Event Features

Top-quality vendors showcasing their quintessential goods!

1. A panel that touches on topics such as –

  • Genetics vs. Retention
  • Hair Typing (3a – 4c)
  • Trial and error experiences
  • Best advice as an influencer
  • Media adverse attention on natural hair
  • Additional topics…


We are truly honored to be working with the Central Texas Food Bank. As a leader in the fight against hunger for nearly 35 years, CTFB’s mission is to nourish hungry people and lead the community in ending hunger. They work tireless to eliminate hunger through food distribution, education and advocacy in cooperation with the community. Quintessential Naturals SXSW Edition will be collecting canned and non-perishable foods throughout the event. Presenting sponsor Shea Moisture has graciously partnered to offer an additional Shea Moisture product to those that bring 2 or more items of food.
6500 Metropolis Dr. | Austin, TX 78744 |



Tonya Rapley, Moderator

Tonya Rapley is a Certified Financial Education Instructor and nationally recognized millennial money expert. In 2014 she was deemed the “New Face of Wealth Building” by Black Enterprise magazine. She is the creator of My Fab Finance, a personal finance lifestyle site that encourages readers to create lasting behavioral change. She created the #BanishTheBalance, a debt elimination challenge that helped more than 4,000 participants pay off over $200,000 worth of debt in 60 days. She is also the creator of Financially Preparing To Be Your Own Boss, a course that prepares aspiring entrepreneurs for the financial responsibilities of operating a business.

Because of her vast financial knowledge and relatable approach, Tonya is a highly sought after speaker for organizations, colleges and universities. She most recently spoke at Essence Festival 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her Money Lessons I Wish I Would Have Learned Before Graduation workshop has received rave reviews from both students and administrators. It is her life’s mission to empower the leaders of today and tomorrow to live financially responsible lives.

Tonya’s holds a Bachelors in Public Administration from Florida International University and a Master’s in Urban Affairs from Brooklyn College. Tonya’s expertise has also been recognized by popular media outlets such as, the NY Daily News, Yahoo! Finance, and Marketwatch. As a writer, Tonya has also contributed to, Buzzfeed, and, making a powerful influence on the financial lives of millions.


Michelle Breyer, Panelist

As co-founder of, a website for curly hair she began with her business partner and friend, Gretchen Heber, Michelle Breyer helped create the leading community and resource for people with curly hair. Frustrated by the lack of information on curly hair and the limited products available in the marketplace, the duo launched the site in 1998 with the help of a 14-year-old web designer. When Procter & Gamble called three years later to advertise to the® audience, Breyer knew they had indeed created a force in the industry, providing helpful information and unparalleled expertise for what was then considered a niche market.


René Daniella, Panelist

René Daniella is originally of both English and American heritage. In her 26 years she has lived in 9 different cities across 4 countries, two of which were not English speaking. Travel is an integral part of her lifestyle; it’s one of the biggest reasons why she is excited to get out of bed each morning and take on the day. Her numerous platforms are dedicated to highlighting the beauty of femininity as she has come to understand it, her international travels, unique style & beauty, big curly hair – and of course, building community & creating experiences through Femme In Bloom!  She recently moved from London, United Kingdom to Washington, D.C., and she is traveling to new places around the world every month!

In addition to her tips and stories of the beautiful struggles that come with being a world-traveling curly girl, she shares her personal experiences, my top secret travel tips, health & fitness challenges, and haircare regimen.


Jenell B. Stewart, Panelist
Founder of

Jenell B Stewart, the founder and editor in chief of the award winning website dedicates her career to educating and uplifting women with natural hair by way of her extremely popular website and YouTube channel. Jenell has been featured in Essence Magazine, Black, and starred on the Dr.Oz television show as a Beauty Expert. In 2014, Jenell won the Root Top 100 People’s Choice Award, In 2012 she was named one of Essence’s top Instagramers and that same year KinkyCurlyCoilyMe won an award for “Favorite Website” of the Natural Hair Community.


Monique Rodriguez, Panelist
Founder and CEO of Mielle Organics

Mielle Organics seeks to empower, excite and educate women about healthy hair and skin. By providing natural products that support, nourish and strengthen hair and skin, they trust that their customers are more confident, passionate and informed about the beauty products they use. Mielle Organics wholeheartedly believes that what is consumed by the body is displayed in the outward appearance. They choose to promote natural, organic ingredients, and are proud to exclusively use natural products derived from routed plant oils and natural herbs.

After only a few months of their launch in 2014 Mielle Organics was recognized for its results-driven products and excellent customer service. Today they are a global and viral sensation, with orders in over 87 countries around the world. Mielle Organics continues to be a market innovator in the haircare world and is excited to continue to meet the demands of healthy, natural hair for women and families worldwide.

Founder and CEO, Monique Rodriguez, has over nine years of experience as a registered nurse. Her science background and focus on health from the inside out inspired her to share her regimen of healthy, tailbone-length hair with the masses. She is passionate about inspiring women in business and entrepreneurship. Monique resides in Indiana with her husband and COO of Mielle Organics and their two beautiful daughters.