Monika Mathews speaks with humility and wisdom, seemingly all the time. When Real Change followed up after her store’s Feb. 11 opening of a second location to ask what it’s felt like to have a second store open, she said, “Oh my goodness. It really is epic. That location represents a resurgence of Black business in the Central District.
“And it represents generational opportunities. Not only young people in my family, but in the whole community.
“This is not about ‘me.’ It’s about ‘we.’
“The fact that young Black boys and young Black girls can accomplish this and be somebody — for it to be a beacon of light on the corner there — and know ‘I can make something from nothing as well.’
“It represents inspiration. It represents following your purpose and dreams.”
One of Mathews’ favorite things to tell people is, “Go ahead and follow your dreams to a place of harmony.”
She adds, “And do good, and the success will come.”
Mathews grew up in the Midwest, 30 minutes outside Chicago. She has lived in Seattle for 28 years.
QueenCare started in 2018 from the Young Queens program out of Rainier Beach High School in South Seattle. Then, it “took on a life of its own,” Mathews said. Nearby, just off Rainier Avenue in Columbia City, QueenCare opened its first store full of wondrous self-care and beauty products.
QueenCare’s focus on self-care did not come naturally for Mathews. “I struggle for self-care to be a priority. It got to the point years ago that I was so stressed out that I was losing hair.
“When I started making the products, it was really therapeutic. And that has led me to increasing my self-care practices more.
“This whole journey of QueenCare has been parallel to my self-care journey. That’s why I’m so passionate about it. The products absolutely help me to slow down. Like taking the time to do skin care every morning — that helps me to expand.”
Mathews, who started making these products at her kitchen table for the Young Queens to have something to sell, has forged the connection from self-care to community, in South Seattle up to the Central District.
Read more of the Feb. 17-23, 2021 issue.