When you pick up a product from QueenCare, you will see the words, “Indulge. Engage. Uplift.” written on the front of every package. These three words serve as a reminder of the mission of Monika Mathews, who is uplifting young women of color in the Seattle area through programs that encourage self-care and self-love and also teach real-life business skills.
Monika’s struggles with learning self-love during her upbringing inspired her to create programs that would support young women of color in learning to love themselves.
Starting a Company
Growing up, Monika had a difficult childhood.
“I didn’t have a lot of positive support in place. I made a lot of decisions that were detrimental to my growth and future--or so I thought at the time,” Monika says.
It was during Monika’s mid-twenties that she recognized that she was unhappy with where her life was heading. Realizing that she had the power to turn her life around, Monika began to work in pursuit of fulfilling her purpose.
“I did some soul-searching and focused on what my mission was on this earth and in my life. That’s how Life Enrichment Group was born,” Monika says. “My mission and purpose on this earth are to help young ladies and girls who have had rough experiences overcome and avoid these same hardships.”
Monika founded Life Enrichment Group in 2003 to support students of color. The nonprofit provides culturally relevant programs dedicated to supporting at-risk youth across King County through mentorship and academic support. Life Enrichment Group partners youth with positive role models who live and work in the same communities as those who they serve.
When Monika started the program, she began by teaching African dance to young Black women to encourage them to develop a sense of identity and self. This was inspired by her journey in learning to love her skin.
“My struggles were birthed from not loving the skin I was in and not knowing about my culture,” Monika says. “It grew into Life Enrichment Group, Young Queens of Seattle King-County, the Scholar Project, Know to Grow, and Youth in Business.”
Empowering Women of Color through Self-Care
In 2015, the Life Enrichment Group received a challenge from United Way of King County to create an innovative program that would promote economic development among young women in South Seattle. It was through this challenge that the idea for QueenCare was born. QueenCare is a natural skincare line featuring products designed to nourish the mind and body. The company employs young women of color and teaches them about business in a hands-on way.
“I started at Rainier Beach High School. We wanted to create a hands-on process. My mentor gave me the recipe for the products and we started teaching the girls to make products and sell them,” Monika says.
The QueenCare store, located in Columbia City, is staffed by members of the Young Queens program who participate in a series of business workshops that teach them the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. Each year, the store offers five paid internships to high school students and one to a college student. The women are QueenCare consultants, they have kits that they sell from and they also run spa experiences at the QueenCare store located in Columbia City. The money raised by QueenCare helps to support youth programs offered by Life Enrichment Group. Since founding the company in 2016, several Young Queens have gone on to start their own businesses.
Monika reminds us that indulging in self-care is an act of self-love and all of us can benefit from this across race, color and creed.
“I want people to take better care of themselves. The more everyone practices self-care and self-love, the better we will be able to treat each other,” Monika says. “Even if you don’t use our products, just be aware of your meter and make sure you’re giving yourself a full tank.”
What types of pros do you recommend to the Fresh Chalk users?
"Custom party favors and birthday party set-ups, great for any special occasion."
"Yummy vegan food! I’ve used her for catering and she did a great job."
"I’m a regular here! I’m a massage junkie and all about the self-care."
"Victor Jones is a great photographer and he also does photo booths for events."
Follow Monika on Fresh Chalk for more great recommendations. Who are your favorite pros? Add your recommendations to Fresh Chalk to earn good karma and promote your favorite businesses and community super-heroes.