THe Black Girl In Om List: DR. Kristian h.
Interview and introduction by Chanté Dyson. Photography courtesy Dr. Kristian H.
The Natural Waymaker
In today’s fast-paced world, it has become increasingly difficult to deep sea dive through the thousands of messages we get about products or services that we “need" to live more fulfilled lives. Dr. Kristian H. recognizes that Black folks are disproportionately targeted and sold products with harmful ingredients and practices that ultimately impact the overall health of our communities. As opposed to sitting back and letting these issues persist, she rose to the occasion by creating BLK+GRN, an all natural marketplace by all Black artisans. Her well-curated platform not only empowers Black entrepreneurs, but also makes the process of finding healthy necessities (that come from our community—hello) incredibly seamless. Talk about what it means to rise and elevate your people with you. Seeing self-care as vital to our experience on the planet, Dr. Kristian is a brilliant force who is here to help us reflect more conscious values through our daily purchases. Connect with Dr. Kristian H. on Instagram @DrKristianH and browse non-toxic skincare and beauty products over at @BLKANDGRN.
What is your go-to practice for grounding yourself?
I have adopted a healthy lifestyle that is infused with self-care and self-love. I have a mostly plant-based diet, which means I eat tons of fruits and vegetables, incorporate green juices and smoothies, drink plenty of water, and avoid processed foods. I also workout at least three times per week, although some weeks are better than others. I am also very protective of the energy that I am around, managing the people I interact with and the places I visit. I truly believe that holistic health is a lifestyle.
What is one area of your life where you are calling in an energy of expansion?
My background (i.e. my doctorate degree) is in Public Health, and I have always felt like my purpose was to address health disparities. Even when we control for insurance status, income, and education, Black people still have worse health outcomes than their white counterparts. There is an array of potential root causes — systematic racism, unconscious and conscious bias, and mistrust. If we do not begin to question our habits and change our behaviors, our life expectancy is only going to continue to shorten. I want to empower our communities to take control of our health and wellness, and BLK + GRN is the first step. click to tweet
What was one of your biggest struggles in creating BLK+GRN and how did you rise above it?
Happiness was difficult to find while I was trying to outrun and outwork racism and sexism. Working in a corporate environment historically created by and for white men made it nearly impossible to escape bigotry. I had a choice — either I would fight to change the organization or I could create my own. I needed to take some risks in order to find happiness so I chose to build a company that is consistent with my values, supports black women entrepreneurs, understands the importance of self-love, and is built on holistic health.
If your had to describe your journey from root to rise in three words what would they be?
Mindful, intentional, and authentic
What is something that no longer served you that you've recently replaced with something more wholesome?
Busyness. I have a tendency to move fast. I rarely procrastinate and I truly live by the words, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” But as I get older, I am learning the value of being present and slowing down - being busy isn’t always productive. That stopping to read a book, or taking some time to myself is just as valuable as being productive.
How has your definition of success evolved as you've risen into who you are today?
To me success is self-care. As a waymaker, there is always something that needs to be done: an email that needs to be written, a phone call to be made, or a website update to implement. It is really easy for me work 20+ hours in one day on BLK + GRN; but I quickly realized that working non-stop with no time for self-care wasn’t good for me or my business. I had to quickly learn how to outsource tasks that I didn’t enjoy (or that someone else could just do better than me). I had to reframe how I thought about downtime. Instead of seeing yoga, meditation, or watching a movie as a distraction, I started to frame it as necessary downtime. It helped me achieve balance, which has ultimately propelled my brand.
What is your advice to other black women when it comes to expanding their vision?
The greatest teacher is experience, and there is nothing like a failure to let you know what you still need to work on. I love the idea of embracing failure to ensure that we learn from our mistakes. I agreed to speak at a retreat, but I neglected to get a contract signed, and subsequently we didn’t have a clear understanding of the expectations. I have invested thousands of dollars in business ventures that I later decided were not a good fit for me. I have invested time in people and refused to let them go (even though I know I needed to), simply because I had already invested so much time and energy. The first lesson is always get a contract, the second lesson is do your due diligence before you spend any money, and the third lesson is value people for what they are, not what you need them to be, and let them go when it is time.
Receive something meaningful from this phenomenal woman? These 20 black women embody our mission fully. And their journeys over the past year illuminate what it means to root to rise. Share with us on social how you plan on doing the same in the year to come. #BGIORootToRise