"How do I help?" — it's a question that's been circulating widely on social media in recent times. It's a welcome one. As people in the U.S. continue to protest the death of George Floyd and police brutality, there have been calls to find ways to support black lives in the UK too. Support can include donating to charities and anti-racism organisations, committing to educating yourself on racial injustice, and buying from Black small business owners. To help with the latter, I've compiled a list of Black-owned businesses to support in the UK.
Efforts to support Black businesses gained some high profile support this week from beauty-favourite Glossier. Per the Business of Fashion, the beauty brand has pledged to donate "$500,000 to organisations focused on combating racial injustice and allocate a further $500,000 in grants to support black-owned beauty businesses". For those of us with smaller bank balances, buying items from Black business owners can be just as effective. Plus, you get some incredible items out of it too. From books to beauty, enjoy this lengthy list of fantastic brands to add to your digital shopping list. And once you've finished our list of Black businesses to support, there are other resources online where you can discover more.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Hair & Beauty
For years, mainstream beauty brands failed to cater for Black skin tones and hair types. Many still don't. But Black-British-owned beauty brands have been creating wide shade-ranges and inclusive product lines since before it became trend.
Made in the UK, dominating the haircare cabinets of curly-haired women everywhere is afro and curly hair brand Bouclème. Try the curl conditioner, your thirsty hair will thank you.
This brand specialises in “serious skincare for the body”. 79 Luxe’s balm and body oil has legions of fans.
Following up her pioneering brand WAH Nails, CEO and entrepreneur Sharmadean Reid spotted a gap in the industry and developed new technology Beauty Stack to make it easier to book beauty appointments online.
A Complexion Company
A Complexion Company creates clean beauty solutions for women of colour. Inspired by African-native holistic practices passed down through generations, they make skincare products that are plant-based, free from parabens, sulfates, fillers, fragrance, and dyes.
Blogger-turned-entrepreneur, Freddie Harrel, teases a summer 2020 launch for her conscious beauty and hair brand Rad Swan. Featuring ethical hair extensions, Harrel raised £1.2 million for her new venture "built for the global diaspora."
London-born brand Holy Curls is on a mission to inspire curly-heads “the world over”. They promise hair-care free from nasty chemicals and “only use ingredients that groove well with curls.”
Uoma Beauty was created by Nigerian born, London and LA based beauty industry executive Sharon Chuter. The brand's aim is "to redefine the rules of inclusivity and diversity" in the industry. Its foundations are among its most popular products.
When it comes to feeding your skin, it’s better to go gourmet. Using ingredients sustainably-sourced from Ghana, the brand’s handmade products are good enough to eat.
Hooray for vegan, sulphate free, haircare made in the UK.
Featuring shea butter and oils handmade in Hackney, Liha is a conscious skincare brand with a "mix of natural African roots and a quintessentially British attitude."
Feed your skin and your curls with natural products from Anita Grant.
Nourish your tresses with natural and organic hair products by Afrocenchix. The British beauty brand is the first afro hair care brand to go on sale in Holland & Barrett and has a variety of sets to help you with your hair care routine.
The Afro Hair & Skin Company
This brand's 'Perfectly Balanced' facial oil was recommended in Vogue as the best facial oil for people of colour. The Afro Hair and Skin company also have a solid range of hair and skincare products to indulge in.
Antidote Street is "on a mission to help you choose the best routine and products that work for your texture" and curate the very best products for textured hair so you can shop easy breezy.
Founded by Jamelia Donaldson, TreasureTress is Europe's ‘first and largest product discovery box’ for women and girls with naturally kinky, coily, curly hair.
The publishing and literary world is slowly but surely passing the mic to Black writers in both fiction and non-fiction genres, allowing new ideas, stories and voices into the forefront. And, although not technically businesses, buying books written by Black people is an excellent way to show your support for them and learn from them.
I Am Not Your Baby Mother by Candice Brathwaite
Parenting blogger and author Candice Brathwaite explores the complexities and joys of Black motherhood in her debut book.
Brit-ish by Afua Hirsh
The Sunday Times bestseller that reveals "the uncomfortable truth about race and identity in Britain today."
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
As a young, Black, millennial woman, I couldn't help but see myself in protagonist Queenie. It follows a Black 26 year-old journalist navigating breaking up with her (white) boyfriend, mental health, race, consent, friendships, and more.
Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri
Black women's hair is political — there's no two ways about it. Don't Touch My Hair was written by Irish-Nigerian author, academic, and broadcaster, Emma Dabiri. As author Bernardine Evaristo writes, it's "a scintillating, intellectual investigation into black women and the very serious business of our hair."
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
In 2019, Bernardine Evaristo became the first Black woman to win the Booker prize for her novel Girl, Woman, Other. Find a bookshelf without it. Go on, try.
Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
It's an award-winning book which has been described as "essential" reading and sparked national conversation when it was released in 2015. As described by Waterstones, it is "a searing, illuminating, absolutely necessary exploration of what it is to be a person of colour in Britain today." The author Eddo-Lodge has asked those buying the book to match the amount they paid for it with a donation to the Minnesota Freedom Fund which is helping to support those protesting police brutality in the U.S. state.
I Will Not Be Erased by gal-dem writers
From the women and non-binary people of colour who brought us ground-breaking publication gal-dem, I Will Not Be Erased features stories about growing up as people of colour.
Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible by Elizabeth Uviebinené and Yomi Adegoke
With help on navigating university, careers and dating from prominent Black British women, writers Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené have created a must-read guide.
Fashion & Lifestyle
The fashion industry has a long and complex relationship with race. Whether it's the need to diversify its runways, celebrate burgeoning Black fashion talent, or identify biases within the industry, it still has a way to go. In the meantime, here are some small Black fashion companies to support.
Yard + Parish
Want more black-owned brands from the UK and beyond? Yard + Parish is a portal for independent brands run buy people from the African and Caribbean Diaspora. Founded by London-based Toronto natives Samantha Newell and Alesha Bailey, it features sustainable, fashion, beauty and lifestyle products.
Lapp The Brand
Supermodel/entrepreneur Leomie Anderson created her athleisure brand LAPP for young women with hopes to "represent not only their style but their issues."
Kai Collective by Fisayo Longe
London-based womenswear designer Fisayo Longe is a woman after my own heart. Longe's brand Kai Collective, provides us with "attainable clothing with luxury aesthetics."
Nubian Skin is a reminder to the industry that there's more than one shade of nude. It sells gorgeous collections of hosiery and lingerie designed to compliment Black skin tones.
Womenswear brand inspired by the rich culture of – and fabrics from – of West Africa.
A lingerie company that celebrates what lies beneath every woman’s clothing. Founded by Maïna Cisse, the inclusive collections follow particular themes of activism, with the brand describing itself as “against conforming”, “against sexism" and “against stereotypes.”
London-based Kemi Telford creates beautiful and sustainable womenswear that “tells the whole world: look at me, I’m fabulous.”
This London-based sustainable brand make hand-painted wearable art.
Manchester-based designer and performer Meme handmakes sexy one-of-a-kind pieces. Currently, 10% of profits are donated to Black Minds Matter UK.
Artistically designed contemporary clothing by Chelsea Bravo.
From dressing Solange to Michelle Obama, London-based fashion designer Duro Olowu is in a league of his own.
Classles is a private membership service that gives global access to designer sample sales. Do note there is a membership limit of 500 people at all times.
Founded by thrift queen Rosette Damilola Ale, Revival London specialises in redesigning reclaimed textiles and reworking denim.
Not Just Another Store
Based in London's Shoreditch, Not Just Another Store curates the best in contemporary menswear, womenswear and lifestyle brands.
Founded by Nigerian fashion stylist and ex pipeline engineer Mariam Aduke Abass, Luxe Reloaded is the sustainable platform for pre-owned luxury goods, and the easiest way to give new life to designer clothing and accessories and limit waste.
London-based sustainable accessories brand Eleanor Ofori makes timeless bags and sandals using ‘culturally inherited skills of craftsmen and artisans from Africa.’
The UK-based swimwear company was founded by Michael Chapman and Toks Ahmed-Salawudeen. After noticing women with afro hair sometimes struggled with the size of their swim caps, they created their own solution for swimmers with afro, dreadlock, or any kind of voluminous hair.
Find jewellery, prints, notebooks and more by Dorcas Magbadelo, an artist ‘obsessed with Black women.’
Founded by self-taught graphic designer Bonita Ebuehi, Bonita Ivie Prints is Gifts, stationery and homeware brand that celebrates African culture.
Founded by Natalie Manima, Bespoke Binny offers bedding, pillow cases, tableware and more in African print fabric.
Interiors & lifestyle
Interiors and plants have received a millennial embrace over the last few years. These Black-owned home and lifestyle businesses have sourced their items from Peckham to Nigeria.
House of Kato
Run by Ugandan-British couple Haula and Daniel, House of Kato is an online house plant business. A God-send socially-distanced plant lovers. Based in London, together they are “aiming to promote a connection with nature within our urban homes”.
Manchester-based textile company making jewellery, bags, ceramics and textiles.
Prints, postcards and colouring books for women.
Greeting card company Kitsch Noir successfully represents “the love, joy and humour within the black British experience.” From birthdays to graduations, founder Cherelle’s designs are a joy.
Our Lovely Goods
This family-run business deals in handcrafted natural wax candles and botanical skincare made by talented artisans in Nigeria.
Sara's passion for shopping sustainably and love of textiles translated into these functional designs all plant lovers will adore
The Letter Well
Find Pelumi Rae's beautiful calligraphy on prints and stationary
House of Zabbadi
This Etsy store celebrates West African fabrics, literature and art.
Prick is London’s first boutique dedicated exclusively to cacti and other succulents.
Mind the Cork
Dress up your prized cacti in cork pots and planters designed by Jenny Espirito Santo
L’Appartement by the Yard
This Peckham plant shop was set up green-fingered visual artists.
Wilde Jasmine Flowers
This London-based business also hosts a number of events and workshops, like flower pressing, terrarium making and wreath workshops.
Find stylish baskets and homeware from Tabara, a woman who is “weaving the world into a better place.”
Black British people have supplied the UK with a rich and flavourful offering of Caribbean and African cuisine for years. With more time spent at home at the moment, what better time to broaden your culinary horizons?
Original Flava by Craig & Shaun McAnuff
It's hard to find households without this cookbook in the kitchen. Original Flava is founded by brothers Shaun and Craig who grew up with a love for their mum and grandmother's Jamaican cooking.
Rachel Ama's Vegan Eats
Youtuber and author Rachel Ama has been helping people discover a whole new world of vegan cooking featuring lots of plant-based Caribbean and African recipes.
Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen by Zoe Adjonyoh
Zoe Adjonyoh "want[s] to see a world as well acquainted with Jollof as they are with tacos." Her cookbook shares traditional Ghanian recipes with a little remix.
Hibiscus by Lopè Ariyo
Lopè Ariyo shares creative Nigerian-inspired recipes in recipe book Hibiscus. The 'plantain mash with ginger' is something I'll be trying for my dinner tonight.
Initiatives that support Black-owned UK businesses
Our Black businesses list is potentially never-ending — which is a very good thing. But while the world has sprung into action to help support in recent times, there are plenty of UK-based initiatives that have been spreading the word and helping Black businesses grow financially for years. We’ve listed some below so you can follow their work and help them in their mission.
Jamii launched its Black-owned business card in 2016. They promised to showcase the best of Black-owned businesses while offering exclusive discounts that benefit both the store and the customer.
Ebonyx is a marketplace for Afrocentric businesses featuring jewellery, clothing, skincare brands, and much more (think Etsy).
Black Girl Fest
Nicole Crentsil and journalist Paula Akpan set up UK’s first festival for Black women and girls in 2017. Alongside panel talks, entertainment, workshops, and more, the yearly festival also hosts a marketplace for artists, designers, and makers to sell their products.
Black British Foodies Fund
The Black British Foodies Fund was started in July as a means to help support the growth and development of Black-owned food businesses in the UK, especially post-COVID. The fund will provide one-to-one coaching, financial planning and marketing advice amongst other beneficial advice.
Irish Black Owned
While not based in the UK, Irish Black Owned is a website and directory worth taking note of. Their aim is to help scale Black owned business in Ireland, as well as educate and highlight Irish Black culture. Check out their expansive business directory and get shopping.
Rise Fund N’Go
The recently launched Rise Fund N’Go aims to ‘break down the barriers’ black people face when trying to raise money through traditional means. The unique crowdfunding platform was created by sisters Anita Egbune and Marian Arafiena, and helps the public directly support Black businesses.
UK Black Owned Businesses
The growing directory aims to promote wealth in the African Caribbean community
New Beacon Books
Founded in 1966, New Beacon Books is an institution for Black publishing in the UK. They are the UK’s first Black publisher and specialist bookshop and work to promote Black literary talent from across the diaspora.
Aiming to rival the likes of Etsy and Amazon, the brand new online marketplace Wakuda was created by co-founders Albert Larter and Nathaniel Wade to help amplify Black-owned businesses in the UK. While offering advice and resources to each of its partners, the platform also provides Black business owners a space to list and promote their products.
On the site, customers hoping to support Black business can browse through a wide range of products, including beauty items, food and drink, household essentials, and much more.
Brown Beauty Talk Beauty Directory
In October 2020, Brown Beauty Talk, a UK beauty platform for Black and Asian women, launched a beauty directory specifically for Black-owned brands, which is now available to download for free. This extensive list makes it easier than ever to discover Black-owned haircare, skincare, and makeup brands and put money in the pockets of their owners.
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