November 2022 Health/Wellness

Mercedi Townsend 

Creating a Zen Space Within Your Home

Mercedi Townsend

You have a beautiful name for your business? What inspired the "Violet" and "Victoria" in your business name?

Thank you! I really appreciate you complimenting my business name. The name was inspired in memory of my beloved sister Violet. I believe she was the epitome of unconditional love. My sister constantly poured love and knowledge into others. When I started to educate myself on the benefits of natural products and pouring candles I instantly thought about my sister. Victoria is my middle name. The Violet Victoria symbolizes me continuing the legacy of my sister by pouring into others.

What is your favorite product in your line?

My favorite product in the line is the Sea Moss Body Butter. I love my body butters in general. However, sea moss has so many healing properties. I’ve witnessed this product transform the condition of my skin, as well as others. Every time a customer emails me they are informing me that the Sea Moss Body Butter has healed a different skin condition they’ve been battling with for years.

Your candles have some really unique names and scents. Can you tell us more about what inspires the names and scents of your candle?

When I was younger my sister Violet and I used to sing. I’ve always felt like music can mentally take you to a happy place. I have a Fall fragrance called Fallen that was inspired by the song "Fallen" by Mya. I absolutely love Fall and thought this would be the perfect name. In addition to music, I find a lot of inspiration through scents I experience during traveling. During a trip abroad, I was inspired by the aromatherapy scents at a spa in combination with the ocean sea salt on the beach. I felt so at peace. I decided to create a fragrance that gave others the mental getaway I experienced, which is how I created my Luxury Spa fragrance. I’ve had customers tell me this has been their go to candle and body care scent whenever they are experiencing anxiety because of the calming notes in this fragrance. There is a story behind every fragrance in my line.

"In addition to music, I find a lot of inspiration through scents I experience during traveling. During a trip abroad, I was inspired by the aromatherapy scents at a spa in combination with the ocean sea salt on the beach. I felt so at peace. I decided to create a fragrance that gave others the mental getaway I experienced, which is how I created my Luxury Spa fragrance".

The Violet Victoria

What was the process behind your business expansion? You grew from candles to bath/body products.

The shift from creating candles to now offering candles and body products was an intense process. There is a lot more work in formulating skincare products, but I was up for the challenge. I wanted to provide a full spa experience for my customers to enjoy at home. I educated myself more about how the products we use on our skin enter our bloodstream and it motivated me to start creating my own products at home for personal use. There were months of testing different formulations before I decided to launch my body products publicly. The feedback I’ve received from customers has been great. Most of my customers were ecstatic since they had been requesting me to use my candle scents for body care because of how much they love the scents. I am still finding ways to improve my formulations as I continue my education in this industry.

I love that you travel and explore. What was one of the best places you traveled to? What did you enjoy about the trip?

One of my favorite travel experiences thus far has been my trip to St. Lucia. It was such a spontaneous escape, and I loved every moment. I went with someone I trust who also loves to explore culture outside of the resort, so each day was a new adventure. The locals were extremely welcoming and friendly. Although I cannot swim, I find a lot of peace being in the ocean. So, we incorporated a water activity each day. St. Lucia has some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve witnessed. My next goal is to start traveling to a few countries in Africa.

Your business is holistic and conscious of being healthy. What are three daily healthy tips that people can implement in their life to live more holistically?

I’ll give you the top three holistic living tips I personally incorporate in my daily routine. Number one, when you wake up take a few minutes to meditate in the morning. I’ve learned that we cannot control our entire day, but practicing some form of mindfulness in the morning helps you mentally get through difficult days. Tip number two, eat clean. Yes, I am aware clean eating is not always the most exciting, but there are so many benefits. The food we consume does have an impact on our mood, skin, and overall health. The more I started to clean up my diet I noticed my skin was clearer, my mood improved, and some health conditions got better. If you research the effects of dairy on the human body, you’ll be surprised by what you discover. The last holistic living tip, read for at least an hour each day. I believe you should be striving for personal growth every day. I usually read right before bed. I’ve learned I rest better in the evenings when I disconnect from technology and read until I fall asleep.

"The last holistic living tip, read for at least an hour each day. I believe you should be striving for personal growth every day. I usually read right before bed. I’ve learned I rest better in the evenings when I disconnect from technology and read until I fall asleep".

The Violet Victoria

You are an absolute Queen at creating reels. Can you give us some secrets into how you create your themes for your reels?

Thank you! I feel like I’m still trying to get the hang of reels with the algorithm constantly changing. First and foremost, I do not stress myself about how many likes my reel will get. I like to focus more on the quality of my reels. I try to make them fun and educational. I usually hear a song while driving in the car, and find a catchy lyric that will tie into the educational piece I want to discuss in the reel. My best advice is to focus on what you want your audience to learn, and then find a fun way to deliver that information.

Way off topic, but your hairstyles are always slaying! How do you choose which hairstyles you want to rock for the week?

I must give credit to my friend "Embellishedbraids" because she is always the one responsible for slaying my braided hairstyles. She pushes me out of my basic black hair comfort zone. I’ve also found inspiration on YouTube for different braided styles to switch up my look whenever I get bored with just wearing my braids down to spice it up. When I’m not rocking braids, I’m usually styling my hair myself in a sleek ponytail or wearing it down with extensions.

Tell us three exciting things about yourself that your followers might not know about you?

I was recently accepted into the Buy From A Black Woman directory, which for me is a huge accomplishment for my business, and for my own personal development. Not only will this give my business more exposure, but I now have the support of so many other black women entrepreneurs as mentors. Another fun fact my followers might not know is that I am a mental health advocate. I believe our country's mental health has been overlooked in the past. I’m excited to see this movement of people unapologetically doing what is best for their mental health, publicly talking about the benefits of therapy, etc. Lastly, I’m a very spiritual person. I believe my spirituality and prayer has helped me through a lot of challenging moments in life.

The Violet Victoria Follow at:

Instagram: @thevioletvictoria

Facebook: The Violet Victoria 

TikTok: @mercedivictoria 


Black Lotus Essentials 

Soothing Natural Body Products

Black Lotus Essentials

What was the inspiration behind the business name Buy Black Lotus?

BLE started when our son was born. He had terrible reactions to almost every product we used on him. His eczema was so bad he started losing pigment on his face. My wife did so much research and we realized that “clean” products were insanely expensive. We were blessed to have support so we could afford a few things here and there, but we knew it wasn’t a sustainable solution. We thought of families in similar situations as we were, and how inaccessible “clean” products could be to them. We got to work and created the recipes for everything we used on our son and around the house. My wife developed formulas for everything from baby body wash to laundry soap. We saw an almost immediate improvement in our son’s skin when we made the switch.

When did you know that you wanted to become an entrepreneur and start a business?

My wife and I understand the value of creating generational wealth and opportunity. We have always been in the mindset of when one has, we all have. We think of our business as an extension of creating and sustaining community. The passion that we have behind Black Lotus Essentials is fueled by the drive to sustain and support community and make lasting changes in people's lives. Over time, we found it difficult to pour into BLE while pouring a great deal of energy and resources into our careers and being the kind of parents we want to be for our little ones. When the time was right, we jumped ship and focused on BLE along with our other small businesses. It’s been the most rewarding (and challenging) decision we’ve ever made but we couldn’t imagine life any other way.

Tell us a little bit more about your products.

Our products are plant-based and all-natural. We don’t use any chemical binding agents and only use high quality essential oils. The essential oils we use are more for their therapeutic properties. It’s an added bonus that they smell divine. Our product line has items for the whole family and household ranging from beard care to multi-purpose cleaners.

Do you have a favorite product on your website that you absolutely love?

Just one??? That’s a hard one. There’s a tie for most loved. It’s a toss up between our Rosewater Hair Mist and any scent of body wash. The hair mist is so light and smells great. We have four different hair textures in our household. Everyone can use this to refresh curls, revitalize, locs, and condition hair. The body wash has such a delicious lather, but not bubbly and thin like other body wash gels. It glides on and nourishes deeply so we often don’t use moisturizer after the shower. Just pat, dry, and off you go. Smelling great and feeling fresh.

What has been the most exciting part of your entrepreneurship journey?

The most exciting part has really been talking to people and hearing how our products have helped them learn that there are other alternatives out there to the stuff you buy on the shelf.

What are some challenges that you've had to overcome as an entrepreneur?

Balancing family and creating good boundaries. As passionate as we are about BLE, we are infinitely more passionate about our family. Early on we had to establish boundaries to ensure we keep our priorities in the right place. If anything ever happened to Black Lotus Essentials, then we would recover and move on. If we flambé the relationship with our family or miss opportunities with our children, then we can’t get those back. We had a couple of instances that really confirmed that for us so we work hard to maintain those boundaries.

Starting a business takes a lot of work and discipline. What are some inspirational words that you can give to new entrepreneurs?

Be intentional about those around you and your dreams. Your energy is precious and what you bring to this world is so valuable. Not everyone in your circle that says they support you is truly supporting you. The energy you waste on those without your best interest at heart takes away from the beautiful part of you that goes into your business.

Outside of your business, can you tell us three things about yourself that you love to do?

I’m a classically trained vocalist and musician so music is always playing. Someone is always singing, dancing, or playing something in our home. In general, we just love spending time with family and creating memories with our little ones.

What is your favorite brand or store?

Good question. According to my bank account, Target is a strong contender for favorite store. Partially, because my wife can find a good deal most times. Partially, because we’d love to see our products on the shelves one day.

Buy Black Lotus

Follow at: 

Instagram: @buyblacklotus

Facebook: Black Lotus Essentials