Antionette Neely started reading ingredient labels in the grocery store where she worked as a young woman. Right away, she realized most of the additives were unpronounceable and synthetic. That’s when she asked herself a question: What can I do to put out better products?
Twenty years later, the lifelong baker cooked up a sweet answer to that question − homemade oatmeal cookies she baked for her kids. She switched out original ingredients for all wholesome options, and thus, Organically Yours was born. In 2009, she received her first two clients: a local Piggly Wiggly and Organic Harvest.
After 6 months of working in her home, Neely thought about opening a brick and mortar bakery, but it wasn’t the time. Every time she got close to securing a space things fell through. That didn’t keep her from staying focused on her dream.
“I knew from day one I was supposed to be in a brick and mortar,” Neely said. “One day, it’ll come.”
Last year, REV helped that day come by working with Neely to identify a space in East Lake. For the first time, Organically Yours LLC had a brick and mortar space to call home. Although her new location isn’t projected to open until later this summer, Neely is already excited to bring healthy, natural foods to an area that can use an economic boost.
“Over the years, I’ve seen it deteriorate a little. I figured that putting a bakery there would really help to revive the location,” she said. “I think that people are crying for something healthier – a bakery that is healthy.”
Moving to a brick and mortar location is going to be a huge change for Neely – a positive one that is long overdue. Since she started Organically Yours, she has basically been a one-woman show, managing almost every aspect of her business.
“Baking, packaging, delivering – I pretty much did all of that by myself since 2009 – up until now,” Neely said. “But when you know what you need to do, you just do it.”
She wants her story to motivate others who are considering starting their own businesses.
“In my case, it took 10 years. There is no overnight success,” Neely said. “When you’re called to do something, it doesn’t happen quickly. It’s going to take time to grow. It’s like planting a seed. My advice would be to stay with it, no matter what comes your way.”
Check out Organically Yours on Facebook and Instagram!
Magic City Match is a program that transforms lives and opens doors for Black entrepreneurs and business owners. Led by REV Birmingham and powered by Prosper, this initiative aims to create opportunities for Black-owned businesses by matching them with brick-and-mortar spaces where they can thrive. After a successful pilot program in 2022, Magic City Match is back in action and ready to empower a new wave of entrepreneurs.
One of the most legendary and storied neighborhoods of Birmingham is Woodlawn. It is a community, anchored by one of the great public high schools of Birmingham, that has produced many citizens who contributed to the life of our city and has had an impact beyond the neighborhood itself. In a short post like this true justice cannot be done to the rich heritage and legacy of Woodlawn. However, we hope that this narrative brings together many of the diverse threads that make up the fabric of the community’s historic arc in a concise piece.
This month’s vendor spotlight highlights Easy Breezy, a local, low-waste shop founded by Brianna Deere. Dedicated to helping others reduce waste and providing inexpensive, non-toxic cleaning supplies, Brianna began selling to the public for the first time at the April 2023 Woodlawn Street Market.