5 Black-Owned Businesses to Support in Honor of National Black Business Month

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Today marks the first day of National Black Business Month.

Celebrated each August, National Black Business Month is devoted to honoring and drawing attention to the Black business owners that run businesses throughout the U.S. Created by historian John William Templeton and engineer Frederick E. Jordan Sr. in 2004, the month not only celebrates their achievements but also sheds light on the disparities they face.

As of now, Black business owners currently lead 3.12 million businesses in the U.S., earning annual revenue of $206 billion and giving 3.56 U.S. citizens a job, according to research group Brookings. Still, as a result of the racial wealth gap, 77% of Black business owners reported that their financial condition wasn’t stable- a noticeable difference from the 54% of white business owners that also reported an unstable financial condition.

As they work to decrease the racial wealth gap, here are five popular Black-owned businesses to support in honor of the month. 

  1. Uoma: Created by a former beauty executive for Revlon and L’Oreal, Sharon Chuter, Uoma is a beauty company that focuses on African pride in countries like in Nigeria, the country she was born in, and others as well as empowerment and uniqueness using bright, vivid colors. Offering a diverse variety of products, this inclusive brand sells everything from foundation to contour sticks to matte lipsticks to eye palettes such as the “Royal Heir-Itage” color palette, the “Coming 2 America” mini color palette and the “Black Magic Carnival” color palette. 

As her Uoma Beauty brand continues to grow, Chuter has continued to use her platform to draw attention to the importance of Black-owned businesses; Chuter has already launched “Pull Up For Change,” an initiative that has companies identify how many Black employees they’ve hired, and “Make it Black,” an initiative that gives money to Black entrepreneurs, in support of increasing Black-owned businesses. 

  1. Semicolon Bookstore: Semicolon Bookstore is a Black-owned bookshop based in Chicago that was created by entrepreneur, author and editor with a PhD in literary theory, Danille Mullen, in 2019. Originally planned as being a cross between a library and a co-work space, Mullen reinvented her idea, creating Semicolon into not only a bookstore, but a place for the Chicago street art scene to be exhibited. 

Offering a variety of genres, Semicolon’s titles include “Redeeming Justice” by Jarrett Adams, “Jesus and the Disinherited” by Howard Thurman, “Beloved” by Toni Morrison and “The Undefeated” by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson amongst other titles. Supporting Semicolon also means supporting the community as Mullen’s initiative, “#ClearTheShelves,” helps donate seven-figures worth of books to Chicago students.

  1. Renowned: Created by designer and director John Dean III, Renowned is a Los Angeles-based clothing brand that “exists to illustrate the duality of the American Dream”, according to the company. Using prints and patterns, they aim to use clothing to tell a story. The company offers shoppers a variety of collections to choose from, including a new special project created in partnership with civil rights icon Angela Davis.
  1. Brother Vellies: Founded by fashion expert Aurora James in 2013, Brother Vellies is a sustainable fashion company with materials coming directly from farmers to create items that are produced around the world in places like Kenya, Mexico, Italy, Morocco and more. From the beginning of the company’s creation, James’ main motivation for the company was to create a place where African design practices could be practiced while still being Earth-friendly. 

Primarily a shoe and handbag shop, Brother Vellies sells a variety of footwear such as sandals, heels, flats, sneakers, loafers and socks amongst others. In addition to serving as the owner of Brother Vellies, James expanded her impact as the creator of “the Fifteen Percent Pledge,” a nonprofit that has retailers devote 15% of their earnings to Black-owned businesses to decrease the wealth gap.

  1. Callaloo Box: Founded by two sisters from Trinidad and Tobago, Malika and Jamila Augustine, in 2017, Callaloo Box was created when the sisters found out that there was a lack of Caribbean spices in other parts of the U.S. Aiming to rectify this situation and share the spices that make up the food of the Caribbean culture, the Augustine sisters moved on from corporate jobs and created Callaloo Box, an online grocery store and subscription box service. In addition to spices, Callaloo Box offers users different types of flours, snacks, oils, pasta, fruit, essences, coffee and more. 

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