It can be easy to forget that as consumers we hold power in where and how we spend our money. Supporting black-owned businesses helps so much more than just the business itself, the money that you spend at a black or minority-owned business is often recycled straight back into that community. The importance of supporting these businesses this holiday season (given the current economic climate) can be the difference between a black business succeeding or failing.
With that said, the internet can be a bit of a minefield in terms of choice and can often leave you feeling overwhelmed when initially sourcing out specific businesses. Fear not, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favourite black-owned businesses, along with some of your suggestions sent to me via Instagram. I’ll continue to update this list during the run up to Christmas, so please feel free to DM me with any black-owned businesses you’d like to see included that currently are not.
FOAKI is a UK based accessory store created by Yossy Akinsanya. “The name is a combination of my full first name ‘Fo-layosade’ and my surname ‘Aki-nsanya’. My reason for using my name for the store and giving a majority of my pieces African, predominantly Nigerian names is because my first name is something I used to be embarrased by but there is so much beauty behind African names and I wanted to embrace my name that my parents gifted me and also make it a household name while I’m at it.”
Estelle Colored Glass
Estelle Colored Glass is a luxury brand of hand-blown colored glass cake stands and stemware in a mix of jewel tones and soft pastels. The Estelle Colored Glass collection is comprised of original commissioned pieces made by glass artisans in Poland at a glass making company with a rich 100-plus-year-old history. Estelle Colored Glass pieces are best described as “jewels for your table.” We just hope our vintage-inspired yet refined and modern colored glass collection starts a revival of colored glass that is reminiscent of a past time.
“Estelle Colored Glass is inspired by my grandmother, Estelle, who loved antiquing and had a special day of the week where she visited her favorite shops looking for new treasures in small neighboring South Carolina towns. During the summer months, I had the pleasure of coming along on many of these treasure hunts. My favorite collection that she was always adding to was her colored glass collection. This marked the start of my love for colored glass.”
Handmade Luxury Confectionery from Ethically Sourced Jamaican Cocoa Nibs. YARD was created by Ashley and Rachel, two friends from South London. At the time, Ashley was working as a Head Baker and Rachel, as a Calligrapher. They joined forces after months of planning and researching to start up this exciting new partnership. Ashley was raised in a Jamaican household and is very enthusiastic about experimenting with the flavours that she grew up around. Each piece of chocolate has been handmade by Ashley, and every chocolate label or design has been hand drawn by Rachel. “Yard Confectionery is more than just a chocolate brand, it is a true celebration of hand made artistry. As a small business, we believe in the power of supporting other small businesses. We work directly with a Jamaican cocoa seller who roasts and winnows our Portland beans by hand in a small facility in St Catherine, Jamaica. So if you’re looking for a chocolate brand with originality and ethics at it’s core, come shop ah YARD!”
Weaving the world into a better place. “In Senegal, basket weaving is a tradition passed down for generations to women in rural villages to make extra income. Travelling there as a child, and many times since, I’ve always found these artisans and their craft so joyful. The dedication and community I felt watching them weaving with their children next to them, under a baobab tree, inspired me to launch La Basketry.”
La Basketry was launched in 2017 as an online boutique, offering baskets and unique woven products for the home designed by sisters Mamy and Tabara, all handwoven by a group of female artisans they had and connected with in a small village outside of their parents’ hometown called Thies in Senegal.
“Today, La Basketry wants to celebrate all things woven – be it inspiring you to weave and craft your own creations at one of my workshops, or to purchase a beautiful piece made by a skilled artisan online. La Basketry is at the heart of your home, it’s woven into our DNA!”
Swim caps & towels for all hair types.
“Neither of us had ever learnt how to swim. So we started to learn together – and one day, we met a woman with afro hair who struggled with the size of her swimming cap. And that got us thinking, why weren’t there more products for people blessed with voluminous hair? That one woman we met stuck in our minds. So over the next few weeks, we spoke to our sisters, our mums, and our circle of friends. The more we learnt, the more we started to see a real problem in the health and beauty industry. With these hair types in mind, we started to design the first SOUL CAP – an extra-large swimming cap created for swimmers who struggle with their hair. We went through dozens of designs and sourced hundreds of different samples to find the products and manufacturers that met our high standards. Not just in terms of quality – but the ethical standards that we live by. Plenty of people said our market was too niche so we had to work hard to overcome our own doubts. We were both determined: we believed it could be done and we did did it.”
The Good News Baker
Each order is baked fresh daily and made to order.
“I am a self-taught baker, that has worked very hard to create a portfolio of delicious recipes. My name, Warsan, actually means ‘good news’ in Somali. Starting The Good News Baker In 2019, I was battling with anxiety and I started baking to relieve some stress, posting my bakes on Instagram. Sure enough, baking quickly became a strong passion of mine and my friends/family were particularly obsessed with my brownies. When the pandemic caused a lockdown, I had too much time on my hands to overthink and began to feel low. After some encouragement, I began selling premium brownies to customers online and it was an instant hit. GNB flourished beyond my wildest dreams and I was able to connect with so many lovely people over our shared loved of chocolate goodies.”
UK based Artist obsessed with Black women.
“I’m Dorcas, the owner – illustrator – artist – product designer – instagram poster – order packer – customer service agent – etc etc behind DorcasCreates. I am largely self taught and passionate about representing and uplifting Black people specifically Black women through illustration. Here you’ll find a lot of bold colours, pattern-work and references to my Nigerian heritage. All of my illustrations start out as pencil drawings which I then edit digitally. Outside of illustration I also love lino-printing and sewing. I am constantly astounded by the positive responses to my work and I hope you leave here feeling inspired, happy and joyful. When I’m not drawing, shipping orders, or attending events you’ll find me in bed with an Octavia Butler novel, eating fancy cakes, on the hunt for the best food in London or screaming off-key at a concert.”
Line & Honey
Illustration, design & textile goods.
Line and Honey is a brand created out of a need to amp up the self-care in a busy, ambitious and fast-paced world. Focused on feeling visible and feeling well (within ourselves and our minds), all of the creativity that comes out of Line and Honey is done so with the intention of using art to be mindful and relaxing, focusing on the visibility and unapologetic attitude of women of colour. Digital art and hand-screen printed cotton pouches feature illustrations that are minimal and line based in nature.
Contemporary black greeting cards which celebrate black British culture.
Kitsch Noir is a greeting card brand on a mission: to represent the love, joy and humour within the black British experience. The founder, Cherelle, designs each card with the intention to uplift and celebrate the beauty of a more inclusive, and diverse society. Since it’s conception in 2017, KitsCH Noir has grown into a multi award-winning brand, stocked nationwide in some of the UK’s leading stationery destinations.
Clean curl care for waves, kinks and curls.
We understand the needs of curly hair and the difficulties managing it on a daily basis. Curly hair is drier and more fragile than other hair types. It requires nourishing and penetrating ingredients to help hydrate and strengthen the cuticle from the inside out. Our products are packed with high performance actives that restore moisture and life to dry lacklustre hair. Our simple 3 step system cleanse, condition, define will give you beautiful, shiny and nourished curls. As nature intended.
“I began to appreciate the beauty of curls in my 30’s. Before that I battled against them, trying to make them what they were not (straight) and damaging them in the process. When my 2 beautiful curly girls entered the world it was important for me to help them love their curls. I needed to be a curly role model for them to see the beauty in having a head full of curls. I was determined that they wouldn’t wake up every day feeling cursed, as I did for far too long. I hope we can empower you to embrace and love your curls too.”
Aff and Jam
Two london grown artists on a journey of exploration through art, clothing and identity. Our roots : Africa and Jamaica – ‘aff&jam’
“We are one part African (Ghanaian specifically) and one part Jamaican, together with our love of arts, music and life our origins are a profound part of whom we identify as. Faces, features and femininity inspires our lines and shapes our concept. Vintage and recycled items which are recreated individually, promotes the reduction of waste. All of our packaging is plastic free and 100% recyclable. Our aims are to grow consciously and continue to promote empowerment and body positivity.”
Borough 22 Doughnuts
Vegan, gluten free doughnuts.
BOROUGH 22 was the brainchild of Ryan Panchoo back in 2011 when his wife and children began suffering with gluten and dairy intolerances. When out and about in their home town of London, it was evident there were very few multi-allergen friendly products and a severe lack of quality in the few choices that were offered. It was only in 2014, after many hours of researching and tweaking, he crafted a recipe for firstly gluten free, then dairy and soya free and finally egg free doughnuts meaning they were completely vegan too. He still bakes in his kitchen in South East London and has been nominated for several industry awards including winning a Great Taste Award for his cinnamon sugared doughnut.
“My name is Ryan and I have made it my mission over the past two years to bring delicious ‘free from’ treats to the UK public. It’s been quite a journey but I’ve had so much fun along the way.”
Sammi Maria Jewellery
Ethically crafted jewellery for those who enjoy laid-back luxe, with a touch of nostalgia.
“I wanted to create jewellery with a strong sense of self, reminiscent of my own ‘Laid-back City girl’ style, which also holds an emotive memory and reflective moment for me. I have always felt the most alive when I’m creating; bringing something unique into the world that leaves it that little bit more beautiful than I found it and I believe the best way to do that is through instinctively trusting your vision. Having travelled to parts of the world over time, I have coveted and collected rings & necklaces since I can remember, and this nostalgia left me inspired to create a jewellery brand that encompasses those moments. The more I journey through life, experiencing new things, interacting with people and seeing the world, the more I evolve as a person and that’s what each and every piece of Sammi Maria reflects. Growth, exploration, curiosity and heart. After being on the hunt for jewellery which reflects me for so long, I never quite found the perfect designs and that gap is what’s led me to this moment.”
Bonita Ivie Prints
Bonita Ivie Prints is a gifts, stationery and homeware brand that celebrates African culture with the use of bold colour and patterns synonymous with traditional West African prints, also known as ‘ankara’. Founder Bonita Ebuehi is a self-taught graphic designer, with a background in architecture. A self-confessed stationery addict; she was dissatisfied with the lack of ethnic influence in high street stores and saw a huge gap in the market for diverse stationery. Bonita Ivie Prints was subsequently launched in January 2017. Bonita is passionate about creating products that people of colour can easily identify with, to make both celebratory and everyday moments special.
Love From Mellie
Clean haircare for Coils, Curls, Kinks and Waves. We’re powered by plants, made using organic and/or natural oils and butters, free from sulphates, silicones, parabens and cruelty-free! Formulated, small-batched and produced in London.
Moisturising Mango Seed Collection, designed to detangle, de-frizz, strengthen, hydrate and repair Coily, Curly, Kinky and Wavy hair. Packed with Mango Seed Butter, Avocado Butter and Hemp Seed Oil that deeply penetrates the hair shaft to ensure more than just a surface level hydration, you’ll never believe it’s in your hair with how light it is.
Natalie Gaynor Designs
“A Manchester based hand embroidery business, run by me – Natalie Gaynor. Run from the home I share with my Husband, three children and chihuahua, Olive. Our home is a hive of activity… all the time! Always being at my happiest and content when creating, my earliest memory of being creative is being taught how to knit by my Grandma. Following this I taught myself how to cross stitch, hand sew and eventually machine sew. My professional creative background is in textiles; which I studied at degree level. I came away with so much insight into lots of creative pathways. During my studying the BA Hons in Textiles, I gained a wealth of knowledge in the textile field and was encouraged to explore practically, the full range of textile mediums on offer to us. After receiving my BA Hons, I have tapped back into all those skills I started with as a child. I have since taken the time to nurtured those well loved and timeless skill sets, especially hand embroidery and design. Now being a wife and a mother to three children, my love of embroidery inspired me to set up: Natalie Gaynor Designs where I create ready to buy and bespoke stitched art, embroidery kits and hand embroidery workshops!”
A 1-woman brand creating handmade, high quality soy wax candles, wax melts, car diffusers and room diffusers. Distinctively simple and sophisticated design, that incorporates the brand name.
“Flickerwick is more than just a candle brand. We feel it’s important to support and unite women who are also navigating entrepreneurial journeys and spark meaningful relationships. We recognise that it’s a blessing to have a lucrative business so when we have success, we like to give back. We’re so happy to support projects from organisations and fellow entrepreneurs that share the same mission in helping women stay lit. 10% of our annual proceeds goes to Our Saviours Orphanage in Kasoa, Ghana. In light of the current situation COVID-19, we sent out 50 scented candles to Frontline Staff around London to thank them for their hard work and sacrifice.”
Maker of colourful handcrafted rafia bags in Ghana.
A A K S was founded by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi with the goal of introducing the world to her favourite weaving techniques done by the women of Ghana while also creating and igniting sustainable jobs within Africa. Handcrafted in Ghana, A A K S creates bags in styles that maintain the spirit and durability of their ancestral counterparts characterised by bright exuberant colours. The essence of A A K S design philosophy is a complex combination of thoughts, design element which come from a critical attention to craftsmanship, authenticity and ethical values in their production ; while having a strong sense of identity and quality. Each collection silhouette is unique and tells a different story through detail, colour and shape. Akosua is connected to every stage of the design and production process to oversee and ensure that the end result is imbued with the spirit and soul worthy of the A A K S stamp.
West-African inspired jewellery.
Omolola is the brain child of 3 siblings. A UK-based jewellery brand that creates modern afro-centric jewellery inspired by Yorube and other west-African art, architecture and culture. Omolola Jewellery was born from the desire to pay homage to west African artistry and cultures, creating connections with their home and sharing their heritage with the diaspora.
Inspired by the simplicity of Nordic design, powered by the attitude & complexity of a woman.
“I have always been fascinated by the curves of the female form, there is so much beauty in the shape of a woman. Fo:mme is a true expression of that and I’m so glad to be able to share my vision with you.”
All Fomme pieces are 100% handmade and completely unique with the aim to use only sustainable and recyclable materials and packaging.
Remember when everybody posted black squares? It’s time to put your money where your mouth is.