Obeah and Co. was founded by Jarmelia Ladson, a Gullah Geechee gal born and raised in Charleston, SC (North Charleston).
What inspired me to start creating & selling traditional waistbeads?
Life. I remember seeing beautiful images of women wearing waistbeads in my early 20s but, I didn't begin wearing them until years later. After having 4 kids, going through divorce and trying to find my footing as a woman and mother, I made my first strand. For about 3-4 years I wore about 4-6 strands at a time. Each strand would hold a certain signifigance or intention for me. Some were for confidence, some were sexuality and some were for weight gain among other things.
As I wore waistbeads I spoke to others about the significance of them and the role they played and continue to play in my journey. In 2020, I was repeatedly asked to start selling waistbeads. Knowing the spiritual importance of the tradition made me hesitant to start but, I'm so glad I did.
I am honored every time someone trusts me to be a part of their personal waistbead journey.
Why the name Obeah and Co.?
"However, for the enslaved in Barbados (as elsewhere in the British Caribbean) the force, as accessed by the practitioner, was largely directed toward what the slave community defined as socially beneficial goals such as healing, locating missing property, and protection against illness and other kinds of misfortune; " SOURCE
My family before being transported to Charleston, SC is from Barbados and Obeah practices represent everything I stand for. Despite the evil connotations given to the practice by colonizers, Obeah is what got many of my ancestors through slavery and thankfully their practices live on today through me and others. We are making our ancestors proud.