A clothing line of fabric hangs above in the entrance walkway with numerous artwork pieces along the walls. Handmade baskets and handbags sit on the table. The cabinet is stocked with spices, herbs and tea leaves on each shelf. The space is vivid and colorful from all of the items placed in the store.
Pure Lagos, an African curated art gallery and boutique, offers Afropolitan clothing, jewelry and events to learn the culture. There are four locations to visit Pure Lagos’ art galleries in Norfolk: 208 E Main Street in the Selden Market, 251 W Bute Street, the Neon District and 300 Monticello Ave #212 in MacArthur Center.
Sia Alexander, the owner of Pure Lagos and a Hampton Roads native, curates authentic African art, fashion and artifacts of Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Kenya and more. The items are from artists and artisans who they work with directly and their craftsmanship cannot be found anywhere else in the U.S. Some of the other products that are brought to Norfolk from Africa include spices, teas, handmade shea butter from Ghana and Moroccan rugs.
Alexander shares about the inspiration and fruition of creating Pure Lagos in Norfolk. “I wanted to share all that I had been inspired by on the continent with my hometown, and I teamed up with an art gallery in Nigeria. The owner of that gallery was a pioneer in African art expansion [and] exploration, so his vision was very similar to mine,” Alexander said.
“We brought those artworks from the artists who are based in Nigeria, where we have an art collective boutique and children’s art workshop. We brought those works back to Norfolk and with those works, I started Pure Lagos at Selden Market. The reception was so positive that we expanded into four locations.”
The Selden Market location is open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sundays. MacArthur Center location hours are 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. through Monday to Saturday and 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Sunday. The Bute Street business hours are from 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. The Neon District of Pure Lagos is based on appointment only. Visitors can call (757) 956-9975 to make an appointment to meet the owners at one of the venue locations.
Alexander shares about her favorite part of owning Pure Lagos. “My favorite part of being the owner is the interface that I get to have with the community, how we are able to inspire people, to uplift people, to make them feel better about themselves [and] to offer a healing environment for the community,” said Alexander. “All the colors that we have here, all the beauty [and] all the authenticity of handmade items that have stories behind them when people see them, are healed.”
Pure Lagos offers more than authentic items by providing herbal healing talks, children’s art workshops, indigenous art lectures, African food cooking classes and all manners of Afropolitan creative expression.
Alexander added, “We aim to bring people back to Africa through visiting our Pure Lagos locations in Norfolk. We want you to walk in here and feel like you’ve gone back home like you traveled back to the continent. You got all the tastes, the aromas, the colors [and] all the vibes of West Africa and other parts of Africa through mainly through Lagos, Nigeria.”
Immerse yourself in the African culture by making a trip to Pure Lagos and support indigenous artisans by spreading the word and buying their authentic work. Follow them @purelagos on Instagram and Facebook or visit www.pure-lagos-african-art-gallery-boutique.business.site for more information.
Imagine stepping into a room that is filled with a gentle aroma in a soothing atmosphere. The shelves are filled with soap bars, spray bottles and assortments of skincare products in front of the light lavender painted walls. On each shelf, information and descriptions are provided about the skincare items that await for you to choose.
Purely Sunnah, a Black-owned natural beauty business in Virginia Beach, provides handcrafted products to make everyday bathing and skincare routines enjoyable for customers. It is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. or customers can order products online at www.purelysunnah.com. The price range of Purely Sunnah’s soaps, lotion, hair care items and everyday skincare products are between $3 – $25.
Stacie Headley, the owner of Purely Sunnah, started making natural soaps when her son was diagnosed with eczema and she took matters into her own hands by researching her son’s skin condition. She joined an herbal program and learned how to make skincare products for treating her son’s eczema.
The calming Calendula butter was born and led Headley to learn how to make more skin care products. The product started her journey to create cleaner everyday items for people with skin concerns and boost their self-confidence.
Headley shared her hope for first-time customers’ experience coming to her store and using her skincare products. “When you come into the store, I want you to feel like you’re coming into a spa because self-care is very important. That’s what we aim to give every customer—a little bit of self-care,” said Headley.
Headley aims to use natural ingredients that can be sourced locally such as local honey and lavender from Williamsburg while supporting other Black-owned suppliers and packing businesses. The most popular skincare products are her body butters and soaps. Headley takes pride in formulating the calm Calendula butter and natural deodorant after a long time of trial and error.
Headley added, “I hope that it helps with any type of self-confidence, especially like our glow correct [product] line. I know as women of color, we experienced the discoloration and the hyperpigmentation, and there’s not a lot of products on an affordable scale that help with those issues without causing further damage to our skin.”
“I just hope that my products help ease you at some point in your life even if it’s just a little like the five-minute shower making you happier or if you have a skin issue that my skincare line can help with your acne or your dry skin or your hyperpigmentation.”
Visit www.purelysunnah.com for more information or follow @purelysunnah on Instagram or Facebook. Treat yourself to a well-deserved spa treatment and skincare routine while supporting a locally Black-owned business by shopping at 1616 Centerville Turnpike #206 in Virginia Beach, VA.
Hummingbird Macarons & Desserts
The clear display case shows assorted small, brightly colored sandwich cookies with a cream filling in the center. Each tiny cookie sandwich has a distinctive flavor addressed on a label. On the other side, the illuminated case presents decorative tarts and cakes. All of the desserts have something unique with colors, toppings and style.
Hummingbird Macarons & Desserts, a Black-owned bakery and dessert caterer located in Norfolk, creates sweet treats for celebrating life’s occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, reveal parties and graduations. The bakery invites everyone to enjoy their desserts and see that their sweets taste just as good as they look.
Kisha Moore, the owner of Hummingbird Macarons & Desserts, shares about choosing macarons as the main attraction of her business. “Macarons are just a very unique dessert. It allows for so much creativity, flavors [and] color. It’s art. It’s also a delight to the customers,” Moore said.
Moore added, “It was a labor of love. It was beautiful, and then making macarons is also not something that you’re going to just decide to whip up like a batch of chocolate chip cookies. They’re intricacies and the science behind it is fascinating to me.”
It is open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays. Customers can contact Hummingbird Macarons & Desserts at firstname.lastname@example.org or (757) 917-5152. The most popular occasions for customers visiting are Valentine’s Day first and Mother’s Day second. Their busiest overall season is the summer, when they serve ice cream macaron sandwiches.
Jasmine Fraizer, a staff worker at Hummingbird Macaron & Desserts, shares her recommendations for first-time customers. “We definitely have other options to cater to you. I would definitely try a little bit of everything like a cake slice, one cookie or brownie and probably two macarons,” said Fraizer.
The most popular fall flavors of the macarons are matcha raspberry and cinnamon roll. Hummingbird Macarons & Desserts will roll out their winter flavors starting on Feb. 8. Macarons are $2.75 each, or a dozen are $33 and half a dozen is $16.50. Other desserts include tarts, choux puffs and various slices of cakes between $5.75 – $8.25. Coffee and other beverages cost between $2.25 – $10, with the choice of being served by a cup or pot for tea.
Moore creates thoughtfully sourced flavors in her desserts to serve customers. The flavors come from her personal experiences that inspire her to make different combinations.
“If I’ve gone to another country or met someone from another country, they introduce me to some of their ethnic flavors. Like the matcha flavor came about because we have a customer that used to live in Japan, so we brought matcha,” Moore said. “It’s those types of things and oftentimes where I can incorporate some local flair, something that’s thoughtfully sourced to make that experience just really extraordinary for our customers.”
Moore added, “My favorite part [is] the creativity and our customers. I just love bringing the sweet life to people, seeing the joy on their faces [and] sharing these moments with our customers is such a joy.”
All of the desserts have something unique with colors, toppings and style. Celebrate your next special occasion or enjoy the comfort of eating sweets at Hummingbird Macarons & Desserts on 809 Granby Street Norfolk, VA. Visit www.hummingbirdmacarons.com or @hummingbirdmacarons on Instagram and Facebook for more information.
By Tiffany Warren