March 27, 2023


Moving Forward

Yolanda Owens, a driven entrepreneur with a strong social conscience, dies

Close friends, loved ones members and enterprise associates all explained Owens as a driven entrepreneur with a potent social conscience, a girl who dared to danger almost everything and in no way gave up. That’s even when faced with the prospect of shedding her all-natural skin treatment and spa providers organization to a perhaps occupation-crushing pandemic and the chance of her have demise to cancer. Owens, who was diagnosed with the ailment in 2019, battled both of those at the exact time. All those near to Owens stated that if she was scared of economical damage or her very own demise, she mostly kept it to herself.

“She was fearless,” mentioned Owens’ daughter, Maya Johnson. “She took factors working day by day, and we were being with her on that journey.”

Owens’ journey started off in Atlanta, exactly where, excluding school and her early profession, she spent her whole lifestyle. She grew up in the Adamsville community in the city’s southwest, enjoying kickball in the road and pursuing a range of inventive interests, such as dancing and drawing. But it was her summer months visits to Shreveport, Louisiana, to see her grandmother, Cosata Blackmon, named “Mother” by everybody, that still left the biggest impact on Owens. These ordeals ultimately led Owens to an entrepreneurial job.

Owens felt drawn to her grandmother’s wild and eclectic backyard garden, exactly where all the rising matters weren’t organized in neat rows. From that backyard, Blackmon addressed Owens’ childhood eczema by bathing her in a mixture of onions, garlic and collard greens. And when the Charles Lincoln Harper Large School graduate went to university – to start with Tuskegee University and then Albany Point out University – Blackmon would mail her care packages made up of pure skin treatment plans she’d well prepared out of fruits and vegetables from the yard.

It took many many years, nonetheless, for Owens to return to the roots planted by her grandmother. Persuaded by her mothers and fathers to pursue a reasonable profession route, Owens, who went to higher education on a mathematics scholarship, pursued a degree in pc science engineering and graduated from Albany Condition College. She then followed a company career route, initially with IBM in Dallas, and later on at Dwelling Depot and SunTrust Financial institution in Atlanta.

More than time, on the other hand, Owens felt pulled in a different direction. She remaining SunTrust to acquire her fledgling new enterprise. Owens branded it with the rough acronym “I-W-I,” which stands for a favored slogan: “it is what it is.”

Her final decision unnerved family customers. Owens, after all, was the first between them to graduate from faculty. In the “Made in America” job interview, Owens recalled telling them “I really have to pursue what I genuinely am.”

Owens downsized, turned her home into a mini-producing plant, and produced a name for herself by placing up booths at public functions and trade exhibits. She taught employees at place spas about the virtues of her pure, refrigeration-required products and how to use them.

In 2010, Owens opened her Contemporary Farm-to-Skin Spa in Castleberry Hill in Atlanta. She invited other entrepreneurs, like musicians and crafts men and women, into the place and made available entrepreneurial workshops. Stars started out dropping into her spa, and in 2017 her merchandise begun demonstrating up in a area Entire Foods retailer.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020, Owens pivoted by increasing her on the web company, offering curbside company, and productively persuading Total Foodstuff to provide iwi products and solutions in more shops. Owens utilized for and attained organization grants and loans to help retain the corporation afloat and delayed opening a 12,000-square-foot “Resting Retreat Spot” on Jonesboro Road.

That facility is now open up and Owens’ business is rebounding even although she is long gone.

“Yolanda was amazingly identified. After she set her eyes on a little something, she would function till she obtained it,” explained cousin Shantae Robinson, who operates at iwi. “She utilized to say, ‘How would I know if it won’t operate if I really don’t try out?’”

Owens is survived by two sons, Jordan and Austin Johnson, together with daughter Maya Johnson, who is within just times of supplying delivery both equally mother and father, Ralph Hill and Murry Henderson two brothers, Corey Henderson and Berald Hill and one grandson, Jah Johnson.

The household will before long announce designs for a memorial celebration.