Often times, wellness is about making sure that your mind, body and spirit find alignment so that you can move through your days peacefully. We often think of wellness as a solo journey that relies on self accountability, but what about our friends?
Our friends are often considered the family that we chose and they are the people who hold us up when we’re down, encourage us to be our best selves, and oftentimes deal with us when we’re lost, confused or trying to find our way through life. They’re important, irreplaceable and in many ways necessary to the fabric of our beings. Two friends who embody this energy are Channing Beumer and Brittany Giles.
Connected by mutual friends, Channing and Brittany became fast friends that have forged an unbreakable sisterhood. After more than a decade their relationship has grown and their bond and purpose isn’t just about them anymore, it’s about uplifting people everywhere through their platform Bean x Cream. They explain their journey and why making sure that others feel good about themselves in this week’s edition of Wellness Wednesdays.
Black Love: Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and your day jobs?
Channing Beumer: Absolutely. My name is Channing; 9 to 5, I’m an operations coordinator at a corporate forensics company. It’s definitely my dream feeder, but it’s also been a solid way for me to learn more about the importance of data in measuring the worth of a company. My purpose work really is in serving women, and I do that in a variety of ways as the founder and editor-in-chief of CNKDaily.com, a platform for women in the sneaker/streetwear space, as half of @itsbeanxcream and as a youth group leader at my church. Outside of that, I’m a dog mom and I’m a fan of books, my bed, and the occasional Netflix binge.
Brittany Giles: By day, I am a high school government and student leadership teacher and I also sponsor a peer mentoring organization that helps to ease the transition from middle school to high school for incoming freshmen. My primary focus is raising a ferocious four-year-old girl named Peyton and serving as the founder of FitXBrit.com, which is a lifestyle and wellness platform showcasing wellness resources to achieve a fit body, fit mind, and fit soul. I’m also the Bean in @itsbeanxcream. All in all, each of these roles allows me to walk in my purpose which is to educate people.
BL: How did your sisterhood begin and develop?
BG: It all started with our sorority. We’re both members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and we met through mutual friends. We just connected. That was 12 years ago.
CB: Yea. The sorority was the initial thing that brought us together, but it hasn’t necessarily been the thing that has sustained us. I think we’ve been friends for so long because we understand one another. In each season of our friendship we’ve been able to weather a lot because of that connection.
BL: How do you keep each other accountable when it comes to health, wellness, excellence, and balance?
CB: Wellness is really a space that Brittany is passionate about, so she’s definitely been a strong influence for me in trying new things and in thinking about health more from a mind, body, soul aspect than from a cosmetics point of view. I don’t know if accountable is the word as much as we keep each other mindful. We bounce ideas off of each other, we ask the other’s opinion, if one of us is in a situation, we ask the other if we’re trippin’. LOL. I know she’ll be honest with me and she knows I’ll be honest with her. We don’t always approach it in the same ways, but that honesty is the key.
BG: We know we aren’t always perfect. We have distant seasons, but we never question the intentions of one another and we’re always trying to operate in each other’s best interest. As we’ve grown through the years, we recognize that you can’t have true friendship with a lot of fluff. We get really honest, even if we know that the other won’t like it. When we do, we might have to step away from each other for a bit, but I think we both honestly take time to reflect and see where the other person is coming from. That’s accountability to self and each other.
BL: What inspired you to start Bean x Cream?
BG: We were already operating under a collab we were doing on both of our websites that we called Fit Chicks. But, we knew we wanted something more and we knew we’d have to commit to something greater. Bean x Cream became a way for us to get transparent about our journey as Black women, our journey as entrepreneurs, and create a space where we could just be us. Not totally fitness, not totally sneakers, and not something that had to be curated and trendy. Just a place where we could be honest and talk about the good stuff and the bad stuff we deal with in real life. Our constant journey of healing, growth, and gratitude.
BL: You remained focused on uplifting the Black community through positive messages and encouragement — did you feel a void in digital/social media before starting BxC?
BG: I do think there was a void in authenticity. People share based on trends. If therapy is hot, people share that. At the very beginning we were sharing our true hearts and our process. A lot of people just focus on trends and we wanted to create something different.
CB: I agree with Brit. I think there are definitely platforms out there that speak to different types of people. We’re not the only Black women bigging up the Black community, but I do think we bring a special perspective. We’re both building businesses, we’re both working full-time, we’re friends with genuine ups and downs, and we both have struggles that we aren’t trying to filter. That transparency about the space you’re at in your journey is what we bring to the table. Being honest about comparison syndrome and inviting people into your insecurities is paramount. We’re not just trying to show you ourselves after we get whole; we’re inviting you to do the work with us.
BL: You’re both entrepreneurs — how did you both start that journey and what have you learned from each other about being amazing businesswomen?
BG: I started my journey by accident. After giving birth to Peyton, I found myself dealing with postpartum depression, and then I had to come to the realization that I would be raising her as a single mother. I needed to make sure I was taking care of myself. While doctors were encouraging medicine, I sought out wellness to maintain functionality while dealing with depression. That’s what made me start FitXBrit so I could share what I found with other people.
Channing was writing on her original site, and what I learned from her is that there is a space to speak your truth. While doing that, you could ultimately inspire other people and educate them in the process. Getting out there and taking that step was definitely inspired by her journey.
CB: From a business perspective Brittany has really taught me a lot about the power of owning your worth and not allowing others to dictate that. Not every opportunity is meant for you, and it’s important not to sell yourself and your talent short.
BL: Channing, can you tell us a bit bout you career and founding CNK?
CB: I’ve always had a knack for writing, but it wasn’t until I started my first website that I began to really see how I could use words to create a platform. From 2012 – 2016, I ran a music and media website that was pretty successful and, while I learned a lot, I began to feel very uneasy in that space. I didn’t feel that I was being my authentic self and I wanted to reach people in a way that was more about building them up. ChicksNKicks was a feature that really resonated with my audience, and it was something that really filled my spirit. I prayed about it and it took me a minute to really make the leap, but in 2016, I shut down my previous website and launched CNKDaily.com, a platform designed to be a voice that elevates, empowers, and serves women in a market that has traditionally underestimated their buying power. Now we’re in growth mode, and I’m excited to continue to build our brand in this space.
BL: Brit, how do you balance your business and motherhood?
BG: I wish I had a specific formula, but I don’t. Peyton is always my top priority, so if that means from school pickup to bedtime I have to put everything else to the side, that’s what has to happen. But, in all transparency, I try to maximize the time I don’t have with her. That means working through lunches and working late nights to make sure I’m getting stuff done. Her needs are really only up to me; there is no other means of financial support, so there’s no way we could survive financially without FitXBrit. Because, as we all know, teachers are overworked and underpaid. Everything gets done though and I give all credit to God. I really don’t know how it gets done. That’s the peace that comes with operating in your purpose. You don’t have to overthink it or stress it, it just flows.
BL: How important is fitness and health to both of you?
BG: Fitness and health is everything. I know a whole bunch of people are into it for certain reasons but, for me, wellness and fitness was my saving grace mentally and emotionally. Had I not transitioned, I’m not sure if I’d even be here. There’s so much emotional and mental strength we can get by paying closer attention to the foods we eat and the physical activity we participate in. I wasn’t totally invested in that aspect of my life in my younger years but now that I am, the knowledge I have attained has contributed so much more to my overall wellness. More importantly, I see how much my decision to focus on this specific area has changed the lives of others. I have former students who now attend the bootcamp series that I host each summer at one of the metrolex’s largest recreational areas, Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, and they are always crediting those moments to kick starting their healthy lifestyle transitions.
CB: It’s very important to me now, but I’m just really diving into fitness and health from a more varied perspective. For a long time, I looked at fitness through a very superficial and cosmetic lens. Now, I genuinely want to feel good, I want to age well, I want to be more aware of the things I put in my body and, most importantly, I want to be healthy mentally. I still hate working out, and I definitely have to push myself to get it done, but I love how I feel after. Gym time is becoming another form of therapy for me personally. I still have a lot to learn, but I’m more open mentally than I’ve ever been. I’ve seen so many changes just from shifting my perspective and finally confronting my own previous issues.
BL: How do you define sisterhood?
CB: Sisterhood isn’t a trite word to throw around. To me, it’s a bond that is unshakable and one that keeps us going. It’s a sense of relief, a sense of acceptance, and an element you can’t get from anyone other than someone who genuinely has good intentions.
BG: Women that are connected eternally and are invested in feeding each other’s souls. It isn’t something that I take lightly — if I call you my sister then I am allowing you into my tribe. We are now accountability partners and that’s a big deal for me.
BL: How do you practice self care?
BG: Removing myself from toxic situations, not being afraid to start over, creating a space for “me” time, staying in my word, journaling, praying, and meditating. I find myself releasing the expectations that others have of me has been one of the most freeing acts of self care. More importantly, self reflection and analyzing the role that I play in situations has been a major growth point for me. Accountability for yourself and your actions is oftentimes one of the hardest pills to swallow but results in a huge amount of growth.
CB: Being aware of my own energy and when I need to step away and refill. Prayer and being still with God is really the only way I can truly fill my spirit, but I also am becoming OK with not being OK all the time. Recognizing when I need to detach, when I need to add a bit more to my savings account, when I need to turn off the phone, or when I just need to be still is my self care in practice.
BL: When you’re stressing, what do you do to decompress? Are there any particular workouts or practices that you have to recenter when you’re thrown off?
BG: In all honesty, I call someone in my tribe to process things real quick. Then, I give myself 10 really intentional deep breathes, meditate and pray on it, and I release to the universe. I literally can’t give myself more than 30 minutes to stress because there are so many other things that I need to focus on. I can’t let it eat up my whole day because 9 times out of 10 it’s something that is outside my control. Recently I also asked myself, “What is this trying to teach me?” and “What role did I play in it getting to this point?”.
CB: I try to ask myself, “How is stressing about this helping you?” That provides a lot of perspective. Re-centering for me means I have to embrace my solitude a bit. I’m really at peace in my alone time and I know that when life becomes too much I just need to quiet myself, pray, and be still.
BL: Where do you hope to take Bean x Cream in 2019?
BG: I pray that we’re on panels so we can directly impact people, especially women of color. I’d like to see us monetize our platform a bit more so we can create experiences for people. Our first year was really practice. Now, we’re really focused on it and I’m hoping we can really see a bigger impact on the community we serve.
CB: I see a lot for Bean x Cream in 2019, but we all know that when we make plans God laughs. LOL. Ideally, I know that we have the opportunity to create a space for women of color to grow and have honest conversations and I think there are a variety of ways that we can do that. Right now, I hope we continue to be intentional about content, about partnerships, and about the ways we can reach women this year. If we can stay focused on our “why,” I believe that’ll open up doors beyond what we can even imagine.