Let's Toast!

Subscription Boxes and Distribution Companies Owned by Black Women for Your Next Virtual Happy Hour or Teatime

Article by Erikka Searles Mitchell

Photography by Lajoy Photography and Provided

Originally published in SOFU Lifestyle

Carmaleita Willis Lyght

Carmaleita Willis Lyght is the owner and creative behind Inspiring Spirits premium cocktail mixers and sister company Lyght House Cocktails bartending service. A Georgia native, Carmaleita originally hails from Augusta and resides with husband, Otis J., and sons Jacoby (7) and Cayden (4). She is a graduate of Hampton University’s 5-year MBA program with a concentration in entrepreneurship and a minor in Spanish. 

Philanthropically and socially active with various organizations, including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, Lyght developed her nontraditional approach to bartending when she became her father’s understudy. 

Joe Willis, as he is affectionately known, taught her that more important than pouring an outstanding drink, you must first know your client. For over a decade, Lyght has kept that thought at the forefront, while working alongside her father, two brothers, and occasionally her mom, sister, and husband. During the past 14 years, she has held every event staff position, including janitor, dishwasher, server, bar back, bartender, project manager, administrative assistant, HR coordinator, consultant, inventory control specialist, and now mixologist. Lyght constantly practices her craft through research and development and hosting her own private tasting parties. She is actively seeking new taste testers and is excited for you to join the family!

Lyght's latest endeavor, the Inspiring Spirits subscription box, can now be a part of your yearly collection. Sign up to receive four boxes, one for each season, throughout the year, along with special, pop-up boxes during the holidays. Each box includes three delicious gourmet mixers (enough to create two cocktails), garnish and a digital recipe card, all for $49.99. Sign up for an annual subscription or purchase the boxes individually each season. For more information and to subscribe, visit and 

Fresh Steeped

Fresh Steeped is a luxury, online tea boutique and subscription box. The subscription box included four exclusive teas, a unique sweetener and a sweet treat that compliments the teas. Our online boutique stocks a selection of customer favorites from both the subscription box and in person sampling events.  

Fresh Steeped has been in development for the last two years but my passion for tea has grown over a lifetime. While you may not remember every cup of tea, you do remember the warm feelings and personal connections made while drinking from china cups or ice cold sweet teas. Fresh Steeped is a reminder to connect with those special memories and create new ones.

Fresh Steeped carries only ethically sourced, premium loose leaf tea and herbal infusions, including a collection of in-house blends. Fresh Steeped also offers a variety of gift baskets for thank you, congratulations, holiday gifts or just to say hello and meet a friend for a virtual tea. It can be found for purchase at 

Gwen J. Jackson of Liquid Distributors

Gwen Jackson started Liquid Distributors, a boutique wholesale/ distribution company, after her marketing company client asked her to create some branding strategy for a new cognac brand. “I traveled to Paris to meet her master blender and to tour other cognac brands. It was an experience I will never forget.”

Jackson was intrigued and as she discovered more about the spirits industry, she was hooked. After the trip, she decided that she wanted to be a distributor so that she could work with other small brands specifically those owned by minorities, including women. 

“The spirits industry is a white male dominated industry with lots of tricks and failures embedded for only a few to succeed, but I love a challenge,” she says. Since starting in the fourth quarter of 2017, Jackson has adjusted the company objectives to provide branding and marketing, product development and creating distribution channels.

Jackson stated, “Everyday we are building partnerships that can launch small brands into the spotlight for success domestically and internationally.” Check out the new product they imported from Brazil and more at

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