Meet Nikeisah Newton, owner of Meals 4 Heels in Portland, Oregon. Meals 4 Heels proudly describes itself as Portland’s only meal delivery service catering to the sex worker community. Nikeisah Newton founded the business in 2019, at first functioning only as a mobile catering service delivering to sex workers. In 2020, when the pandemic resulted in clubs shutting down, Nikeisah began catering at Black Lives Matter protests and events throughout Portland. Her food began to catch people’s attention and in 2022, thanks to popular demand, Nikeisah opened the Meals 4 Heels brick-and-mortar location while continuing her meal deliveries on the side. Learn more about Nikeisah in this week’s Business Spotlight: Meals 4 Heels.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What’s your favorite part about the community in business is in and why?
In Portland, OR, for me, it’s seeing folks not taking the traditional routes to having a food-oriented business. Seeing the growth of Black, POC & LGBTQ+ culinarians in PDX is comforting & puts a foot in the ass of yt supremacy. We are able to share our stories through food and it feels like there is space for everyone, especially among the marginalized culinarians in Portland. It isn’t so cutthroat, we can lift each other up with each meal.
Why is it important to you and your business that people #SpendLkeitMatters?
Diverse small businesses are a vital part of the local economy. When consumers shop at small businesses, they are contributing to the growth and development of their local community. Making a conscious decision on where to spend your money gives the power back to the consumer. Diverse small businesses are often underrepresented in the business world, by supporting these businesses, consumers can help to promote diversity and equity in the business community.
As a business owner, what’s the strangest or craziest idea you’ve ever tried?
Paying my “estimated” taxes. Not bizarre at all, but I dislike being taxed more than the 10%. On top of pre-paying for my taxes every quarter is just wrong. But that’s what being a biz owner does when they are on paper.🤷🏿♀️
What’s something your customers may not know about you or your business?
There is no other business like Meals 4Heels in the world. We have been highlighted across the world in over 7 languages! Also important to know is for small businesses every dollar counts! The profit margins in the food industry are very slim. So every interaction, and every meal purchased counts. Your support matters and keeps my dream alive, as well as bring visibility to a diverse audience.
What are some of your favorite local businesses and why?
This is a long list…
- Lonchería Los Mayans…panuchos , yo!
- Sin Yin yoga (sex worker allyship via wellness, Black fem lead)
- Grindzwittryz (a piece of Hawaii in PDX)
- Ericas Soul food (I look up to her in so many ways & her food slaps)
- Come Thru (a Black & Indigenous farmers market with the LIVEST DJ’s in PDX)
- Black Futures Farm (they grow some amazing lush produce & I love seeing Black farmers thrive)
- Honeybee Lemonade & Syrups (Andrea and her daughter make refreshing syrups I use on my menu)
- Amanda at Alistpdx (A Filipina who is leading the way in getting PDX to focus on the diverse group of Women-owned businesses in PDX. I’m personally working with her as a Business coach/mentor)
- Third Eye Books (the only Black-owned Bookstore in PDX, enough said.)
- The Sportsbra (finally, the nations only sports bar for women. I use to play bball with the owner Jenny Nguyen)
- Kee’s Loaded Kitchen (I’ve said it before, but her cooking reminds me of my Moms cooking)
- Chelo PDX/Dame (Anything chef Luna does is GOLD. She is killing it and most importantly her personality shine through her food!)
- Cloud City Realty (commercial real estate brokers focused on ending yt supremacy & supporting equity by working with diverse small businesses.)
- An Xuyên Bakery (dank Bahn mi, lovely pastries it’s a weekend local go-to)
- The Haymarket Pole Collective (We share a common vision of our labor liberated from all oppressive structures. We are a grassroots organization based in Portland, Oregon. We focus on advocating for safe and equitable homes–and workspaces for Black, Brown, Indigenous, and or LGBTQIA2S+ sex workers.”)
- The PDX Free fridge ( mutual aid in full effect. Providing free fridges of food and much more all over PDX)
- The Free Lunch Collective ( Actively stomping out hunger in PDX. They make distribute free meals, information, etc to those in need.
- I’m missing a lot of places, especially the nonfood related. If I could boost everyone I would.