Black Business Expo will bring together small business owners

May 20, 2016

l0Retona Wilson has been fascinated with business and working with other people to solve problems since she was a child. About a year ago, she started her second business venture: Naked Truth Body Essentials.
On Sunday May 22, 2016 she is sponsoring a Black Business Expo for small business owners from 2-7 p.m. at the 3041 North Lounge. The event is sponsored by Mahogany Expressions, a jewelry and clothing store which is owned by Sheneta Hamilton. Mahogany Expressions is a title sponsor and Hamilton, the owner, has been a big help in organizing the Black Business Expo, Wilson said.
All products made by Wilson are handmade and homemade, she said. She believes that the more pure and simple the better. “What you put on your skin goes into your blood,” she explains. In addition to running her own business out of her home, Wilson is also a full-time student studying e-commerce at MATC and also has a full-time job as a Chef Case Associate at Whole Foods Market. Despite a wide social circle, Wilson said she found it frustrating trying to connect with other small minority business owners in Milwaukee.
She said most of her customers come either by word of mouth or they find her Facebook page. A few months ago, Wilson came up with the idea of hosting a Black Business Expo for small business owners in Milwaukee.
The purpose is to familiarize other minority business owners with each other and to publicize the technical, mechanical and production skills they can provide, she said. “I go to a lot of events and make a point of trying to make connections and I’ve had good success with Facebook, but I am continually surprised by the breadth of talent that too often gets overlooked because bigger corporations have better name recognition.”
Although not a Milwaukee native, she spent most of her life here, graduating from Pulaski High School in 2012.
“I was born in the beautiful red clay and sunny country side of rural Georgia,” Wilson writes on her company website (www.nakedtruthbody.com). “Most of my days in communal living as a small child were spent learning and the rest was spent imagining the daylight away and playing with the other children of the community. I had no worries in the world.

“From there I was moved with my mother and younger brother from the slow country side to a faster, urban city in the Midwest called Milwaukee. It was a major game changer. I quickly grew into an adult where I retained my childhood ability to be creative. I loved to draw, read, and write. I felt that a career in soap making would suit me very well.”

Thanks in part to her active Facebook publishing, Wilson said she already has 209 confirmed reservations and another 586 individuals who have expressed interest in attending. Wilson said she expects most guests to drop by for an hour or so. There will be an opportunity for an open mike discussion and games for children.