2020 was a floodgate year for the black community. The resurgence in the Black Lives Matter movement after the murder of George Floyd has led black people in Britain and across the world to rightly demand a long overdue platform to have their voices heard. Many talented and hardworking black entrepreneurs and creators have finally gotten the recognition they deserve, with platforms like Jamii and social media campaigns and movements bringing the spotlight upon them to help them flourish.
Our own Consumer Report, published in August, demonstrated how mass support for the Black Lives Matter movement generated thousands of pounds in revenue for black-owned businesses this summer. Customers from all backgrounds began seeking ways to make tangible social change through their spending habits, and as a result, a lot of the black-owned businesses we work with have some unbelievable year-end successes to share.
Record sales: “we’ve been unable to keep up with demand”
Thanks to the efforts of platforms like Jamii, many of our partnered brands have welcomed diverse new custom and seen their sales soar. Grooming brand Mr Blackman’s say their sales and growth have tripled, to the point that they’ve been unable to keep up with demand. Likewise, lifestyle and wellness brand Yeye Miand nail polish line 516 Polishsmashed through their 2020 sales targets, reaching new audiences that were no doubt just waiting to discover them.
Afro haircare businesses O So Curly, Hair Popp and 4CurlyHair all boosted their sales massively. Meanwhile, sustainable skincare brand Earth To Earth Organics have used their revenue, which tripled this year, to go plastic-free and plant 240 trees. Founders Danny and Tenesia have also gone full-time on the job!
These astounding figures disprove the idea that black-owned businesses only serve black consumers; the reality is that customers from every community can fall in love with these brands, but they just need to know about them first.
O So Curly and Yeye Mi
Award winners: “we won a Black British Business Award”
We’ve long needed to see more black representation in business for a host of reasons, with one of them being to show aspiring black entrepreneurs what opportunities they should strive towards. Big wins came from cosmetics industry recognition this year: IVY WILD‘s Edge Control was awarded Cosmopolitan’s best, while The Glowcery won Women’s Health’s Best Facial Oil for their Clean Greens Oil.
Deserved appreciation also went to men’s fragrance brand Mr Vanguard, who won Silver in this year’s Pure Beauty Awards. Meanwhile, haircare household name Afrocenchix won a Black British Business Award!
Mr Vanguard won Silver in the Pure Beauty Awards 2020
Cosmetics wasn’t the only area where Black British business was recognised: children’s brands Sheni & Teni and Philly & Friendswere both honoured with top prizes in the Absolutely Mama Awards, while handmade jewellery brand Beautifully Unique was awarded an independent business grant to help them with expansion. In a year of so much uncertainty for small businesses, this fantastic news gives us hope that the businesses we love will be able to thrive into 2021.
Philly & Friends won the Absolutely Mama Best Brand Award
Incredible collaborations: “we’ve started working with the Premier League”
We’re sure most entrepreneurs have a vision for an ideal brand or individual they’d love to work with some day. This year, we’re in awe at how our partners have managed to work these dreams into reality.
In October, clothing range Everyday Frodaycollaborated with TikTok on a Black History Month campaign, and events management company Cellar Doorworked with Pepsi MAX to produce their Drive-In Screening of the UEFA Champions League.
Jigsaw brand Very Puzzled created a puzzle for Airbnb and have secured licensing deals with Premier League teams to expand their range into football.
Nude tights brand Sheer Chemistry have launched their line in John Lewis, and are now officially available on the high street!
Every one of these businesses worked tirelessly and conscientiously to make sure that black representation is present and accessible in mainstream culture. From tights to TikTok, we all know we have a right to see ourselves catered to, and we’re so proud to see the landscape changing into something that speaks to us.
Sheer Chemistry and Very Puzzled
Upgrading and scaling: “we employed a team”
This year, supporting black-owned businesses has helped money circulate through the black community, creating jobs and opportunities for economic growth. This is so vital for ensuring deep-reaching change and empowerment.
That’s why we’re so proud thatKiya Cosmetics stepped up from being a one-woman band – founder Kay – to employing a whole team to keep up with customer demand. They also upgraded their working space, as did haircare subscription boxTreasureTress, condiments brand South London Kitchen and cosmetics company The Afro Hair & Skin Co. These new office spaces and warehouses are signs of the scale that’s to come. We can’t wait!
Clockwise: TreasureTress, The Afro Hair & Skin Co, and Kiya Cosmetics
With the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 was a difficult year for most of us, even more so for small business owners struggling for ways to stay afloat amongst so much adversity. These entrepreneurs reached greater heights despite the stress and uncertainty that this year brought, turning the tables and securing themselves a promising 2021. They inspire us every day and we’re so proud to work with them.