Life A Barfly’s Ode to the Unfilled Glasses & Bars Around the
10 Black-Owned Businesses to Support
Each and every day, we are bombarded with advertisements, endorsements and word-of-mouth suggestions of where to spend our next dollar. As we become more mindful, ethically-motivated consumers, where that dollar is spent is becoming of increasing importance.
Today, I’m pleased to present you with a list of 10 Black-owned businesses to consider supporting the next time you’re in the mood for some new threads, kicks or personal care products.
Supporting Black-owned business not only promotes visibility and representation in the green economy. It also holds other companies accountable for their own practices on inclusivity and equity, while helping to close the racial wealth gap in America.
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In today’s Covid economy, supporting Black-owned business is more important than ever, with 58% of Black business owners stating that their company’s financial health is “at risk” or “distressed” due to the pandemic.
If this wasn’t startling enough, statistics prove that Black entrepreneurs often have the cards stacked against them, even in the best of economic times. On average, Black business owners not only receive less business financing than their white counterparts, but also at higher rates when it is obtained. Further, just 1% of Black business owners obtain business loans in their first year – and only 18% report receiving assistance from loan officers in completing business loan applications.
10 Brands You Should Know
Thankfully, in 2021, there has never been a better time than to take the power into our own hands and show these entrepreneurs that they are valued and supported by putting our money where our mouths are.
Without further ado, here is our curated list of 10 Black-owned businesses to consider supporting in the men’s lifestyle space this year.
The experience of Black America is perhaps no better represented anywhere than the streets of South Central, Los Angeles, which is exactly what the spirit of Bricks & Wood is built from. As their slogan states, “we are more than a brand, we are a platform for the voices unheard”.
This apparel company aims to tell stories through what they call “rearwear” — uniquely crafted items that become “instant classics” — and bring you back to the day and time you purchased your item each and every time you wear it.
Bricks & Wood offers a wide range of streetwear, from t-shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, hats, sunglasses, socks, and more.
In 2014, three Black men founded Tier NYC under the motto “Art Never Dies”, and judging by the incredibly creative collections they’ve produced over the past six years, they have certainly lived up to their slogan.
If anyone remembers my love of Coogi sweaters back in the early 2000s, you will not at all be surprised by my love of this brand. Not only does Tier use often bold color pallets and imagery within their designs, but they also include Black-inspired themes throughout their collections, which gets a big thumbs up from me.
While Tier’s products may be a bit on the pricier side of the items mentioned in this list, their pieces are genuinely wearable artwork that are sure to be a conversation starter where ever you go. And let’s be real, if you can drop serious coin on corporately owned big-brand products, you can do it for these brothers, too.
This brand really speaks to the experience of Black America, and I am here for it!
While there are tons of cool clothing items created by this brand, the one that speaks to me the most is their statement tee that reads, “Pressure busts pipes and turns Black kids into superheroes.” Man, if that ain’t the truth.
Not only does this brand offer some of the best, original streetwear I’ve seen in years, but it’s also one-hundred percent unapologetically Black.
In addition to their great product offerings, they’ve also done some top-tier audiovisual work to promote their brand, which I highly encourage you to check out. The opening line to the video on their homepage states, “If I had a superpower, it would be to teleport, and I’m getting all the homies out of jail”.
While many corporations hire Black celebrity faces to promote their products and line the pockets of their stakeholders in turn, this is one celebrity brand that you can be sure has not sold out – even after the tragic and untimely demise of its founder.
That’s right, I’m talking about The Marathon Clothing. From tracksuits and jerseys, to bucket hats, ash trays and pens, there’s something here available for everyone.
Leaders 1354 opened its doors in the Windy City back when I was playing for the Bulls, and it’s no surprise that they’re still going strong nearly 20 years later.
This urban lifestyle sneaker shop has roots in Hyde Park, and has long been a pillar in Chicago’s hip-hop and creative communities. My love for Leaders goes beyond their sneaker selection and vibrant tees; the brother behind the brand has also worked tirelessly to serve as a mentor for Chicago’s youth, many of whom earned their first paychecks at his shop.
This is definitely a Black-owned business that’s got heart and cares about giving back. I hope the next time you’re in the market for an addition to your wardrobe, you’ll skip the corporately-owned chains and consider buying from this small business in person or online – you can certainly feel good about doing so.
I couldn’t possibly write an article about Black-owned business and not give love to my hometown. The North Flint is a fully licensed clothing line that not only plays homage to Flint, but specifically to the northside… and if you’ve ever heard of Flint, you’ve heard of the northside.
While Flint has consistently been ranked as one of the top most dangerous cities for the past 30 years, it’s the northside that’s the heart of this jungle. It’s the place that raised me. And while it’s the place that I fought so hard to get out of, I still have so much love for the lessons it taught me and the people who also consider it home.
The North Flint is a slogan that owner (and personal friend of mine) Rashad Stclair has proudly – and creatively – displayed on a wide range of hoodie and t-shirt styles. When you rock a piece of this brand, not only are you showing the city love, but you’re also helping put it on the map. And considering this is an urban center in America that doesn’t even have access to clean water, my hometown needs all the love and attention it can get.
Now, if you know me, you know how much I love taking good care of my skin. And if that’s what you’re into too, look no further than Bath Savvy Naturals.
This Flint-based, Black-owned business has a wide range of luxurious, natural personal care products, from handmade soaps, oil creams and sugar scrubs, to whipped body butter, shower bombs, and more.
Taking a shower is (probably) something you do every day, so why not ditch the $1.99 discount body wash and make it feel like an expensive trip to the spa each and every time? Bath Savvy Naturals makes luxury affordable, and will have your skin feeling amazing.
If you are not part of the BIPOC community, you’d likely be surprised to find out just how frustrating shopping for personal care products from major chains can be. From limited product selection to a lack of education by in-store consultants, we are often left with slim pickings and a lack of help when it comes to finding what we need.
4th Ave Market is America’s largest Black-owned beauty store, carrying thousands of Black-owned brands for skin, hair and personal care. What’s more is that 4th Ave Market also invests in Black-owned businesses and routinely finds meaningful ways to give back to, and elevate, the Black community.
Dope Coffee’s mission is to show the world that premium coffee and Black culture go hand in hand. This Black-owned brand creates special products inspired by the culture, but in their words, “everyone is invited to the party!”
Their coffee-themed offerings don’t stop at the beans. They also have mugs, beard serums, soaps, and merch. I truly have never seen coffee look cooler or more exciting than this, and am already filling my online shopping cart with gifts for family and friends.
This one is truly for my people – and for those who are serious about being vocal, visible allies. My Black Clothing is a Black-owned enterprise with the mission of informing the misinformed of the beauty of being Black.
My Black Clothing goes hard on representing Black pride and positivity, and celebrates Black culture, education and icons with the goal of uplifting our people.
I’m all about positivity and being able to wear a message with pride, and there many ways to do just that with the offerings from My Black Clothing.
Why Support Black-Owned Businesses?
And there you have it: a variety of Black-owned businesses to consider supporting the next time you’re in the mood to treat yourself or a loved one.
As of 2019, a staggering 80% of Black-owned businesses in America failed in their first year. While the reasons for this are wide-ranging, many can be attributed to our people being victims of the systemic racism that exists throughout America, whether in difficulty accessing education, capital, mentorship, or support.
When you support a Black-owned business, your hard-earned dollars are recycled back into the community, and help to lessen the racial economic inequality that exists in our country.
With so many choices of where to give your business, I hope you’ll consider choosing Black – at least some of the time. For every dollar that is spent within our community, we are one step closer to erasing the wealth gap, and therefore one step closer to the equality we have long been fighting for.
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