Pop Up Shop returning to benefit women, kids


It’s back.

The seventh Pop Up Shop — the “upscale retail re-sale event” benefiting Women & Children First, the agency that aids survivors of family violence, sexual assault and human trafficking — returns from its pandemic-related hiatus, moving to late August from its usual mid-September slot. This year’s location: Pleasant Ridge Town Center, 11525 Cantrell Road No. 610, the space that was previously furniture retailer Nadeau.

The event will feature nearly two years’ worth of men’s and women’s clothing, accessories, furniture and home accessories from the city’s most distinguished boutiques and WCF’s community partners. Jimmy Choo, Valentino, Prada, Tory Burch and Dolce & Gabbana are among the labels available at bargain prices.

“We are so excited about having the Pop Up Shop again,” says Tiffany Robinson, one of the event organizers. “Not only have we had two years to collect; one of those years was 2020, where people spent more time in their homes … and had more time to clean out their closets than ever before. We also were fortunate that several local businesses donated items throughout 2020 as they transitioned from season to season.” In additon, the Pop Up Shop also benefited from individuals who donated furniture and housewares as they updated and remodeled houses.

“We’ve been doing this [Pop Up Shop] long enough now that people know about it and feel good donating things to such a worthwhile organization,” Robinson continues. “It can be hard to part with possessions sometimes, especially when you don’t know what to do with them. But knowing that they’re going to be sold to someone who appreciates them, while raising money to buy the necessities that Women and Children First clients need when they show up at the shelter, is a real win-win.”

This shopping opportunity isn’t coming a minute too soon, according to fellow organizer Jessica Sorg.

“Even during a pandemic, our wonderful WCF supporters were thinking about the next time we could have our pop-up event,” she says.

The fun gets started with a Preview Party, 5-8 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $35. Regular shopping hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday; 1-3 p.m. Aug. 22; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 27 (designated as Mom’s Day Out) and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 28. Regular admission is $5 and masks will be required of everyone.

All proceeds from the event support WCF and the people it serves. For more information and to buy tickets to the Preview Party, visit wcfpopupshop.givesmart.com.

YOUNG FASHIONISTA

Congratulations to Amelia Lisowe, 10, of Benton. As a member of a team from Arkansas that competed at the Royal International Miss pageant in Orlando, Fla., July 11-17, Amelia was crowned the International Project Purple winner.

For the Project Purple competition, the girls were given 2 yards of fabric each and tasked with making and modeling their own outfit in five days. Amelia’s outfit was a purple dress with an asymmetrical neckline and detachable cape. The outfit included gold and turquoise embellishments and was paired with light-up sneakers. Amelia was crowned the winner on July 16 at the Royal Oscar Awards banquet and brought home a crown, sash and $250 scholarship.

That was just one competition distinction for this young community volunteer, who owns the nonprofit Lisowe’s Lights. For more information on Amelia, check out lisoweslights.com. For more information on the Royal International Miss Pageant, visit royalinternationalmiss.com.

SPOTLIGHT ON …

Dressing Room returns from its hiatus with a new feature.

Spotlight On … will consist of Q-and-As with independent, Arkansas makers and/or retailers of fashion/beauty/grooming products — including those who operate online and as vendors at farmers markets, festivals and fairs. The inaugural subject: Nicole Wilson, owner of Natural Joy by Nicole Janae, a line of products for natural Black hair along with body products.

I met Wilson at the Shop Black @ Wright Ave. festival on Juneteenth (June 19) and am trying several of her products — including Natural 48 Hair Elixir, a hair growth/length retention oil. Natural 48 is infused with 48 organic oils and African and Indian herbs. I’ve also enjoyed Natural Joy’s soap saver exfoliating bag, into which one can insert one of Wilson’s soaps (Charcoal & Clay, African Violet, Oatmeal Milk & Honey, etc.), lather up with the soap inside, and use in the shower as a loofah.

The rest of the line includes face serums; body oils; bath bombs; face and hair mask; coffee scrub; bath and foot soak; spa headband; jade roller and gua sha set to help one’s complexion; silk pillow for hair and skin; hair styling tools and accessories. Another hair product, the Aloe Rose Curl Cream, is a moisturizer to use on twist-outs, braid-outs or as a leave-in conditioner. Prices range from about $3-$55; some items are available as bundles for discounted prices. Visit naturaljoybynicolejanae. com.

Spotlight on …

Natural Joy by Nicole Janae

Tell me what your “day job” is, or what you did before starting your company.

I have worked in the insurance and health-care field for the last five years. Most recently I worked as a billing analyst with Arkansas Dermatology before transitioning into a full-time entrepreneur this year. Even while working in corporate America, I was working in my spare time as a beauty influencer promoting and reviewing beauty products, hair care, skin care and cosmetics on my YouTube channel, “Nicole Janae’s Voice.”

What led you to begin Natural Joy?

I started working on my brand on March 14. It started with a simple question I was asked: “Can you tell me what products I should use in my daughter’s hair, as your hair always looks so beautiful?” I responded the way I usually do: by sending a list of recommended products that have helped me tame my tresses over the years, and by referring them to my YouTube channel to watch some of my hair videos. I get the question “What do you use in your hair?” so often, I at first considered regularly reaching out to my favorite brands to see if I could curate a box for those who’d come off of using chemical relaxers and now struggled with their newly natural hair. But I woke up the next morning with a very clear vision: I would not create a box using other peoples’ brands — I would create my very own brand instead.

What were your first steps in creating the line? What inspired your choices of ingredients?

The very first step was research, research, research. I have always had an arsenal of natural organic oils and butters that I have been using on my skin and hair since I decided to embrace my natural curls in 2012. My natural do-it-yourself recipes using natural oils have kept my hair and skin thriving over the years. I am very particular about what I use, and when I purchase a product I always read the label to ensure I understand what is in my products.

I took out a pen and paper and wrote down every natural oil and butter I could think of along with their benefits for hair and skin. After that, I worked on my formula to decide which ingredients I would pair together and why. I went to the internet and YouTube for research on how to make things I had never made before, such as soap. I spent days watching people create and I was inspired. Lastly, I worked with a Black woman cosmetic chemist to make sure I was on the right track. I spent the last two weeks of March using my savings to order ingredients, packaging, labels, etc., and filled my office space up with what is now my brand.

What sets your line apart from other natural products in general, and in particular, other natural product lines for people of color?

I think what sets me apart is my desire to give my people the very best. I never imagined that I would be in this space, but it has been a natural progression to promote brands that I love and then have a strong desire to create my own brand.

I started out focusing on creating hair-care products for people of color, especially those with natural or Afro-textured hair to help promote healthy hair growth, moisture balance and length retention. My brand quickly evolved into a natural self-care line of products including soaps, scrubs, bath salts and more. I have documented my vendor events and other behind-the-scenes footage that I post on my business YouTube channel and Instagram page, @Natural Joy by NJ.

At what event or store did your line make its debut? Where else have you been selling it?

My line made its debut at the “Shop Black @ Wright Ave.” event. I was one of the top businesses in sales on my launch day. Since then, I have been a vendor at the Little Rock Farmers Market. I have also appeared at a few other venues and have recently been invited to sell my products at the newly opened Rock It! Lab, 120 River Market Ave.

What has early feedback been like? What seem to be the most popular products?

The early feedback has been amazing! People have been taking the time to email me privately and post on my social media sharing their praises. I have had several repeat customers already. All my handcrafted soaps — in particular, the Oatmeal Milk & Honey, Mango Papaya, African Violet and Clay Love soaps — along with my Restore Calendula Body Oil, Pure Rose Water and Perfect Bath Soak, have been my bestsellers. I have continued to sell out at my vendor events.

What are your goals for the line?

To continue to bring more natural goodness to my community. I have a notebook full of product ideas for fall and winter. Stay tuned.

Got fashion-, beauty-, or grooming-related news and events? Want to suggest a retailer/vendor for Spotlight On … ? Email:

[email protected]

Amelia Lisowe, 10, of Benton (center) was crowned winner of the International Project Purple competition at the Royal International Miss pageant in Orlando, Fla., in July. Contestants were given 2 yards of fabric each and tasked with making and modeling their own outfit in five days.
(Special to the Democrat-Gazette)

The Natural Joy by Nicole Janae line boasts a collection of generously lathering soaps, including Oatmeal Milk & Honey.
(Special to the Democrat-Gazette/Natural Joy by Nicole Janae)

The Natural Joy by Nicole Janae line boasts a collection of generously lathering soaps, including Oatmeal Milk & Honey.
(Special to the Democrat-Gazette/Natural Joy by Nicole Janae)

The Curl Love Hair Bundle, part of the Natural Joy by Nicole Janae line, includes the Natural 48 Hair Elixir and the Aloe Rose Curl Cream with Mango and Cupuaco Butters.
(Special to the Democrat-Gazette/Natural Joy by Nicole Janae)

The Curl Love Hair Bundle, part of the Natural Joy by Nicole Janae line, includes the Natural 48 Hair Elixir and the Aloe Rose Curl Cream with Mango and Cupuaco Butters.
(Special to the Democrat-Gazette/Natural Joy by Nicole Janae)

Nicole Wilson is the creator of Natural Joy by Nicole Janae.
(Special to the Democrat-Gazette/Natural Joy by Nicole Janae)

Nicole Wilson is the creator of Natural Joy by Nicole Janae.
(Special to the Democrat-Gazette/Natural Joy by Nicole Janae)



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