Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is:
The Power of the Pound
At some point in the last six weeks, you’ve probably seen a few “Black Lives Matter Resource Master Lists” with a wealth of petitions to sign, constituents to call, protests to attend, books to read, films to watch, products to stop buying, and more. The burden of choice can feel overwhelming – and sometimes, with too many actions to pick from, we’re paralyzed and don’t make any choices at all.
But here’s the thing – we can’t stop when it feels overwhelming. Sometimes, we just need to buckle down and make a choice.
So here’s your chance! If you’re not sure which petition to sign (sign them all), book to read (read them all), or film to watch (watch them all), start with something concrete, practical, and immediate: buying from black-owned businesses.
We’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite UK-based businesses at the minute – but first, a few core benefits of investing in Black creators, owners, and entrepreneurs.
1. Work to lessen the racial wage divide
Whilst wages fluctuate a lot from Chinese to White to Bangladeshi employees, Black African, Caribbean or Black British workers earn on average 5% to 10% less than their White British counterparts between 2012 and 2018. London, in particular, suffers the largest pay gap, with ethnic minority groups earning 21.7% less than White employees on average.
Additionally, in 2018, just 5.4% of small and medium enterprise (SME) employers were led by a majority of people from an ethnic minority (excluding White minorities), and just 4.4% of SMEs with no employees were majority-led by those from an ethnic minority. Business loans are also notoriously difficult to acquire for (many) BAME entrepreneurs, particularly venture capital.
By investing our pocket money in black-owned business, we can collectively chip away at the wage divide.
2. Boost the Local Economy
We all know that coronavirus has had a massive impact on the UK economy – the GDP tanked by 20.4% between March and April, equal to about £30 billion in Gross Value Added. The monthly decline in GDP in April 2020 is three times greater than the fall experienced in the 2008-2009 downturn. The good news is, when small businesses flourish, so do their communities!
According to the 2011 Census, the Black population in the UK is more than 1.9 million people. The Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME) found that firms owned by people of African and Caribbean origin generate over £10 billion for the British economy. Imagine what could happen if we spent as much in this sector as we did on the high street!
3. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
If you’re trying to be more active in anti-racism work, the Black Lives Matter movement, or generally address your own internalized racism, investing in black-owned businesses is a practical and sustainable change you can make, literally, right now. Plenty of high street businesses talk a good game about support for BAME workers, creators, and businesses, but when it comes to their policies and actions, the message falls flat. If you want to invest both literally and figuratively in the black community, you can start with supporting black business owners.
This isn’t just about purchasing power – it’s about listening to black business owners, founders, and creators – and understanding the barriers that they may face to make their dreams come to fruition.
Here are some brands we love and encourage you to support not just in July, but from now on.
Hair and beard care for black men – a simple three-step system including hydrating shampoo, mango butter conditioner, and beard oil.
All things hair, wigs, extensions, and beauty, founded by former mental healthcare and social care worker Sandra Brown-Pinnock.
Shop lush hair products, make a virtual appointment or take a masterclass on plant-powered hair care treatments. Good for curly-headed folks!
Natural haircare specially formulated by founders Natasha and Sasha – encouraging hair growth, manageability, and elasticity (no parabens, mineral oils, or petroleum).
Organic, vegan, UK-made, sulfate-free haircare for every type of hair, created by Loretta De Feo.
Named after a brook in the West Midlands, founder Kadian created Bourn Beautiful Naturals after two years of experimenting which formulas worked best for her skin and hair. Perfect for kinky, textured hair and sensitive skin.
Skin & Beauty
Makeup, skincare, hair, oils and butter, all made from organic and natural materials.
Beauty products from Abi and Liha, a former Olympic athlete and art publisher with passions for organic, natural skincare.
Handmade (no pun intended) cruelty-free nail polish inspired by carnival and the Caribbean.
Vegan-friendly, eco-friendly skincare by husband and wife team Danny and Tenesia, who turned to natural skincare products after experiencing skin difficulties moving to England from Guyana.
Natural and luxurious toxin-free products by Aslim, representing the best of both the Somali and English worlds.
Ultimate self-care packages like artisan candles, whipped body butter, and natural soaps by founder Sonia.
An experience and history as rich as chocolate itself – Nyanga has (literally) travelled the world to bring the purest coca experience to East London, from South America to West Africa and back.
South London-based father and daughter-led family business that specializes in tropical drinks like ginger beer, sorrel and fruit punch. Can you think of anything more refreshing in the middle of a two-day English heatwave?
The ultimate supper club, connecting people to British Caribbean culture through food, drinks, culture, and community. Founded by Marie Mitchell and Joseph Pilgrim.
Incredible shop born from generations of coca plantations in the Ashanti and Western regions of Ghana. Run by London-based siblings Kwaku and Afia.
Clothing & Jewellery
A London-based lifestyle brand that celebrates contemporary design and African heritage – beautiful textiles and art from artisans and designers across Africa.
Handmade jewelry, bags, rings, and other accessories (even wall hangings!) made with time, thought and patience by maker/creator Amma Gyan.
Bandanas, headwraps, and other accessories sourced from female makers all over the world.
Simple satin solutions – Black Sunrise offers caps, visors, headbands, and beanies (for kids and adults!) that won’t hurt your natural hair.
Brilliant products that give back. Funky N Chunky supports Ghana-based creatives and social entrepreneurs, startups and community projects, Ghanaian non-profit Revolutionary Underground, and a London-based Saturday School for kids. You won’t only love their clothes and earrings, you’ll feel proud to wear them.
Art & Home
Handmade candles, care sets, and fabulous Afro-Vintage clothing and jewelry collections.
A diverse range of Afro-pop jewellery and art by Hackney-based artist Natasha Lisa.
African print fabrics, African inspired art, tees shirts and AfroBrit fusion home décor – a seamless blend of African style with a British twist.
Handmade homeware and gifts by Natalie, a trained Cognitive Behavioural Therapist with an eye for vibrant colours and prints – beautifully designed and guaranteed to lift your mood.
A globally-inspired curated range of homewares, jewellery, and more from Clerkenwell-based design studio by Isatu Funna, a Sierra-Leonean-American.
Striking acrylic and mixed-media pieces by self-taught Ghanaian British artist Sarah Owusu, all depicting famous Black and African figures. A unique reclaim of history, culture, and heritage. Check out her site for prints, original work, and custom requests.
Not sure where to start? We also recommend picking a Jamii Card – grab a 12-month subscription for £14.95 and get up to 40% off their partners’ stuff, all amazing black-owned UK businesses!
You can also check out the up-and-coming Black Women’s Directory, site to launch soon. Insta: blackwomensdirectory