Published on January 19th, 2014 | by thevyne1
Entrepreneur Spotlight: Kya Blackstone and Jessica Peavy
Kya Blackstone and Jessica Peavy
Kya: Currently New York City, but from Washington D.C
Jess: Currently New York City, but from Columbus, Ohio
Roles you play
Kya: Co-Founder, Director of Strategy and Publishing, daughter, sister, aunt
Jess: Co-Founder, Director of Outreach and Engagement, friend, sister, wife, aunt
Kya: Bachelors in History, New York University; Juris Doctorate, The George Washington University Law School
Jess: Bachelors of Fine Arts in Film, New York University, Tisch School of Arts; Masters of Fine Arts in Photography and Media, School of Visual Arts
Business Venture: Pulp Nature
Tell us about how you came into the entrepreneur life. What inspired you start something of your own?
Kya: In 2005, Jess was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and experienced so many challenges and frustrations. As her friend, I didn’t know what I could do to help. I encouraged Jess to write about her experience, but she didn’t want a blog focused solely on her life with multiple sclerosis (MS). Instead, we thought creating a place of community for all people managing autoimmune disease would be great for her and others.
Jess: When I was diagnosed, I did a lot of research about all aspects of living with autoimmune disease–organic food, beauty, exercise, vitamins, you name it. I wanted to be proactive about my health. Even when in the hospital, I had my husband bring in organic food, which really boosted my healing process. It was important to me to share all of this knowledge and to learn from others. Pulp Nature is about sharing information and creating community with the right intent and perspective.
Describe your business/current perspective
Pulp Nature is a lifestyle brand for people with autoimmune disease. It’s a support network, a connector, and a way to share resources. Pulp Nature advocates for better health and wellness, and we even fundraise for various autoimmune causes.
The website isn’t a one size fits all site. Pulp Nature has done all the work for you by creating and bringing together all perspectives and experiences from people with autoimmune diseases (i.e. multiple sclerosis, lupus, type 1 diabetes, crohn’s, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and others).
“We aren’t doctors, and medical advice isn’t our focus. Instead, once someone has been diagnosed, Pulp Nature is the place to go to find community and to gain tools that help our readers continue to live a vivacious life and also improve one’s quality of life while living with a chronic illness.” –Jess
What has been most surprising about starting your own business?
Kya: I was somewhat surprised at how hard it is to create something out of nothing and at the same time be so rewarding. Also, it can be challenging to wake up every day and have the confidence to make it happen. It’s hard to be a trailblazer. Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. You have to drink your own Kool Aid or in the world of Pulp Nature, you have to drink your own Kombucha.
Jess: As a new company, of course you hope that the company takes off, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised and excited that our idea and brand is actually resonating and making an impact in people’s lives. People have come up to me and commented on past articles or narratives they saw on the site, and that touches my heart. This connection with our readers motivates me to continue to work hard everyday.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start a business?
Everyone says this, but it’s true…do something that you love. Because if you don’t love it, it’s more difficult to maintain your momentum or accomplish your goals.
Stay motivated, no matter what. And when you lack motivation to launch or grow your company, you have to take a leap of faith and act! They say a body in motion stays in motion, so just go! Stop thinking and dreaming and do!
Who would your dream celebrity spokesperson be?
Wendy Williams because she has Grave’s disease, which is an autoimmune disease. We love how she is defiant in the face of this disease, and her attitude is about being fabulous no matter what. Venus Williams would be another choice. She has Sjögren’s, and has recently adopted a raw food diet to help manage her health. She’s her own health advocate, an elite athlete, and a power player in general.
What is your favorite thing to cook?
Kya: I love to cook organic and gluten-free foods. I enjoy cooking root vegetables during this season like parsnips and yams because they taste great and provide me with healthy carb options.
Jess: I get all my produce from my CSA or community-sustained agriculture. I love to make crazy salads with all of the organic foods. I can also make a mean, baked chicken.
What is your favorite beauty product?
-Jamaican black castor oil! It’s versatile like coconut oil–for hair, skin, nails, etc. It’s thick and smells really bad, but it’s amazing. You can find it online or in Caribbean stores.
-We’re also huge fans of Fresh Sugar Face Polish. Actually, we just did a review of the product on our website. It’s a go-to for the Pulp Nature staff. Here’s our review.