Black-Owned Spa Launches New Foundation To Serve Charlotte-Area Youth and Women


Black-owned, luxury day spa Ugo Artistry and owner Chidimma Ekwem have launched a foundation that will focus on serving youth and women in the community. The U.G.O. Initiative – which is launching during National Black Business Month this August – will look to focus on self-care, wellness and education in communities that need it most.

“As a business owner, but more importantly as a wife and mother, I’ve never felt more compelled to give back to the community,” said Chidimma Ekwem, licensed aesthetician and owner of Ugo Artistry. “For years, Ugo has focused on women’s health and wellness, which greatly impacts the lives of their children. Therefore, we are proud to partner with community organizations that focus on similar areas.”

The U.G.O. Initiative will focus on three core values: unity, gratitude and opportunity. The organization hopes to promote unity by becoming a resource for wellness in the community; showcase gratitude by hosting appreciation events for staff, clients and members of the community; and provide opportunities through jobs, internships and scholarships.

In the foundation’s first partnership, the Initiative will work with The Relatives – a youth crisis center which helps children and youth find shelter and support by serving as the Safe Place agency for Mecklenburg County and the surrounding area. The Initiative will provide health and wellness kits for youth returning to school during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Ekrem – a former teen mother who is now a wife and mom of three – chose to partner with the organization because of their commitment to youth.

“The Relatives is so grateful to Ugo Artistry and the U.G.O. Initiative for meeting a unique need,” said Trish Hobson, Executive Director of The Relatives. “These skincare products will help our kids feel confident and cared for, while they face the many challenges of this school year.”

Ekwem was born in Charlotte as a first-generation Nigerian American who began working full time at just 14 to help support her family. That path led her to a career in social services where she worked with impoverished women on employment resources. She then found her passion in health and wellness, leading her to create Ugo Artistry in 2017.