Meet the 2023 Level Up Finalists!
BlacOak Wine Club
BlacOak Wine Club’s tasting room is a space where general consumers and wine enthusiasts are taught how to identify a fine wine while also being introduced to black-owned wine brands around the world. Ebonie is the owner and a level three sommelier who is passionate about empowering people through interactive education.
The BlacOak Wine Club has monthly and annual subscriptions that provide our members with a weekly newsletter, discounts to events, discounts on purchases from our brand partners, and access to our travel packages. The BlacOak Tasting Room has weekly tasting events that range from basic education on how to identify a fine wine, to specialty classes for whiskeys, cognacs and the scents present in these beverage. The BlacOak Brand is committed to furthering the footprint of Black professionals and brands in the wine and spirit industry. The company’s mission is to continue to expand the reach of our platform and to spread awareness of the opportunities that exist within these industries.
BlacOak is also one of less than 10 black-owned wineries in the state of Pennsylvania.
Kerisa is the Founder & CEO of Bolts EV, LLC, a minority women-owned business specializing in providing a variety of solutions for electric vehicle charging. A native Philadelphian, Kerisa is the first minority woman owner of EVSE in the state of PA to provide, install, maintain, and retail EV Charging stations. In the past year, Kerisa’s accomplishments consist of Bolts EV being the first EV car charging company to provide EV charging statins for the Philadelphia Auto Show. She has been invited as a special guest panelist to discuss the environmental impact and EV adoption for the International SEMA Auto Show in Las Vegas.
BOLTS EV, we focus on Level 2 home and residential EV Charging Stations. Our EV charging stations can charge up to 40 amps with NEMA 14-50P or up to 48 amps with hardwired installation, making them universally compatible with electric cars.
Chartel Findlater is the owner and self-proclaimed “Maker-In-Chief” of GOLD+WATER CO.®, a boutique soapery based in Philadelphia, PA. She has a passion for promoting wellness in her community, particularly by providing mentorship to youth and advocating for existing educational programs centered on abuse prevention and hygiene awareness. She creates products in her business to foster a sense of respite and reprieve from life’s challenges. Chartel is a graduate of Temple University’s Esther Boyer College of Music and Dance with a degree in Classical Voice Performance. Her career has been filled with a wide range of experiences ranging from work in social services, hospitality, seven years as a public school educator, continuous music and arts performance, and now entrepreneurship.
GOLD+WATER CO. is an online boutique soapery and wellness advocacy brand, based in Philadelphia, PA. We produce handcrafted soap, bath items, and home decor in small batches. We pride ourselves on using carefully-selected ingredients from reputable sources, as well as providing both outstanding customer service and transparent engagement. We also actively support local anti-abuse organizations and those addressing mental health and hygiene needs in our community.
Our products foster a sense of relaxation, facilitate consistent and lavish self-care, and seek to remind you that “YOU ARE THE LUXURY.”
Khadijah Ford is the award-winning confectionery artist and owner of Sugarluxe by babycakes. She specializes in custom-decorated cookies and signature desserts. Khadijah is a lifelong artist with a background in fine arts and fashion design. her talent in the arts was evident from childhood, as was her love for baking. time spent in the kitchen with her grandmother allowed her to learn how the act of baking is a service of love. That service has evolved into Sugarluxe. Sugarluxe is an online custom cookie and gourmet confectionery boutique. Khadijah thrives on custom details tailored to the needs of her customers and clients.
Sugarluxe is an online custom cookie and gourmet confectionery boutique. It is our mission to elevate your events with our delicious, bespoke treats. Corporate branded gifts, event favors and dessert table statement cookies are some of our specialties. We provide exclusive limited edition items as well as seasonal pop up events for an in person experience. From unique flavors to thoughtful packaging, with Sugarluxe, the love is in the details.
Womb•ish (Women’s Intensive Systematic Holistic Care)
Womb•ish was founded in 2019 after Mrs. Eley gave birth to her youngest son. During that time, she had to fiercely advocate for herself when healthcare professionals continued to instill doubt in her ability to give birth naturally. Because of that experience, she founded the company to make sure other women – particularly Black women – were equipped with the knowledge to give birth confidently too. Soon after, she became a certified doula, birth educator and lactation counselor.
As CEO, Mrs. Eley is responsible for aiding clients during births, educating and certifying other doulas, creating labor, delivery, breastfeeding and postpartum education curriculum, leading classes/workshops and other administrative responsibilities.