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Veteran Creates The First Black Owned Inspirational Eyewear Brand

SWAV Eyewear is a Black-owned inspirational eyewear brand that sells stylish sunglasses & frames to inspire you to never give up on the vision you have for your life.

The brand was created by Isiah Fowler, a former member of the US Air Force who decided to pursue his dream of becoming an entrepreneur. We caught up with Isiah to find out more about him and his business.

Black Owned Inspirational Eyewear
Isiah Fowler

What inspired you to start an eyewear brand?

I was inspired by the lack of meaning and purpose in the eyewear market and the fact that I wanted to reach more people with my message. All I ever saw in the industry was a product being sold. I never saw anything being done with meaning, purpose, and a vision.
Black Owned Inspirational Eyewear
I wanted to bring inspiration to the eyewear industry. I also had a podcast called “Starts With A Vision podcast ” that I wanted to reach more people with and I knew I’d be able to do that with a product so I turned the meaning and concept of my podcast into an Inspirational Eyewear Company and Brand.
Black Owned Inspirational Eyewear

Briefly explain the thought process that went into selecting a manufacturer?

When I first Started SWAV Eyewear I sourced my manufacturer from China. However,  when I received the product, I was devastated by the lack of quality.

It was at that moment I dedicated myself to finding a manufacturer with top of the line quality. I had already been looking for a one in Europe and after my first inventory run from China, I dedicated myself to find a new one.

Two months later I flew to Greece to meet them and design the next two collections.

 

What has been the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur so far? What has been the most rewarding?

The most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur so far has been understanding the fact that success is not something you are entitled to. Therefore, you must become a responsible individual if you want your business to blossom.

The most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur has been going through the process that forced me to become the person I am now. Entrepreneurship will test you in a myriad of ways and you must rise to the occasion no matter what is presented to you.
Black Owned Eyewear

What is your vision for your business in the next 5 years?

My Vision for SWAV Eyewear is to be able to be in a position to give away $1 million to entrepreneurs through our Visionary Investment Fund.

For every pair of frames we sell, we put $5 into our Visionary Investment Fund. Twice a year we give that money away to a few people who have a vision.

SWAV stands for Starts With A Vision because that’s our core belief. When I was younger my goal was to make a million, but as I’ve grown the goal has evolved into me wanting to be able to give away a million.

Black Owned Inspirational Eyewear

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

The advice I have is to know yourself and work on yourself more than you work on your business.

The success of your business is simply a by-product of the person you become. Where you want to go in life will demand a greater version of yourself so it’s important to stay grounded and focus on what’s important.

 

-Tony O. Lawson


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Talley & Twine: A Black Owned Watch Brand Creating Timeless Timepieces

One Black owned watch brand I’ve had my eye on for a while now is Talley & Twine.  I’m impressed by their growth and dedication to offering a quality product. I wanted to find out more about the brand so I had a chat with the founder, Randy Williams.
Black Owned Watch Brand
Randy Williams: President of Talley & Twine

SB: What inspired you to start a watch company specifically?

RW: I was inspired to start Talley & Twine because I couldn’t find watch designs that I liked without paying $1000 or more.

SB: Describe the Talley & Twine customer.

RW: The Talley & Twine customer is sophisticated, ambitious and grounded.
Black Owned Watch Brand

SB: What does an average day look like for you?

RW: Each day is different but it usually involves some sort of tracking of our daily numbers along with discovering new ways to reach potential customers.

SB: What thought goes into the design of your watches?

RW: Overall, the design of our watches are meant to stand out but to do so very subtly. We focus on details that the average consumer may never notice but we believe that is the mark of true quality.

Black Owned Watch BrandSB: The holiday season is when most watch companies see the most sales. How do you keep sales high after that period?

RW: After the holiday season is over we maintain our sales numbers by releasing new products and also by encouraging referrals from our satisfied customers.

Talley &TwineSB: What is the most challenging and most rewarding thing about what you do?

RW: The most challenging AND rewarding thing about Talley & Twine is growth. It’s exciting to see the company grow every month but that growth creates new hurdles that we must overcome. Often, there is very little time to celebrate that growth because we have to be thinking about our next steps.

Black Owned Watch BrandSB: Where do you see the business in 5 years?

RW: Within the next 5 years, Talley & Twine will take on a larger manufacturing role, thereby providing more jobs to our community. Additionally, we’ll be known for our other products as well as our watches.

SB: What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

RW: Aspiring entrepreneurs should know that we’re living in the greatest time in history to be an entrepreneur because the information is at our fingertips and new industries are emerging every day.

They should emulate those who are successful but also study market trends to see where the future business opportunities are.

 

-Tony O. Lawson

Related: Black owned Skincare businesses


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Black Owned Businesses in the Diaspora: Buying Black Across The Globe

For the past few years, there has been a battle cry in our community to spend our dollars with Black owned businesses, as opposed to the usual suspects. Well this year, we’re inviting you to take Black Friday a step further.  We created a list of Black owned businesses from various parts of the African Diaspora that would welcome your support, no matter where you are on the globe. Take a look at our selection of some of the best of what the international Black community has to offer.

Black Owned Businesses in the Diaspora

 

1. The Continent

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  • KenyaTheMaasaiShop:  Handcrafted beaded jewelry
  • EthiopiaZAAF: Luxury apparel and leather accessories produced in Ethiopia.
  • GhanaHeel The World: Bespoke shoes and leather accessories crafted in Ghana.
  • South AfricaM’hudi Wines: Family operated a wine farm located in the Cape Winelands.
  • GhanaChristie Brown: Show-stopping fashion and accessories for women.

2. The United Kingdom

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  • Ohema Ohene: African inspired fashion brand for Men and Women
  • Bespoke Binny: An eclectic range of home furnishings.
  • Lela Bag: An exciting new character brand offering adorable Backpacks & Tees for girls.
  • Showerella: Uncommon party supplies and activity kits for bridal showers, weddings, parties, and events.
  • Sheabutter Cottage: Award winning, fair trade natural skincare products.
  • Crown Rose: Afro-contemporary Swimwear and loungewear brand.
  • BeUNIQUE: Natural hair care products.

3. Canada

custom eyewear

  • Bohten: An eco-friendly, luxury eyewear line.
  • Style Me Ankara: An online retail store that sells handmade  African inspired clothing for men and women.
  • Earthtones Naturals: Premium natural hair and body products.

4. The Netherlands

Amsterdam

  • Nomi by Naomi: Surinamese owned Dutch-wax fashion line for men and women.
  • Amsterdam Slavery Heritage Guide: Companion guide for the Black Heritage Amsterdam Tour, packed with amazing historical tidbits and research. A perfect book for your next European getaway to Amsterdam.
  • Maisa en da maan (Miesha and the Moon): A Black children’s book in Dutch about Sickle Cell. This a great opportunity to learn a new language and teach your child too!
  • Ubuntu-Wear: Culture inspired urban wear

5.  And last but not least, the good ole U.S. of Black A.

Bow Tie

Black and Sex

-Tony O. Lawson

If you would like to add your business to this list (or another) SUBMIT HERE.


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