Black women business owners are creating waves in a variety of industries, including haircare, beauty, fashion, and more.
Black ecommerce enterprises are becoming more prevalent, and searches for "Black business" on eBay are increasing 40% year over year.
There haven't always been equal opportunities for Black women to start their own businesses, especially in the UK. Systemic challenges black women-owned businesses confront include getting funding, access to networks, and starting capital. To remedy this, eBay UK and Black Girl Fest (a platform that supports the success of Black women, girls, and non-binary people) have teamed. They want to support Black female business owners and started the BGF x eBay Seller Academy last year, enrolling 30 merchants in a 12-week program of financial assistance and practical training.
These vendors received their diplomas and now have the skills and connections to grow their businesses. Here's where three of them stand today.
Chloé, Odyssey Box
When Chloé moved from the UK to Germany, she started her entrepreneurial adventure. “I went to Leeds University in Germany to study French and German. I decided to focus on natural hair care because I wasn't pleased there. To support Black-owned hair care, I created an Instagram account."
Odyssey Box provides Black hair care items as well as guidance on where to find the best ones. When her clients most needed her, Chloé made her proposal. "More people emailed me in the six weeks leading up to the first lockdowns in 2020, saying things like, ‘Thank heaven for your page, none of the shops are open and I didn't know where else to acquire hair supplies,’ or ‘I can't go to my hairdresser’ Clients benefited from product and hair care demonstrations." Chloé was prepared for the outbreak by her experiences in Germany, where she was denied access to her customary supplies and stylists.
"Cutting through the noise" was the topic of Chloé's Seller Academy lecture. A decade ago, there were just a handful of natural hair products on the market, so there was no "market saturation". Now however, it seems that hundreds of brand-new products entered the market overnight. Why should you buy from me rather than other brands?"
Chloé liked taking classes with other Black women. As a confident seller, it's easy to dismiss the questions of other people. It was helpful to be able to rebuild as a group and accept responsibility."
It has also been beneficial to be a part of the Black female entrepreneur community. "I made friends at a show photo shoot. Vera regularly sends me informative emails and TikTok videos.”
“Do you know who you need to meet?” someone asked the audience throughout the program. Competition was defeated by cooperation.
Dominique, Baby Saint
Dominique has an entrepreneurial mindset hidden behind her paralegal and law degrees. She became aware of the need for top quality, affordable jewelry in 2017 after high street jewelry left green marks on her skin. "I established Baby Saint because I wanted low-key, long-lasting jewelry," the founder said. Since then, it has grown to include home care, developing into a lifestyle brand that places a focus on sustainability and quality.
She had some difficulties before enrolling in Seller Academy, but Dominique quickly benefited from the assistance. "I had trouble communicating to customers why my products were so pricey through copywriting and product descriptions.” The training also clarified the logistical difficulties faced by small business entrepreneurs.
Dominique acknowledges the challenge of running a business by herself. "Having things and a business is excellent, but you also need to promote it, which I lacked, especially keeping up with social media trends and scheduling posts. By directing your posts to the appropriate audiences, eBay makes promotion simpler. I could unwind and concentrate on other business-related tasks because it was being completed."
She also provides sound guidance for Black women who are pursuing their dreams. "Stop comparing with big stores. Focus on your company's mission statement and goals, and it will expand naturally." Dominique counsels vendors to explore novel selling strategies and not judge a book by its cover. "Prior to beginning the program, I believed that it involved the stigmatized sale of used clothing, bicycles, and sheds. I discovered from the program and from others that eBay can be used to sell expensive or cheap goods and that it helps to expand markets."
Vera spent years working in IT and traveling, but after a family illness and the birth of her children, her career objectives changed. NonyelumVee sells toys, gifts, exercise gear, and stationery. It was established after her daughter began playing with poppets, a fidget toy that enhances focus while easing tension and anxiety.
“I started an eBay business, a pop-up shop, and wholesaled poppets because I wanted a change." Vera is distinctive, vibrant and a refreshingly honest businesswoman. “When you pack eBay packages at one in the morning, it hardly qualifies as a side job.”
Vera, a supporter of Black Girl Fest, enrolled in the Seller Academy because she lacked market knowledge. "It was hard to decide what to sell. I had no idea how to generate sales, cultivate a clientele, or offer customer support.”
She plans to use the program's capabilities to expand her company. Vera thinks there is room in business for a variety of Black women.
“Black women are diverse. The number of successful Black women is inspiring. ‘There can only be one of you’ has been replaced by ‘There's room for all of us.’"