On an unseasonably warm Spring day in New York’s famed Central Park, a young woman paces, cell phone at her ear. She is adorned with two nose rings, hoop and septum, plus an ornate necklace evocative of an artifact out of Nefertiti’s tomb glittering in the sun. If anyone cared to eavesdrop, they’d hear plans being made. The photographer is in a cab, the models are scattered throughout the park, and the makeup artist just hopped on the train. They are all on their way to Eboni Merriman.
At just 23 years-old, Eboni is the founder and creative director of Lost Queens. Less than two years after launching the online accessories boutique on a borrowed laptop, the brand boasts an international following. “I got a message from a young girl in France. She said I can’t afford your jewelry right now but I’m so inspired by you. Stuff like that amazes me.” Eboni admits an online boutique isn’t exactly a novel idea, “There’s a million accessory boutiques. But if I can add something else, put some thought into it, that’s how we can stand apart.”
For Lost Queens, something else means embodying Eboni’s passion for empowering women. A scroll through the brand’s Instagram account makes it clear: Black women are loved here. Each piece is named for a history-making sister (everyone from Eartha Kitt to Neithhotep gets name-checked) and the models – tall, short, thick, slim, pierced, tattooed – mix seamlessly with customer-submitted selfies of diverse women in regal poses. The products are positioned as a complement to, not the source of, their queendom.