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Just a bit about us...

Maria
Co-CEO, Creative Director, CSF(Chief Sister Friend)

"The beauty of a woman
is not in the clothes she wears,

the figure that she carries,

or the way she combs her hair.

The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes;

because that is the doorway to her heart,

the place where love resides.

 

True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.

It is the caring that she lovingly gives,

the passion that she shows;

And the beauty of a woman

with passing years only grows.

     – Audrey Hepburn

Mari & Chantae, Two Beautiful Black Women Smiling

As a wife and mom of three daughters and one son, as well as a passionate and award-winning designer, creative director, and certified life coach, I have always had a "thing" for teaching, sharing, helping, giving, feeling, listening, and making things beautiful along the way. I am also a "romantic" at heart; there is just something about that I LOVE. I am enchanted by the world's natural beauty and cultural diversity. I love music, food (cupcakes and sprinkles any day), fashion, and a great pair of heels, but I can also throw down in a game of volleyball, basketball, football, dodgeball, or pickleball (yes, I love sports). We can also include Crossfit in the mix, although I have a love/hate relationship with burpees (okay, mostly hate).

In my professional career, I have had the privilege of collaborating with so many amazing women from diverse backgrounds and cultures, including award-winning musicians, artists, authors, and professionals in many industries, all the way to moms, wives, and friends striving to make their dreams a reality. The privilege becomes even sweeter when I work with women of color because I can relate to and appreciate their unique challenges. I have learned some invaluable life lessons from these women (including my mom and grandmom). Through their actions and examples, they have shown me the importance of resilience, greatness, determination, and to always knowing my worth. It's my goal to help women become the best versions of themselves, drawing inspiration from their own unique qualities and talents.

Melanin & Muscles came to life (in my head) in the middle of an intense workout session while I was "attempting" to have a conversation with my cousin about her trip to Greece with a "Melanin Travel Group." At that very moment (through the sweat and exhaustion), I saw what I was going to do with my experience, skills, passions, talents, and desires. It was a lightbulb moment. It came up during a "catch-up" conversation with my fab friend Chantae, who had an incredible idea of her own. Flame Lit! Together, we brought our ideas to life, this special space for women of color!

 

And on that note, I want to say THANK YOU for allowing us into YOUR lives. Together, we can conquer obstacles and achieve goals, and I'm here for all of it!

Chantae
Co-CEO, Business Manager and CRF (Chief "Realest" Friend)

As a wife and mother of four (all daughters), I am passionate about uplifting women and empowering them to accomplish their dreams and full potential. I understand the unique challenges that women face daily in balancing their personal and professional lives. I live it everyday! That's why I'm committed to creating a supportive and inclusive community where women can connect, learn, grow together and thrive. 

 

As a young woman I always had a passion for helping others. I have held many titles from Production Manager in the NYC Fashion Industry, creating dresses with the right fit for women to feel like their best selves, to a Teacher of underprivileged youth helping them achieve their highest potential. As much as I have enjoyed working in these professions, I still had a feeling of wanting to do more and reach more people. People like me! Women! Women of color! That's when I made it my goal to become an entrepreneur and start my own business focused on empowering women. 

A Business: For Women, By Women! A forum to address the whole woman. Our needs, our desires, the things we don’t discuss but that need to be spoken about. While I was pondering this idea for quite some time I happened to have a casual but meaningful chat with my friend Maria (who was contemplating something of her own). Little did we both know that simple but important chat would spark an idea and come to be what we know today as Melanin & Muscles. Our shared connection and love for women would become our passion. 

 

THANK YOU for allowing us to share our stories. We look forward to hearing yours! 

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