Please introduce yourself and your business to our community.
My name is Carolyn Gray and I own Noirebud, a Luxury CBD Product business in Brooklyn, New York.
At what point in your life did you realize your passion?
I’ve always known I love helping people in whatever way I could and I’ve always known I was meant to run my own business. Although working in corporate for so many years depressed me, I held on to the fact that I was able to learn as much as I could in those positions to be able to apply to my own brand when the time came. In 2018, I learned about the benefits of CBD and noticed there weren’t a lot of people of color within that space, let alone women. It sparked my interest and I delved in to see how I can make a difference.
What did you learn about yourself in 2020?
I am innovative. I am human. I am strong AF! I took the opportunity to personally slow down and invest in therapy. There were so many triggers to new and old trauma that I couldn’t ignore there was spiritual warfare to learn from. The business was doing really well and I had to learn to accept the fact I was doing a good job and I deserved to acknowledge it.
What do you attribute to your success in life and business?
My parents Emelia and Ricardo Gray instilled a great deal of creativity and hard work ethic into me. As soon as I was able to legally work in the state of Maryland, I obtained two jobs while in high school ( I didn’t really need to have one, because my parents worked hard for my needs to be met). When I moved to New York for college I interned for Nadiyah Spencer ( a product development consultant) who turned into my mentor. She taught me how to have and develop a voice in whatever industry I worked in. I would always think “ What would Nadiyah do” when I felt like I was in a tough situation and it always helped. My boyfriend Carlos Gaviria, a real estate entrepreneur, also gave me the push to take a risk and work for myself. He helped expose that I indeed have the ‘self-employment muscle’. My circle of friends is also filled with inspiration and greatness. I am very lucky to have friendships with people who are so unique, brave, honest, and open to sharing resources so we can all grow and secure success.
It is important for us to nurture a community of black women that share, learn, and thrive together. Please share a story of failure that taught you a valuable lesson.
I was in a buying program right out of college and worked as a merchandising assistant under an affluent Black Woman buyer who had been with the company for quite some time. It was my first corporate job and I was soaking up everything I could by quietly observing and doing everything she told me to do. Closer to the end of the program and potential promotion the buyer told me she felt I wasn’t cut out for the business and I should resign because I “didn’t ask enough questions”. I was 21, scared, and beat down by the comment. I didn’t question it, I didn’t reach out to other buyers who believed in me, I just resigned because I truly believed this woman knew more about me than I did. When other black women leaders in the company found out I resigned they told me they wished they knew and would’ve taken me in their departments. I learned that I should never take the answer no when I believe in my heart the answer is yes. I should never doubt what God has led me to, and that closed mouths don’t get fed. While there are some of us that may not want each other to thrive, there are twice as many of us that do and we shouldn’t be afraid in pursuing those people and reaching for the connection.
Please let us know the woman you were 5 years ago and who you’re becoming?
I was lost and not in love with myself 5 years ago. At times I felt unworthy of life overall. I was in a career I didn’t love but respected enough to learn from. I was looking for love in all the places I didn’t exist in.
Who I am now and becoming is a woman who won’t settle for lackluster love and effort, who won’t settle for no, and who won’t stand for injustice in any way. I’m not shakeable anymore. I am a force, and that power in me is growing and I LOVE IT.
What women in your life have been a source of inspiration?
OMG, there are so many and all for different reasons. But my mother is the biggest source of inspiration. The way she secures the bag, the way she laughs, the way she loves…..makes me move through life a certain way and I want to provide my parents a life of comfort.
Celebrate your wins! Brag, sis. What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the moments I prove my own self doubts wrong. I’ve worked so hard on this brand any time it gets a media mention, or a client shoutout, I feel like all the hard work makes the impact I initially hoped for.
Quoting Audre Lorde, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Please share your self-care routine.
I do not take meetings on Mondays. No calls, no adulting appointments, nothing serious and stressful. I stay home, manage the business lightly and prepare for my week. I’ll run house errands that day, or get my nails done and do some shopping. Or I lay deep in bed the entire day. I made the mistake of not doing that all September and I was almost burned out. Soon, I’m going to make going to the spa on a Monday on a monthly basis a part of my routine.
You are part of our melanin muse tribe. How can we help you on your journey?
Spread the word about Noirebud CBD products and how they can help soothe daily mental and physical stresses. Tell them it’s non-psychoactive and instead, it’s a body calm that the body craves and deserves. If a client ever has a question or hesitation about trying CBD for the first time, I always say start off with a small amount and really pay attention to how your body responds or they can reach out to me via dm or email: Info@noirebud.com