Unstoppable Treasure Flower, Fearless Entrepreneur
Much like the stunning daisy she shares her name with, Gazania McCoy’s growth cannot be stopped or ignored.
Her warmth and compassion shines in her cozy treatment room, complementing the pleasant glow of the salt lamp and morning light.
And through what medium does this calm, strong Black woman share her gifts?
Through acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. “I studied traditional Chinese medicine for healing and one of my greatest achievements is completing my Masters’ Degree in that field,” Gazania shares. “I’m interested in alternative ways of healing outside of Western medicine, which is often discriminatory.”
Thus, Naturally Gazania Acupuncture and Wellness Center was born.
"Business ownership is one way people from Oakland can preserve and pass down culture."
Not only is Gazania a passionate healer of and advocate for Black women, but Gazania also focuses on eliminating stigma around type 2 diabetes, especially in the Black community.
“We’re often made to feel like it’s our fault--being on insulin is treated like a ‘bad thing’, and it’s not,” Gazania explains.
She goes on to discuss the systematic barriers that make it difficult to alleviate stress with Black diabetic patients. They are often treated like stereotypes and not able to receive care adapted to their individual needs. Her business provides alternative care through integrative medicine for her community so that they may find acceptance and relief.
Before Gazania could launch her business, she was seeking support in one key area: Finances.
“I needed help with all of it!” Gazania shared, “Getting funded, setting up a pricing structure...everything!”
Gazania learned about Mandela Partners’ 10-week Entrepreneurs Workshop Series through Instagram in 2020. Since it was free for her and available virtually through Zoom, she could easily fit it in her schedule at the end of the workday.
Not only were the resources and guest speakers helpful, but also seeing women of color lead the workshop made her feel empowered.
“If they can do it, I can do it!” Gazania recalls.
The Entrepreneurs Program Workshops became a space for networking with other POC-led businesses and entrepreneurs, and allowed Gazania to openly express fears while finding camaraderie. Through the Program’s ‘buy-in’ model, which allows participants to ‘buy-in’ with a sliding scale participation payment plan in lieu of program fees, Gazania committed $100 at the outset of the workshop series and received $200 in return to support market testing and business growth.
Gazania gives a special shout out to Sabine Dabady, Entrepreneurship Development Manager at Mandela Partners, as she points out: “In our business advising sessions with Sabine after the workshop series, I didn’t expect her to become like my therapist! She helped me break through emotional barriers, like fear, and helped me feel like I could actually accomplish this.”
Gazania recalls having to go through multiple drafts and iterations of her business plan, but remembers the experience as a positive milestone.
“It makes you stronger if you do fail and it teaches flexibility.”
What does Gazania see for her future?
Well, in addition to pursuing a doctorate in acupuncture and integrative medicine, she envisions her business expanding. She hopes to hire practitioners of color, develop her own herbal line, and franchise Naturally Gazania Acupuncture and Wellness Center.
She also aspires to write a book on diabetes and Chinese medicine--not treating just the illness, but the whole person.
When looking back on her journey as an entrepreneur, Gazania thinks deeply about what business ownership means, especially for POC communities. “Business ownership is one way people from Oakland can preserve and pass down culture...it’s about breaking down the emotional and mental barriers so that POC business owners can succeed.”
Book your first appointment with Gazania!