Merriman is the founder of Lost Queens, a jewelry company dedicated to letting women feel “unapologetically free” with every piece. Founded in 2014, Lost Queens has grown immensely. Their pieces have been seen on stars such as Orange is the New Black actress Vicky Jeudy, and Love and Hip Hop star Tara Wallace.Tara Wallace in Luna Necklace. Photo: Instagram.com/Lost Queens
Merriman always loved fashion, but it was a journey to get there.
"I was a kid growing up in Queens," she says. "I used to rip pages out of my magazines and get in trouble for sketching fashion illustrations,”
She even started her first jewelry line at the age of 16 called Ancient Beauty Collections, but the business flopped. She tried many other roles throughout the years as a fashion design major, blogger, freelance writer and office assistant. However, those roles never quite felt right and depression started to hit.
"I had really good jobs on my resume," she says, "But I couldn’t keep the job because I was depressed. My depression got the best of me. It would hard for me to get out of bed. I would call out frequently.”
When she felt like she was going to lose her job, she decided to sell items on eBay to save some money. Later on, Merriman hosted her friends and the conversation of women came up.
"As they came to visit, I was talking on how society views women, the limit they put on us," she says, "So I just went for it and bought the domain name. I had the idea and the sisterhood just being around my friends, it just felt right."
Throughout the process of creating Lost Queens, Merriman was inspired by strong women. In fact, she got the name from Pharell's song, "Lost Queen," in which he describes a supernatural woman who he feels is from another planet and who he wants to serve. The song also helped Merriman cope with depression.
"I just took it as a self-love kind of thing," she says, "I don’t need anyone to validate me. I don’t have to wait for anyone to bring me flowers. I can do this for myself. Because we tend to lose that. That Queen. That part we push to the side to tend to daily life. I wanted to reclaim once again.”
"From the very beginning, I knew that one of the premises of the brand I wanted to have is each piece to be named after a queen," Merriman says, "At first, it was queens in general. Goddesses, Greek Goddesses. But when the second collection came out, I did domestic violence victims. I wanted to name my pieces after them. That made me think of naming all my pieces after black women. I’m a black woman. This is my experience. This is the experience of my friends of my family. It had to be authentic. I was sourcing names and it wasn’t connecting for me. Of course, there were a lot of Goddesses and Queens out there. But I wasn’t connecting with the piece unless it was a black woman.”Photo: LostQueens.com
Even though each piece is named after an influential black woman, Eboni Merriman wants every kind of black woman, from the bougie to the afro-centric to the hood chick and all in between, to feel empowered by her pieces. That’s what being unapologetically free means to her.
"I think black women, specifically, are told to be a certain way," she says, "You know they have the wars, the Cardi Bs against the Ayesha Currys. Or how women are supposed to be one thing. I don’t subscribe to any of that. They expect me to be very afro-centric, very hippie, very positive and I am those things of course. But I”m not those things all the time. Women are so multilayered that we don’t need a box. I could be hood one day. I could be prim and proper the next minute. I can be anything at any time. Women can be anything at any time. And I want lost queens to be a celebration of that,” she says.
As for her journey to being an unapologetically free woman? It’s ongoing, thanks to her work with the company.
"I feel like Lost Queens is definitely my journey into falling in love with myself. I love it because all of the collections, all of the campaigns are just like true to where I’m at in my life. So, it kinda grows with me,” she says.
Eboni Merriman, Photo: Instagram.com/lost.queens