With the rise of more and more black women breaking away from traditional 9-5s to become their own bosses, the CEO is getting a revamp as the SHEeo. CEOs are forging their own paths, blazing their own trails, and turning their passion into a profit. Curious to know how she does it? In the Meet The SHEeo series, we talk to melanated mavens leveling up and glowing up, all while redefining what it means to be a boss.
As a vegan, Dymetra Pernell was tired of not being able to find quality desserts that looked and tasted like what her grandma used to make, so she got to work on creating an ice cream that was both dairy-free and delicious.
She nailed the recipe on the first try, which sparked the name for her company First Batch Artisan Foods, a vegan ice cream and pastry company focused on introducing better choices without sacrificing quality or taste. The homemade desserts and hand-packed ice cream have resonated with vegans and non-vegans alike, selling over 3,000 pints in the first three months of its launch in 2018. In 2019, First Batch earned the Critic's Choice for "Best Ice Cream" by Creative Loafing, and continues to be a hit at local food festivals throughout the Atlanta region.
In this week's feature, meet Dymetra Pernell, ND of First Batch Artisan Foods.
Courtesy of Dymetra Pernell
Name: Dymetra Pernell, ND
Brand: First Batch Artisan Foods, LLC
Location: Atlanta, GA
Year Founded: 2018
# of Employees: 3
30-Second Pitch: "We are a dairy ice cream and pastry company that focuses on introducing better choices without sacrificing quality or taste. Our homemade desserts and hand-packed ice cream can be enjoyed without consequence by the 50,000,000+ Americans who suffer from lactose intolerance."
What inspired you to start your brand?
As a vegan, I was tired of not being able to find quality desserts that looked and tasted like what grandma used to make, so I decided to create them myself.
What was your a-ha moment that brought your idea into reality?
I met a friend for lunch and brought her some of my ice cream to sample. The restaurant staff happened to see it and asked to try it. When they all started dancing, I knew I had something special that resonated with both vegans and non-vegans alike.
Who is your ideal customer?
Anyone who is looking to make better choices regarding their heart health (our treats are absent of cholesterol, a major contributing factor in strokes, heart attacks, and type 2 diabetes), individuals who suffer from lactose intolerance, and the vegan population.
What makes your business different?
We are the only exclusively vegan ice cream and pastry shop in all of Atlanta. We've been able to start and grow our business on sales alone. We started in the black and remain in the black. Finally, we were voted Best Ice Cream (Critic's Choice) by Creative Loafing 2019; in other words, we beat out all local competitors in the dairy ice cream category.
What obstacles did you have to overcome while launching and growing your brand? How were you able to overcome them?
Finding work/life balance in the constant ever-increasing grind that comes with launching and growing a brand with a one-woman team. I'm still working through them, but for starters, I have set a start and stop time for work; I leave the kitchen each day at my scheduled time and I find that I'm much less stressed.
What was the defining moment in your entrepreneurial journey?
I first began selling my pints out of a small gym called E.F.F.E.C.T. FITNESS every Saturday. After three months, I'd sold over 3,000 pints to non-vegans; that's when I knew I had something special.
Where do you see your company in 5-10 years?
To have my products in stores and homes all across the U.S. and expanding into Canada and beyond.
Where have you seen the biggest return on investment?
My biggest ROI has been word of mouth, vending at places like The Village Market ATL, the Atlanta Ice Cream Festival, and VegFest, and promoting through social media.
Do you have a mentor? If so, who?
Yes, Dr. Michael Imani, PhD, ND.
Biggest lesson you’ve learned in business?
KNOW YOUR NUMBERS, or you risk losing it all, or risk running an insolvent business.
Anything else you would like for people to know, or take away from your entrepreneurial story?
On the surface, running your own business sounds sexy, fun, and exciting, but you'd better love what you do because the mental, physical, emotional, and financial toll can be overwhelming. And last but not least, stepping out on faith SHOULD include having a financial safety net. Faith is a beautiful thing, but it won't pay ONE bill.
For more First Batch Artisan, follow them on social media @firstbatchaf.
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'Queen Charlotte' Star Arsema Thomas Worked At The United Nations Before Landing Her Breakout Role
Actress Arsema Thomas (Arséma Adeoluwayemi Hamera) may be new to the acting scene, but the star's standout performance in Netflix's limited series Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is already leaving a lasting impression among many.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, a prequel to Bridgerton, follows the young queen's life as her marriage to King George of England sparks an epic love affair and a societal shift.
In the drama, Thomas portrays the role of a young Lady Agatha Danbury, a close friend and confidant of Queen Charlotte, and it also depicts Lady Danbury's journey.
The series showcases the struggles Lady Agatha Danbury experienced in her lifetime. The list includes being forced to partake in a loveless marriage to a former African king Herman Danbury, becoming a widow, and possibly losing her estate and title following her husband's death.
Since Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story debuted on Netflix earlier this month, it has dominated the streaming service's top ten charts and piqued fans' interest in the show's stars, including Thomas.
Although many may not know a lot about the Atlanta native, who goes by she/they pronouns, and how she became one of the breakout stars in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, still, with the recent promotional tour Thomas has been doing for the show, she has shared some shocking details about her life.
Thomas' revelations within the past several months include details about her educational pursuits, previous work experience, her African culture, the steps she took to prepare for her role as Lady Agatha Danbury, and many more.
Arsema On Her African Heritage
Thomas, who is Nigerian and Ethiopian, is the daughter of diplomats.
The 28-year-old's parents, consisting of an Ethiopian mother and a Nigerian father, worked in the government to improve Africa's economic development.
Due to her parents' professions, the actress moved around a lot and lived in various countries like Kenya, Benin, Comoros, Uganda, and India, which exposed her to social issues. In an interview with Teen Vogue, Thomas opened up about having conversations about politics and government at a young age.
"Dinner table conversations were about politics, about African governance. I realized that in a lot of the countries I lived in, the effects of colonialism and imperialism were so blatantly obvious. That became the driving force for what I thought I should be doing as an adult," she said.
Later Thomas would ultimately reveal that her parents' work had inspired her to become a "doctor or something" because she wanted to make them proud.
Arsema Attended Carnegie Mellon University and Yale University
Prior to pursuing acting, Thomas revealed to Shondaland that she was a college graduate.
In 2016, she received her bachelor's degree in biophysics from Carnegie Mellon University. Following her graduation, Thomas interned at a mobile health clinic and a refugee camp in Kenya for over a year.
Around the same time, the star would continue her education by getting her master's in epidemiology and health policy at Yale University. Thomas disclosed that despite the educational success that she has achieved, acting became her main priority when she realized that this is something she could envision herself doing "100 percent of the time." This decision led Thomas to relocate to Paris, South Africa, and then to London to study drama.
"I packed up everything and moved to Paris because I wanted to do acting 100 percent of the time," she stated. "It was always something I had wanted to do, [but] I didn't think I would be able to. I thought it was going to be a hobby or a thing that I'd have to suppress in myself for the rest of my life."
Thomas would land her first role in 2021 as a guest star on the television series One Touch. Shortly after, she would participate in the 2022 film Redeeming Love as the character Rebecca. The rest would be history because, around that time, Thomas would receive the life-changing role of Lady Agatha Danbury in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.
Arsema On How She Prepared for Her Role In Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story
When the opportunity for Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story came along, Thomas took various steps to transform into Lady Agatha Danbury.
The actress, who has admitted to never seeing Bridgerton in the past, told Cosmopolitan UK's Up Close series that because she wasn't familiar with the fictionalized character, she decided to find things that she thought Lady Agatha Danbury would resonate with.
It includes reading books about women by well-known female authors who have made history in their own right, creating a Spotify playlist with music that Lady Agatha Danbury could listen to, and having waist beads made for her character.
"There was a lot of stuff I needed to get into this role because the character is fictional. So I read a ton of books about women or by women, that I thought that Agatha Danbury would resonate. So I read 'Ain't I A Woman' by Bell Hooks. I read Angela Davis' autobiography. I read Assata Shakur's autobiography, 'Tar Baby' by Toni Morrison, 'Eyes Are Watching God,' and 'Vaga Bonds' by Eloghosha Osunde. I made an extensive Spotify playlist, and I got waist beads made for Agatha," she explained.
Further in the interview, Thomas mentioned that she had waist beads made for Lady Danbury and wore them throughout the filming process because it helped ground her as she portrayed the character whom she described as entirely different from who she is as a person.
"It was a Nigerian woman threading these beads, and I asked her to thread beads specifically for this character, and I wore it throughout the entirety of filming," she said. "Because it was just kind of was a physical grounding point to this woman that is really, really actually far from who I am as an individual."
Thomas shared that talking to her grandmother, who had a similar background to Lady Danbury, such as having an arranged marriage at a young age, also helped her prepped for the role.
"I also talked to my grandmother a lot. I didn't realize how similar she was to this character. Because she was also married off when she was quite young," she revealed. "It was really interesting to kind of talk to someone in my life who I've known, who’s gone through something that is essentially the stripping away of their freedom, and someone who doesn't have any resentment or harbored anger towards the situation."
Arsema Worked At The United Nations
Thomas' work experience is an interesting one. Despite interning at three different health organizations, she previously worked at United Nations Population Fund, according to her Linkedin profile.
United Nations Population Fund's site states that the organization is part of the United Nation's "sexual and reproductive health agency." The gathered information on Thomas' profile says that she was an associate for the company from 2017 to 2018.
Some of Thomas' responsibilities included conducting "policy analyses" for United Nations Population Fund's sustainability and "supporting the regional desk specialist" in the program's division.
Arsema Speaks Five Languages
On top of Thomas' overwhelmingly impressive resume, the actress also speaks five languages.
According to the African publication Bella Naija, Thomas speaks English, Amharic, Yoruba, French, and Spanish. Although Thomas hasn't publicly talked about what inspired her to become multilingual, many can assume it is because of the various locations she has lived in throughout her life and her interest in learning.
Thomas may be a rising star now, but with the facts provided above, the actress has displayed through her work ethic and drive that she can soon become a household name.
Thomas' latest work Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, is now streaming on Netflix.
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Feature image by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images