Every first Saturday is Black Pound Day. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Black Pound Day launched on June 27, 2020 and attempts to redress systemic racism and its economic impact. Now on the first Saturday of the month, you can make a conscious effort to invest in a Black-owned business — whether that’s a trade, hair, food, music, fashion or other industry. Black people contribute billions to the UK economy in both labour and spending habits, yet for the most part the Black community remains undervalued and squeezed out of opportunities. Black Pound Day offers a great way for anyone, whatever your ethnicity, to support Black creativity, industry and enterprise. I’ve rounded up an A to Z of Creative and Family Friendly Businesses worth checking out. Put your money where your mouth is, baby.
Looking for high quality hair care products that suit your Afro, curly and coily strands? Check out this brand of natural, organic and vegan-certified products. Cruelty free, ethically sourced and kind to your tresses.
Big Apple Hot Dogs
Also known as The Mister. Abiye is the street food revolutionary turned wholesale wiz, whose award-winning gourmet hot dogs have thrilled everyone from Tom Cruise to the Hoffmeister (seriously). Since 2020, he’s launched BASHD (Big Apple Shop of Hot Dogs) where you can order online from his drool-worthy selection.
Bonita Ivie Prints
Self-taught graphic designer Bonita Ebuehi is one half of the team that runs social dining club The Sister Table. Bonita decided to fulfill her stationery addiction by creating diverse prints, cards and gifts to fill a noticeable gap in the stationery market.
The London Mother magazine founder Mads Panchoo launched this online shop in lockdown after spotting a need for specialty gifts aimed at teens and tweens. Order gift boxes in three categories: Letterbox Gift (from £25), luxury Gift Boxes (from £42) and Design Your Own Gift Box. Each box offers curated goodies, ranging from organic chocolate to stationery and tech. Follow their feed on Instagram and Facebook at @ShopBoxd for inspiration.
In Nigeria, we call them small chops. The brother and sister team behind this Naija pop-up serve Nigerian treats (pictured at the top), appetisers and small plates up as London’s first Nigerian tapas restaurant. Enjoy delicious jollof quinoa, suya meat balls and dodo, washed down with something cold.
A local legend in Afro hair circles, Charlotte Mensah is the authority on natural Afro, mixed and curly hair care. Her Portobello salon is favoured by celebrity clients and her Charlotte Mensah Manketti Oil range is highly rated.
Ghanaian cocoa beans are at the heart of this chocoholic’s paradise. From the original chocolate shop on Brick Lane to The Cocoa House where owner Nyanga created the Pitch Black Hot Chocolate, it’s a foodie lover’s treat. Indulge via their online shop.
Head to Dorcas Creates for notebooks, prints, buttons and more with an African flavour. The designer is all about quirky, colourful and girl-powered items to add some pop to your day. Keep up at @dorcascreates
Earth Elixir Haircare
Afro hair is the main focus but these products work for Euro hair too. Blending Ayurveda and forensic science insight, the creator of Earth Elixir has produced what sounds like a magical range of scalp scrubs, deep treatments, conditioning oils and stylers. All natural ingredients, ya know it.
The design guru creates luxury African interiors including cushion covers, pouffes and lampshades and makeup bags. As seen in Liberty, Selfridges and other high-end stores.
Bespoke handcrafted, vegetable tanned leather goods created on site from his studio in East London. You can order custom designs (currently on hold) or ready-to-go items, available online.
Hip Hop Homes London
Check check it. Put some hip hop style on your interiors with products from this vibrant brand, the brainchild of international award winning DJ/ producer Nikki Beatnik and London artist Amanda Denise Graham. Combining their love of dope beats and homeware, Hip Hop Homes sells prints, accessories and cushions to make your head nod.
Launched just this year (September 2020), Ihuoma is a divinely inspired luxe lingerie range for earth goddesses of Black origin. Founded by Annabelle Mu’azu, the force behind lingerie emporium Beautifully Undressed, Ihuoma celebrates and accentuates the sensuality and power of Black women.
Island Social Club
Bringing the community together in Haggerston through food, drink and conversation, Island Social Club was all about making connections across cultures. In the light of social distancing, they’re cooking up new projects for a post-Covid world.
It’s Black Owned
A handy directory of reputable Black owned businesses that are welcome to all. The goal is to support Black entrepreneurs who have launched and sustained a business against the odds.
Launched in August 2016, Jamii is a discount card and discovery platform on a mission to make shopping at black-owned brands as seamless and instinctive as any other. A great one-stop service promoting the best of independent black-owned businesses in the UK. In Swahili, jamii means community.
Janet’s List offers a simple, smart and accessible point of connection between consumers and women of colour in business. Based in London, their curated list of products, services and experiences supports women-owned businesses in Europe, America and Africa.
The Insta famous @KemiTelford is best known for her skirts that swish, in bold African fabrics, inviting women everywhere to claim the Queen within. Head to her online shop to find dresses, skirts, trousers, tops, accessories and more to make you swoon. Don’t sleep on it either, as many items are limited edition and sell out fast.
Cute, kitschy award winning greeting card brand that is inspired by the Black British experience. Hand drawn by founder Cherelle in London.
Remember when nude meant ‘White’? It’s 2020 and you’ll still find pale lingerie described as ‘flesh-toned’ but Nubian Skin were one of the first to buck that trend. Browse their site for undies and hosiery in an enticing range of darker hues.
Imagine Me Stories
For kids and families searching for more representation on the shelves, Imagine Me Stories is here to meet that need. The monthly subscription box offers childrens’ books with Black characters or containing Black history and African-centred activities. Aimed at ages 0-12.
The North London restaurant (run by my cousin and in-law) serves up delicious West African fusion food in a handsome setting. Pre-Covid it was buzzing with an upscale crowd, Afrobeats nights and a lively weekend atmosphere. Since lockdown, you can book ahead for a socially distanced meal or order takeaway/delivery if you’re craving good Nigerian cooking with a twist.
I’ve raved about Pitanga on my blog and social media and not just because the owner’s my cousin. Chef aka Executive Mamaput Nky Iweka has an exciting menu that couples favourite Nigerian comfort food with other influences, and she’s always adding new delicacies. Available for takeaway or delivery too.
Pat and Pinky’s
You’ve not had hot sauce until you’ve tasted Pat and Pinky’s range. Made with fresh Guyanese ingredients based around their famous Wiri Wiri chili pepper, these are some of the most flavourful spicy and BBQ sauces we’ve sampled. Chuck some Scorpion Moruga Extra Hot sauce on any meal to go from mmm to woah mama.
Created in response to her daughter being racially abused by schoolmates, Pigment Perfect is all about empowering prints and products for melanin beauties. Pick up badges, wall art, hair bobbles and more.
Groundbreaking design meets traditional English saddlery craftsmanship. Pokit is a grassroots company run by Bayode and his partner Claire, putting out the coolest bags on the market. Pokit bags are for people who want to walk a different path without feeling weighed down by life.
Prince of Peckham
A pub for south London, by south London. The Peckham institution founded by local Clement Ogbonnaya is famous for its tasty Caribbean nosh and party atmosphere. Follow @PrinceofPeckham on Instagram and feel the vibes.
Sheni and Teni
Sheni and Teni celebrates African cultures through toys and books to uplift and delight Black children and families. Their range includes wall art, puzzle sets, activity packs, workbooks and other learning resources.
Thimble & Doll
Every child deserves to have a plaything that looks like them. Thimble & Doll was launched when founder Alisha couldn’t find dolls that resembled her nieces. So she created this charming line of handcrafted felt dolls and toys that represent humans of all skin tones.
I love the name on its own but Uptown Yardie has the fashion clout to match. Ultra cool and stylish shoes and clothing brand that reps for Jamaica. Uptown Yardie seeks to reclaim the negative connotations of ‘Yardie’ and bring the word back home (the true meaning of ‘yard’).
Talented chef and TV broadcaster Andi Oliver (Great British Menu) makes street food and gourmet Caribbean platters to make you salivate. Wadadli Kitchen is part pop-up, part foodie adventure with an exciting new project in the works (One Love loading). Visit the site for clips of Andi and her daughter Miquita Oliver in What’s For Dinner Mummy? – a fun, family cooking series that launched in lockdown.
Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen
Owned by chef Zoe Adjonyoh, the community kitchen in East London runs a mix of supper clubs, mobile catering and kitchen residencies. During the pandemic, they donated 500 meals a week to vulnerable people in the community. I once ran to Hache burger restaurant to sample her Suya Burger, a popular item off her menu. You can pick up her Suya Spice or invest in the Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen cookbook to try her stuff at home.
Who have I missed? Let me know your favourite Black owned brands, shops and services and I’ll consider adding to the list!
Don’t forget to check out these Black owned bookshops too