The liquor industry has historically been dominated by men- but one Charlotte native has created a movement to change it all, one bottle at a time. Women and minorities are incredibly underrepresented in the business of wine and spirits as less than 1% are owned by Black women. One of the latest to be added to that list is the owner of Ebony Wine & Spirits, Camillya Masunda.
Camillya Masunda is a community leader, philanthropist, and trailblazer for women everywhere. Inspired by her Congolese roots, Masunda entered the alcohol business determined to share her love for wine and be the representation in the industry she always wanted to see. This ambitious entrepreneur launched the wine and spirits company Ebony Wine & Spirits last September and has been thriving ever since. Running a business during a pandemic is difficult for anyone, but Camillya’s mentality is that if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.
Ebony Wine & Spirits is one of the only Black-owned wine companies in North Carolina. When asked if she feels any pressure in an industry where she is so underrepresented, the wine owner expressed that it is what drives her the most and that the only pressure she feels is from herself to make that impact. “I don’t feel pressure from the industry per se, I feel pressure from myself to stay true to my brand, to tell my story, to truly be impactful for my generation and for the generations to come, and to create a lasting impact in wine.” Masunda continued, “I want to show young black students that they have the opportunity to not just major in agriculture but know the extent to which agriculture can do for them, their families, and our community.”
Creating a space for black women in the industry for years to come is an incredibly important goal for Masunda as she has already created a space for her daughter to join in on the business. Camillya’s daughter, Lanayah Masunda, is not your average high school senior as she currently serves as the company’s creative director. Camillya describes her daughter as a huge helping hand in her business as well as expressing the importance of tapping into the minds of the young generation.
In all her endeavors, Camillya works hard to serve the Black community. She is not only the founder of Ebony Wine but also the owner of a child education center in Charlotte called the Cultural Giving Tree For Early Learning. Masunda continues to make an impact and teach the next generation about Black heritage as at the Cultural Giving Tree she offers a core Afrocentric curriculum focusing on yoga, meditation, affirmations as well as offering STEM, and foreign language courses.
“This work is very important to me because I graduated from a Historically Black College. I believe it is important to provide the young Black community with the education that is currently lacking in the school system when it comes to celebrating who they are.”
The Cultural Giving Tree also offers a Summer camp, mentorship programs, and initiatives to help single moms get reacclimated into the community. “Anything we can do within our resources to help we do, whether it be giving their children a safe space to learn or helping to get them housing.”
In regards to her advice for fellow Black women in entrepreneurship, she simply suggests finding what it is that you are truly passionate about. “When it comes to entrepreneurship, I champion women who tap into their gifts who champion something that inspires them. When you do this, it will never feel like work.”
You can check out Ebony Wine’s new product line, The Taste of the Sun, inspired by Kinshasa, the third-largest city in Africa, on May 19th. This tropical sparkling wine will take you on a trip to Congo from the comfort of your own home. The limited exclusive prelaunch is available now at Assorted Table in Charlotte, NC. Look out for Ebony Wine in May 2021 at a store near you as it will be available for purchase online and in many markets around Charlotte, NC.