In celebration of Black History Month, NYLON is running a spotlight series called UNAPOLOGETIC. Every day, we’ll celebrate different aspects of black culture through profiles, interviews, roundtables, reviews, videos, and op-eds. #Blacklivesmatter and we hold that truth to be self-evident.
When deciding what app to download, what hair product to use, or what accessory to splurge on, it can be easy to go with your usual fallback choice and recognizable name. However, now might be the time to explore your options and try some new products and services, ones you haven't heard of before and that can serve as alternatives to megacorporations.
We rounded up a list of 14 black-owned businesses that are providing consumers with high-quality services and products in the market. These businesses show innovation and creativity and they deserve to be recognized for their success. According to a Census Bureau report from last year, the proportion of black-owned businesses account for 9.4 percent of all firms; while that may not seem like a lot, there was a 2 percent increase in black business ownership from 2007 to 2012, and that should continue to rise with support.
So, next time when you can't decide what to spend your money on or what new product to try, consider making the conscious decision to support black business owners in the process. Learn more about all of these exciting brands in the gallery, below.
Myavana is a hair care recommendation system—the first of its kind. You can use the app or website to submit your hair strands for analysis, and they then recommend hair care solutions personalized for your needs. Founded in 2012 by four African-American female engineers from Georgia Tech, their mission has been to “transform the hair industry through science and technology.”
The Bill Organizer was founded by Blue Sodium Corporation with Nnanna Obuba and Chidi Oparah. Capable of organizing and managing your bills—and reminding you when to pay them—the app also provides monthly money reports as well, so you can start budgeting and see exactly where your money is going.
CANDLESSENTIALS is a Los Angeles-based line of handmade candles that are 100 percent soy wax and made without the use of animal products or additives. The candle’s boxes are embedded with actual seeds, thus offering an innovative take on package disposal: After removing the box's labels, soak it in water, plant it, and watch the wildflowers grow. Also, 10 percent of the company's annual sales are donated to Lori's Daughter, a foundation which helps provide guidance, education, life skills, work ethic, and health awareness to women in difficult situations.
Bené Scarves are 100 percent silk with custom designs inspired by West African textiles. By purchasing one of these scarves, you help to sponsor a young girl in Ghana. Bené helps provide tuition, books, supplies, and uniforms for girls to continue their education. In addition to receiving a beautiful scarf in the mail, you will also receive a note from one of the Ghanaian girls!
Haute Hope sells beautifully curated gift boxes ranging from home essentials to accessories to snacks. With a goal of giving “meaningful” gifts, each box also gives back in some way. Every product in every gift box is tied to a charitable cause.
Nana Boateng Osei had the idea to use reclaimed material to manufacture an eco-luxury eyewear line. The inspiration for Bôhten comes from his Ghanaian roots and his love of nature. The fashionable eyewear line also outsources most of its labor to Ghana.
Enbois by Maxim is a men’s accessory line with stylish jewelry, watches, and eyewear mostly made with wood for a very chic aesthetic. The brand partners with The Haiti Tree Project, and for every item purchased, five trees are planted in areas of Haiti that are devastated by deforestation.
Good Morning Beautiful is a coaching resource founded by Reese Evans that helps you create new thought patterns to assist you with loving yourself and setting your day up for success. It provides a daily message that gives you advice, tools, and tips to get you closer to your goals and helps you practice self-love and create good habits.
Inspired by her great-grandmother’s recipe and being stung by a bee (twice), four-year-old Mikaila Ulmer first came up with Me & the Bees Lemonade for a children's business competition. Seven years later, Ulmer is an 11-year-old CEO, whose business has grown to become quite profitable and honey-infused lemonade is sold at places like Whole Foods and Wegman's. And hearkening back to those original bee stings: A percentage of the lemonade's profits are donated to help save honeybees.
Are you over supporting corporations like Uber and Lyft? Say hello to Moovn. The free app enables users to request rides via desktop, tablet, or mobile phone in select cities in the U.S. and Middle East. Download it from the Apple Store now.
Noir Reads is a subscription service that delivers curated boxes of black literature right to your home on a monthly basis. The goal is for readers to further explore the black experience through fiction and non-fiction works while also increasing the exposure of voices of the African community.
Mae B is a lifestyle stationery brand that caters to women of color. Brighten up your deskside with coasters, notebooks, and more!
#blkcreatives is an agency for young professionals on a mission to shift the creative scene from the inside out. Founder, Melissa Kimble, was inspired to help other black millennials "develop their best selves in life and in work while moving the culture forward."
Ivory + Ash is a lifestyle brand that creates stationery "rooted in affirmations and illustrations" with contemporary women of color in mind. Co-founders founders, Deun Ivory and Lauren Ash, want to inspire and educate their customers every day.