Natural "E" Beautiful Opens Up Pop Up Shop with Other Entrepreneurs in Mayfair Mall, Today
It was around this time last year when Imani Ray, owner of clothing line Natural “E” Beautiful, had the goal of selling 300 shirts within 30 days, while she was apart of a pop up shop in the Bronzeville neighborhood. She exceeded her expectations and sold out of all of her inventory and to restock. Now, this time around, Ray will be apart of Wisconsin Curated Creations—a temporary pop up shop in Mayfair Mall.
Danielle Carter-Riley, owner of Beaded Vision Jewelry, created this pop up with the vision of a space that local entrepreneurs could come together to showcase their various brands and talents, according to a press release. Wisconsin Curated Creations will feature nine businesses—Natural “E” Beautiful, Beaded Vision Jewelry, The Classic. Shoppe owned by Marie Carter, At Peace Designs owned by Pam McCreary, J. Riley Designs owned by Jamila Riley, Keep Stirring owned by Roxanne Cardenas, HUG Homemade Goods owned by Megan Ohland, Onezie Twozie owned by Alison and Brian Strandt and Fly Girl with Fibro owned by Trina Nicole. All nine businesses are owned by women, but seven out of nine are owned by Black women, according to the press release.
Handmade jewelry, clothing, books, artwork and other items will be available at the pop up, which will have its grand opening today at 5 p.m.
Ray was released from her job the day before receiving a phone call from Carter-Riley about the pop up. At first Ray didn’t take it too seriously because it seemed too good to be true. It wasn’t until Ray stepped foot into Mayfair to meet Carter-Riley that it all felt real. Ray said it was a very quick turn around, but she said she always stays ready so she never has to get ready.
“I could walk into another job or walk head first into what I love,” she said about deciding to not apply for another job. “Every single day is a new opportunity.”
Ray comes from a family of hustlers, so she always knew she would be an entrepreneur and business owner. She said there wasn’t one job that she hasn’t quit. “I have to be doing something I’m passionate about,” said Ray.
It was five years ago when Ray made her first shirt for Natural “E” Beautiful that read, “Puff going up on a school day”, which sold out fast. Originally, Ray started her brand to get rid of her insecurities about her natural hair. During Ray’s junior year in high school, she did the big chop and was bullied for it. She then started watching YouTube videos to see how others styled their natural hair. Ray was living in Arizona at the time she started her business, but her main clientele was back home in Milwaukee, so she was shipping out 300 items at a time to meet the demand she had.
The e in Natural “E” Beautiful comes from her nickname E.
Ray said her brand now stands for raising the awareness of self-love and affirmation.
“If there is something in you and you feel great about it [and] you just love it,” said Ray. “Do that with all of your heart with whatever resources you have and the resources will come.”
During her time in college, Ray went from outsourcing her clothes to screen printing them in her dorm to save cost. She started off with $20 and now her shirts can be seen all over the country, with the most support coming from her hometown of Milwaukee.
She went back to outsourcing her shirts to keep up with the demand.
It’s not about what you have right now, but it’s about believing in yourself, said Ray. It’s about focusing on your mindset and having it set on success.
“When you have your mindset set on something, you’re guaranteed to get it if it’s meant for you,” she added.
Since stepping out into her business full time now, Ray is a lot happier and even more motivated. Ray said she wants to show her community how to attain sustainable wealth and to “show them what it means to have your own.”
“I have unlimited power,” said Ray.
Wisconsin Curated Creations grand opening is today, July, 1, 2019 starting at 5 p.m. located at Mayfair Mall, 2500 N Mayfair Rd.
To purchase Natural “E” Beautiful products online, visit here.