By Rianna Wilson
If you were asked to name ten Black-owned brands would you be able to do it? As a challenge, can you name five Black-British brands? If you could then that’s fantastic! If not, don’t stress yourself too much, there’s still time to change that.
So what is a Black business?
The answer is in the name. Quite simply, it’s a business founded by and run by a Black person. They may create a whole new product or experience, or they just slide into an already existing market, but bring a new level of creativity and disrupt the fixed norm. Whatever their business vision is, the important thing is the level of support they need.
How can we support Black businesses?
Well, the most obvious answer is, of course, to spend your money with them. There are plenty of websites, TikTok, and Instagram accounts that are dedicated to showcasing and championing Black businesses. The next time you need to buy someone a gift or want to go out for a meal, look for a Black-owned business to patronise, Jamii UK will help you do this. Jamii provides a platform for independent Black businesses to sell their goods. It helps consumers to find brands they may not have been aware of. In 2020, we saw the launch of Black Pound Day. The idea of Black Pound Day is that at least once a month you buy Black. Of course in an ideal world, you’d buy from Black businesses EVERY DAY, but it is not fully possible to do this in the UK…for now! But at the very least, every first Saturday of the month try to support a Black business!
But it’s not just financial support that these businesses need. The best way to grow a brand is through word of mouth, so when you buy from a Black business or visit a Black-owned restaurant, leave a positive review! Have you ever gone to buy an item of clothing but you’re unsure of whether it would suit you or how well it will fit; then you scroll further down the page and some lovely person has kindly written a review letting you know that it would be best to buy a size up as it fits a little tight. And if they’re extra lovely they might have even included a picture of them wearing the item. You could be that lovely person! Even just a quick review on social media would be good, never underestimate the power of word of mouth.
A Black business in focus: Farai London
Farai London was founded in Summer 2020 by London born MaryAnn Msengi. It’s highly likely you’ve seen her famous Gaia dress before, Kylie Jenner posed in it on her Instagram and the brand skyrocketed to fame. MaryAnn’s designs have been worn by many other celebrities such as Jordyn Woods, Megan Thee Stallion, Jourdan Dunn, Summer Walker, and the ladies of Love Island. She has also featured in British Vogue, other fashion publications, and currently has a collection in Selfridges. Despite the fact that she has only been in business for less than two years our good sis is KILLING the game. Remember we mentioned how important word of mouth is? Of course, with her beautiful designs, Farai London most likely would have always been a success, but it really was people posting pictures in, and raving about how fly their dresses were that really helped the brand achieve the success it has. We cannot wait to see where this Black-owned business soars to in the future!
If you are interested in supporting Black businesses in the London area here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Fashion & Clothing
Benjart – A premium street fashion brand based in the UK
Kaeb – Unisex streetwear, lifestyle and accessories
Nalu – The World of Nalu is a fashion label that looks to embrace the stigmas of culture and show it for its truth
WMNSWEAR – A brand is designed with the modern-day female in mind
Beauty & Cosmetics
HairGlo – Beauty supply store on Bromley Road
516 Polish – Vegan nail polish
Good Mela – Inclusive and ethical beauty brand
The Glow Pot – Natural, organic skincare
Restaurants, Food and Drinks
Black Cowboy Coffee – Coffee kiosk based in Elephant & Castle, selling organic fairtrade coffee
Windrush Bay – Tropical fruit & veg boxes
Bokit’La – French Caribbean food truck in Oval
Escape Bar and Caribbean Tapas – Caribbean tapas restaurant in Crystal Palace
Passim Printers – Printing and embroidery of garments
Merch Masters – Merchandising specialists
JAMK – Accountant
Nightflix – Drive-in cinema
New Beacon Books – The UK’s first Black-owned bookstore
Jacaranda Books – Independent publisher and bookseller
No Ordinary Bookshop – Online bookstore