One of the most impactful ways to celebrate Black History Month is by putting your money where your mouth is. By supporting Black businesses, you are spreading wealth around the Black community and closing the racial wealth gap.
Over the past few years in Ireland, there has been a steady rise in Black businesses and although I cannot name them all, here are five affordable ones to follow this lockdown.
1 Nogora Beauty
On 28 January 2021, Nogora Beauty became Ireland’s first Black-owned e-commerce hair care and beauty supply store. The site features a wide range of products, from silk bonnets and wave sponges to lashes and lip gloss. Nogora Beauty was created as a response to the shortage in supply of Afro-hair products displayed in Irish stores.
The creator – Funto Joye – in an interview with The City said, “I want it to be for our community.” He continued, “It’s not for profit. It’s meant to take a stand.”
Nogora Beauty stocks popular Black-used brands like Aunt Jackie’s, Eco Styler gel and Cantu, while also featuring products from Black Irish businesses: byO and Melt Effect (more on that later).
2 Awe-some Creations
Felicia Awe’s company, Awe-some Creations, is not one that we’ll be saying bye to anytime soon. Her business can satisfy all your delicacy needs and more. They do it all: savoury dishes, chocolate fountains and flavourful drinks.
The business started 10 years ago at church programme Summerfest, where Awe was asked to bring drinks. From there, at the tender age of 19, her career in mixology began. Awe-some Creations can cater for any occasion: business events, birthdays and bridal showers on small and larger scales.
“I feel it’s very important to support and promote black businesses but if we don’t support ourselves how can we expect others to do so?” Awe told The City.
The brand even runs masterclasses showing you how to make some of their refreshing cocktails. Their site is currently under construction. However, you can still order through email, Instagram, Facebook or directly over the phone.
3 Bees of Honey
Mimmie Malaba’s vegan self-care brand Bees of Honey is the wellness brand you wish you’d known about at the start of lockdown number one. Since 12 February 2020, Bees of Honey has been bringing customers the daily essentials to start their self-help journey.
Their 100% organic products promote stability, peace and comfort. Their whipped body butter, healing candles and sage sticks soothe the spirit while relaxing auras around you.
“Supporting a small black owned business is like supporting any other small business. It impacts you as a buyer because we look after you as a person and not just another statistic,” said Malaba.
Bees of Honey may be fairly young but the company has already had an enormous amount of success. The one-woman brand has been featured in Image Magazine and is certainly one to watch.
4 Melt Effect
Founder Mariam Oshundairo launched Melt Effect in June 2020. She is committed to giving her clients the best foundations to put their best foot forward.
For Black women, getting your hair done can be seen as a gruelling task that goes on for hours on end. This is one of the reasons why this brand specialises in providing quality hair products that will keep your edges laid and make your wig stay put. Oshundairo has developed an adhesive formula that’ll leave people asking, “What lace?”
Melt Effect items can be found on their site, as well as on the previously mentioned Nogora Beauty.
5 Umoja Linn
Umoja Linn was created by Liswa McDonald and China Soribe in 2017 during their college days at National University of Ireland Galway. Their Afrocentric fashion brand is a collaboration of African and Irish talent as the two work closely with numerous African designers, photographers and other creatives.
The company has had many achievements thus far, and have featured in Country Magazine and Irish Tatler. Umoja Linn’s success goes even further, as their clothes starred in Pharrell Williams and Jay Z’s music video Entrepreneur.
In our discussion about Black History Month, the creators said, “we invite the world to join in this celebration of African excellence by supporting us, while spicing up their wardrobes!”
Even with their mass successes, every brand I spoke to disclosed the desire for their items to be sold in shops around Ireland. Some even expressed the possibility of opening up their own stores, depending on future restrictions.
This is the end of this Black History Month series. However, celebrating and supporting Black accomplishments shouldn’t be limited to once or twice a year. To truly make a difference, Black efforts should be recognised at the same volume as White ones. This is the only way we’ll ever have a harmonious society.