Browse Tag


2 mins read

Black Owned Sleepwear and Loungewear Brands

When it comes to comfort and style, Black-owned sleepwear and loungewear brands are taking the industry by storm. From luxurious fabrics and classic silhouettes to vibrant prints and trendy cuts, these designers are offering a range of pajamas, joggers, robes, and more to suit every taste and budget.

So ditch your old sweats and get ready to relax in style – here are some incredible Black-owned sleepwear and loungewear brands you won’t want to miss!

Black Owned Sleepwear and Loungewear for Women

Sleep Ova

Sleep Ova, launched in 2021 by CEO Chanel Dijon, is a clothing brand specializing in luxury sleepwear for women. The company offers a range of sleepwear essentials, crafted from their signature fabric to provide a balance of luxury and comfort. Their pieces, including robes, tanks, button-down shirts, pants, and slippers, are designed to be versatile, allowing women to feel confident and stylish while lounging or sleeping.

DAYO Women

DAYO Women is a clothing company designed to empower women through comfort and style. Founded by Yolanda White, DAYO Women caters to the modern woman who wants to feel confident and relaxed at home. Their focus is on loungewear essentials like pajamas, intimates, and everyday pieces that prioritize both style and functionality. They achieve this through soft, natural fabrics, flattering silhouettes, and built-in features like pockets and support.

Fancy Homebody

Fancy Homebody caters to the woman who cherishes cozy moments at home. Their clothing collections transcend the traditional realm of loungewear, offering luxurious fabrics and a touch of effortless chic. Their diverse collections, featuring everything from pajamas and robes to trendy sweatshirts and dresses, ensure there’s a perfect outfit for every mood and occasion.


Re Ona is a clothing brand that focuses on creating high-quality wardrobe staples that are both comfortable and stylish. Their minimalist aesthetic features clean lines and soft fabrics, making their pieces perfect for everyday wear. They also prioritize ethical production and sustainability, so you can feel good about the clothes you wear.

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2 mins read

Black Owned Clothing Brands for Your Spring Wardrobe

As the sun peeks out and the days get longer, it’s the perfect time to refresh your wardrobe with some spring staples. But with so many brands out there, it can be tough to know where to start.

This year, why not support Black owned clothing brands and discover some incredible new designers? From breezy dresses to statement tops, Black-owned clothing brands offer a range of styles to flatter any figure and elevate your spring look.

Black Owned Clothing Brands


STZY engineers high-performance socks with features like reinforced seams and moisture-wicking fabrics to keep athletes of all levels comfortable and supported.

Philadelphia Printworks

Philadelphia Printworks is a clothing brand that creates clothes inspired by social justice movements. They feature designs that promote social justice messages and celebrate the legacies of revolutionary leaders

Autumn Adeigbo

Autumn Adeigbo offers vibrant women’s clothing and accessories that empower women. Their show-stopping pieces prioritize sustainability and social impact, crafted ethically to minimize waste and uplift female artisans worldwide.

Sammy B

Sammy B is a clothing line designed for the modern woman. Their garments combine feminine styles with a touch of unexpected flair, achieved through clean lines, thoughtful details, and a relaxed feel.


Buzzoms empowers women to ditch the bra with their comfortable, supportive clothing designed for all body types. Their unique sizing system ensures a perfect fit, while their mission is to create a bra-free revolution for confident women.

Peju Obasa

Black Owned Clothing Brands

Peju Obasa, a London-based women’s fashion brand, seamlessly blends vibrant cultural influences with sustainable practices, crafting innovative pieces rich in color, texture, and inspiration for the spring season.


D’IYANU (dee-ya-nu) is a ready-to-wear bold print clothing line offering quality, trendy African-inspired fashion at affordable prices.


Black Owned Clothing Brands

Sondér New York is a clothing brand aiming to create wardrobe staples and statement pieces for the subtle, sleek, and polished through a minimal design.

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2 mins read

Black-Owned Ethical Clothing Brands You Should Know

The ethical fashion movement advocates for increased sustainability, fair labor practices, and transparency in the fashion industry.

Numerous talented and innovative Black fashion designers are at the forefront of this movement, and it is crucial to support and amplify the voices of those who may not always enjoy the same degree of visibility and representation.

This article highlights a few Black-owned ethical clothing brands that are noteworthy for their dedication to sustainability, ethical production, and cultural representation.

Black-Owned Ethical Clothing Brands

Autumn Adeigbo

Autumn Adeigbo is known for its bold, colorful prints and modern designs. The New York-based brand embraces sustainable practices by purchasing in limited quantities and producing only what is ordered, minimizing fabric waste, excessive manufacturing, and surplus stock.

Hope For Flowers

Black-Owned Ethical clothing Brands

Hope for Flowers by Tracy Reese places a premium on ethical, sustainable, and socially responsible sourcing and business practices. The collection is a statement of Reese’s commitment to the slow-fashion movement, incorporating her signature silhouettes, color palette, and penchant for pattern.

Taylor Jay

Black-Owned Ethical clothing Brands

Taylor Jay empowers women with beautiful, versatile, comfortable, sustainable fashion basics that easily adapt to any lifestyle. The Oakland-based brand partners with an ethically sourced, fair labor practicing factory in Oakland, to produce environmentally safe garments from certified eco-friendly textiles.

Aliya Wanek

Black-Owned Ethical clothing Brands

Aliya Wanek is an eponymous womenswear label that focuses on exploring the connection between one’s identity and style.

CanDid Art

Black-Owned Ethical clothing Brands

Candid Art promotes self-expression, individuality, and sustainability through custom abstract designs and ethically sourced materials.

House of Aama

Each House of Amma collection tells a story – heavily influenced by Black folklore – and everything from flowing dresses to statement swimwear is expertly crafted in LA following a low-waste model.


Gracemade is a faith-driven apparel brand designed and manufactured in Los Angeles, using ethical standards with the utmost respect for people, our local community, and our environment.

These brands are merely a sample of the many talented and innovative Black designers working to create a more sustainable and equitable fashion industry.

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8 mins read

FUBU Founders on the Past and Future of a Legendary Brand

FUBU, short for “For Us By Us,” was founded in 1992 by Daymond John, J. Alexander Martin, Keith Perrin, and Carlton Brown as a hat company.


During the 1990s, it became a popular fashion choice in the street-wear scene and by the early 2000s, it had gained worldwide recognition. The company’s revenues grew significantly during this time, with FUBU becoming one of the most successful urban fashion brands in history.

According to Forbes, FUBU reached $350 million in annual sales at its peak in 1998, and by 2004, the company was worth an estimated $6 billion.

We caught up with Carlton E. Brown, J. Alexander Martin, and Keith Perrin, to share their memories and thoughts about the future of FUBU.

Carlton E. Brown

What role did you play at the company at its inception?

Daymond and I have been together building this business from its conception. We thought of the name FUBU together. Outside of designing I have worn pretty much every hat to date. 

What moment in time during the height of FUBU’s success is most memorable and special to you? 

The word “height” depends on one’s perspective. For me, the most memorable moment was setting up our first retail store Montego Bay in Jamaica Queens. Once I saw our goods on a T-rack and saw the people buy what we had created, I knew there was no stopping us. 

What are your current aspirations for the FUBU brand? 

Global branding and distribution. 

You are currently involved in real estate development. Can you tell us how you got involved in real estate and share your plans for hotelFUBU? 

I grew up watching my grandfather build an impressive real estate portfolio. He started as a junk collector, then a vacuum cleaner sales rep to one of the most successful real estate investors in Jamaica queens throughout the 80s and 90s. 

The goal for HotelFUBU and FUBUvillage is to create lodging, market rate, and affordable housing catering to the needs of the next generation.


J. Alexander Martin

What role did you play at the company at its inception?

I came home from Desert Shield from the US Navy with the desire to be in fashion. Luckily my childhood friend created the fundamental steps by creating a tie top hat and the name Fubu. I used my stipend of $5000 and my GI Bill to turn Fubu into the brand it is today. 

What moment in time during the height of FUBU’s success is most memorable and special to you?

When I was steadfast on creating a brand with the fundamentals of forusbyus, I worked diligently every day. I worked at Macy’s and was written up for something I did not do. So I quit and said the next time I walked into Macy’s I would be selling to them. The next time I did we were in the Macy’s window, something that has never been done. 

What are your current aspirations for the FUBU brand?

My aspirations have never wavered. I’ve always wanted Fubu to be a legacy brand. It’s been over 30 years and I hope to continue for 30 plus more years. 

You currently serve as CEO of the ForUsByUs Network. Tell us more about this venture.

Forusbyusnetwork is a streaming service for urban content. The Forusbyusnetwork has taken the spirit of excellence and created a streaming service to highlight the culture.

We set out to bring the African American consumer engaging content of all genres. We know that in fashion, distribution is key so we’ve set out to be on all platforms OTT, CTV, AVOD, SVOD, or Linear.

We want to be the destination portal for all content providers and urban channels. From the For Us By Us award show aimed to highlight our greatness to informative content via podcasts, documentaries, and our original series & reality shows. The Forusbyusnetwork will bring our original niche movies to cinemas around the globe. 


Keith C. Perrin 

What role did you play at the company at its inception?

I started off as a salesman then I moved into marketing where I became the person in charge of product placement. I placed the brand in movies, commercials, videos, photoshoots, etc. 

What moment in time during the height of FUBU’s success is most memorable and special to you?

For me, it had to be meeting Nelson Mandela at his home in South Africa. I couldn’t believe he knew who we were and called us to come meet him. What an experience.


What are your current aspirations for the FUBU brand? 

I’d like to see it last as long as some of the brands that have been around 40-50 years and maybe pass it down to our kids and see what they do with it. For me being in this business for 30 years is a feat we never knew we’d reach. You can’t mention Hip Hop without mentioning FUBU. 

You currently serve as CEO of FUBU Radio. Tell us more about this venture.

I started Fubu Radio with my business partner Demetrius Brown. We don’t cater to any particular playlist, we play hits from back in the ’90s to the current year. I have a strong and dedicated team that produces some great content. I’m gearing up for my own Mr.Keeyzo’s radio show with Chrys Childs coming Spring of 2023.

We shot 12 episodes of our first TV show Midday with Shay McCray which will launch at the beginning of 2023. We partnered with You42 Network and I’m looking forward to doing some great things with them. We have a lot in store. Tap in. We’re on all platforms.

by Tony O. Lawson


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4 mins read

New Year, New Brands: Black-Owned Brands To Start Your 2023 Right

Black-Owned Brands To Start Your 2023 Right

The Glamatory

Black-Owned Brands To Start Your 2023 Right

The Glamatory is a vegan makeup line founded by Mimi J – well-known for her work as a professional makeup artist and beauty influencer.

Her mission is to provide products that enhance a woman’s natural beauty and confidence, no matter her skin color, making The Glammatory the perfect Black-owned brand to shop from if loving yourself more is one of your #2023goals.

 Frances Grey

Frances Grey was founded by Debbie Lorenzo, a Jamaican-American born and raised in Queens, New York. Her great-grandmother, Frances Grey, was a seamstress whose history and dedication inspired Debbie’s pursuit of millinery and the creation of her own custom, luxury hat brand.

If you want to upgrade your wardrobe with aesthetic, sophisticated pieces, then shop Frances Grey. 

Silver & Riley

Black-Owned Brands To Start Your 2023 Right

Silver & Riley is a women-led luxury bag brand created by Lola Banjo. She takes pride in producing high-quality travel and fashion accessories in the same factories, with the same premium materials, as other high-fashion labels, and sells them at a fraction of the cost.

Shop smart, shop Black, and elevate your travel this year when you utilize Silver & Riley products.


In 2020, Dr. Juliette Nelson created Nurilens, an environmentally friendly eyewear brand. The company specializes in hand-crafted wood frames with polarized, high-index lenses that include blue light and UV protection. Nurilens empowers you to protect your eyes and the environment, all while looking chic.

Best Life Organics

Shadora Martin created Best Life Organics along her personal journey into elevated self-love. She started making natural, non-toxic, cruelty-free body-care products in her own home and continues to handcraft each of the products she shares with the world today. Best Life Organics allows you to support a small, Black-owned business and support yourself at the same time. 

Mercia Moore 

Black-Owned Brands To Start Your 2023 Right

Art and culture collide at the Mercia Moore artisan studio. Merica, the founder, and creator behind the brand shares her studio creations through the shop and lends her skill via her active social media. Find African-inspired jewelry and homeware, and take up a new artistic hobby with your own Mercia Moore silicone molds.

Dressed in Joy

Black-Owned Brands To Start Your 2023 Right

Be bold, and step out in statement-making style this year when you wear Dressed in Joy apparel. The founder, Mikaela Pabon, wanted to create an apparel brand that makes customers feel like they’re adorned in the personification of joy. The brand focuses on athleisure, inspiring comfortable confidence.

Instead of “new year, new you”, these Black-owned brands aim to elevate the unique qualities you already have.

With this list, we empower you to adorn yourself with culture, history, and joy and carry yourself with confidence and excellence everywhere you go. 

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4 mins read

10 Black Designers at New York Fashion Week 2022

New York Fashion Week kicked off on Friday, Sept. 9th. The September shows are always eagerly anticipated, and after several virtual and hybrid seasons, the New York calendar is more packed than it has been in a while, with designers eager to showcase their best work and the city aiming to reclaim its position as a leader in the global fashion industry.

Reportedly, Black designers make up more than twenty-five percent of the runway shows at this year’s New York Fashion Week.

Meet some of them below.

Black Designers at NYFW 2022


June79 is the new standard of menswear, reframing and redefining the new standard of luxury, existing between the fine balance of work performance and luxury leisure. June79 is founded on the premise of the new luxury renaissance, from quality and craftsmanship to mentality and style.

black designers


JUNNY is a former ESPN sales executive who discovered her passion for designing after getting downsized from her position 6 years ago. Her collections are bold, creatively exuberant, and size-inclusive, drawing on the vibrancy of her Harlem and Jamaican cultural roots. Her collections have often been described as “wearable art.”


ASHYA’s (pronounced “agh-shya”) vision is rooted in travel, cultural awareness, and unifying style and utility. Ashley Cimone and Moya Annece developed the brand as an “ode to exploration.” They design for simple movement and essentialism, inspired by worldwide Black, Brown, and Indigenous populations and transient modern existence.

Kimberly Goldson

Kimberly Goldson is a Brooklyn-based, sister-crafted, luxury-driven contemporary womenswear brand centered around women’s suiting.

black designers

Black Boy Knits

Black Boy Knits (BBK) is an independent design studio that emphasizes Black, queer and immigrant narratives while highlighting its contributions on a global perspective. As a design studio, BBK centers on creating unique pieces on a made-to-order basis.

Marrisa Wilson

MARRISA WILSON is built around the philosophy that all women should be able to effortlessly express their unique personalities. With a focus on quality and functionality, and a colorful, optimistic aesthetic, the brand is an extension of founder and creative director Marrisa Wilson’s personal belief that high-end fashion can still be attainable and inclusive.

black designers

Studio One Eighty Nine

Studio One Eighty Nine is an artisan-focused brand based in Ghana and the United States. All Studio 189 clothing is produced in Africa in craftsmen communities that specialize in traditional textile techniques, such as hand-printing batik patterns and using plant-based dyes.

Todd Patrick

Todd Patrick is a luxury menswear brand that focuses on how the past shapes the future. The brand has carved out a niche lane for the mid-century modern man of today’s time. Each piece translates fabric to conversation.

Connor McKnight

Connor McKnight is a luxury fashion brand based in Brooklyn, NY established during the pandemic. With this collection, he explored his relationship to this practice of daily work, emphasizing craft and utility with refined timeless silhouettes to be worn for a lifetime. All designs are suggestions of ideas that we see in everyday life adjusted to create an abnormality.

Victor Glemaud

Haitian-American designer Victor Glemaud launched his eponymous designer collection of statement knitwear, designed for all people, genders, races, sizes, and personalities, marrying comfort and style.

-Tony O. Lawson

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4 mins read

Tradeblock, a Black Owned Sneaker Trading Platform Just Raised $9 Million

Tradeblock, a Black owned sneaker trading platform has raised over $8.9 Million dollars in funding from investment partners Courtside VC, Trinity Ventures, and Concrete Rose Capital.

From its humble beginnings in 2020, with just 300 users and just under 5000 shoes, Tradeblock has experienced exponential growth in its 2 years of operation, amassing more than 1 Million shoes listed in users’ virtual closets this year.

The monumental growth of the online marketplace can be attributed to the platform’s unique consumer experience that was key in the vision of making Tradeblock a reality.

Co-Founder and CEO Mbiyimoh Ghogomu, along with Co-Founders Darren Smith and Tony Malveaux, sought out to bridge the gap for passionate collectors who were losing the battle against bots on sneaker drops and those who cannot afford rapidly increasing resale prices; increases that are largely driven by resellers cornering the market on popular shoes for the sole purpose of profits.

Tradeblock will use the proceeds from the financing round to help further invest in growth in its sneaker business as well as expanding and improving its one-of-a-kind authentication and logistics operation, which involves inspecting and authenticating shoes from both sides of the trade simultaneously in a complex and highly-interconnected process.

Additionally, Tradeblock will be investing in more data science capabilities to enhance the customer experience as it continues to define the virtual bartering experience by developing the marketplace further.

The funding raised within this round brings Tradeblock closer to its north star of providing accessibility in the resale market for those who should not let high and unjust prices define the attainability of their dreams and culture and also of ensuring that the marketplace offers the best in class services for its members.

Tradeblock is also driven by a deep passion for building a company that actually resembles the people it serves. “Black and brown communities have always been the backbone of the sneaker industry and sneaker culture,” says Co-Founder and CEO Mbiyimoh Ghogomu. “Showing those folks that they can be the owners and operators of this industry as opposed to just consumers is both a point of pride and a deeply rooted responsibility for everybody at Tradeblock.”

The Tradeblock team embodies this sentiment of representation within their workforce: besides having three Black founders, Tradeblock’s workforce is more than 80% BIPOC, and the senior leadership team is over 75% BIPOC.

Tradeblock | Secure Sneaker Trades

The marketplace is set for a rolling close to end their Seed II round and is expecting an additional $4.5 Million in investment by the end of it. Tradeblock aims to redefine the basis of sneaker culture by focusing on their pillars of community, accessibility and sustainability.

The mission and vision resonate with the public and trumpet the goal of leveling the playing field for the BIPOC community who has played a tremendous role within the culture that is the foundation of the sneaker industry.

“Tradeblock is revolutionizing the way forward for the new emergent asset class of footwear. The founding team’s understanding of the nuances of culture and tech gives them an unfair advantage in the industry and the team’s desire to lead with inclusion, representation, and authenticity also provides them with unique and meaningful organic engagement,” says Tradeblock angel investor Jason Mayden, a former Nike and Jordan footwear designer who now serves as President of Fear of God Athletics.

The marketplace’s continual growth goes to show the long lasting impact it will have within the sneaker industry for years to come.

Tony O. Lawson

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3 mins read

Black-Owned Jewelry Brands to Add To Your Collection in 2022

As anyone who loves fashion knows, jewelry is the perfect way to add a little personality to any outfit. Whether you prefer dainty or bold statement pieces, there is a jewelry brand that suits your style.

These Black-owned jewelry brands are a great way to add some unique and stylish pieces to your collection. Whether you’re looking for something flashy or understated, there’s a brand with precisely what you need.

So go ahead and add one (or all!) of these fantastic brands to your list, and enjoy the added confidence and beauty that their jewelry provides.

Black-Owned Jewelry Brands

Afro Deco

Handmade pieces by British jewelry designer and visual artist Natasha Lisa. Operating under the name Afro Deco, Natasha channels the stylistic influences of Art Deco and the vibrant patterns of African fabric in her diverse range of afrofuturist-themed Lucite designs.



Yam is a made to order, handmade jewelry brand based in Queens, NY. The brand is dedicated to creating new, yet nostalgic pieces through up-cycled materials and vintage silhouettes. Designs incorporate classic and industrial hardware elements, complimented with cheeky and charming nature motifs and pearl accents.


Black owned jewelry brands

Jooel was born out of a desire to curate timeless luxury jewelry pieces for every wardrobe. With a careful blend of trendy and classic pieces, Jooel offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a bling queen or prefer understated lux, Jooel has something for you.


black owned jewelry

Leliamae is a New York-based, woman-run jewelry brand that strives to balance integrity and unique style. The artist behind the brand, Lelia, sources quality gold materials that are ethically produced and made to elevate your everyday collection.

HOME by Areeayl

black owned jewelry brands

Each Beads Byaree piece is created with a focus on quality and attention to detail. The results are beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces that are sure to make a statement. Whether you’re looking for a unique gift or a treat for yourself, Beads Byaree has something for everyone.

Third Crown

The husband-and-wife team behind Third Crown aims to celebrate the merging of two forces coming together to form something new – a powerful pair. They fuse their love of geometric shapes with the details found in their architectural surroundings to create their collection of men’s and women’s jewelry.


black owned jewelry brands

ALMASIKA makes fine jewelry that tells stories across generations and cultures. The sculptural designs are handcrafted using precious metals and shimmering gems. Pieces include the debut ‘Le Cauri Endiamante’ collection – inspired by the rich history and symbolism of cowrie shells – as well as newer styles from the ‘Sagesse’ range, which explores ancient motifs associated with traditional wisdom.

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5 mins read

Black Owned Abroad: Shaneka runs an E-Boutique in Japan

Shaneka Willingham is the owner of Little Mavericks, an e-boutique based in Tokyo, Japan. When she’s not creating bodysuit collections, she teaches military-connected students at Yokota Air Base.

We caught up with her to learn more about her business and life abroad.

Black owned japan
Photo credit: Maryella Photography

When and why did you move to Japan? 

I moved to Japan in October 2015 while grieving the loss of my mother and accepting a teaching position serving military-connected students. Best move ever!

What inspired you to start your business?

Beyond a passion for teaching, I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit since attending an Entrepreneurship Bootcamp in 6th grade. Back then, I sold body creams and soap. Years later, after collaborating with and photographing events for a dear friend with a successful Black-owned cotton candy business, Sugar Shack Tokyo, I was motivated to start my own.

So, I planned for nine months and with the support of friends and other black entrepreneurs in the heart of Tokyo, including owners of Soul Food House and Abundant Hearts Speak, I launched my e-boutique on my late mother’s birthday, January 28, 2020. My business is dedicated to my mother’s memory, how she dressed me in tailored-made garments, swooped my bangs, and called me her Little Lady.

Photo credit: Maryella Photography

What is the most challenging part of being an entrepreneur?

The most challenging part of being an entrepreneur is having BIG million-dollar ideas and not enough funding to make them happen just YET (Growth Mindset!). Currently, my business is self-funded as I continue to learn other means to gain capital.

What is the most fulfilling part of being an entrepreneur?

The most fulfilling part of being an entrepreneur is the creative outlet and the love I’ve received from the community I continue to build through Little Mavericks. I am detail-oriented and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE creating and curating various products that are stylish, fun, and affordable.

My bestseller is my Express Yo’self Bodysuits which feature expressions of black culture and self-love. I do a little jig when customers express how much they love not only the bodysuits and their expressions, but the quality and aesthetic of my brand.

Black owned japan
Photo credit: Maryella Photography

Describe your experience living and working in Japan.

Living and working in Japan has been a rewarding and culturally rich experience. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d live in a foreign country doing what I love. I’ve been able to explore and see different parts of the world, meet incredible people, and I’ve even gained a Japanese mama-san who loves me like her own.

But, most importantly, I get to serve those who serve us. Impacted by extraordinary sacrifices, sudden changes, and deployments, our military-connected students are beautiful and resilient. I enjoy creating memorable learning experiences for them, and though I’m the teacher, they’ve taught me so much; no matter what, keep going and pressing forward. They do it daily.

Black owned japan
Photo credit: Maryella Photography

What are your future plans for the business?

I want Little Mavericks to make a profound impact somehow, and I continue to build and refine while figuring that part out. My short-term goal is to establish brand partnerships with black-owned brick-and-mortar boutiques so that Little Mavericks can be featured and readily available in major cities.

My long-term goal is to expand my apparel line and eventually walk into major retailers to see Little Mavericks on the racks. My ultimate goal is growth, success, and wealth for my family and I.

Tony O. Lawson

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8 mins read

ArtistsUntold, a Black Owned Clothing Brand that Empowers Black Artists

ArtistsUntold is a Black owned clothing brand that fuses art and fashion. The online retail platform provides up-and-coming Black artists with the opportunity to promote and monetize their artwork through apparel and fine art sales.

We spoke with co-founder, Jordan Abdur-Raoof to find out more about the company and its mission to empower Black artists.

Black Owned Clothing Brand
ArtistsUntold co-founder, Jordan Abdur-Raoof

What inspired the creation of ArtistsUntold and its business model?

I had followed this woman on Instagram for years and she was selling her artwork on apparel. I bought a shirt of hers, and it was just poor quality to be frank. It was then that I was like, you know this is something that I can do. 

I could share the artists’ story, their art, and their mission by creating a platform to pay the artists a portion of each sale. It had everything that I was looking for in a social venture.

Black Owned Clothing Brand

I talked with 30 to 40 people who critiqued it here and there, but generally speaking it seemed like a value proposition that a lot of artists really needed. The one thing that I think is unique to us is that we pay multiples higher than the industry standard to artists. Also, a lot of companies will make artists sign exclusivity agreements where they do not own their artwork anymore, but with us they still retain ownership.

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Essentially the artists are licensing the artwork out to us, and if they one day decided that they did not want the artwork on ArtistsUntold anymore, easy enough; we will take it down. We are trying to be as pro-artist as possible.

Black Owned Clothing Brand

How do you select which artists to work with?

It’s been quite a process. When we first started I’d send out 20 messages a day to different artists who had a few hundred to thousands of followers. And 99 percent of the time you wouldn’t get a response. That has now shifted since June with the Black Lives Matter movement, as it accelerated people’s validation of our value proposition and the service that we’re providing.

Now, some artists will reach out to us such as Brandon Brewer. Brandon reached out when he had about 75 followers. I thought to myself, ‘This is unbelievable. I love the work he’s doing, and I love his creative process along with what he communicates through his art’

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Another example is Uzo, who had only a few thousand followers when we first partnered but now has about 50,000. Seeing them grow exponentially has been really exciting, and I am happy that I was able to see artists and their vision, discuss with our team, and run with it.

Now, it’s almost 100% inbound and we have artists apply and unfortunately, we need to turn artists down from time to time.

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What is the most rewarding and most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur?

The challenges and rewards go hand in hand. The hardest part of this is not having a blueprint, but that is what makes this so much fun. Everyday there is a new challenge, or idea, that we need to handle or implement. We are a smaller firm so we are extremely receptive and work hard to pivot quickly depending on customer feedback.

There is no direction list or manual, so you need to figure everything out for yourself. I make a joke that Google is my best friend, but honestly almost every problem I am confronted with I turn to Google and my partners Xander and Steven and we find a solution.

Whether it’s measuring sales taxes, hiring a marketing firm, figuring out Facebook ads, affiliate programs, shipping, how to best respond to client emails and provide excellent customer service, setting up an EIN & business bank account, accounting, or social media aesthetic we are able to learn, adapt, and implement on the fly.  

Where do you see the business in 5 years?

In 5 years, we hope to be recognized as a premier socially conscious and sustainable streetwear & fine art brand. We would like to have a flagship store/gallery in New York and LA combining streetwear, fine art, music, and of course an amazing coffee bar.

We would also like to have a large enough following where any artist on our platform is making enough passive income to pursue art full time whether they have 50 followers or 50,000 followers.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

First and foremost, is to stop talking about it and actually do it. Create a business plan, share your plan and get as much feedback as possible and adapt on the fly because it will not be perfect. While at Cornell I took a lot of classes on Entrepreneurship that have acted as core pillars for this business.

The most important takeaways for me are to listen and ask for feedback & to adapt quickly based on these ‘interviews’ you are conducting. Lastly, there is a huge component of ‘Grit’ which is a passion and perseverance for long-term and meaningful goals.

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Black Owned Clothing Brand

You have to have the ability to persist in something you feel passionate about and persevere when you face obstacles. I know every day when I wake up, I am going to work on ArtistsUntold whether I want to or not, because I have a commitment to empowering underrepresented communities both financially and by sharing narratives in a positive light that can challenge the stereotypes that exist in today’s society.

I know we have the potential to create hundreds of thousands of dollars in wealth for Black and underrepresented communities and the power to plant hundreds of thousands of trees. This drives me forward, so whatever you create, create it with the right intentions and try to put more good into the world.

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