This pandemic has been hard on a lot of us.
The one thing that has kept people's spirits up has been those folks who held spaces for people to share and speak on various topics.
I was invited by Glowz (Gloria O'Koye) to join a zoom call which was hosted by Remedy.
Her demeanor, when I first saw her, to me, was one of a Dom. A mistress in charge of her domain. A queen conducting business in her kingdom and I was a guest.
But that was barely a small portion of who she was.
She has been about community from the time she was a child and continues to do so while enstilling these traits in her children.
I was a fan of hers and I look forward to see more of her truth.
I introduce you folks to this week's Women Crushing It Wednesday... REMEDY!
So I know you as HerXRemedy. But when I got your text message, Summer was the signature.
So my first name is Summer. My nickname is Remedy.
That's one heck of a nickname. How did you get the nickname Remedy?
It's basically like my family and friends. They always come to me for advice, whether it be relationships, friends, health advice, and especially feminine advice. So yeah.
When was the first time that you felt people noticed that about you?
I would say from young. I'd say from a young age, I was always known as the mother of the group. My friends, the mother of the group of my siblings from a young age.
Well, every interview usually starts with this one question. Question is, every superhero has an origin story. What is yours?
Wow. So you basically want to hear the origin of HerXRemedy or of Summer?
Let’s try both.
Oh, okay. Well, basically, I grew up with seven siblings. I was the one of two girls out of all the siblings, so you know how that goes. Like I said earlier, I'm pretty much the mother of the group. So I always had my siblings either one or two of them with me anywhere I would go. I basically have just been the caregiver of everyone around me. And I was also experimenting a lot at a young age with different... My family would call them potions, but basically, I would mix different creams together and mix different soaps together and you know, create new smells and new fragrances. So yeah, that's basically where I kind of got my niche for natural products. And then as I got older, I didn't really see the business side of it. I was just kind of giving out free advice and free products when I would make it for my friends and my family. And then after having my first daughter, she's six now, I wanted to get fit. So basically like six months after I had her I was back down to my high school weight again. And I had a lot of other moms asking me how I got so skinny and how I did that. And basically I started HerXFitness. There was no XRemedy yet. It was still Remedy but there was no product part to it. So I was just making workout videos, I would give out advice on things to eat, ways to take care of your body as a woman and a lot of sexual advice as well. And then I started creating steams because, personal opinion, I just don't think douches and that stuff is meant for the woman. I feel like we should all be going the more natural way and taking care of our bodies. So I was one who I never really suffered from anything too serious. I had a lot of friends and family who did. So I decided to create steams, which basically is a way for women to cleanse the inside of their Yoni and then from there a lot of people were asking if I had stuff for dry skin, for hair, etc. So that's where HerXRemedy came about. I kind of put HerXFitness to the side of it. I was still offering personal advice for my friends and family but I was more focusing on the body butters, the candles, things for your home the more natural option and then that's where HerXRemedy came to me and that's where we are now.
Nice! Nice. You basically touched on the sexual aspect of life. In society nowadays, a lot of people will go and tell you that people end up on that side of business because they had a troubled childhood. Can you speak on your upbringing?
So basically, I had a very rough childhood, despite the positives earlier, because I was the mom of my siblings. It forced me to grow up faster.
Quick, quick question. Sorry, I should have asked that earlier. Are you the oldest?
No, I'm not actually. There's two older than me. But when they left home I was the caregiver of the younger ones. So I was responsible for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, cooking, cleaning, buying groceries. So just imagine, grade four, coming into the grocery store with a buggy and a list and walking out with a buggy, a list and food. I had to walk back home, which was about 15 to 20 minute walk from the grocery store. It really forced me to grow up. But I feel that was in a good way, because now that I'm older, I can see that it's actually a positive thing. Because I love to clean, I love to cook, I love grocery shopping. I prefer grocery shopping over clothing shopping, believe it or not. So, in that aspect, when I decided to start my business, I thought, not only am I doing this for myself, but I want to do something for my children. And now, my daughter, I want to make sure that she has for herself as well. And my son, he's only three now, but when he gets a little bit older, something for himself as well. And there was a lot of trauma growing up. And I feel like the nickname Remedy is one of the most positive nicknames I've ever been given. And it has stuck with me because although I was going through some things that people weren't able to handle, but I was able to push past that stage strong, still give out advice, still give out help, all while still trying to figure things out for myself. It was pretty traumatic growing up, but now that I'm older and I'm able to understand why parents can't do certain things at that time, I'm able to understand it now that I'm a parent myself. And ways that I don't fall back into that footsteps. So breaking generational curses is number one for me, because I'm the first of my family to graduate high school without stopping. The first one in my family to get married. The first one in my family to have a husband for so long. And you know, kind of cliche, but have the same kids for the same father. So for me, all those troubled and traumatic things that happened shaped me to who I am, because I knew that I had so many people nagging at me telling me that I was not going to make it. And that I would end up dead and no one would ever love me. And I just pushed past that and said because they said I couldn’t do that, I will do 10 other things they said that I can’t do. So it really pushed me to be the boss that I am today.
Nice. Nice. Speaking on that. How would you describe your support system?
Now, I would say I have a great support system. Yeah.
So basically friends, husband...
And a little bit of family.
Right. But how do they provide the support that you need?
So basically, they want me to be vocal. And that's something that I've been learning through therapy as well. Be vocal about what I'm feeling. Don't suppress it, don't hold it back. Don't let it build up to a point where I reach that depressive state again. And when I do feel down, I go to them and I say that I need to talk and they’ll ask if I want advice, or if I want someone to listen to without judgment? So I have a few people; my older sister, my best friend, a few other close friends that I call sisters that I can see when I need to vent and they know I need a judgement free zone when I’m having one of those days, and then at the end they'll ask me what they can do for me? So just knowing that, even though they may not be able to see me because of the pandemic right now, they are still able to be there over the phone or through video or through text. Just knowing that they're there to support me.
That's pretty dope. Growing up, would you say that you had a support system?
No, no, I did. Not at all.
So basically, literally having to grow up and taking on everything on your own, is what you had to do.
That’s pretty harsh. What is a misconception that people have about you?
About me? I would say the one that a lot of people tell me is that they think I'm rude when they first meet me.
(laughter) So I mean, I'm an observer. So, for example, if I came into this room and there was maybe six or seven people, which, obviously, because of the pandemic, we can't have that. But if we had a couple people in here, I’ll greet everybody, but I'll sit in the corner and observe. So sometimes people would ask why I’m over there just stuck up and to myself? But I'm just observing, so I can get a feel for everybody. And then I can know how to approach you based on what I'm seeing.
Right. Because I was introduced to you via Glowz and first of all, I never, ever got that vibe. Because you host these nights with conversation parties although it is via zoom, still no rudeness and everything. You're very warm and welcoming. Although, I mean, you still are observing. It's just hard to fathom, to be honest.
Yeah. That's, I get a lot of the time.
Yeah? That you're rude?
Yeah, they think I'm rude or I'm stuck up, or feel that I'm better than other people. But I just try to help everybody the best way that I can without expecting anything in return. So I mean, that might be what it is. And also for those platforms, everybody can just engage. Everyone is able to be themselves. We always say in the beginning that this is a judgment free zone. If you're disrespectful, you can leave before we start because we're not putting up with any bullying or anything like that. Everyone can voice their opinion.
What gave you the idea to start these?
So the Sip & Talks?
You know, it's funny. One night, um, well, Inesha, she is the owner of Secretly Obsessed. She’s my good friend. We actually sit every day and talk on video. Wake up in the morning and from 9 o'clock, we will literally be talking for the whole day. So I'd be on video call with her the whole day. And basically, we talk about certain topics that people don't really want to talk about, or they're not really comfortable with. So, she mentioned to me that we should go live with these. I was a little apprehensive because some of these things that we're talking about, people might be shocked. And she kind of said to me, that maybe if we start talking about it, they'll feel more comfortable talking about it. You've been on some of the zoom calls and the things that we talk about, you don't really see. And then for my business, for example, when people see that different side of me I have had people unfollow me because of what I talked about in the Sip & Talk.
And I'm just like, it's okay, because it's not for them. I may lose 4 followers. But then I gain 10 who actually care to join in these conversations. I also started HerXAfterDark.
I remember that! Yeah. People share anonymously.
Yes. I have so many stories that I have to post up. People just all over the world. Like I'm telling you some of these stories... They will blow your mind (laughter).
I’m waiting on them impatiently (laughter).
(laughter) That will be coming soon. So we're definitely gonna get back to the Sip & Talk. Very, very soon. So stay tuned.
You have your 2 children?
Yes. I have 2 and I have a stepdaughter as well.
You have a stepdaughter?
So I have a nine year old, a six year old and a three year old.
So with your children, right. You mentioned wanting your daughter to have for herself. What have you put in place to get her to that point?
So for her business?
She has a business?
So she has her own business, where she'll be selling natural stuff as well aimed towards children. So there's going to be products for sensitive skin and stuff like that. So she's in the process of picking labels. It is so hard to pick labels with this child. There's been so many times we've been supposed to be launching for her. So we're finally down to picking the ads and making her website and all that stuff. So she's finally sticking to her vision now and the things that she sees, and she likes it, and I like it for her. And when she does start profiting from her business, that's all her money. So I teach my children, even my step daughter, if you help out around the house, you'll get some money for helping out, but it's also going to instill in them that these are things that you should be doing anyway. My son will be learning how to do this stuff, because he sweeps and mops and does all of this stuff already. But as he gets older, he'll be able to understand the money aspect. And that saving is important. Don't spend your money just because you see the newest LOL Doll and you want to go get that. Save! She gets a lot of money from her family, especially my husband's family. They give her so much money. And I tell not to give her anything. Because she’ll say, Yeah, mommy, we'll put this on my bank card. And then I'm gonna go buy like five of these. I'm like, No, no, no, no, no. Sometimes you just gotta buy the one. Wait, maybe a new one will come out. You’ll like that one better. And then you have the five they're just gonna sit in the closet collecting dust. I also got her into donating. So a lot of her toys that she's grown out of, before the pandemic hit, we donated a lot of them to shelters, friends that wanted them, especially her clothes. So I just really tried to show her that you can make your own money. But at the same time, make sure that you're giving back. Make sure that you're helping your community. And you're being positive as well. Not being a bully.
How would you describe the similarities and differences of your upbringing compared to how you’re bringing up your kids?
Well, for one thing, I listen to my children. Doesn't matter what time of day it is. Anything that they need, they can come to me and talk to me. I listen. That's a big thing when I became a parent is that I'm going to listen to my children no matter what. If I'm busy, I'm on a conference call, give me 5 more minutes. And as soon as that 5 minutes is done, my phone is off and you have my full attention. She's kind of a little sassy one. She's a Virgo just like me. She's a little bit sassy sometimes, but I find if I have to be stern with her, or if I have to take something away from her, I give her that moment to just kind of sit in the mistake that she made. And then I'll come and talk to her about why I approached it the way I did. And I'll say to her yes, you came through me, gave me attitude, and you slammed the door. And I yelled at you and said don't slam the door. So I always let her know that just because her mommy might yell at her one time, because I did something wrong. It's not that I don't love you, it's just that you did something that you weren't supposed to do. And I did not have that growing up. So I had the typical Caribbean upbringing with a very strict mother. My father wasn't present at the time, and that's another thing too. She has both parents in her home. So since she was a baby till now, she's always had both parents. And that's one thing as a mother, I said, I wanted my children to have. Unless, of course, you know, for some reasons, but I make sure that I have a positive relationship with their father no matter what, even if we are not together, but fortunately, we are. So just to make sure that they know that both parents love them, we both care for them. And they always have both of us no matter what.
What is the legacy that you'd like to leave with regards to your family, and then with regards to your business?
I want to make sure that I don't leave them with any of my baggage. So whether that be debt or anything like that, I don't want them to have to deal with any of that. So I push hard for my business to be successful, because I want them to know that when you do start your business, that there's a lot of ups and downs, but when you keep pushing, you will get somewhere and you will be making the money, you will be making the connections, you will be giving back to the community. But at the same time you're not going to do something and then you're going to end up losing your business, going bankrupt, not having anything. So do it the smart way. Don't try to do it the fast way. Don't do what everybody else is doing. Focus on what you want to do. And get inspiration, sure, that's fine. But make sure that you do what you have to do in order to be successful. If you can barter your business with somebody else, that's great. But if it kind of sounds schemy, then, stay away from those types of people, because I've had a lot of well known businesses, who’ve actually stole my ideas. So due to court related things, I will not mention much of that, but, I've seen my product on another person's website, with the exact same ingredients with one or two missing. People might steal your ideas and people might come for what's yours, but at the same time, use that to make your product better. Use that to spread it. So that they may be only getting this little small category of people but it's okay. Come up with something bigger and better. And make sure that you own it, because then they can’t take it from you.
If you were to run into an 18 year old Summer, what would be your advice for her?
Wow. 18 year old Summer was rough. Do you mind if I curse on this?
Yeah. Oh, please I curse all the time.
Okay, 18 year old Summer, first things first, what I'll say was that 18 year old Summer was in an abusive relationship. He was not shit. You are a boss, and you will find love and happiness. That's first and foremost. But I would definitely say keep your head up. Focus on you. Keep your head up, focus on you and accept the help of those that are not necessarily family and friends because they really meant well for you. And start that business. Publish that book. Actually, I was writing a book in middle school. I actually wrote it in middle school, summer school. And it was basically like my life, but in the eyes of somebody else. When I was younger, I had a very wild imagination that somebody was watching me all the time. I know it's weird, but because I was so used to going places by myself, being by myself, doing all these grown up things like grocery shopping,or going to a laundromat by myself and all those things. I kind of felt like somebody was watching me, but not like a stalker or kidnapper type of vibe. More like, I need to watch this child to protect her. Pretty much like a guardian angel. Which I do firmly believe I do have. Spirit guides, still, to this day guide me. They may think I'm nuts sometimes but they give me good advice. So yeah, basically my life but from the outside, the person knowing you know, my deepest, darkest secrets. So based off things that I have written in my diary. They can see what I've written. No one else can. And they can just speak on that.
What held you back from starting the business at first?
I was going through a very depressing time. I lost my father. Never met him in person but I've spoken to him over the phone. And I actually wanted to start selling the body butters and the candles and stuff around the time before we died. And then once he died, Why? Why now? The one parent that actually cared for me, even though he was so far away, now he's gone. What am I doing this for? Luckily, I did graduate two years before he passed. So that was one of my biggest accomplishments was to make sure I graduate on time. I would start up a bit, I would make different mixtures but decided not to really give it to anybody and not really going to showcase it to anyone. And once I became pregnant with my daughter, I remember sitting down one night, and I was praying. I went to sleep. I woke up around 3 o'clock, which normally is when my dad visits me in spirit. And I remember him, in a heavy Jamaican accent, he was just like, start the business. What are you waiting for? Stop wasting time. I never got to do all these things. Stop waiting. Just knowing that even though he's not here on Earth, he's still motivating me to continue. So then I started working on the formulas, I started testing, and I had my friends testing them. I made them sign waivers (laughter). We didn’t have any issues in the testing process. It took me a couple years to actually bring it out. I think I launched 2019. But it took me a couple years because I wanted to perfect it and make sure that it was ready for the market ready to go. My design ideas were all over the place. At one point, I was working with someone who I invested money into to help me get shea butter from sustainable sources because I wanted to make sure that not only am I making these products, but I'm not damaging the environment. Now the one thing about HerXRemedy is that it's natural. Everything is 100% natural. We want to be sustainable. Even my packaging, as you'll see when it comes out, it's paper instead of plastic. We're really trying to make sure that we're not damaging the earth because it's pretty damaged as it is already. Before the pandemic, I actually had a recycle your jar promo. So basically, if you buy the shea butter, you send it back, I sterilize it. And then you get the same shea butter at a discounted price because you recycled the jar.
How would you describe your business before and after the pandemic?
So before the pandemic, I actually had a few events planned. My very first events. I had some bachelorette parties and I had a singles party that I was supposed to do some steaming for. Thankfully, these women are waiting. So once things open up a bit, I can go back into that. So I would say there was a lot more networking. I still had my sales but there was a lot of networking, I was able to get out. I went to the Toronto Sex Show a few times. Just pitching to certain people and talking to a lot of people that are sex workers because the steaming would benefit them especially being a woman and all. And then I was actually very surprised once the pandemic hit, because I started getting a lot of sales. Even husbands came to me asking for help. And, you know, it's not something to be ashamed about, especially yoni steaming is not something to be ashamed about. It is a natural thing. And it is so beneficial to us. I would say before a lot of networking, now still a lot of networking, but not face to face. All kinds of virtual now. A lot of virtual calls and things like that. A lot of kids popping up in the videos, and we're talking about sexual stuff. And we'll have to take a pause for now. And being a mom, I understand.