People of Prominence


Tell us about your formative years/background leading you to where you are today.

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and creative mind. Growing up, my family was what some might call “unconventional.” That had a big influence on how I saw the world. Nearing 30, I began to wonder what my “next act” would be. I started creating products like hand-dipped incense as a hobby. One day, I posted on TikTok showing folks how to make incense and shared a little bit about myself. It went viral overnight with two million views. I tapped into a large community of like-minded folks. My mission became to help these people feel safe, seen and represented in the face of growing up in communities that may not always support their lifestyle or political choices.

When did you believe you could make a “go” with a business of your own? And, tell us about the name of your business – Kin and Cottage.

This isn’t my first go with business ownership. I once owned Wild Rituals Soap Company. It was pretty successful with features in both Reader’s Digest and Urban Outfitters. I showed myself early on that I could do anything I put my mind to.

The name of my business, Kin & Cottage, emphasizes the importance of “kin” or a sense of familiarity whether it be actual family or the community around us. “Cottage” is deeply reminiscent of the idea of “home.” I believe activism starts within the home and our local community.

Talk about your moves to different locations around the country and how it shaped your sense of home.

I was born and spent my early childhood in Northern Florida swimming with manatees in a creek. When I was 10, our family relocated to North Carolina where I lived until I was 26. As an adult, I’ve danced in the streets of New Orleans as a local and also lived in Augusta, Georgia. Growing up, I often had a hard time fitting in because of my deep sensitivity to the world and people around me. I have always been a deep thinker and listener who wanted to understand as much about the world as possible.

In all these different southern regions, I learned something from the folks and culture of each place. To me, home is where we feel welcome, safe and find a deep sense of belonging. It’s where we can share culture and celebrate our differences.

What have you learned about your own passion for business ownership?

With my first business, I burnt myself out trying to be something I wasn’t. It required me to exhaustively chase trends. A light bulb moment was when I realized a business would only be sustainable for me if it was deeply authentic to who I am. What I offer now are candles, incense and other items for your home that invoke good memories and maybe help rewrite some not-so-good ones through our inclusive and supportive space. I want people to see that my business is all about sharing commonality and solidarity with people from all walks of local life.

What thrills you about Winston-Salem and its spirit?

I have found the city to be so supportive of small businesses. I love that Winston-Salem is pretty progressive. It’s full of folks who love the city enough to help it continue to grow in the right direction. I’m proud to be one of those people. I feel that Winston-Salem is the perfect place for the home of Kin & Cottage. It’s very much based on community and tradition while simultaneously focusing on innovation and always moving forward. It’s a place that pays homage to what was and celebrates what will be.

What is your mission and what should people know about your business? 

I refer to my business as “Southern Inspired. Forward Thinking.” I wanted Kin & Cottage to be a “reimagined country store.” A place where folks can come indulge in nostalgic scents in a safe and welcoming environment that celebrates our differences. This business is deeply personal to me. It’s an extension of my heart. Our mission is to see the south move forward in acceptance and inclusivity. I support that mission by donating 10% of the business’ profits to progressive southern-based organizations every month.

Who would you like to nominate as a person of prominence and why? 

I’d like to nominate Jess Mathews. I met Jess in my early 20s, and she’s been an inspiration to me since. Jess owns The Cosmic Circle Vintage, an upcycled vintage shop, online and around downtown Winston-Salem. Her business is focused on reducing the negative effects fast fashion has on the environment. She’s truly so talented at what she does and has inspired many to join her efforts.

Kin and Cottage

608-A Trade Street

Winston-Salem, NC


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