We've always been about creating a holistic experience here at Antidote Street - it's not just about finding your perfect hair products (although of course that's a big part of it!). We have also striven to create a sense of community - from venturing into the homes of our muses for some wash day magic (#DeepConditioningDanceParty!) to giving you all a glimpse into our favourite artists - we're here for the full lifestyle curation and our blog has always reflected that.
That's why we are so excited about featuring the amazing Natalie Manima, Founder of Bespoke Binny. She's taken her professional insights into the human mind, combined those with her Ghanian heritage and love of bright colours, and created a fantastic line of handmade, beautifully vibrant, home goods.She also rocks some awesome locs!
Read more about Natalie, her journey, and how becoming a mother has made her relook her hair care routine.
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself and Bespoke Binny?
I am Natalie Manima, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist for the last 10 years and ownver of Bespoke Binny for the last 5 years. I still do both, and I still love both, so please don't make me pick! I am also a wife, mother, daughter and probably like most, if not all women, still on a constant journey of self discovery. I definitely do not have it all figured out, and I believe that's OK.
2. What led to you create Bespoke Binny?
Bespoke Binny started as a hobby, and really a form of self care for me. I wanted to learn how to sew and so took evening classes after work. Then I began to use my newly acquired sewing skills to make things for my own home, and gifts for family and friends. It was something I enjoyed doing and it provided an outlet for me after a busy day at work. Friends and family really loved the items I was creating and encouraged me to consider selling them. I had never considered this idea, and did not at all think my creations were anything more than a bit of fun. However, I did take their advice and took my things to a few craft fairs, and the rest is history! Here we are 5 years later!
3. Did you always know that you wanted to run a business?
Not at all! I was very much a go to uni, get a degree and get yourself a steady career kind of thinker. I was happy with that, and I am happy with the career I have chosen too. It just so happens that I have now ended up running a business as a result of my hobby too.
4. As a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, why do you believe self-expression is important in the home?
I believe self expression is important absolutely everywhere. I am particularly interested in the home because it's the first thing we wake up and see in the morning and the last place we are before we go to bed, as well as everything else in between. We often find many ways to express ourselves which is great, but I think many people neglect home. I really believe strongly that you are not a blank canvas, and neither should your home be. It should completely reflect who you are on the inside.
5. We love that you are challenging this idea of minimalism / muted colours in mainstream. Why is this important to you?
Thank you! I think it comes down to the idea of self expression again. Some people genuinely are into muted tones and minimalism and that is absolutely fine. However, I think most of us fall into styling and buying that purely because that's what is easily available. I was so tired of seeing the same style everywhere, and wanted to provide something different for those who, like me, also wanted warmth and vibrant colours in their home.
6. What are your favourite colours?
I love yellows and oranges, I think that are such happy and warm colours. I also really like purple and blue, they give me a sense of calm.
7. We live in an increasingly fast paced world. What does self-care mean to you?
Self care to me, particularly in such a busy society that celebrates being busy, means pausing. Have a break, unplug, take days off, it's perfectly reasonable and necessary to slow down, and to do so often.
8. You know we had to ask right? How do you like to wear your hair?
Well I am a proud member of the loc brigade! If I'm being completely honest I am probably a bit of a lazy natural, and locs fit perfectly with that for me! If I am feeling lazy it's really easy to wear my hair down, or just scoop it back in a pony tail. I used to do all sorts of styles with it especially after being inspired by YouTube tutorials, but I do less of that now.
9. Could you share your top hair care tips?
I feel like I am learning all over again now that I have a daughter, and as times and information have changed from when I was a loose natural. For me and my locs, and I think the same applies to loose naturals, moisture is KEY! Though if you do have locs, make sure you learn what needs to be different for you. I made lots of mistakes in the beginning because I continued to use the same products I was using on my natural hair, not realising that some products are less suited to locs. So for example If you are using the L.O.C method for moisture, creamy leave in conditioners are an absolute no no, and will in the long term leave you with lots of lint and fluff embedded in your locs.
10. What advice would you give to young Natalie on the topic of self-acceptance and happiness?
It's OK to not look like, think or talk like 'everyone else', there will be others just like you, and people who will love you exactly as you are. Besides, that 'everyone else', doesn't even exist!