8 Black-Owned CPG Brands You Can Support
As protests against racial injustice continue across the United States, you might be asking yourself how you can become a better ally to Black-owned businesses in your own industry. While modern-day capitalism is not without its own faults, it does serve as a powerful mechanism to better distribute wealth in America and effect long-term change. The process of becoming a better ally to Black-owned CPG brands begins with educating yourself and purchasing their amazing products that are available through various local, regional and national retailers.
While there are countless notable Black-owned CPG brands, the list below contains a small sample that you support now and always.
Founder: Nancy Twine
Category: Beauty & Personal Care
Founding Story: A chain of events throughout Nancy Twine’s life culminated in her leaving Goldman Sachs to launch a natural hair care brand that was inspired by her late mother’s similar business goal. Using her experience from Wall Street, Twine was able to find a blue ocean market positioning, locate a lab and chemist that would create nontoxic products, and acquire an early investor that catapulted Briogeo into the fastest-growing hair-care brand on Sephora’s website.
Founders: Deneen Brown, David Brown and Coral Brown
Category: Alcoholic Beverages
Founding Story: While the family’s Napa Valley summer home was never intended to become a commercialized vineyard, years of experience growing and selling grapes resulted in a realization that their fruit was special and they needed to be in the wine business. Shortly after their product debuted, jubilation almost turned to misfortune as their wine storage caught fire. As luck would have it, several bottles of their 1998 Zinfandel was sent to the most influential wine critic, who gave the product a glowing review. This year, the Brown family is celebrating 25 years of being the only Black-owned vineyard in Napa Valley.
Founder: Toyin Kolawole
Category: Baking & Dry Goods
Founding Story: Inspired by imagining how to transform a boring bag of cauliflower rice at the grocery store with Nigerian flavors, Toyin Kolawole set out bring African specialty foods to the mainstream American market. With a background in private equity and packaged goods exports, Kolawole knew the momentum of converging trends was building even before West African foods and flavors was touted by Whole Foods Market as the next big thing. You can now find Iya Foods’ unique product offerings in a large number of Walmart stores.
Me & the Bees
Founder: Mikaila Ulmer
Category: Non-Alcoholic Beverages
Founding Story: Can you believe a few bee stings at the age of four propelled Mikaila Ulmer into creating a honey-sweetened lemonade brand that is now carried in retailers like Whole Foods Market, H-E-B and Kroger? Me & the Bees Lemonade is a social purpose brand that helps save the honey bees. You might recognize 15-year-old Mikaila from one of the most-loved episodes of the TV show Shark Tank.
Owners: Kareem Cook & Claude Tellis
Category: Nutritional Supplements
Founding Story: In 2012, two friends turned business partners noticed the childhood obesity epidemic taking shape in Los Angeles. They launched a vending machine company with the mission of providing schools with healthier options. Ten years later, they wanted to make a bigger impact and provide quality products to those consumer groups that needed access to them the most. That led them to acquire the 94-year-old nutritional supplement brand Naturade, which would bring Whole Foods quality products to a Walmart consumer.
Founder: Denise Woodard
Category: Sweet Snacks
Founding Story: While searching to find her daughter high-quality, healthy snacks that were allergy-friendly, Denise Woodard realized that the market was lacking the products she was expecting to find. Armed with this knowledge and an amazing cookie recipe, Woodard entered a pitch competition and won $10,000 to launch Partake Foods. With this award, she was forced to give up the steady income provided by her previous position at Coca Cola. That jump into the deep end ended up being a great decision, as this fast-growing brand received funding from rapper-turned-mogul Jay-Z last summer.
The Honey Pot
Founder: Beatrice Dixon
Category: Personal Care
Founding Story: It was a visit from an ancestor in a dream that sparked Bea Dixon’s journey into starting her own company. The Honey Pot is the first complete plant-based feminine care system and has now sold several million dollars’ worth of products at retailers such as Target. Additionally, Dixon has included a charitable mechanism to help homeless and low-income women get the feminine products they need for free.
The Lip Bar
Founder: Melissa Butler
Founding Story: In 2012, Melissa Butler grew frustrated that gatekeepers only presented beauty in a particular way. As a result, she started making vegan and cruelty-free products from her kitchen. That led to being on an episode of the TV show Shark Tank, but unlike Me & the Bees, The Lip Bar did not leave the set with an offer. While that could crush some entrepreneurs’ spirits, The Lip Bar is now carried nationwide at Target and just opened its flagship store in Detroit last year.
These are just a small fraction of the Black-owned CPG brands you can support. You can also check out the BLK + GRN online marketplace, an all-natural marketplace by all Black artisans.
BLK + GRN
Founder: Dr. Kristian Henderson
Category: Online Marketplace
Founding Story: Stemming from a personally frustrating journey finding clean brands and inspiration from reading the business book “Our Black Year,” Dr. Kristian Henderson launched the online marketplace BLK + GRN to connect people with high-quality, toxic-free products. BLK + GRN offers a carefully curated collection of the highest-quality all-natural products while cultivating the Black-owned business community.