Meet Our Founder…

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unexpected new beginnings

“In 2011, I walked into the office where I served as an advocate for women and families facing domestic violence and sexual assault for the last time. That morning, I was relieved of my position, leaving me with no income, savings, or immediate opportunities to manage the financial strains of raising my son as a single parent.

I didn't know how I was going to do it, but I knew that I would never again allow for the security of my livelihood to be determined by someone else.”

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“One day soon after, I was in the grocery store, ready to spend the last few dollars in my bank account on food for my son. I'd had some henna on my hands, and throughout the store people commented on the designs.

I made my way through the store, quietly calculating my total as I went, and finally arrived at the cash register. The cashier was a sweet young lady who smiled and asked, "What is that on your hand? I've never seen that before!" Upon explaining that it was henna, she said, "It's beautiful! Will you do it for me? I'll pay you."

Those words were the catalyst that changed the rest of my life. I picked up a henna cone not because I loved it, but because I needed to generate meaningful income to provide for my family.”

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from side hustle to full time business

“By 2014, my life had changed entirely. I had married my best friend, returned to serving families as a social worker, and was expecting my second child. I'd also built a loyal following of clients across three states, and found myself working more and more with henna - but this time, because I'd come to love it!

My son was approaching the age to enter school when my husband and I made the decision to move across country. The plan? I would homeschool our littles and take on henna full time.

I rebranded my small business and officially launched Cardamom & Clove Henna, a name inspired by the scent of my signature henna paste.”

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bringing henna to baltimore

“Within six months, I was working with henna full time, serving clients and mentoring new artists - all with my new baby strapped to my back. In no time, I was invited to teach henna artists for the first time, an experience that kindled a love for educating women on how to use their hands to create their own empire.

Over the years, I've served as a featured instructor at three of the most reputable international henna conferences, and have served clients across eight states.

In 2015, my family made the move back to the Baltimore area where we’ve since settled. Through Cardamom & Clove Henna, I’ve been able to connect with thousands of local women, using henna as a means to celebrate their experiences and successes.

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Today, I am the most celebrated henna professional in Baltimore, MD, serving over 800 clients each year, helping hundreds of students, and living a life I couldn't have imagined that day in the grocery store. Looking back, I wouldn't change a thing.”

Chelsea Stevenson is the professional henna artist and founder of Cardamom & Clove Henna.
She can be reached at