In a capitalist society, we have a responsibility to buy from brands which we support their moral values. These values can extend from environment stewardship and more recently social equality. On this trending topic, the supreme court ruling showed support for the LGBTQ community. And the topic extends from there with the ongoing protests for the fight against racism and police brutality. Many american have been speaking out on social media with their thoughts, while others may have quietly donated to charities to support the cause. A lot of movement towards equality despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Hesitation to partake in these protests due to the pandemic can be frustrating. Ways to support the movement can extend beyond donating to charities and speaking out online, and that is why this post lays out an alternative to encourage minority entrepreneurship all while from the comfort of your chair.
This is just a short list of some highlighted companies that spoke to us, or we stumbled upon them watching shark tank (Kreyol Essence). No matter how you found it, we think it is important to support business with a diverse set of background. We appreciate you checking this out. Be sure to puruse the end for ideas local to you.
Denise Woodard is the founder of Partake Foods. Her daughter had multiple food allergies, and this mother was disappointed by the selection of snacks she could feed her daughter. In 2016, she decided to launch her own brand which catered to her daughters restrictions, providing vegan, no-GMO, and gluten-free treats. The cookies can be found in many stores nation-wide, and their selection of treats include cookies in all these flavors: chocolate chip, double chocolate chip, triple chocolate, carrot cake, birthday cake, ginger snap, and cookie butter. Any of these treats are bound to satisfy a little-ones sweet tooth.
Keba Konte started one of the few black-owned specialty coffee companies. His journey started out as an artist and photographer based out of Oakland, CA. In 2005, he opened up Guerilla Cafe to showcase this very art. After the stint in coffee shop ownership, he decided to distribute specialty coffee and he saw an opportunity to correct several inequities in the industry.
A family-owned, founded by Ermeyes and Betlehim Ghebrreselassie, decided to start a "teff" adventure. They saw an opportunity to rediscover this grain that is gluten-free and have a host of other benefits to health. The product is imported from Ethiopia and extend beyond just the grain. The stone-ground into a flour is ideal for bread, pasta, and other baked goods.
Back in Columbus, Ohio in 1992, William "Bill" Williams started Glory foods to sells tasty Southern side dishes. Food items include fresh bagged greens, frozen foods, yams and more. Glory products are in grocery stores around the country. When Williams passed in 2001, his son, Bill Williams Jr., moved to help carry on the legacy.
In 2017, a Brooklyn, New York-based brand was founded by two entrepreneurs looking to make healthy foods and supplements more accessible. Trinity Mouzon Wofford and Issey Kobori started to brand to help spread good vibes to the health and wellness industry. And they are doing just that.
The McBride Sisters is the largest women, black-owned wine company in the U.S. Co-founders and sisters Robin and Andréa McBride's collections of wines can be found in popular chains across the nation. The sisters launched a canned wine called "She Can" that awards scholarships "to empower women to strive for change and to create opportunities for themselves where there hadn’t been before." Find out more on their "She Can" development fund.
*Must be 21 or older to venture around on their site.
Founder Erica Barrett and her mother are the team behind Southern Culture. The pair was featured on CNBC's "The Profit" and teamed up with the host Marcus Lemonis to sell shelf-stable breakfast products. Their list of products include banana pudding pancake mix, jarred bacon rubs and canisters of stone-ground grits. Yum! Their goals was to make delicious simple for an easy life. Their motto "Small Batch from Scratch" tells it all.
Health focused adult find it difficult to pick quicly prepared food for their children. This brand is dedicated to re-imagining childhood treats. The founder, Keisha Smith-Jeremie, elevated fruit purees with flavors like hibiscus, lavender pear and ginger. Each product is certified organic, gluten-free, low-calorie and packaged for indulging (but guilt-free) snacking habits and taste buds. You can find them on Amazon and at Walmart
Featured on Shark Tank, these eco-friendly products are made from pure and natural ingredients - ticking the box in a couple different categories. Further, they are determined to create sustainable jobs and empowering women all while protecting and conserving the island’s environment. From Carribean farms, the company uses indigenous ingredients to naturally grow hair, eyelashes and eyebrows. Their main product is the sustainably-harvested Haitian Black Castor Oil, and was shown to help re-grow hair.
Nancy Twine was inspired by her mother (a chemist) and grandmother who taught her to make products with natural ingredients. In 2014, she launched the company to target customers based on hair type rather than ethnicity. Now distributed internationally, and is sold in popular chain's such as Sephora. From the start, it had rave reviews and quickly grew to a profitable brand. To learn more about her captivating story, check out a Forbes magazine article on her,
In 2011, Dana Jackson was diagnosed with a life alternating condition, lupus. It completely changed her life. Because of certain symptoms of the disease, she was unable to wear beauty products because her symptoms would flare. She was dedicated to produce a non-toxic beauty brand that would cause a backlash of symptoms. With completely natural ingredients, you will be sure to find something that fits your craft.
Founded by Abena Boamah-Acheampong, Hanahana Beauty is a clean beauty brand that sources its shea butter sustainable and exceed requirements of fair-trade by paying double to their suppliers. Their shea butter comes in a variety of unqiue scents including vanilla lavender, amber vanilla, eucalyptus and lemongrass.
In 2009, this running group was founded to promote fitness and end the obesity epidemic among Black women. Now, Black Girls Run has chapters in dozens of cities and offers training and community to all experience levels runners. ALso, the business has a ways to donate directly.
Just in time for a pandemic, they’re offering one-on-one and small group virtual training sessions. Their most popular personal trainer Ngo Okafor and a team of fitness pros help clients upgrade their bodies through a mix of cardio and strength exercises.
Ailey Extension is part of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater which offers dance and fitness classes for everyone. Don't be shy if you are an absolute beginner or a little more experienced. Right now, they’re offering virutal classes for kids and adults in all different types of dance from ballet to hip-hop.
Above are just a few highlights of business to support. But we encourage exploring local and small businesses to support, especially in this time of need. If you wish to find a company local to you use one of the following resources:
This website is a directory of black/African american business across the country. Simply type in click Find a Business on the landing page then select State Search. Just a quick search landed me a some cool businesses I haven't even heard of in my city. Definitely will check them out.
Download this app on Google Play and the Apple App Store. This is a guide to local black-owned restaurants or businesses in general all in a modern interface. Similar to yelp or googles ranking system, you can rank each business based on your experience.
Started back in 1997, this database contains black-owned bookstores across the nation. Further it is serving to educate communities of color. Search by store, state, or check out their map! Learning more on African American history can go a long way.
Use Tools available to you
Using the following hashtags search social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook): #SupportBlackBusiness, #SupportBlackArt, #ShareBlackStories. Bonus points, find friends or influencers that are highlighted their favorite brands and companies. I'm sure you find a gem or two.
Bottom line is there are a ton of business out there, and you may be surprised to find a few that you are already supporting. We hope this empowered you to get your next dinner from one of the companies listed on GetOkra, or better yet you find a business that is personal that speaks to you. These are just a few we found and we hope you dedicate some time to find business you like so you become a recurring customer, that is so important.