Black History Month is a great time to reflect on black leaders from the past who inspire us today or in this case, a great time to feature living black figures who are creating waves of positive change in the community, state or nation. This month, we want to highlight local Lori Jones, Owner and CEO of both Jonesies LLC and Black·ology Coffee Company and resourceful mother of two boys. On February 4th, she will be setting up a taco and cupcake bar to congratulate the Neuse River Campus girls for all of their hard work this past semester! Let’s dive into her story…
What were you doing before Black·ology?
Before starting Black·ology, I was a chef at Tri-Delta sorority at Chapel Hill; they are a wonderful group of ladies. Unfortunately, that position was cut short at UNC, so I was laid off in late march and honestly sitting around, trying to figure life out. I actually launched a skincare company before Black·ology, called Jonesies LLC., which helped fund the business.
How did you come up with name Black·ology?
Figuratively speaking, it’s the study of black coffee. I picked the name knowing it would mean different things to different people. It is primarily the study of black coffee, but it’s also about black culture and building networks with black businesses. It’s really what it’s meant to be for whoever it’s meant to be. People ask me who my target audience is, but I don’t have one. Black·ology means something different to everyone.
If you had one last cup of coffee, how would you take it?
I really do like it black. The dark roast Sumatra is my favorite one to drink black. It depends on how it’s brewed. At home, I don’t have a household coffee maker anymore. I do all pour over coffee at home, so I can extract the natural flavors of the coffee.
Do you remember that ‘aha’ moment when you decided you wanted to launch this business?
I created this back in May of 2019. It wasn’t the timing for it, but it gave me time to think about what I want to do. Then July, it came to me. I knew it was the time, even though I didn’t have a job nor steady income. I talked a lot to God. We had this back and forth conversation. He was like “now, go and do it.” A week later, Black·ology launched. Everything that I could possibly, things I don’t know I needed were right there at my finger tips. Equipment donated, meeting the roaster in Durham through church.
How have you overcome any challenges launching a business in a pandemic?
It’s been a lot of self-work. I have quite a few mentors. Some of whom are present today. They all get me to think outside of the box. To work on my mindset and how I perceive things. And honestly, every challenge or obstacle that’s come across has something to do with mindset and how you perceive things. For me, I realized, that it’s not something that’s happening to you, it’s something happening for you.
How did you hear about CORRAL?
Amy Crouch, one of my most loyal coffee customers, actually nominated CORRAL for a holiday dinner that I wanted to do to give back. She’s been supporting Black·ology since the day the news aired. She and her family have been incredibly supportive. I feel like they’re an extension of my family. Amy told me CORRAL’s story. I read through all the submissions, and I was like this is what’s really talking to me. To be able to do something for these girls touches my heart.
So, on February 4th, I’ll be coming to set up a taco bar with customized cupcakes. I heard they’ve been doing really well in school and this will be a nice celebration for them.
What does Amplify Their Voices mean to you?
I share some of the same pain in different aspects with these girls. Being able to speak up and stand up for yourself and say exactly what’s on your mind and how you feel without the judgment of anyone else is what amplifying your voice means. Who cares what other people think? We have to get to a point within ourselves where we embrace ourselves. We are not the victim. We are overcomers of things that happened to us in the past.
If you were talking to a CORRAL girl, what would you share with them?
As far as emotions, don’t suppress your emotions. Feel what you feel in that moment. If you don’t allow yourself to process and feel those emotions in that moment, that hurts you later on down the road. By embracing that, you can turn your pain into something amazing. I’ve put a lot of different pain into Black·ology and Jonesies. It’s been a beautiful thing.
If you could tell your teen self on thing, what would you say?
Don’t try to be who everybody else wants you to be. Be who you are. Be truly who are you and embrace that person.
What’s the significance of Black History Month to you, and which black leader inspires you most?
We’re now getting into a space where we’re celebrating ourselves all the time because it’s okay to do that. But, Black History Month is a time for reflection for things that have happened in the past, looking back at our history, and taking some of that historical data and information into something new.
Michelle Obama is a picture of grace in my eyes. The way she’s involved in community. Even from her clothing choices, she buys things and promotes things that a lot of regular people or people without money can afford. Her leadership also inspires me.
My mentor, Mel, who I met this year also inspires me. She owns the The Wright Village in Raleigh. Her story has absolutely inspired me. My other mentor, Ryan of Ryan Ray Official, he saw what I was doing. He’s been giving me the tools to pull myself out of solopreneur mindset to a entrepreneurship mindset. Mia of Mia Lamotte International, is my personal branding coach. She’s been helping me with a lot of self-work, too!
*If you’re interested in partnering with CORRAL or getting involved in our mission, click here for more information! We are always looking to grow our community with caring people who share our passion for giving our girls a leg up in life.*