Lorenzo Carson and Taqee Zareef

Lorenzo Carson and Taqee Zareef founded CG Essentials so they could spend more time with their children.

Lorenzo Carson was working as a plumber when he met Taqee Zareef on a job in the Bay Area. 

Carson, of Avondale, wished he could spend more time at home with his family, as plumbing is a 24/7 job. He found Zareef felt he same. 

In February, the duo took a leap of faith and invested in CG Essentials, a self-care company that they say improves self-confidence. It launched in April.

“We’re big on family,” Carson said. “Back when we were working as plumbers, it was so time consuming. We want to do well and make money and be comfortable, but not at the expense of spending time with our kids and families. 

“We have always been clean-cut men, and putting these grooming kits together is right up our alley.”

Zareef said CG Essentials’ products are rare in that men do not usually see grooming kits just for them.

Products range from a $4.49 Dip’N Du-Rag to a $90 Boss Bundle, a collection of men’s grooming products on CG Essentials’ website. 

Perfume, edge control, beauty blenders and cuticle oil are among the popular products for women. Their products are even named after their children to show their commitment to building a more splendid future — not only for their children but also for the Black community. For instance, some of their products are named Iyana’s Edge Control, Love Aliya Perfume, Layla’s Luxury Lip Balm and Carson Cuticle Oil. “The edge control is our top seller, to be honest,” Carson said. “It allows them to tame and style their edges.”

The now-former plumbers — or “house doctors,” as Carson said — enjoy the creativity and the opportunities that come with CG Essentials. 

“It’s the same rush I used to get when I was plumbing,” Zareef said. 

Zareef and Carson would love to expand their business, but they’re happy with the success they’ve had so far. They are working on having CG Essentials products in Walmart, Target and beauty salons.

“People are telling us how much they love it,” Carson added. “We do it all at home, which allows us to spend time with our family and kids. We’re going to their basketball games and practices. It opened a whole new world for us.”

Zareef added, “It takes people years to be able to do it, to experience some of this stuff. In a couple months’ time, it’s been amazing. We’re still really humble about it.”

Zareef and Carson are in CG Essentials for the long haul. 

“This is definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme,” Carson said. “It’s more for our families. It we were really worried about the money, we would have stayed in plumbing. It’s a fruitful job. But with time, you can’t get it back with your kids. That is our No. 1 priority.”