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Candles & Crystals: Black Women Entrepreneurs Are Finding a Niche In Spirituality-Inspired Businesses

The COVID pandemic has sparked an increased interest in self-care. One aspect of self care is a focus on spirituality. This has resulted in a boom spirituality-inspired businesses. And Black women entrepreneurs are tapping into this new niche.

Self-care covers physical care, mental health; and spiritual wellbeing. In 2014, the self-care industry had an estimated value of $10 billion. By 2019, it had spiked to $450 billion.

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Shereen Campbell, owner of My Little Magic Shop (Photo from Instagram @mylittlemagicshop)

My Little Magic Shop is one company that tapped into the new business trend. Shereen Campbell has always been into crystals and at the beginning of the pandemic she noticed there was a growing interest in crystals. “When I started the company, I bootstrapped. I started with a tax refund and started budgeting a portion of every paycheck to cover expenses for the first five years,” Campbell, who opened the now-popular shop on Etsy, told TNJ.com.

She operated My Little Magic Shop part time until she was laid off from her full-time job in October 2020. She launched a website with an online shop. She has turned her $3,400 tax refund into a $12,000-a-month ecommerce business.

Shontel Anestasia founded her Urban Gurvi Mama shop, as a safe space for women on their spiritual journey. While she started the business in 2017, she told CNBC she has found a spike in people seeking to “go back to their roots” during the pandemic.

“For the last two years, there has been a surge of people wanting to go back to their roots. Last year, I did just as well being self-employed at my shop as I did working in corporate America,” says Anestasia, whose company offers candles and ritual kits, among other items.

Among African Americans there has also been an increased interest in traditional African religions.

Pew Research Center’s 2021 “Faith Among Black Americans” report queried participants, asking: Have you prayed at an altar or shrine? Have you consulted a divine or reader? And do you burn candles, incense, or sage as part of your religious or spiritual practice?”

Twenty percent of Black Americans say they’ve prayed at an altar/shrine, while 12 percent say they’ve consulted a reader and used candles, incense, or sage.

“About 30 percent of Black people say that they believe prayers to their ancestors can protect them,” Kiana Cox, a research associate, told CNBC. “So we have that aspect. And about 40 percent of Black people say that they believe in reincarnation. So even though they’re not affiliated with African religions, some of these practices and beliefs that we might associate with non-Christian religions are there.”

Entrepreneur Shantrelle Lewis found her business niche in traditional African spirituality.

“The resurgence of spirituality has created a market for people to want to purchase supplies that will allow them to create prosperity, to promote health, to bring in love, and to bring in all the good things that they want to attract to themselves by supporting people that look just like them,” said Lewis, the co-founder of Shoppe Black.

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