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What Yowie Founder Shannon Maldonado Can’t Live Without

Photo: Bre Furlong, Illustration: Joe McKendry

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the hairspray and the electric toothbrush. We asked Shannon Maldonado the founder of Philadelphia’s interior-design studio and store Yowie — about the earrings, cleanser, and snacks she can’t live without.

I’ve tried expensive mascaras, I’ve tried Benefit, and this is the only one I’ve ever used consistently. It’s no-frills, I get it at Rite Aid, and it’s usually on sale. I have curly eyelashes and like my eyes to look like bunny eyes, and for whatever reason, this brush works with my lashes. I go superheavy top and bottom. I like it in Very Black because it’s a heavier black.

I’ve seen all the seasons of all the Love & Hip Hop franchises. It’s one of my favorite reality shows. Everyone’s so self-aware and so ridiculous, including, obviously, the people that make it. There’s also a Love & Hip Hop YouTube channel — they do this genius thing where they’re all compilations of ridiculous moments throughout the series. I watch it when I’m doing mindless work and when I’m working out.

I actually started with the brand’s nighttime lip mask and now I carry this one around. It’s one of the best lip balms on the planet. It’s light and has a little bit of that old-school heavy-jelly feel, which I think is fun. It doesn’t really smell like much and has a really subtle pink color that I like, but they have more colors, too. I’m not someone who wears foundation or eye makeup or anything, so this just helps me look a little alive, you know?

Every year I dream of becoming like a skin-care girl who has a whole routine. And every year it doesn’t happen. I’m very inconsistent. But I try a lot of different things; I’m really open to trying new brands. When Klure came on my radar, I first loved that it is Black-owned. I also loved how simple it is — the ingredients, everything. I definitely see a difference in my skin as far as consistency. The product feels very clean — it doesn’t feel chemical-y or like there’s too much in it. I do two or three pumps every morning and then sometimes a couple more at night, too. I’ve messaged with the founder a bunch — we commiserate a lot about being Black small-business founders. It’s really awesome when you find a product that you love and then grow to love the person that’s making it.

It’s a very weird snack. I brought them home and my boyfriend was not convinced, but there’s something about them that I’m addicted to. It’s made mostly from chickpeas and kind of tastes like cookie dough? But it definitely has a specific, acquired taste.

It’s the best hair oil I’ve tried. A few years ago, I had a really bad breakout from argan oil, and ever since I’ve been afraid to use any face or hair oils. But there’s something different about this one. I’ll wash and straighten my hair and then start to flat-iron it — while I’m doing that, I’ll use a little bit of this. And then a little bit more afterwards, to smooth down my edges. I also use it on my scalp, specifically in my part. It doesn’t weigh my hair down and smells amazing.

This just has this really nice, relaxed, vintage fit. I like a true crewneck. I don’t want an open, Bieber crewneck. I also like a longer short sleeve. I wear a lot of vintage clothing and this feels like the vintage shirts I wear, but in a reimagined lightweight cotton. I have the black one and the inside seams are white, which I think is really nice. It’s got great details like that.

I’ve had this in my ear for at least seven or eight years. I don’t really change my jewelry that often, so my earrings are pretty stationary. I have it threaded through two holes so it looks like it’s part of me. I almost never take it out. It’s a really simple, elegant earring. I always get complimented on it and I feel like it’s timeless.

I’m a list person. It’s how I get everything done — I have to write lists. I’m a double Cancer and a perfectionist. I used to write lists multiple times in a day, but I’ve stopped doing that and now put everything into Asana. It’s perfect if you are a list-based person. It has this thing called “sub tasks” that I use. Say we’re doing an interior-design project, I’ll write “source furniture” as a main task. That is a weeks-long process and needs to be broken down; with Asana, I can write a sub task like “source stools for bedroom two” and the client can add notes. I find that the platform helps me break down tasks in a more bite-size, palatable, and actually executable way. You can try some of its basic services for free and then there are also more comprehensive plans you can pay for.

Alelli Tanghal, an old friend of mine from New York, is a brilliant illustrator and graphic designer. She has this really cheeky illustration style — it kind of reminds me of John K. from Ren & Stimpy. We asked her to reimagine an everyday logo T-shirt for us, and she gave us this really fun, kind of ’90s-skater T-shirt. She also made a bag for us a couple of years ago that I still love. We’ll probably reissue it at some point.

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What Yowie Founder Shannon Maldonado Can’t Live Without