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how to support black-owned business
Illustration: Naomi Anderson-Subryan

How to actually help London’s Black-owned businesses

A guide to ditching old, embarrassingly unethical spending habits and making shiny, new, better ones

Written by Jessica Morgan in partnership with Google
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Sign up for the long haul

Do you buy independently once and then never again? Get yourself on the mailing list for some extra-good subscription boxes. Take The Spring, a bimonthly box of ethically produced and Black-owned self-care products. Think luxe lip scrubs and fragrant organic candles. If self-care to you means books not beauty, then Black Book Box has you sorted. For £25 a month, you’ll receive a mystery read and a selection of gifts delivered straight to your door. October’s box was impressive, featuring ‘To Sir, With Love’ by ER Braithwaite, plantain chips and more.

Listen to Black-run podcasts

Black Gals Livin’
Jas and Victoria discuss mental health, pop culture and ‘random shenanigans’, focusing on issues affecting the Black community.

2 Queens in a Pod
Join Iman Leila and Leah Mai as they chat about the government’s lockdown measures and other important topical matters.

90s Baby Show
Somehow, presenters Fred Santana and Temi Alchemy manage to unpack big world issues while making you rock back and forth in hysterics.

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Support ventures that look out for others

Iona Mathieson and Romy St Clair are co-owners of Sage Flowers in Peckham. Their course, FutureFlowers, is for non-white florists looking to train.

‘FutureFlowers was born from wanting to remove some of the real barriers to entry that non-white people face trying to get into floristry: courses that cost thousands of pounds, not feeling welcome, not being able to undertake paid internships for experience due to other priorities, such as needing to earn more money or care for family members. The whitewashing of our industry is doing everyone a disservice, though unfortunately, those within it don’t always seem to see that.’

Don’t forget long-running businesses too

Sam Mensah runs Uncle John’s Bakery, a family business.

‘Over the years, I’ve seen more support for Black-owned businesses in terms of diversity within communities. There’s more ownership. But what makes it difficult for Black businesses is gentrification of areas which alienate certain customers who seek local businesses to shop with. As we’ve been there for so many years, and own the real estate, we’ve been able to cement ourselves within the community. I love that our legacy is inspiration for the generation that I am in and for younger generations, to see that they too can achieve success in business.’

While you can't visit in person, order baked goods online.

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Download these apps

Forget Deliveroo. If your stomach calls for well-seasoned soul food, download Chopstreets. Founder Vivian Ngwodo launched the app after discovering how difficult it was to locate African and Caribbean restaurants. Now, users can find them all in one place. For the beauty aficionados, look no further than Sharmadean Reid’s Beautystack, a clever app that allows you to browse beauty trends and book treatments at the touch of your fingertips.

Plan your Christmas presents now

It’s easier to make ethical choices when you’re not racing down Oxford Street on Christmas Eve, grabbing the nearest festive shower gel set you can get your hands on. Instead, make a list, check it twice and get ordering online from Black-owned businesses now. Stuck on what to get? Check out Maya Njie Perfumes, a niche fragrance brand with scents deeply rooted in the founder’s Swedish and West African roots. Or if a friend is Going Through It, gift them one of Loveness London’s luxurious scented candles, packed full of calming essential oils. Want to give the gift of a timeless Christmas decoration? March Muses offers Black angels to stick atop the tree, as well star babies and nativity sets to decorate your house this holiday season.

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black-owned business
black-owned business
Illustration: Naomi Anderson-Subryan

Drink this

Zobo (hibiscus) is infused into bevs on special occasions in Nigeria and is believed to have healing powers. We can’t confirm how healing it is when used to brew beer, but we can verify that Suyaman’s Zobo Pale Ale (available to order online) is very delicious.

black-owned business
black-owned business
Illustration: Naomi Anderson-Subryan

Work out in this

‘I started Damihow to showcase Black women in fitness,’ says founder Dami Howells. ‘They are very under-represented.’ Her range is filled with slick styles, but the lilac cycle shorts (£30) are the most 2020, and are available to order online.

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black-owned business
black-owned business
Illustration: Naomi Anderson-Subryan

Eat these

African Food Boxes, delivered straight to your door, provide you with all the ingredients to make delicious meals , like spicy-andsweet puff puff or jollof rice, at home.

 

Ashley Walters
Photograph: Udoma Janssen

Discover our Black LDN series

We’re all about championing the people, communities and businesses that make London such an incredible city. And that’s just one of the reasons why we’ve created this hub dedicated to some of the Black-owned businesses we love, in partnership with Google. Here you’ll find everything from profiles of business owners to a very cool interview with Ashley Walters – the guest editor of our latest mag, which is dedicated to Black-owned businesses. We think you’ll like it.

And remember: just because we may not be able to visit these businesses right now, there are still plenty of ways you can show your love. Click-and-collect, order takeaways, buy online and give them a Google review.

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