8 Ways to Support Black-Owned Beauty Businesses (In Addition to Shopping From Them)February 14, 2023
Black History Month is an important time to amplify the voices of Black founders and business owners in the beauty space, but supporting these businesses is a year-round (and lifelong) commitment. At Makeup.com, beauty is something that is so near and dear to us, so we are always thinking about ways to sustainably support Black and brown-owned beauty businesses in the long-term. Not only does supporting these businesses help the incredible business owners — it can also have a positive impact on society as a whole.
“By fostering economic stability within the Black community, we can have a ripple effect throughout our larger society,” says Sabrina Rowe Holdworth a celebrity hairstylist, cosmetic formulator and the founder of the clean beauty brand NTRL by Sabs. “Supporting these valuable creators also allows for more representation of deeper shade ranges in makeup, hair-care products tailored specifically for textured styles, increased accessibility for education and mentorship opportunities, as well as ensuring luxurious beauty merchandise that caters to everyone’s self-care needs and preferences."
We tapped several business owners and founders, including Holdsworth, to shed light on the different ways you can do your part — this month and always.
Make the “Brown Girl Swap”The Brown Girl Swap is an initiative started by Malaika Jones Kebede, Nia Jones and Tai Beauchamp of Brown Girl Jane. It calls for swapping out at least five of your go-to products with items from brands that are owned by Black women. Try looking through the #BrownGirlSwap hashtag on Instagram to help you find new brands. You can also check out this guide.
Talk About Your Favorite Brands
According to Wilma Mae Basta, the founder of DRK Beauty Healing (a mental health and wellness non-profit dedicated to supporting women and non-binary people on their mental health journeys), word of mouth goes a long way. Spreading the word about one of your favorite Black-owned brands among your friends is such an easy — and free — way to bring attention and support to these companies.
Write a Review
Take your words of support a step further by writing a positive review about your experience. “For me, it’s that random DM or email that says, ‘I see what you’re doing, and I love it,’ that makes what I do worth it,” says Jamila Powell, owner of Maggie Rose Salon in Davie, Florida. “Being an entrepreneur and a small business owner can be difficult, so it feels good to receive that positive feedback.”
In addition to writing a review, there are other ways to show your support online. “Participating in online campaigns raising awareness of Black and brown-owned beauty businesses, sharing an owner’s story or creating a crowdfund are other tangible ways to garner much-needed attention for these organizations,” says Sabrina Rowe Holdworth. Holdworth’s brand offers a range of botanically-based hair and skincare products, including shampoos, conditioners, lotions and lip balms. NTRL by Sabs is devoted, first and foremost, to sustainability by using highly recyclable packaging, as well as offering zero-waste products.
Share on Social Media
“Engaging with [Black-owned brands] on social media platforms beyond shopping is another method of offering your unwavering support and signaling that this is something you value, which could further encourage others to join in,” says Holdsworth.
There’s no denying the power of social media and that’s why it’s a great tool for amplifying Black and brown-owned businesses by posting about them on your social platforms. When you buy or receive a gift, item or service, share it on your social media feeds. Don’t forget to tag the brand or link to the company’s site! You can also refresh who you follow. Follow the Instagram pages for Black and brown-owned beauty brands, and start following Black beauty influencers to learn about new brands, people and products.
Commit to Brand Loyalty
“Purchase loyalty is a sure-fire way to support Black-owned businesses in the long-term,” says Brittney Ogike, founder of the Black-owned retailer BeautyBeez. “Rather than purchasing from Black-owned businesses while it is on trend, we’d hope for customers to continue showing this support beyond a global movement.”
Break Down Your Racial Biases
Representation in the beauty industry is important and when brands feature people in campaigns who look like us, it makes us feel seen. But that doesn't mean you need to limit yourself to only shopping from those brands. “Consumers tend to base the quality of a product or service by racial relatability — if he or she looks like me, it has to be a perfect fit,” says Powell. But just because a business is Black-owned, doesn’t mean it’s just for Black people. “If we are able to eliminate predetermined biases, especially towards Black and minority communities, we can recognize a quality service that caters to everyone, regardless of race,” explains Powell. “Breaking down these cross-racial perceptions can help increase the exposure of Black-owned products and services.”
Reach Out to Your Community
Supporting Black-businesses on your own is a great start, but know that spreading the word to your family, friends and community businesses can have a huge impact. “Ask the schools, companies and any institutions you are working with to consider sourcing from Black-owned brands,” says Basta. “Corporate gifting is a great way to support our businesses as well as advocating that these businesses be included in competitive pitches for preferred contractors within companies and institutions.”
Share Your Feedback With Brands
After talking to these business women, one common theme many of them mentioned is that there is very little grace given to small Black-owned businesses. “We can understand the frustrations a customer might feel when the service or purchase does not meet their expectation, but rather than blasting a Black-owned business on social media, try contacting their team directly and privately to remedy the experience or problem,” says Ogike. “It’s important to demystify stereotypes that often play into unsatisfactory experiences and support businesses by helping them build and sustain a reputable brand experience.”
Photos From Left to Right: Brittney Ogike, founder of BeautyBeez and Sabrina Rowe Holdworth, founder of NTRL by Sabs