Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Freedom Apothecary
Meet The Black Woman Behind The New Wellness Space In New Orleans
Freedom Apothecary is a new Black woman-owned wellness space in New Orleans that aims to revolutionize the wellness industry in the city. Focusing on women-founded skincare and well-being, Freedom Apothecary offers tinctures, beauty products, literature and divination at its self-care shop.
The wellness space also provides a full range of facial services and a mixing bar with botanical extracts, oils and salts. These items serve to prepare personalized masks, oils, scrubs, bath salts, seminars, book groups, enlightenment and educational events.
Morrisa Jenkins is the founder of Freedom Apothecary and is also a licensed aesthetician. Jenkins previously opened her first wellness space in Philadelphia in 2019. The center quickly became a popular destination for skincare and beauty enthusiasts. Now, she wants to expand this wellness experience in New Orleans.
In a recent interview with Jenkins, she shared the story of how she came to open a wellness space in New Orleans and how she uses her platform to advocate for more honesty in the health and wellness field for women.
Travel Noire: Can you tell Travel Noire readers when you entered the wellness business?
Morrisa Jenkins: I started formulating products for my e-commerce business Meaux Moisture in 2014, one year after becoming a mom. I dove heavily into product ingredient research wanting to ensure we had the safest products. Ultimately, I decided to formulate them myself.
Fast forward to 2017, I was expecting my second daughter and feeling a little discouraged, and began searching for purpose and direction. One night, I had a dream vision or what I like to call a spiritual download. The vision was very clear and concise: a wellness and retail space. A safe space for education and community, where I would carry my products, along with other makers and brand founders.
I wanted to educate my community on holistic wellness, self-care and formulating their own products. Freedom Apothecary is a rebellion, [and] a disruptor of all the things we’ve been historically taught as a community about beauty, health and wellness.
TN: What makes your space so unique?
MJ: We offer goods for women, beauty, wellness and lifestyle. All of the brands we carry are founded by women, free of harmful ingredients and are indie brands. 98 percent are not carried at your big box retailers.
We host educational and fun workshops, farm-to-face facials, community events and more.
TN: Why did you choose New Orleans as the location for your brand’s expansion?
MJ: I couldn’t be more excited to share Freedom Apothecary with the community here. What better place than the city of magic, soul [and] the heart of unapologetic self-expression. New Orleans [is] where rebirth and transformation are not only encouraged, but [also] desired.
Freedom Apothecary will embody more of its original vision. The seeds planted in Philly are now ready to flourish in New Orleans and beyond.
Originally from Mississippi, New Orleans has always held a special place in my heart. The rich history and culture of New Orleans really lend themselves to Freedom Apothecary’s ethos of culture, wellness and community.
So far, the reception has been phenomenal.
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TN: As a Black woman, what challenges have you faced to start your own business in the wellness segment? Have you found any resources or support that have been particularly helpful in overcoming these challenges?
MJ: As a Black woman, a co-parenting mother and a serial entrepreneur, the unspoken pressures of following my dreams and purpose, being present for my daughters and showing up in a way that’s impactful to my community is currently one of the biggest struggles.
I’ve been fortunate to receive grants, mentorship and coaching over the last few years that have been a tremendous help with building a business plan and a following that has sustained us through a pandemic, pivots, and now, a relocation.
My dream is for Freedom Apothecary to be a hub in this community first, and then, globally for all things beauty, wellness, health, luxury, self-care and rest.
This article has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.