Add These 13 Black-Owned Businesses to Your Must-Try List
Take a peek into Versed HQ’s Slack and you’ll see our #beautyrecos channel constantly buzzing with product testimonies our team simply has to try. Out of all the products we enjoy hyping up, however, those founded by Black entrepreneurs are some of our favorites. Not only do they often pull inspiration from their very own backgrounds and culture, with the end result being something completely one-of-a-kind, but we believe that brands should support other brands—especially those that stem from the Black community.
We curated a list of Team Versed’s personal favorites, from compostable at-home sugaring to authentic hair wraps. Follow them, shop them, and recommend them below.
Founder Diarrha N'Diaye drew inspiration for her line of ‘makeup for melanin-rich skin’ from her Senegalese background as well as the Black women she looks up to—including her mother, whom the brand is named after. Pronounced ‘ahh-mee, kOhl-Lay’, this clean makeup brand was born and raised in Harlem and features three hero products (a highlighter, skin-enhancing tint, and lip oil) designed to show off, not cover up, Black skin’s natural tone and texture.
Consider this a one-stop-shop filled with design pieces—everything from art and candles to jewelry and stationary—all made by members of the Black community. Even the name itself gives a nod to Black history, referring to a post-1921 world (the year of the Tulsa Race Massacre when a thriving Black Wall Street was burned and rampaged) where Black entrepreneurs are celebrated and supported.
Move aside, single-use razors. “Sugar Mama” Aliyah set out to make hair removal more sustainable and better for our planet. Her sugaring business is entirely compostable and made with only three ingredients: natural sugar, organic citric acid, and purified water. But Aliyah’s philosophy about hair removal in itself is worthy of applause. “If you choose to be hairless, I give you a planet-friendly way to do it,” her website reads. “I believe hair removal is a choice, not an expectation.”
Aya Paper Co
Amid a world centered on texts and Zoom calls, this female-founded, Black-owned stationary business encourages more meaningful, thoughtful messages through its neutral tones and magnet-worthy illustrations. It’s eco-friendly too, using 100% FSC-certified recycled paper and manufacturing with renewable green energy.
Yes, Alaffia offers hair care, shea butter, deodorants, black soaps, and more based on its founder’s West African culture, but it’s also hyper-focused on several social justice initiatives including gender equality, fair trade, and fighting poverty. It’s clean and cruelty-free, too.
Cee Cee’s Closet
Sisters Uchenna and Chioma were on the hunt for practical, yet vibrant, headwraps that emulate their African culture in their NYC home base. Now, they work with Nigerian tailors to handmake their own—and even expanded to jewelry, body oils, woven baskets, and more.
A plant-based, sustainably sourced wellness brand whose founder and (Sh)EO Dorian Morris describes as “clean, conscious, inclusive, plant magic”. Fueled by a mission to make wellness more inclusive and accessible, its assortment includes everything from CBD bath soaks to adaptogen, vegan chocolate bars. Overheard on Slack by our President Melanie: “her Glow Bar CBD chocolate is everything.”
The Honey Pot
For founder Bea Dixon, some dreams really do come true. Her plant-based business was literally inspired by a dream where an ancestor encouraged her to turn to herbs to treat her bacterial vaginosis. Fast forward and The Honey Pot has become one of the lead brands in feminine care, with a wide assortment of recyclable, cruelty-free products made specifically for women, by women.
Calling all mamas-to-be—or really anyone who could use a dose of self-care in the form of moisturizing, skin-soothing shea butter. This family-run, Black-owned company specializes in premium, natural shea butter products made only with the good stuff and none of the unnecessary additives. Even better: 15% of their profits go towards an education fund for their female workers in Ghana.
Harlem Candle Company
Home of “the best candles” according to our Brand + Education Director Deven (her favorite scent is Langston), Teri Johnson’s fragrance brand features scents like “gardenia and coffee flower” and “sparkling citrus”. All her candles are inspired by Harlem culture and a love for jazz.
“Boring is canceled”, states Chinero Nnamani’s website. And with its assortment of colorful, African-inspired jackets, skirts, handbags, and more, it certainly delivers on that message. The stunning patterns and fabrics will have you stopping in your scroll and adding a whole lot to your cart.
Peak and Valley
This small business is only two years old but has already built a lineup of holistic blends using herbs found in Ayurveda and Chinese Traditional Medicine—ingredients that its founder Nadine says helped heal her eczema. The brand is low-waste too, using biodegradable packaging and adhering to sustainable farming practices.
Estelle Colored Glass
Stephanie Summerson Hall was inspired to create her luxurious hand-blown glassware after watching her grandmother Estelle curate a collection of antiques and deliver admirable hosting skills (according to their website, Estelle was known for her drool-worthy vanilla pound cake). Today, the brand touts colored stemware, cake stands, and decanters to elevate any home décor.
Images courtesy of The Honey Pot, Harlem Candle Company, Cee Cee's Closet, Ami Colé, Peak and Valley, Undefined Beauty, Aya Paper Co, and Eu'Genia Shea.