Meet Akwaaba's Artisans

Hadiya Williams Image

Hadiya Williams

Hadiya Williams is a Washington, DC-based creative who seeks to evoke emotion with her work, which she says is rooted in spirituality. She started with custom stationery under her Black Pepper Paperie company, which has evolved into a mixed-media art and design studio and lifestyle brand. Her globally-inspired, one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted pieces include wearable ceramic art, home decor, paper goods and apparel.

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Achuziam Maha

Achuziam Maha lives and makes a living in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Her expansive, must-visit emporium Peace & Riot features all things stylish for the home. Achuziam, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, crossed over from fashion design to interior design, and the form and function of her creative concepts move with the times but somehow remain timeless. Akwaaba owner, Monique, often collaborates with Achuziam for her inns' design esthetic. The adinkra pillows are only available at SHOP AKWAABA.

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Hadiya Williams Image
Hadiya Williams Image


by Tareese "Reis" Chester

 Founded in Brooklyn in 2016 by Tareese "Reis" Chester, Reisfields is now based in Newark, New Jersey, and comprised of a group of like-minded young creatives who seek a constant progression of high-end material goods inspired by the unconventional sense of style of modern day New York City.The Reisfield candle made its retail debut at NYC's West Elm in January 2018, and now there are six different sophisticated scents in the collection.

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Kuumba Kollectibles 

by Sala Damali and Alexander Medley, Jr.

Life partners Sala Damali and Alexander Medley, Jr., combined their individual talents to create Kuumba Kollectibles in 1988. The Washington, DC-based company taps the artistic gifts of Sala and the printing press skills of Alexander for its distinctive cards and stationery featuring images and verses reflecting the African-American community.

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Hadiya Williams Image
Hadiya Williams Image

Cocoa Belle

by Carmen Portillo

At age 19, Carmen left her hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas, and moved to London, where she fell in love with the taste and craft of handmade chocolates. After studying the art of making truffles abroad and back home in the States, Carmen became the only certified professional chocolatier in Arkansas. "I combine my classically trained European chocolate-making skills with my Southern roots," says the entrepreneur, who also makes chocolate butter and sauces, along with chocolate bark candies.

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Glynis' Kitchen

by Glynis Albright

For Glynis, it has always been about faith, family and food. Since she was 10, she has been in the kitchen, and the Denver home she shares with her husband, musician Gerald Albright, has always been a haven where family, friends and celebrities experience Glynis' home cooking, where chicken and waffles take center stage. "The Waffle Queen" now makes her chicken coating, waffle mix and scratch baking mix available to an appreciative public.

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Hadiya Williams Image
Hadiya Williams Image

Michele's Syrups

by Michele Hoskins

In the early 1980s, Michele inherited her family's 150-year-old syrup recipe from her mother. Then when she became the divorced mother of three young girls in 1984, it was the syrup and Michele's hard work and ingenuity that created a business and a legacy for her daughters. Michele Foods went from a Chicago-area basement to the retail shelves of 400 stores in its first year. Now the company, with six different syrups including Butter Pecan and Pure Maple, can be found in 8,000 stores, including Walmart and the like.

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Jams by Kim

by Kim Osterhoudt

When Kim got laid off from her corporate job, she turned her passion for preserves into profits by selling her homemade, all-natural jams, jellies and preserves at farmer's markets. Though she's now making larger quantities of her more than 30 flavors, including sweet, savory, single fruit, mixed fruit, sugar-free and vegan varieties, her hand and heart are never far from each jar. She's always wondering where her goodies will end up: on a bagel? on ice cream? between layers of cake? The possibilities seem endless.

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Hadiya Williams Image
Hadiya Williams Image

Mango Mango Preserves

by Lakesha, Tanecia & Nzinga

Good friends Lakesha Renfro, Tanecia Willis and Nzinga Teule-Hekima took their recipe for a mango flavored condiment they used in their event planning business and bottled it for consumers. After a popular appearance on Shark Tank and a QVC launch, Mango Mango Preserves took off and have now catapulted multiple brick-and-mortar businesses in their home base of Hampton,VA, including a restaurant, a spa and an event space.

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