Our selection of London’s best black owned businesses

By Harriet Piercy

Published Apr 19, 2021 at 03:24 PM

Reading time: 4 minutes

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Due to the unfair implications of systemic racism, which has been heavily embedded into culture as we know it, the black community has a far lower self-employment rate than others (12 per cent, according to Policy Exchange).

As more and more consumers start to realise the true impact that buying from black owned businesses can have on the whole of society, we thought it was time to highlight some of our favourites in London. Here are our top favourite black owned businesses in London—among an even larger and growing list of others.

Beautystack

“See it, like it, book it.” This one is a wholly supportive business whose ambition is to help beauty professionals grow their services. Essentially, Beautystack is a booking app with a heavy focus on social community where users are put directly in contact with any beauty services they might need, which in turn nurtures the careers of those professionals who work independently. Think of it as the Treatwell of the new generation, only Beautystack truly uplifts independent professionals.

The app further helps beauty pros reduce the time they usually need to spend on social media ‘managing’ their businesses alone, as bookings are advertised and easily made through the app. This also provides protection to those who are self-employed within the beauty industry.

As written by TechCrunch in an interview with Beautystack’s founder Sharmadean Reid, “the beauty pro’s time is better protected against cancellations, too, with a 50% upfront booking and 50% upon completion. An image of the beauty treatment sought is attached to each booking and the beauty pro can view the client’s profile to gauge their taste before they even walk through the door.” Beautystack is fundamentally one giant B2C conversation and its events are organised to inspire, connect and support anyone who has a dream, and wants to make it reality.

Bonus, Reid recently launched The Stack, a membership focused on beauty, wellness, business, culture, and society. What’s not to love, right?

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A post shared by Sharmadean Reid (@sharmadeanreid)

NTS

Founded in 2011 by Femi Adeyemi, NTS has now become a cult global radio platform. “Built by music lovers, for music lovers. Broadcasting live from London, Manchester, Los Angeles, beyond,” reads NTS’ website.

The Guardian reported it as “somewhere between BBC 6 Music’s diversity and pirate radio’s DIY spirit.” The station, along with its super loyal community, has also made a name for itself for championing underground scenes and supporting exciting music and cultures through both its online radio and its pre-pandemic (and hopefully post-pandemic) events. As well as luring music fans back to radio, it connects them to each other.

gal-dem

As written in Trippin, since its launch in 2015, gal-dem “continued to hold truth to power through platforming the stories of women and non-binary people of colour.” The new media publication further explains on its website that it is “committed to telling the stories of people of colour from marginalised genders,” and it certainly does just that! As with all of the other wonderful brands and initiatives on this list, gal-dem is community driven.

The publication’s journalism and creative work is known for shaping debates and discussions to create important and necessary shifts in the way we think, and by doing so, gal-dem succeeds at empowering as well as supporting the creative work of its diverse community—a platform that everyone should add to their bookmarks.

PRICK LDN

Founded by Gynelle Leon, PRICK is London’s first ever cactus and succulent shop, based in Dalson, East London—although its online shop is pretty ‘busy’ too. It offers a selection of unusual and exotic plants (that are hard to not keep alive, for any non-green fingered souls out there). PRICK sees cacti and succulents as living sculptures that can take years to fully develop and through her business, Leon successfully sheds light on these plants as a sustainable way to brighten up city living. Plant pet, anyone?

Alive & More

Founded by Karl Jouanni, Alive & More is a streetwear label that lets customers unlock real clothes through a video game. By merging Alive & More with his other venture, TEAM RELMS, Jouanni created a gravity defying fashion brand like no other. The concept is simple: users download the RELMS app, play the game and travel to a virtual fashion shrine to unlock their garments. Welcome to the future!

Patta

Founded in 2004 by Edson Sabajo and Guillaume ‘Gee’ Schmidt in Amsterdam as a means to provide themselves, as well as their friends and family with a steady supply of footwear and gear, Patta quickly shifted from a hobby to a thriving business and recognisable brand.

By 2016, the London Patta store opened its doors, and the community surrounding it continued to expand. Unlike mainstream and unsustainable fashion houses, Patta is built on love and necessity rather than profit and novelty. 

Lu by Lu

“From Lagos to London.” Founded by Louie Akinwale in the midst of the global pandemic, Lu by Lu is an accessory brand that currently makes handbags in Nigeria, but aspires to create much more in the near future.

Although still new, Lu by Lu has a strong message surrounding it already. It is where sustainable luxury meets an underground community that is committed to authenticity in contemporary fashion. The brand is ushering a modernist view of Africa, and all that it entails. At its core, Lu by Lu is a movement, a stylish one at that, and is definitely one to be a part of.

Nobody’s Native

Founded by Screen Shot writer Marcia Veiga, Nobody’s Native is an independent ceramic business that sells quirky homeware, from your go-to cups to the cutest smoking pipes you’ll find on the gram. Available to be purchased through DMs on Instagram, you’re bound to find an ideal gift for yourself or a friend on there.

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A post shared by Nobody’s Native (@nobodys_native)

Elite Evolution

Gyms are open, and we’re excited about it! Instead of signing up to the gym giants that usually run the scene, why don’t you sign up to community based gyms where you might actually interact with other fitness enthusiasts? Elite Evolution is a black owned gym based in Hackney, East London, that specialises in providing quality health and fitness in personal training and fitness classes.

Elite Evolution’s goal is to create a safe and connected space for groups and individuals to improve their lifestyles through health, fitness and general wellbeing. Yes please!

Bleu Furniture

The global pandemic induced lockdowns had us spending a lot of time in our homes, giving us a new sense of appreciation or motivation to spruce up some change within them. If you’re looking for furniture that is intricately sourced from around the world, have a look at Bleu Furniture, which is based in Herne Hill, South London.

Most of its products are mid-century modern, 20th century design, decorative art, vintage industrial furniture, vintage African masks and art. The shop also offers specialist upholstery and restoration!

This is a miniscule list in comparison to how many up and coming black creators are out there taking the plunge into self-employment, but it’s a start. Keep an eye and an ear out for the people behind the products that we buy daily, and ask yourself if there are alternative local businesses that you can support too.

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