On February 14, while most students were preoccupied with preparing dinner dates or recovering from extravagant displays of affection for their significant others, Nadine Gardner spent her night hosting “Self-love: What’s Love Got to Do With it?” It was her first event as a business owner on the campus of Florida A&M University.
“I’m black and I go to an HBCU and I study psychology. Those are my main things, if I can’t help my people then I’m nothing,” said Gardner, a graduating psychology major.
Last November, Gardner launched Alignment, a natural-based health and beauty brand dedicated to providing natural alternatives to chemically-induced cosmetic brands while nurturing the “mind, body and soul” of every customer.
“(Students) are not focusing on what really matters in life, which is yourself at the end of the day,” she said. “People have to acknowledge that you can’t help other people until you help yourself.”
With the recent rise of organic and natural products in the American market, Gardner felt it was time to provide a space for FAMU students to turn to feel confident with their natural beauty.
“I like natural beauty, so I try to keep my skin and my lifestyle as healthy as possible, I believe we are mind, body and soul and that’s how I came up with the name alignment,” said Gardner. “If your mind, body, and soul aren’t together, you’re not aligned with your higher self.”
The first event hosted by Alignment, “Self-Love: What’s Love Got to Do with it?” gathered attendees in an intimate discussion about mental health, issues within the black community, and different ways to pursue a healthier lifestyle.
The event also featured a free giveaway of some of Alignment’s products, which include organic body scrubs, bath salt beds, homemade tea, sage wraps and waist beads.
“I think (Alignment) is good because she sells more than just body /cosmetic products, she sells products that help with your own sense of self-love because self-love is the best love,” said Andrea Morgan, a FAMU psychology major and member of FAMU’s psychology club. “We’re all trying to find our inner and outer beauty and we as a club just help with the inner beauty.”
As former president of FAMU’s psychology club and still active within her major’s community, Gardner is giving back to her fellow psych students by donating 17 percent of Alignment’s proceeds to FAMU’s psychology club.
“A lot of people come to (FAMU) and their life changes, they’re hit with all these obstacles they have to overcome and deal with all of these adversities and some people don’t necessarily go about handling certain situations the best way,” Gardner said. “It all stems down to self-love, I just want to present a new way of thinking for students at FAMU and that’s essentially why I created this event.”
Alignment’s emergence comes at a great time where the general cosmetic consumer is becoming more aware of what they put on their face, skin and hair. Supported in a study conducted by Grand View Research, Inc., the demand for natural and organic products has risen significantly with a projected revenue of over $7.7 billion to flow into the industry by 2025, a 9.8 percent increase from 2017.
With more products to be introduced soon, Gardner said she wants to inspire more men and women to divulge in self-care.
“I’m not perfect, I’m just trying to use what I know to help the next person out which is my job as a black individual that has gotten the opportunity to have higher education.
After receiving a great welcome as a vendor at Frenchtown Heritage Market and on FAMU’s Set Friday,” she said.
Gardner is excited for the expansion of Alignment and what she has in store for the brand in 2019.
Alignment’s products can be found on Instagram at Alignment_333.