Illustration by Emma Drake
Buying black-owned shouldn’t have to be tedious or expensive. Following the recent surge in Black Lives Matter activism, mainstream conversations have begun (for the first time) about supporting the Black community at every level. This includes Black business owners, who statistically face higher barriers to success than any other racial group.
And while Black people and allies of every background are eager to help correct this disparity, I’ve noticed that when lists of Black-owned brands start trending online, they usually lack clarity about (a.) what countries they’re based in (b.) the sort of products they sell, and (c.) most importantly, how much they actually cost. This is coming from a Black uni student with shallow pockets.
I think we should all get used to paying a little bit more for ethically produced products (I’m looking at you, Fashion Nova Babes), still, if we want to see the sustained growth of businesses in the Black community, our hype has to include places that everyday people can afford to regularly visit, not just spots to splurge in the best cases or infrequently appease white guilt in the worst.
Don’t fret though—I’ve done some digging so you don’t have to. If you’re really down for our cause, here are 19 Black-owned brands your wallet won’t be mad at.
*Average prices are categorised from £ to ££££.
Founder Michelle Asare was so frustrated she couldn’t find nude clothes in her shade that she started a company. Her brand sells stunning nude pieces (knotted bandeau tops, lace bodysuits, and more) for every complexion.
This newly founded shop promises the quality (and prices) you deserve, and specialises in wardrobe staples. Note: their clutch bags are to die for.
This chic brand, inspired by the West African diaspora, is one of my favorites on this list. Almost every item is named in an Indigineous language, and their cowrie collection makes me want to empty my wallet ASAP.
Looking for affordable activewear? You’re welcome. Every workout piece is 100% squat proof, and the sisters behind the company are hoping to make workout gear accessible to all. They also sell water bottles, drawstring bags, and resistance bands.
Almost every African girl knows and loves Grass Fields! They design the most gorgeous ankara print pieces, often with contemporary adaptations, and ship throughout the UK. Not to mention their bomb sale section.
Celebs like Billie Eilish have been seen sporting this trendsetting sunglasses brand. It’s on the pricier side, but check out their special offers if you’re looking to treat yourself.
You know when you look at something and need it immediately? That’s Sweet Lavender for you. Not only is every product hand-made (or hand-sewn)—they’re also organic, locally sourced, and cruelty free. These include bronzey body shimmers, mink lashes, and a peppermint-infused lip oil with gold flakes and dried rose petals. I know, right?
Customer faves include shimmery highlighters and pigmented eyeshadow palettes, all inspired by African royalty. Though based in the States, their products are available in the UK on the Beauty Bay website.
This vegan and cruelty-free makeup brand is perhaps best known for their eccentric, dessert-inspired products, such as their famous ‘lip whip,’ ‘lollipop liner,’ and ‘eyelash icing’ (AKA mascara).
For small international orders, you can order from Cult Beauty:
Say goodbye to crusty glues and sprays. After 10 years as a wig-stylist, founder Aasiyah Abdulsalam created a Wig Fix, a product described as providing ‘roller-coaster proof’ wig security. The company’s single (and best-selling product) is a breathable silicone headband that will keep your wig in place all day, every day (£30).
Every item on the site is designed by self-taught artist Dorcas, including notebooks, pins, earrings and more that vibrantly evoke her Nigerian heritage. I would quite literally buy every. single.item.she’s.designed.
Kazvare is an illustrator that does (and sells) it all! From water bottles depicting Beyoncé’s evolution to coasters with dancing pugs, her shop is where dreams come to life.
Founder Sarina Mantle is best known for her coloring book, ‘Women + Patterns + Plants’ (it’s for adults, though, DW), but you’ll find that her range is unbelievable. Shopping sections on the site range from Self-Love Journal Stickers and Jigsaw Puzzles to Face Masks and Greeting Cards. You have to check out the greeting cards.
Ankara print is everything over here. Or atleast on everything. Phone cases, giftwrap, and notebooks are adorned in the style’s bright colors and geometric shapes, but that’s not where the fun stops. Once again, it’s the cards that steal the show, whether you’re looking for a vanilla Valentine’s message or one declaring that you love your partner ‘More Than Ghanian Jollof.’ The latter feels kinda weak, though. #NigerianJollof.
This quirky, Croydon-based fast food restaurant has reimagined culinary staples in a new way, most notably with their famous and (sinful) waffle sandwich. They cater for events and have a London location. And did I mention all their meats are Halal?
Yep, that’s how you spell it. Available on Deliveroo, Just Eat, Uber Eats, and more, this London Jerk restaurant offers killer classics and the vibe to match. Still need convincing? Grilled jerk wings and seasoned fries will cost you less than a tenner.
Located in the heart of Brixton Village Market, this Carribean restaurant fuses Chef Brian Danclair’s Trinidadian roots with the French Provençal culinary training he received as a young chef. Two dishes that caught my attention: vegetarian split pea fritters and coconut curry prawns. There’s nothing left to say.
Etsy seller Warsan is renowned for her luxury letterbox brownies, which are available to order in 4 different flavors, including biscoff and salted caramel. It’s no wonder they’re constantly selling out. P.S. the more you buy, the more you save (so you should just buy more)!
Hands down the prettiest café in London. Whether you’re planning a decadent afternoon tea (I’m talking 24 carat gold champagne) or a walk-in for some milkshakes and macaroons, Saint Aymes is the place to be. Check out a picture to see what I mean—if I was a café, I’d want to look like this one.