As protests against racial injustice and police brutality continue across the United States following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other unarmed black Americans who have been killed, so has the interest in supporting black-owned businesses.
We’ve compiled the resources below that aim to help support the black community, from independent black-owned brands you can shop and steps the retail industry can take to better represent black founders, to causes you can donate to and steps other brands have taken that you can implement.
Please note that one-time purchases and donations aren’t enough — be sure to bookmark these resources and others you come across. Continuously investing in the black community is one way we can help bridge the inequality gap.
Shop black-owned ecommerce brands
Buying directly from a black founder’s website ensures they are getting the best cut from the sale. Here are a few of our favourite black-owned ecommerce brands.
Healthy Roots Dolls
This toy company creates more than dolls and storybooks — they empower young girls and represent the beauty of diversity. Founder Yelitsa Jean-Charles never had a doll that looked like her growing up. She created Zoe, a black doll with wavy hair that provides an educational play experience for curl care, allowing you to style her hair in a number of ways. Their mission is to bring curl power to the toy aisle with products that reflect the diversity of our reality.
This is the rain hat, reinvented. Hairbrella is 100% waterproof and keeps your hair dry and style-protected. Before creating a hat that combines fashion and function to protect various hair styles, lengths, and textures from the rain and humidity, Founder Tracey Pickett tried everything from plastic shopping bags to shower caps but nothing worked well or looked good. Today, she spreads the gospel of fierce confidence no matter the forecast.
What started as a pop-up market to gather black-owned brands in New York has grown into a shopping destination for conscious consumers who want to purchase from black business owners. After just a year, theBOM — or the black-owned market — generated over six figures for black business owners. Their detailed curation, unmatched design, and connections provide an amazing selection of skincare, body, grooming, and household cleaning products, all from black creators. Founder Michelle Dalzon envisions a world where black brands thrive, and her dream is to help as many black business owners succeed by giving them a platform that connects them to their intended consumer. You can buy everyday essentials like organic hand soap, laundry detergent, surface cleaner, face cleanser, lip balm, moisturizer, and more.
Shedavi is a beauty brand built on the concept to cherish oneself. These all-natural, ethically sustainable vitamins, hair masks, revitalizing mists, shampoos, and conditioners are focused on the health of your hair, skin, and nails. Founder Elizabeth Davis researched, learned, and implemented natural long hair care techniques. She went natural, wore protective styles, moisturized, sealed for length retention, and created her own hair growth aids and products. In under four years, her hair grew from shoulder length to waist length and wants to help others grow their hair beautifully.
Inspired by the beauty of the landscapes found in Ghana, Founder Nana Boateng Osei began a project to combine his love of nature, style, and Africa into an eyewear company. The result in Bohten: world-class, sustainable, and stylish eyewear made in Africa. Bohten’s carefully crafted, functional, and lightweight frames are made from reclaimed materials such as wood sourced from West Africa to help support a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Since its first appearance at the Canadian pitch competition “Dragon’s Den,” Bohten has expanded into blue light filter, prescription, and sunglass lenses.
Designed to cover your entire midsection and for comfort, JScupt can be worn during high-intensity workouts, cardio, or all day for a visual slimming effect. This three-tier belt promotes sweating of the midsection to reduce water weight and inches. Founder Jaz Jackson wore a fitness belt during workouts but found they didn’t provide full coverage and were too tight and uncomfortable. So she constructed a better belt that gives amazing results and helps others recognize their full potential in the gym. JSculpt Fitness is 100% operated by black women and has pledged to donate $10,000 to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Zumble combines nostalgia with fun in their creative trivia games with packs that include Martin Trivia, Fresh Prince Trivia, 90s R&B Trivia, A Different World Trivia, Living Single Trivia, Coming to America Trivia, and more, all sourced from customer feedback. Founders Jason M. Gray and Richard Gray created this brand on the belief that people who enjoy shared experiences with loved ones make the world a better place, and they aim to build a marketplace of trivia games that bring people together. New game drops are made every month.
These hair growth creams, vitamins, and supplements have been featured in publications such as Essence and Ebony. Founder & CEO Aqila Augusta has become a trailblazer in the hair care industry with the creation of her hair growth stimulant, Edge Entity. Studying biology and chemistry and her experience as a nurse helped her formulate products that work. She’s become an inspiration to women aspiring to entrepreneurship and is known for her philanthropy efforts.
These products — that are 40 years in the making — help you eliminate acne, marks, small scarring, discolouration, rough texture, and enlarged pores. Perfec-Tone began with Lila Pinder in 1980 who was on a mission to find a solution for people who were not comfortable in their own skin. With the help of professionals, she began experimenting with different combinations of ingredients until she found a formula that worked. She opened Lila’s Skin Care & Beauty Centre to restore customers’ skin using her products full of antioxidants, skin firming formulas, and deep pore-blasting properties. Decades later, her son Arron joined the team as CEO to modernize and revitalize the brand and launched Perfec-Tone. Today, this family-operated business still has a passion for making people feel great about themselves.
Chance the Rapper
We’re big fans of this Grammy-award-winning musician. Chance the Rapper is a philanthropic artist who always seems to be giving back to his communities, and not just when there’s a spotlight on an issue. We wanted to include his ecommerce store that includes everything from general apparel merch to his albums.
Urban Intellectuals created a suite of historical education products designed to educate, empower, and engage a generation. Their apparel, books, and Black History Flashcards highlight many of the amazing black women and men who contributed to our world in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics. Founder Freddie Taylor aims to shine an uplifting, positive, and inspiring light on the black community, while sharing the global history of black people. This way, we can honor these amazing people from our past and present to empower ourselves for the future.
Voice Of Hair
Brandelyn Green struggled to find trusted hairstylists who could help her maintain her natural hair as she moved to new cities. She sought to create a platform to help women of colour find the best products, hair stylists, advice, and trends. She founded Voice Of Hair to provide hairspiration as well as styling tips for women with relaxed and natural hair. This community allows you to find a stylist and see pictures and videos of their work, so that you can book with confidence. Brandelyn went on to create a hair elixir that’s a 6-in-1 hair and scalp treatment using all natural, vegan, and paraben-free that contains no mineral oil.
ML Delicate Beauty
ML Delicate Beauty sells a variety of natural skincare products to help with everything from premature aging to restoration. All products are manufactured in the United States, certified by Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), are safe, pure, 100% natural, and best of all, affordable. Manuela and Greggy Lubin run the brand as a family-owned business.
More black-owned ecommerce sites
There are so many other great lists out there, so we’ve rounded a few of them up:
- The Strategist’s list of 125 black-owned brands to support by category, ranging from food and beverage companies, bookstores, clothing and accessories, home decor, fitness brands, gift shops, and more.
- Marie Claire’s list of 62 black-owned brands from the fashion and beauty space to home and food, where you can spend your money and their list of 30 black-owned beauty brands.
- Glamour’s list of 39 black-owned businesses.
- Our partner Privy’s list of 50 black-owned ecommerce brands and their directory of more than 200 black-owned brands.
- Allure’s list of 41 black-owned beauty brands selling makeup, hair-care, and skin-care products.
- Buzzfeed’s list of 27 “cool products” from black-owned businesses.
- Shopify’s Twitter thread of ecommerce websites that are owned by black entrepreneurs.
- WeBuyBlack.com, the largest online marketplace for black-owned businesses.
- The Official Black Wall Street directory features thousands of black-owned businesses and has a search bar as well as dropdowns for category and location.
- Five Fifths is a site with curated lists of black-owned brands, powered by the world’s largest black online business directory.
Donate to organisations that fight against racism
Business owners and consumers can donate to organisations that combat racism and defend equal rights such as:
- Colour of Change
- Black Lives Matter
- The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
- Equal Justice Initiative
Here are brands that are donating 100% of their proceeds to organisations that fight against racism, including the NAACP, Black Lives Matter, Bail Project, and more.
Here is where large corporations have put their dollars including brands like Away, Glossier, Nike, and Warby Parker.
Sephora is allowing customers to exchange their loyalty rewards points for donations to the National Black Justice Coalition.
If you don’t have a way to implement this in a loyalty or rewards program, look into apps or plugins like ShoppingGives that allow you to add an option for customers to donate money to a cause of your choice on your checkout or order confirmation page.
Invest in black-owned businesses
Glossier created the Grant Initiative for Black-Owned Beauty Businesses and opened its call for submissions. They plan on giving $500,000 to more than a dozen deserving recipients.
Partner with black businesses
If you run an ecommerce store, there are several ways you can collabourate with black founders, creators, and businesses.
For example, Kula Cloth partnered with black artists Latasha Dunston from Jitterbug Art and Teresa Baker from the CEO Diversity Pledge on the design of the ‘In Solidarity’ Kula for which 100% of profits from the ‘In Solidarity’ Kula and matching sticker will be donated to five organisations selected by Latasha and Teresa. While it sold out almost immediately, these types of collabourations can be easily repeated.
Aurora James, founder of footwear and accessories brand Brother Vellies, called on retailers to commit to buying 15% of their products from black-owned businesses by launching a campaign targeting giants like Target, Sephora, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Whole Foods.
Similarly, The Black in Fashion Council was founded to represent and secure the advancement of black individuals in the fashion and beauty industry. They will do an annual score grading fashion companies’ commitment to diversity.
Reinvesting in black-owned businesses is one way to bridge the gap and support an underrepresented community.
Check out Kendra Jeelani’s YouTube series: Talkin’ Ship
One of ShipBob’s team members Kendra Jeelani, started a YouTube series titled, “Talkin’ Ship,” where she talks to black-owned business owners about all things ecommerce logistics. Here are two of the most recent episodes and top takeaways:
Talkin’ Ship with Dr Gina Paige, co-founder of African Ancestry
Takeaway 1: You win when you offer something no one is doing. It may take time for others to catch on but believe in your vision
Takeaway 2: You don’t have to be the best at everything, with the right team and experts, you can bring any idea into fruition.
Talkin’ Ship with Cortney Sargent, co-founder of Vicky Cakes
Takeaway 1: Take the discovery calls, you may be more ready than you think.
Takeaway 2: Building your brand around family and healthy culture is something everyone can relate too
Support black-owned stores locally
In addition to black-owned ecommerce options from all corners of the country, you can also shop local.
Find black-owned shops near you
Check Instagram for accounts that curate makers and store owners in your area such as:
Here you can find lists of black-owned restaurants by city. Or, you can download the app EatOkra to help you find black-owned restaurants that will become your new favourite places to eat.
Black-owned restaurants harmed in protests
Here is a Twitter thread of some black-owned businesses that were damaged in protests and more here.
Local black artists
Black artists who rely on selling their art in person have been hit especially hard during Covid-19. One non-profit organisation in Oakland, CA called The Crucible is working to support local artists of all colours by offering a platform to sell their art.