Thanks to social media, there has never been a better time or place to show off your personal style. But despite great opportunity, it’s certainly not easy to stand out, especially when starting your own fashion empire. Eboni Merriman knows a little something about this. She founded her own accessories company, Lost Queens, as a way to fill a void she saw in the market for African-American women.
“There aren’t enough things for Black women; things are made in mainstream culture and they are not tailored for us. We aren’t included in those conversations. So we need to create our own conversations,” Merriman tells BET.com. Supporting this message, she has curated a stunning collection of rings, necklaces, body chains, bracelets and more that take inspiration from Afrocentric beauty.
Her passion for design started back as a teenager, when she first dabbled in jewelry making. Eventually she started selling her homemade pieces on eBay. In 2014, she launched Lost Queens; she hand-picks each piece featured in her boutique from vendors from around the world.
She says the name Lost Queens was inspired by Pharrell’s empowering anthem “Lost Queen.” After falling in love with the song, she realized that the lyrics challenged her to channel her inner potential and to promote that feeling with her jewelry.
“I played that song back to back because, at the time, I was in a relationship where I didn’t feel like I was being treated like a queen so I felt like I had to do that for myself. So I just kept playing that song like, ‘I don’t need a man to bring me flowers, I can bring myself flowers.’”
Additionally, she is using Lost Queens to give back to the community. The brand donates ten percent of profits to groups supporting Black women in need as well as organizations like the Garner Way Foundation and the Purple Purse Fund, which helps victims of domestic violence.
Since launching Lost Queens, Merriman has watched her business take off. The brand has more than 8,995 followers on Instagram (and counting). Her pieces have been featured on Love & Hip Hop and on Buzzfeed and this year she will bring her boutique to the Essence Music Festival.
But at this present moment, she’s keeping her focus on continuing to grow her brand and putting positivity out into the world. “Trust the universe, have good intentions, work hard and you’ll be able to achieve anything that you want to,” she says.
(Photo: Krystal Del Cid)