Black women represent one of the fastest-growing groups of entrepreneurs in the US. To celebrate Black History Month, here are some local black entrepreneurs to support this month and all year round.
Tell me more.
The number of businesses owned by black women showed the highest increase of any group from 2017-2018, according to the latest American Express State Of Women-Owned Businesses Report.
But even though the number of black female entrepreneurs is on the rise, the money they make is disproportionately less than businesses owned by non-minority women. The report shows that the average non-minority woman-owned business earned $212,300 in 2018, compared to $24,700 earned by black female-owned businesses.
That’s not good...
No kidding. Especially because business has historically played an important role in strengthening the black community. During the Civil Rights Movement, business owners offered up their spaces and services to further the cause. And today, black business owners are bringing more inclusivity to the workplace.
How can I help?
Put your money where your heart is. And start supporting black-owned businesses. Here are a few to get you started...
Nubian Skin. The color “nude” is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing (despite what mass retailers might think). Nubian Skin carries intimates in shades specifically for women of color. Plus, they have a guide to help match your skin tone based on other products you use. Also, it’s not the only company taking this approach. Kahumne can help you with a more inclusive shoe rack.
Curls. Hair has played a major role in black identity, and there are a number of black-owned companies that make products for all textures and ethnicities. Curls and Miss Jessie’s (started by two sisters with multi-ethnic hair) are Skimm’r faves you can shop at Target.
Rayo & Honey. File under: home decor goals. Tracee Ellis Ross, "An American Marriage" author Tayari Jones, and just about your entire Instagram feed are fans of the hand-made hanging wall pennants by artist and owner Roachele Negron.
Fenty Beauty. Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty is throwing a lot (repeat: a lot) of shade. The makeup brand recently dropped new liquid concealer in 50 different skin tones. Shop more black-owned beauty brands to find higher-pigmented products. A couple other options: Black Opal Beauty, Mented Cosmetics, and Beauty Bakerie.
Fanm Djanm. Not your average headwrap. This Harlem based company supports international wholesalers from African countries when possible.
Me and the Bees. That lemonade you buy at Whole Foods made with Texas wildflower honey and flaxseed. Teenage CEO Mikaila Ulmer was named one of TIME magazine's most influential teens of 2017, started a non-profit for bees, and speaks to young entrepreneurs around the world. Same.
Natural Girls United. The natural hair movement isn’t just for humans. Meet: Natural Girls United. The company was founded by Karen Byrd, who started customizing toy dolls from mass retailers as a hobby when she couldn’t find any with natural hair.
Mahogany Books. An independent bookstore that carries books written for, by, or about people of the African Diaspora. Read, learn, support, repeat.
Most people think of social justice and political reform when it comes to Black History Month, but economic empowerment is significant too. Supporting black-owned businesses is one way you can help work towards equity.