I virtually met Marenna while checking out natural hair photos on Instagram. She’s a natural hair enthusiast and a self proclaimed, part-time vagabond.
I was born and raised in Michigan, have lived all over the US, and now currently work and reside in DC. Just like any other creative spirit, I have always been moved and motivated by artistic expression of all kinds. Growing up, I had parents that emotionally and financially supported all my artistic flights of fancy. Everything from various dance classes and art trips, to college courses and out of state internships. However, jewelry was always one medium I wasn’t too particularly drawn to. I loved stacking my wrist with bangles and bracelets, and throwing on layers of necklaces, but I never thought about making them.
About a year ago, after working steadily in the corporate world, I found myself itching for something creative to take up in my free time. My father was also sick at the time and I had returned home for awhile. In between long hours in the hospital waiting room and sleepless nights at my mom’s house, I picked up bracelet making as a hobby. It was like therapy for me and I almost instantly loved it.
It started off with me making friendship bracelets and grew into the organic, earthy bracelets I sell now. My father died shortly after, but I always remember one thing he said to me, “I want you working with your head and not with your hands.” My dad had been a pipefitter his whole life, and while it was sufficient for him, he wanted something more for me. Jewelry allows me to create with my head, hands, AND heart.
I love thinking about the infinite ways you can make, and add meaning to, any jewelry simply by using colors, beads, and materials. I’m very inspired by different cultures, symbolism, and creation stories. I mostly use earth based items in my bracelets such as coconut shell, gemstones, wooden beads, bone, etc.
Right now, since my shop is fairly new, my goal is to just continue to stay close to what I love and am inspired by: originality, earthy materials, and cross cultural inspiration. I want every woman that buys a piece to love it and know there is meaning in each one. I don’t know if expanding my shop is something I will do in the future or not. Right now I do it for the pure love and joy I get out of it. It would be cool to eventually donate proceeds from my shop to support a cause I am close to, though.
As for my natural hair journey, it started about 3.5 years ago. I wish I could say it was some empowering moment that made me go natural, but it wasn’t. There were a couple factors that lead me to go natural:
1. I was living in Austin, Texas at the time and black hair salons were very few and far in between where I lived.
2. I was really sick of the perms anyway so I just stopped getting them done and/or doing them myself.
3. I was in AmeriCorps and hella broke so I didn’t have money to be spending on my hair anyway, lol.
It was one of the best decions I could have made. Not only did it make me start to re-claim my hair, but it also made me aware of my body and what I was putting into it. Everything is connected. I wanted my hair to be natural and chemical free and it made me what my body to be the same way. So, being in Austin, Texas was very good for me at the time – because there is a very live organic and all natural community there. I stopped eating pork and red meat, carbonated drinks, and dramatically cut down on my artificially flavored and manufactured snacks and food. (I am stil working on the sugar intake, lol!) I’ve taken these healthy habits along with me as I’ve moved and traveled and tried to insert them into all areas of my life.