Roc-A-Natural hosts annual Small Business Saturday in a cozy backyard: “We are small businesses without walls”

STATEN ISLAND, NY – Dozens of people attended the Small Business Saturday Flea Market hosted by Roc-A-Natural, which featured three pop-up shops in a cozy Clifton backyard.

“The reason I do this is because we are a small business without walls. We don’t have a brick and mortar, and we may go unnoticed, but I’m here to show that we have quality products,” said Dorcas G. Meyers, founder of Roc-A-Natural.

NWS Small Business Saturday

Dorcas G. Meyers packages a Roc-A-Natural product for a customer. (Staten Island Advance/Priya Shahi)Priya Shahi

For the past four years, Meyers has opened her doors to many small business owners for the annual weekend-long event: Small Business Saturday and Super Savings Sunday. She sets up her shop with other vendors in her backyard, where friends and families are welcome to stop by and shop.

Today, Meyers was selling Afro-centric clothing, seaweed and natural skin care oils, all products from her Roc-A-Natural business, which she says is also a movement to promote a natural and healthy lifestyle.

NWS Small Business Saturday

Roc-A-Natural skin care products are on display at the Small Business Saturday event on November 26, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Priya Shahi)Priya Shahi

“We want to promote natural products. I don’t want to use any chemicals that are going to make us sick for a long time,” Meyer said.

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Using products like aloe vera, grape seed oil, turmeric, vitamin E, ginger and more, Meyers emphasizes the importance of using proper nutrition that comes from nature in their products.

NWS Small Business Saturday

Roc-A-Natural seaweed products on display at the Small Business Saturday event on Nov. 26, 2022 (Staten Island Advance/Priya Shahi)Priya Shahi

Pop-up shops:

The market’s newest seller

NWS Small Business Saturday

Lovelle Harris, 16, is the creator of Uniquelymebylove and the youngest vendor at Small Business Saturday on November 26, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Priya Shahi)Priya Shahi

The newest seller at today’s flea market, Lovelle Harris, 16, is the creator of the beaded jewelry company Uniquelymebylove. She started creating shiny, bright bracelets just five months ago.

“I love making jewelry and I love wearing jewelry and I just think it reminds me of you,” Harris said.

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NWS Small Business Saturday

Uniquelymebylove bracelets will be on display at the Small Business Saturday event on November 26, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Priya Shahi)Priya Shahi

Harris started selling her jewelry this month, and at her school, Curtis High School, many people are buying her work, some even asking for costume designs. She has sold over 50 bracelets so far and plans to expand her business online.

“I’m trying to get a website up but I’m waiting to get a laptop and a printer,” Harris said.

Her father, Felix Harris, is delighted that setting up the pop-up shop is a ‘big move’ for her today.

“Especially with what COVID showed us and how many people were out of work, we need to teach our young people about small businesses,” Felix Harris said. “Passionately, we need to start investing in ourselves because we all have talent and it’s within us… just in case you need to generate capital yourself.”

Afrocentric decor by V Dazzle Designs

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NWS Small Business Saturday

Felix Harris buys a gift from Valerie Dudley’s small business, V. Dazzle Designs. (Staten Island Advance/ Priya Shahi)Priya Shahi

Valerie Dudley, owner of V. Dazzle Designs, creates Afrocentric decor for mugs, bookmarks, wine glasses, wine bags and more. She likes to sell her products mostly through her online shop Etsy and by word of mouth, creating a pop-up shop. She has participated in the Meyer’s Small Business Saturday event for a few years.

“I like coming here because it’s a nice little environment, we get a little foot traffic and it’s an opportunity for people to learn about my business,” Dudley said.

Most of Dudley’s product designs can be attributed to her love of rhyming stones and glitter.

NWS Small Business Saturday

V. Dazzle Designs mugs are on display at the Small Business Saturday event on November 26, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Priya Shahi)Priya Shahi

“I have always liked to do handicrafts. I have always loved decorating. And I’ve always loved bling. I want to make some unique gifts,” she said.

Independent beauty consultant

NWS Small Business Saturday

Barbara Reffella, Mary-Kate’s independent beauty consultant, shops at the Small Business Saturday event on November 26, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Priya Shahi)Priya Shahi

Barbara Reffella, an independent beauty consultant, sold Mary Kate cosmetics and personal care products at a flea market.

Refela receives 50 percent of all company sales, as well as gifts every three months, but she says the most valuable part of her part-time job is making new friends and gaining confidence in her abilities as a business woman.

“It gives me strength and also motivates me. They give us lessons that show us different ways to sell and give us creative control. I can make baskets of people, and it’s really a way for me to work on myself as an individual,” Refel said. “You have to believe in yourself. I learned to be a little more assertive.”

Refela says she hopes to apply the knowledge she’s learned as an independent beauty consultant to other areas of her life, specifically helping build her home country of Liberia.

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