Making Riches Out of Rags: Meet Kejuana Sibley

IMG_7865Hello Holistic Ebony readers! I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to a very good friend of mine, Ms. Kejuana Sibley.  One of the great things about Holistic Ebony and our readers is that a love of the Earth and all of her riches is encouraged and appreciated. Kejuana is one of those people that takes that love one step further by taking things that people would normally throw away and re-purposing them to create something even more beautiful. Although she is very busy working full-time, raising and supporting her beautiful son, and creating redesigned works of art in her very scant free time, I was able to catch up with her to ask some questions about her business.

What is the name of your business?

She and Me 1418.

Wow, what an interesting name. How did you come up with that?

It’s actually a nod to my beautiful mother. I have no formal training in sewing but it was my mom who shared her sewing knowledge with me. She has supported me through this entire process and I felt like she deserved some formal recognition. She and Me is my mom and I. 1418 is a mash-up of our birthdays.

Awww, how sweet! I bet she loves that. So, what kinds of services does She and Me 1418 provide?

I make one-of-a-kind bags made from recycled vinyl billboard. Each bag is from a different section of the billboard, so it can’t be duplicated. The straps are seat-belts cut out of old cars. The bags can be made into any size; I’ve made messenger bags, book bags, purses, laptop cases, etc. I also make pillows, scarfs, and drapery with designer fabrics for average prices. I feel that everyone should be able to look a feel like a millions bucks for $100 or less!

How long have you been in business?

After graduating college with a degree in theater but having to wait tables and being absolutely miserable, I was approached by a friend who presented an opportunity to go into business with him to make custom-made bags.  It gave me an opportunity to give back and also break into a different avenue of creativity. Hot Garbage Bags is the name of the business for the recycled bags which began in 2009. After an amicable break from my business partner, I kept Hot Garbage Bags but added She and Me 1418 in 2013 to better describe who I am.  It’s the umbrella business that captures all the other things I feel compelled to make.  I plan to eventually open a brick and mortar store called She and Me 1418 where I will include Hot Garbage Bags and my other designs.

What is your company’s mission statement?

To provide quality expensive material at affordable prices. It’s quality that matters.

Do you have any special promotions or discounts going on right now?

Not at the moment. The prices are always reasonable and competitive. Nothing’s outrageously priced and will never be because I truly feel that quality doesn’t have to break the bank.

Why do you think it’s important to support black businesses?

I’ve had people who are reluctant to purchase my things, not because of the quality of my work but because of my skin color. I need the support of my community to give me that boost. The work is good and others will come around but we have to get behind one another to help promote and make that necessary seed money. You see it in other cultures all the time. They support each other so that when one comes up, they all do. I think it’s important that the African American community do the same.

How do you give back to the community?

I have made and donated drapery for various halfway houses and drug detox centers. Helping to improve their surroundings will, I hope, help with the hard transitions that the people staying there are going through. I hope as my business grows I will be able to open a store front and provide jobs for single mothers. I want to provide places where they can set their own hours and make a decent wage. If they want to go to school or pursue other opportunities, I want to provide a place where they can come and go as they need.

Thank you for your time today Kejuana! Where can HE readers find your products?

Right now, my products are in a couple of stores in Baton Rouge, LA but you can order from my online store at sheandme.net. Feel free to email me with any questions or business inquiries at sheandme1418@gmail.com.

Hope McPhatter: Staff Writer and Wellness Advocate

photoHello everyone! I am beyond excited to be a part of a network of people who are proactive about their health and interested in all of its dimensions! Going into the Health Education field allowed me to learn about health not only to help others, but myself as well. For the past 3 years or so, I have really embraced the concept of holistic wellness in more and more aspects of my life. I can’t wait to take you all with me on this journey to be as holistically healthy as possible. I look forward to the ride!

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