It's important to listen to your soul, sis. Take it from Tatum Neely, founder of A Naturaleza's Apothecary, a company specializing in all things self-care. She curates all organic hair, skincare and body products customized to soothe and relax the spirit. 

To gear up for our Summit21 Conference this year in Atlanta, 21Ninety has scored exclusive interviews with some of this year's participants. 

Read our exclusive interview below: 

Photo: A Naturaleza's Apothecary

21Ninety: Can you give us a little of your background? What inspired you to create A Naturaleza's Apothecary? What was the vision behind it? 

Tatum Neely: A Naturaleza's Apothecary is a Black, female-owned holistic brand made for ALL skin and hair types that promotes the essence of natural beauty and overall wellbeing, while also emphasizing and celebrating people of color. 

What inspired me to create the brand was solely the fact that in the beauty industry, people of color are often neglected or misrepresented, and I wanted to be the person to change that.

This brand was launched with the vision of allowing everyone to shop affordable products that WORK. We can ALL grow long, beautiful, healthy hair, and have beautiful complexions.

A Naturaleza's Apothecary is not just a small skin and hair care business; it is a holistic business, and holistic-ism takes into account the person as a whole: physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional. Our life-mission is for A Naturaleza's Apothecary to make you feel good, uplift you, motivate you to take your wellbeing seriously, and inspire you to embrace all of you, the natural you. A Naturaleza's Apothecary is more than a beauty brand; it's a soul-soothing brand.

Photo: A Naturaleza's Apothecary

21N: How long have you been creating hair/beauty/skincare products? Was this always your chosen career path? 

TN: I have been creating beauty products for many years, from 17 to be exact. I had no idea that this would turn into my very own business; I just genuinely enjoyed what I was doing. To share this passion that I had, I created a holistic lifestyle blog, Natural Proverbz. 

Natural Proverbz is a reflection of me, my beliefs, hobbies, interests, and values. My blog's top priority is to feed your soul. Natural Proverbz was built based on a Greek phrase, "Meraki." This is a word that modern Greeks often use to describe something with soul, creativity, or love — when you put "something of yourself" into what you're doing, whatever it may be. It was also built based on holistic living. 

With everything I was sharing on my blog, I found that I had the most passion for the natural beauty portion. I connected to natural beauty the most because my Grandmother and Great Aunts planted that seed in me early as a child. 

I watched them tend to their own garden, and make products from what they grew in that garden. My mother would even keep aloe vera plants in the yard and would use it on my sisters and me daily. I didn't understand it fully then, but I'm so very thankful for it now, and my business wouldn't be as fulfilling as it is if it weren't for them. I loved sharing my natural hair and skin journey. 

The results I was seeing with making and using my natural beauty products was mind-blowing. Since I was sharing it all, others were starting to see it too, and that's when I began getting a large number of inquiries. That's when my purpose was made clear.

Photo: A Naturaleza's Apothecary

21N: What was the process like in building the business and how long did it take to get it up and running? What inspired the name choice?

The process of building a business wasn't as complicated as I thought it would be. I have to thank the genuine following that I gained before launching because they were there from the beginning and were ready to support. 

On socials, I am widely known as Tatum The Naturaleza because I consistently share natural remedies and health + wellness facts to encourage everyone to take accountability for their wellbeing, so there was no name more fitting for my brand than A Naturaleza's Apothecary. The name came very quickly and it's unique to me.

Photo: A Naturaleza's Apothecary

21N: What kind of work goes into the process of creating these products? What types of ingredients do you use? 

TN: Before I began creating products of my own, I extensively researched current products on the market that were targeting people of color and I was shocked to see how many ingredients that were not meant, or beneficial to us correctly were being used. I took it upon myself to only use ethical, organic, certified all-natural ingredients that are safe to use by everyone and components that would make a positive difference in our overall wellbeing. 

My ingredients come straight from the earth! I truly believe that God gifted us with all the skin beautifying, hair enhancing, and health-promoting plants, roots, and herbs that we need, so that's what I will always use. 

21N: Which products were the most fun to create? Any favorites for clients? 

TN: The hair care products were the most fun to create, and I love how creative I get to be when choosing what hair-loving ingredients will go into them. As black women, our natural hair is our crown, and it deserves to be treated with respect and it deserves nothing but the best. I can cater to any hair type and I am always overjoyed to see that my products have helped so many people who were struggling to find the perfect product for their hair. It's a great feeling. 

Photo: A Naturaleza's Apothecary

21N: What do you love most about the work that you do? 

TN: Since this is an intimate business, I can build close relationships with everyone who has supported my brand. So, not only do I have customers, I have a family.

The best part about the work I do is that I can spread knowledge onto others and encourage them to not only take care of their outer beauty but their inner selves as well. I'm not only promoting natural beauty, but overall wellbeing, and that is what sets this brand apart from others. I enjoy every minute of it. 

21N: What do you hope to gain from attending Summit21?

TN: I know one would think exposure would be the ultimate gain, but attending Summit21 for me is about building relationships with other boss women of color. I root for us so hard, and it will be so beautiful to see successful women in one place uplifting, motivating and networking with one another. The women there can teach me things I have yet to learn or experience.   

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