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Brown Skin Brunchin’ is the ultimate brunch group for Black women

One thing I enjoy seeing on a wonderful Saturday (or Sunday) morning or afternoon is a group of Black women brunchin’ it up. All over social media is the adage about Black women when it comes to brunch: no expense is sparred and the entire group looks amazing. I went to brunch last month and got so excited to see a group of Black women dressed in pink and white before realizing when I saw one of the women wearing a veil, it was a bridal brunch.

Brown Skin Brunchin’ really is one of those groups for Black women who love to brunch, meet new people, and just have a great time. Every month is a new opportunity to build on the relationships and create your own tribe. I got to talk with Brown Skin Brunchin’ co-founder Lillian Jackson last year about the organization and what she sees in the future.

Alexandria: So when and why did you decide to start it like you and your friends? Why did y’all start or decide to start it? And how many cities is it in already?

Lillian Jackson: It’s in the middle of the day so that you can be back home, you know, before the night crowd comes out. So through brunch, I met my very first friend and then she bought a friend, and then she bought a friend. And then the next thing you know, we had a few friends here. So my friends back home were like, where are you getting all of these friends from? And they were like, well, we want friends from brunch. And that’s kind of how it started. And um, people from all over just started reaching out. So we posted about it and we originally just started in Richmond, Virginia and Los Angeles because I wanted friends in Los Angeles because I like it there.

And the next thing you know, it was just people reaching out all over that wanted it. So now we’re in over 80 locations across the us, Canada, and Caribbean. And then we’re actually launching in the, um, UK in January with London for our first group over the pond.

Alexandria: How does that feel? Just like one little idea that you had just like get a couple people together for brunch, whatever, and now you guys are basically global. Did you ever see that for yourself?

Lillian Jackson: I didn’t, so I thought it was a thing, but then, you know, self-doubt kicks in and you think it’s just brunch. Like, yeah, this isn’t like a real sustainable thing, but it really is. And you know, it goes beyond that and it’s heartwarming when you hear the stories, when women talk about, like how it’s impacted their life, the friendships that they’ve made, and how they basically plan their months around this sometimes.

Because, you know, as you become an adult, it, it becomes hard to make friends and figure out where do you go? Like, you don’t want, you can’t go to the club and make friends. Mm-hmm. And you’re not gonna go to the club by yourself. So what does that environment look like? And just to be able to hear all the women that come together every single month, and to be able to make those connections, it, it’s just heartwarming to just see it come together every single month.

Alexandria: That’s, that’s real good. So at first when you first started Brown Skin Brunchin’ , what was your goal? Just to get a couple of people together, like on a monthly basis and just meet up?

Lillian Jackson: Yep. The, the goal was just to make friends so that when I wanted to go out and do things that, that I had a group of people that I could call without having to be committed to calling them every day. Kind of that circle that you could call and say, Hey girl, I’m off. Or There’s such and such going on in town, you wanna go and hang out. And that was the goal, just to get a few key people that I could hang out in, hang out with. And then especially like when I went to different cities, um, Living out here on the West coast, airfare is a little cheaper.

So just being able to have like those key people that you can go and hang out with no matter where you go. And now we can do that in over 80 locations. So we have an app where women can connect and a lot of them use it just for that purpose, where they’ll say, Hey, I’m gonna be in town on X day, what’s going on in the city?

Alexandria: The name of the app is still “Brown Skin Brunchin'”?

Lillian Jackson: Yep. Brown Skin Brunchin’ and it’s in the Google Play Store and the App Store. The support is real. They support one another. Yeah. And that’s just amazing. No matter what the women post there, they’re there for each other. So it’s an amazing feeling.

Alexandria: So I know we were talking about Brunch in a Bottle and how it came out from the pandemic. What was the process for you to make it, like how long did it take and, just from beginning to end, like how long was that?

Lillian Jackson: So there were challenges with Covid. Apparently there was a bottle shortage in 2020. Where I couldn’t get my product because they didn’t have any glass bottles. So I started the process in maybe April, May-ish of 2020. And it was finally bottled about the end of October, November. So, the process would’ve been a lot quicker had there not been all of the supply and demand issues. But since then, we initially launched with one flavor and that was Peach Mango. Now we have two flavors: Peach Mango and Moscato. We have been able to expand since then to be able to offer two and hopefully in the future we can bring on more flavors. And all the flavors that I focus on are like easy to drink for the novice that, like I said, you can just pour right on a bottle and feel like you’re having a good cocktail.

Alexandria: How does it feel to be one of the few black women in the wine space?

Lillian Jackson: I think just in general, you know, you have to figure out like where your space is and what your lane is, and it’s easy sometimes to get overwhelmed with all the big players in the space. But for me, since I had my community first, it’s been probably an easier journey than most. Because I already had my tribe, you know, I had what, 30,000 women across the US that were already supportive of me and the brunch group that introducing this was just an easy transition. However I’ve read stories where, you know, it’s a difficult journey and just trying to figure out all of the logistics. So my journey hasn’t been that difficult, but I, I can see how there can be challenges for the average person.

Alexandria: ‘Cause I think you already pretty much just had a built in like focus group with the women. So if you know, you’re trying it out and you can go to your local group and say, “Hey, I have this product. Let me know your thoughts about it.”  And you can just like, give them little, little samples and they can tell you like, okay, so I like this part.

It’s a little sweet here. It might be too much here. So, you know, you can like, you can get actual feedback from essentially people you trust from the group.

Lillian Jackson: And they were happy and excited to try it out and, and give their feedback. So that’s exactly what we did. And even now, we offer the wine as an option with our brunches. So when people come to our brunch, they have the option to include a bottle of the wine. And then that way it’s sent directly to their brunch and they don’t have to worry about paying shipping costs.

Alexandria: So what are your ultimate goals for Brown Skin Brunchin’ and Brunch in a Bottle?

Lillian Jackson: So for Brown Skin Brunchin’, we want to have a global presence where we’re on every single continent in every city because we feel like this is something that’s needed all over. With the Brunch in a Bottle, originally I thought I needed to be in a store, but once I realized like the logistics and legalities behind it, I found that a more holistic and organic approach was the best.

Alexandria: For cities that don’t have Brown Skin Brunchin’ club, how do they start one?

Lillian Jackson: So two different options. One, we do have a virtual group and we host virtual events as well. So they are more than welcome to join us on the app and join our virtual group and events.

Lillian Jackson: And then if they are interested in becoming an ambassador, they just have to let us know. On our website, there’s a section on how to become an ambassador, where a person can express their interests and we’ll talk to, tell them a little bit about like what it entails and what the commitment looks like, and then if they’re still interested, we help them get that chapter started.

Alexandria: Awesome. Is there like a certain age that they can be an ambassador? Like what’s the youngest that you’ll do? Like 21?

Lillian Jackson: Because we, we like to drink when we go out. Yes. So 21 would be the youngest.

Alexandria: Okay. And, uh, lastly, where can people find, find you guys online?

Lillian Jackson: We’re on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube.

Alexandria: Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to talk to me.

Lillian Jackson: I look forward to it. Thank you. You know, send it my way once it finally launches, so you have an amazing weekend.