previous HR roles, she realized a common need for employees accompanied by the inability of their small budgets to cover the cost of staffing. To address this, in 2009, she launched Flat Fee Recruiting. When asked what she loves most about what she does, Ava shares how she loves bringing solutions. “I am a problem solver for businesses that need HR support without having the workload that requires a full-time position. I also love being a part of their business strategy team. My clients include me in their vision and long-term plans, and I assist them with walking it out,” she says.


NY/NJ - July/August 2022

NY/NJ - July/August 2022


Ava shares how she finds inspiration in her children and grandchildren. “I always want to be their role model, and knowing they look to me as an example pushes me not to give up. I am also inspired by my father, who recently passed away. He left such a feeling of “legacy” that it has shown me that I am not only working for what is in front of me, I am also working for what I plan to leave behind,” she says. Becoming an entrepreneur, Ava says, was not something she had planned to do. “I was not prepared, and I had to identify training and learning opportunities to gain knowledge on how to be successful. I was challenged by having to build a network with other business owners and people that could support me on this journey. Being open-minded and believing that failing could still be a form of winning helps me overcome challenges on a daily basis.” For anyone who is considering starting a business, Ava offers some advice that may be of assistance. “Knowledge is power. If you are pursuing entrepreneurship, take business courses, be aware of what your legal and financial obligations will be so that you will be prepared. If you are currently in business, continuously find ways to stay innovative and an expert in your field. Choose yourself even when you feel like no one else will.” Please visit her website to learn more about Ava Smith and her companies. h

Ava Smith & Associates 864-448-0939

Flat Fee Recruiting 864-326-4211

Celebrating Fifteen Years of Acknowledging Black Excellence

2007 - 2022


A Fusion of Scents & Harmony for the Body

Handmade Soaps Body Scrubs Body Butters

and more..... NY/NJ - July/August 2022



NY/NJ - July/August 2022

Symonious Fusion By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by C. Moore For Monique Simone Joe, having and maintaining healthy skin is a family affair. Not only does she believe in the importance of having healthy skin for herself, being a Black woman encapsulated in melanin, but her passion is expressed with her husband and children. Monique is the face and owner of Symonious Fusion, a skincare company based in Huntsville, AL, that produces handmade soaps, body scrubs, body butters, and more. Monique shares that the name of her company is a fun take on her middle nameSimone, and it represents a perfect fusion of mind, body, and spirit. Her products are designed to be an alternative to harsh manufactured soaps and other products, and everything is made with the best natural ingredients. She has a women’s care line, a men’s care line, and a soon-to-be-released kid’s care line. Her journey to becoming a full-fledged entrepreneur began with her having confidence in herself and her products. She shares, “Symonious Fusion was birthed during quarantine season August 2021. The world was dealing with the Covid 19 pandemic, which was a very stressful period for adults and children. Lives were turned upside down, and people had to adjust to unfamiliar situations. Self-care became a mandatory survival concern, and I felt Symonious Fusion was a likely solution. I knew people needed something to look forward to, and one of the things I heard most was individuals wanting a few quiet minutes alone to take a nice relaxing bath.”

NY/NJ - July/August 2022


Monique also believes that the five senses are very important when it comes to self-care. Knowing this, she wanted to make a product that would satisfy as many senses as possible. Using the feedback of her customer base, who expressed their desire for products that smelled good and were safe for their skin, Monique set her sights on developing products that would meet their needs. “Many products out there have such harsh chemicals, even for me. While I love a lot of the smells, my skin can’t handle the chemicals. I started researching, asking questions, and experimenting. I began with self-care products for my family and friends, but as the word spread, the demand grew, and the next thing I knew, Symonious Fusion was born. I was able to do it and meet the needs of my clients because my products smell good, feel good, and are good for your skin,” she says. Monique describes herself as a lover of life. “Everything that God has placed in my life makes me who I am. I value my relationship with God and strive daily to show myself through my family and friends and live out my purpose. I love taking care of my family and shaping the futures of my kids while having fun at the same time. I love to take care of others, but I try to remember not to neglect myself,” she says. She has enjoyed 22 years of marriage with her husband Timothy, and they share three children. What Monique loves most about her business is being able to create something useful and safe for everyone to enjoy. “I also love the creative process and being able to experiment with different scents, designs, and recipes. Honestly, I did not consider myself a creative before Symonious Fusion, but I guess I am,” she says. She shares she finds inspiration in various people and things, yet the person who has inspired the most is her mom. “She is God fearing, hard working, very smart, resourceful, resilient, funny (in her older age), and the wisest person I know. If I turn out to be half the person she is, I have done well,” Monique says.

Monique Simone Joe Symonious Fusion 256-756-7267


NY/NJ - July/August 2022

Being an entrepreneur has its share of challenges. There are good days and some notso-good days. For Monique, she states there isn’t much she would change about her journey in business. “I’m taking it one step at a time and enjoying the process,” she says. The future looks bright for Symonious Fusion, and with Monique’s creativity and determination, things should only get better. To learn more about Symonious Fusion, please visit their website. h

NY/NJ - July/August 2022


BOUVI’ J Suites 32

NY/NJ - July/August 2022

By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by Howard Gaither Have you ever Googled yourself? Go ahead… Try it. You may or may not be surprised at what you find. If you Google Agatha Bouvi’J Martin Grimes, you would find twenty years of business savvy and a smile that makes you feel at home. If you have spent time talking to Agatha, you wouldn’t be surprised. Agatha and her husband John are owners of Bouvij’s Enterprises, located in Greensboro, North Carolina. Agatha started in the beauty industry in 1995 and has been building a legacy of service and entrepreneurship ever since. “Service is a large part of who I am as a wife, mother, and business owner,” Agatha explains. “I’ve been in the business of servicing customers as a stylist for over twenty years, and my chair was always booked because I learned from childhood to treat people the way you want to be treated,” she says. Family and community are extremely important to Agatha and John. They have one son, Danny J. Martin Jr., and a nine-month-old granddaughter Demi Noel Martin. For this couple, It’s not enough to be a business owner and entrepreneur. They believe that the blessing is not just for them but everyone. “Our goal is to build a legacy of entrepreneurship that can be passed on to Danny, his daughter Demi, and her children. But we can’t grow as a community if we don’t work together to make it happen.” This was never truer than in the past two years. The pandemic damaged the economy in ways the US hadn’t seen in decades. Not only did we lose loved ones, many lost jobs, homes, and financial stability. Agatha credits her husband, John, as the visionary for their newest joint venture, Bouvij Business Suites, and Enterprises. “Bouvier’s is my middle name, and the J is from John’s name, hence Bouvij,” she explained. Bouvij Enterprises are a combination of smaller companies that Agatha and John own. They include a home improvement business, a commercial covid cleaning service, and their newest business venture Bouvij Suites. “Bouvij Suites are business spaces that entrepreneurs can rent as they build or expand their business. It’s essentially a platform for new business owners a running start,” John explains. “Any business owner will tell you that the biggest obstacle is finding quality spaces to rent,” Agatha interjects. “We toured some of the spaces people work out of, and it’s unbelievable. Either the rent is sky high, or the landlords are basically slum lords. Bouvij Suites give entrepreneurs who are serious about creating a business that people want to patronize the opportunity to do more with less capital.” NY/NJ - July/August 2022

502 Four Seasons Town Center Greensboro, NC 27407 336-254-1555


Bouvij Suits aren’t just for those in the beauty or cosmetology industry. The suits can be customized on a fundamental level to meet most every need. “The way we see it, everyone can have a nice, clean, upscale business environment without having to go to other neighborhoods and paying exorbitant monthly rental fees,” Agatha shares. Unfortunately, the African American beauty salon isn’t always shown in the best light. Businesses in urban communities have been given the reputation that because they are black-owned, they are sub-par. Some business owners believe that to attract and maintain quality customers, they must leave their communities. Agatha and John are attempting to prove the naysayers wrong. “We want to keep our business and our dollars in our community,” John explains. “I don’t have a problem with other races, but I want to see more of “us” doing better,” Agatha shared also. Bouvij Suits are more than just brick and mortar. Renters are given the basic requirements to get started in their rental space. The suits are well kept, and there is 24-hour security and monitored security cameras. “Safety is a big selling point for our renters. Any business owner worth their salt wants a location where their customers and clients feel comfortable visiting. Reputation will only get you so far. When your clients see that you have taken basic steps to give them comfort and peace of mind, they will return and bring others with them,” John said. “All of these things are about servicing or serving our community,” Agatha emphasizes. “By creating a quality space for businesses to exist, we attract quality businesses, which attracts customers who want a quality product. It creates opportunities to generate income, jobs, taxes revenue, and that all works to elevate the community and the people in it,” Agatha says passionately. As community leaders, Agatha and John work to set the example of what can be achieved if you put your mind to it. “As God has blessed us, we want to be a blessing. After twenty years of marriage and running a business, there is so much I have to share.” Agatha spends a lot of time giving back to support her community. “We helped set up a location so people could come and receive the covid vaccine. We feed the hungry, especially during covid. My husband makes a point to hire men who may need a second chance or someone willing to take a chance on them. We understand that everybody needs help sometimes.”


NY/NJ - July/August 2022

NY/NJ - July/August 2022


“By creating a quality space for businesses to exist, we attract quality businesses, which attracts customers who want a quality product. It creates opportunities to generate income, jobs, taxes revenue, and that all works to elevate the community and the people in it.”

Agatha Grimes


Agatha says her area is mentoring young women. “Young women are attracted to me for some reason. Well, I know the reason. It’s because I’ve been where they are. I know what it’s like to be in a bad relationship and struggle with self-worth. I pray that something I’m doing or saying to them is helping them see themselves as worthy. Sometimes all I can do is try to be an example of what is possible,” Agatha admits. “When I started, I had no money, but I knew what I wanted for myself.” Although Bouvij Suites doesn’t offer a mentorship program, Agatha and John are always willing to give new renters the benefit of their wisdom. “We try to offer new entrepreneurs the wisdom we’ve learned over the years. Some accept it, and some don’t. The offer is two-fold. Some new business owners may have a great idea but don’t have a good execution plan. As a result, they find themselves struggling to pay rent three months in. Our goal for all of our renters is long-term success. If that means giving them a little encouragement or a word of advice here or there, we are more than willing.” Agatha and John say they experience the same things most business owners do, but for the most part, they have been blessed. If they had any regrets, it would be not recognizing the power of oneness earlier in their journey. “I believe we could have been much further along in our business endeavors if we had understood partnership a long time ago,” Agatha admits. “I have many people ask for advice about going into business with their life partner or spouse. I often tell them if I knew what I know now,” she says with a laugh. “My husband is quiet and unassuming, but he is the man with the plan. John is very detail-oriented and helps keep things in focus. We talk about building our community and working together to elevate our people. First, we have to learn to have faith in God, the man or woman he ordained to be in our lives. If you are with the person God has for you, there is no question of partnership in life or business. Together we build.”- h


Commercial Lending

Small Business Financing

Equipment Financing

Capital for Real Estate Investing; Flip, Renovations and Multi-Family Investing Multiple Lenders (We Will Always Find The Right Fit For Your Situation)

Minimum Credit Standards of 650 FICO (Average)


NY/NJ - July/August 2022

NY/NJ - July/August 2022