I am super excited to feature Stevonne owner of natural shop Concept 47 on the NK blog! Concept 47 is a business that has been on my radar for a long time and will be the first of many in-depth interviews I want to do with women who have established themselves as creative entrepreneurs in the Bay Area. I hope you all enjoy this interview and take something from it. Also, be sure to keep up with Stevonne on her Instagram Page
Odilcia: Your store is centered around wellness. Where did this passion come from?
Stevonne: If one is inbalanced in mind, body spirit nothing else matters. For that reason wellness is SO important to me. Being mindful of what we put on our skin and body in the way of beauty products is a small way to incorporate wellness in our everyday routine.
Odilcia: What inspired you to open your own business?
Stevonne: I did not plan on Beija-Flor Naturals being a business, I thought it would be a nice part-time activity until I found a job in my field (advertising sales/business development). As fans for the brand grew and sales because sustainable to live off of it became clear that I had a product that people really wanted and I had a viable business.
Concept Forty-Seven also happened somewhat haphazardly, I needed a space for production when I moved to Oakland and not knowing anything about the Temescal area I secured a lease in my current space. I thought I would do a “showroom” of my own products and maybe a few other beauty lines and the shop evolved into a full fledged boutique store that has supported 100+ makers and artists over the years.
Odilcia: Being in the business of wellness, how important is self care to you?
Stevonne: Its crucial. It doesn’t have to be anything too involved or expensive but everyone needs personal space to reflect, reboot and get away from the daily grind.
Odilcia: Do you have a self care routine? If so, describe your routine for us.
Stevonne: Sleep! Nothing fancy. I’m like a robot that goes SO HARD in the day but I need to recline and chill for my own physical/psychological well being. I like to cuddle up with my puppy and watch a movie or take a nap if possible. I also need 8 hours/night of sleep for my survival. I’m a Taurus. We work hard and chill hard lol.
What are some of your favorite products from your store that can be added to people’s everyday self care routine?
Mind: Many of the products from the Beija-Flor Naturals line + the other natural lines we carry at Concept Forty-Seven are essential oil based, which is scientifically proven to soothe/calm, increase mental sharpness, boost mood, memory etc. The connection between mental wellness and smell is real!
Body: The store is known to have a pretty amazing jewelry collection to adorn the body. We work with about 25 handmade jewelry makers that are uncommonly found at other shops.
Soul: My personal favorite is the beautiful sage + rose +lavender +rosemary bundles that are a best seller in the store. I feel like it literally lightens heavy/negative energy and soothes. The customers also love the Palo Santo that we carry, which is a South American air/energy cleanser. It smells really sweet and woodsy.
Space: I just brought in this amazing candle maker that lives in SF. The line is called LV Candles and each one has an energetic crystal embedded in each candle once you burn it. Not only does it make your whole house smell good but each candle has the intention of Love (Rose Quartz), Happiness (Citrine), Grounding (Black Tourmaline) etc. I constantly rotate the candle selections and discover new things for home.
Odilcia: What are some of the misconceptions about wellness and self care? How do you combat that as a wellness curator?
Stevonne: I think a large misconception is that you have to have a lot of money/time in order to treat yourself. It would be ideal if everyone could treat themselves to a weekly spa session, frequent the yoga studio, go on random luxury vacations etc. to unwind, but I think the true work in self care comes in daily practices.
Something simple like spritzing yourself with a nice aromatherapy spray, closing your eyes and taking deep breaths for 5-10 minutes before getting ready in the morning is a quick and inexpensive way to ground yourself and will make a big difference in your day.
Getting into nature every now and then also has a way of healing/restoring and we are fortunate to live in the Bay Area with tons of opportunities to go to the mountains, beach, desert etc for a few hours or a few days.
For me, the point of self care is to RESTORE. We live in a brutal society where things come at us a mile/minute thanks to being hyper connected. For me, the best self care is to unplug every once in awhile. Whatever it is that helps you restore is the best thing for your self care routine: spending time with loved ones, getting into nature, getting proper food/sleep, meditation, exercise, not keeping company with people you don’t feel good about, not taking jobs/projects that you don’t feel good about etc. The options are limitless.
Odilcia: What are some things things that you do to ensure that this space is open for creativity?
Stevonne: By virtue of carrying the goods of 70+ makers, artists, and creators the space couldn’t be anymore creative! I tend to “discover” new lines, brands and artists that premiere their products at Concept Forty-Seven first. I don’t find it very creative to be a shop that carries the indie handmade brands that everyone else carries. If I did I wouldn’t be much of a curator. I also enjoy giving lesser known brands the opportunity to flourish and showcase their goods. We regularly host art shows and events that feature local makers, artists and businesses.
Odilcia: Running a business requires a lot of attention, consistency, and productivity. What are some of the tools you use to keep your space and yourself productive? Do you use anything from your store?
Stevonne: I have so many balls in the air, I tend to dedicate entire days to a certain topic (ex: Monday: New Vendor Intake, Tuesday, Wednesday: Production and Shipping, Thursday: Accounting etc). I am not the most organized person but I’m definitely one of the most THOROUGH. For this reason I tend to get thrown off if I am forced to address something that is out of category for that day and I can’t pay each subject their proper attention. This happens everyday which = my distress lol. When you have a very small team and you are the mastermind of the entire operation you will inevitably drop the ball from time to time because there simply isn’t enough hours in the day. I am an incessant note taker/list maker and I use online tools like Evernote and Slack to categorize my “notes to self” and communicate with my team, I have a good POS system in the shop that organizes the vendors and the backend orders of Beija-Flor Naturals. As a big picture person that finds mundane details boring and tedious so I thank goodness for technology.
Co-founder and the wellness curator, Odilcia is a current 4th year at the California State East Bay. Having been raised in Salinas, CA, she was surrounded by negative stereotypes of the Bay Area. However, because her family lived in the Bay, she had an early appreciation for what the Bay has to offer. Now that she lives in the Bay, she wants to use her insight and love for the Bay Area to help alter the negative stereotypes of the Bay that some people may have. @odilciab