Browse Tag

Eco friendly

3 mins read

Black-Owned Handbag Brands You Should Know

When it comes to accessorizing, a handbag is a must-have for any fashion-savvy person. From high-end designer labels to trendy streetwear brands, the options for handbags are endless.

In this article, we’ll be highlighting some Black-owned handbag brands that offer a wide range of styles, from classic and timeless to trendy and bold.

Black-Owned Handbag Brands

Ree Projects

Black-Owned Handbag

Ree Projects, an Amsterdam-based luxury brand founded by designer Desiree Kleinen, is quietly synonymous with its distinctive yet understated line of luxury bags. Created with the vision to empower women through thoughtful design, each design is rooted in the concept of functional elegance.

Yvonne Koné

Copenhagen-based designer Yvonne Koné presents a collection of key wardrobe staples that are both timeless and understated. With an architectural approach to form, materials and texture, her designs strike a balance between practicality and playful use of color, inspired by her African heritage.

Homage Year

Black-Owned Handbag

Every piece, accessory, and object created by Homage is infused with sociopolitical intention. Each creation serves as a tribute to the brand’s people, culture, and environment, and is a recognition of the brand’s place within these elements.


Black-Owned Handbag

Peryton is a leather goods brand that caters to those who desire unique, high-quality pieces. Instead of following trends or seasonal fads, their goal is to craft something exceptional and long-lasting. They focus on creating products that are both beautiful and durable, for customers who appreciate the value of timeless designs

Anima Iris

Black-Owned Handbag

The Anima Iris collection features handcrafted pieces made by seasoned professionals in Dakar, Senegal. The artisans, who possess centuries-old African craftsmanship, add a unique touch of quality and attention to detail to create limited edition pieces.

N’Damus London

N’Damus London is an independent luxury British accessories brand epitomizing precision craftsmanship and style, synonymous with the creation of durable, high quality leather goods with classic and distinctive designs for men and women.

Petit Kouraj

Petit Kouraj creates unique, standalone pieces of wearable art that blend knitwear, sculpture, and cultural identity. The name “Petit Kouraj” is derived from the Haitian Creole phrase meaning “little courage”.

Agnes Baddoo

Black-Owned Handbag

Agnes Baddoo is a luxury lifestyle brand specializing in leather goods that are committed to consistently providing well-crafted investment pieces to a global discerning customer.

Amany Z

Black-Owned Handbag

Amany Z designs unique handbags that are both functional and sustainable. Their bags stand out for their quirkiness and practicality, offering a minimal and eco-friendly option as compared to traditional luxury accessories.

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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.

by Tony O. Lawson

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3 mins read

Black Owned Electric Vehicle Charging Startup, SparkCharge Has Raised $30M

There are currently more electric vehicles on the road than ever before — with a record 6.6 million sold in 2021, double the previous year’s total.

However, a recent study found that concerns about the accessibility of nearby charging stations deter more people from buying electric vehicles.

This reluctance is frequently caused by “range anxiety,” the uneasy feeling that prospective buyers or current EV owners experience when they are concerned about having sufficient battery power to reach their destination.

SparkCharge is on a journey to change the way the world charges electric vehicles. Their charging-as-a-Service (CaaS) network, along with their mobile app Currently, enables EV owners to charge whenever and wherever they want.

“We are super excited to bring mobile charging and charging as a service (CaaS) to the next level.” shared Josh Aviv, SparkCharge CEO, and founder. “It’s exactly what is needed right now for America to catch up with electrification of transportation. Mobile charging is a necessity to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. Being able to have your EV charged whenever and wherever you’d like takes away the time wasted at chargers and eliminates the worry of finding a charger that isn’t out of order. We’ve focused solely on making charging as easy as possible from building the portable charging hardware to mobilize charging, and the software to make it easy to access.”


With the click of a button, SparkCharge subscribers in 121 U.S. cities can arrange a charging appointment.

If you don’t want to subscribe monthly, you can still pay for a single one-time charge that will be delivered within 90 minutes, according to the business.

In both cases, a technician delivers mobile Roadie charging stations to your car, which may be parked anywhere—at home, at work, or just about anywhere else.

SparkCharge raised approximately $30 million from investors including Mark Cuban, Tale Venture Partners, and rapper, Pusha-T. Aviv pitched SparkCharge on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in 2020, where Cuban and Lori Greiner invested $1 million for a 10% equity stake in the company.

Aviv told CNBC that the investments currently value SparkCharge at approximately $110 million. He added that the company has already established partnerships with major brands such as Kia Motors, Hertz, and Uber, and is on track to generate $10 million in revenue in 2022.

by Tony O. Lawson

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4 mins read

Opportunities in The Booming Electric Vehicle (EV) Battery Market

With the current changes in the automotive market, the demand for electric vehicle (EV) batteries has resulted in unprecedented growth. Recent projections indicate that the global EV battery market is expected to grow from $21.9 billion in 2020 to $154.9 billion in 2028.

According to a recent McKinsey & Co. report, by 2030, ninety percent of automotive demand will be for mobility applications, particularly in electric vehicles. As a result, the EV battery market offers numerous opportunities for investors to consider.

Several factors have contributed to the surge in demand for EV batteries. Increased advocacy for carbon footprint reduction is one factor contributing to soaring demand. With the global climate change crisis, there have been calls to reduce carbon footprints by embracing environmentally friendly energy, such as replacing fossil fuels with electricity.

Similarly, governments have been at the forefront of initiatives to support the transition to EVs by implementing incentives. President Biden, for example, recently announced a $2.8 billion grant to support EV battery manufacturing. This incentive is expected to boost EV battery production and demand.

The falling cost of lithium-ion batteries allows for the mass production of EV batteries at a lower cost. Similarly, automobile manufacturers’ competitive strategy for expanding their global footprint is critical.

To increase their global presence, most automotive brands have resorted to developing cutting-edge products. One of the products that have improved their value proposition is the EV battery.

The increase in EV battery demand opens up a window of opportunity for investors. The first opportunity is in the advancement of software and digitalization. An EV’s architecture technically includes the smart cockpit system, control system, and autonomous driving system. To function, this architecture is dependent on algorithms, chips, and software. As a result, investing in hardware and software development is a profitable venture.

The EV battery market has also shifted the automotive ecosystem. EV drivers need to charge or swap batteries as opposed to refueling. The new ecosystem ushers several opportunities, including battery recycling, EV charging piles, and battery swapping stations.

The maturation of autonomous driving is another opportunity presented by the growth of EV batteries. While electric vehicles have been a game changer in the automotive industry, this is only the beginning.

The ultimate goal will be to make driving autonomous via self-driving vehicles. Aside from improving traffic efficiency, self-driving vehicles will significantly reduce social costs such as time and labor.

Lastly, the energy storage sector is gaining importance with the shift to EV vehicles. The pressure to meet the energy demands has seen some battery companies offshoring.  Investors can either partner with EV battery manufacturers to establish multinational battery companies or venture into mining minerals such as cobalt, nickel and the manufacturing of liquid electrolytes.

Finally, growth in the EV battery market is likely to spread to other areas and sectors. As a result, investors have a wide range of opportunities at their disposal.

Exploring such ventures provides a lucrative opportunity in an untapped market with excellent growth potential. It is also a long-term opportunity because the transition to EVs aligns with environmental goals.

Tony O. Lawson

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6 mins read

Zanshuri, a Black Owned Eco-Friendly Laptop Manufacturer in the $74 Billion Green Tech Market

According to a recent report, the global green technology and sustainability market size was valued at $10.32 billion in 2020, and is projected to reach $74.64 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 21.9% from 2021 to 2030.

Consumers, investors, and others who prioritize sustainability are looking for products, equipment, and systems that conserve natural resources and reduce the negative impact on the environment.

UK-based Zanshuri specializes in the design and manufacture of eco-friendly laptops desktops and more. Zanshuri products are currently being used in a variety of fields including emergency response, finance, commerce, and healthcare.

We caught up with founder and CEO, Chib Nwokonkor to find ou more about his business.

eco-friendly laptop

What inspired you to start your Zanshuri?

As a child, the word “Zanshuri”, was often on my mind. I remember asking my parents if it was the name of a distant family relative, a country from our past, or some type of food. My mother assured me it was none of those.

The name stuck with me over the years, and when I finally got to university to study Computer Science and Environment, I used part of my student loan to register the domain name.

Living and working all over the world allowed me to gain an understanding of cultural differences, as well as the similar challenges which we all face. This coupled with my interest in sustainability, gave me an idea of what I would do with Zanshuri.

eco-friendly laptop

How does a Zanshuri laptop or desktop compare to those made by larger tech companies?

The core products at Zanshuri are our range of laptop, desktop and server computers. The difference between us and other manufacturers is all our computers are designed to use as little electricity to complete a task as possible.

This means they more aggressively reduce their power use when on standby or doing basic tasks. They also make the best use of ambient cooling, such that unless it is absolutely necessary for cooling fans to operate, they will remain static. Instead, natural convection is used to cool the system internals, until a threshold is reached, and then the fans will start up.

Although we use industry-standard components from the likes of Intel, AMD, Crucial and Samsung, we modify the cooling array with our bespoke carbon solutions, thus ensuring they run much cooler than they normally would. 

This combination of these factors leads to our computers using up to 90% less energy than other manufacturer’s systems.

eco-friendly laptop

Does being eco-friendly mean you have to sacrifice performance?

We are able to ramp the energy consumption of our systems up or down, automatically, depending on the needs of the user at that precise moment. As a result, our computers tend to outperform the competition, whilst still being able to undercut them in terms of running costs in the long term also.

What patents do you currently have pending?

We currently have patents pending on our developments, including one for non-dynamic cooling within a closed system, which in basic terms means reducing temperatures within a container without relying on fans or liquid systems.

What do you need to help take your business to the next level?

Right now the business needs significant investment to help us raise our profile, continue to refine our Intellectual Property and grow our headcount.

Being a small business in the UK has its challenges, some of which include Brexit, rising costs, and a restricted local market.

We believe the right investment can help us to become more visible to the global marketplace, establish a presence outside of the UK and achieve exponential growth through the wider rollout of our products and services.

Where do you see the business in 5 years?

Five years from now I would like to see us achieve all of the above. We should be a global entity and have premises on each major continent at the very least. Our products have been proven to work effectively as we have an established and growing client base.

Zanshuri has the potential to implement widespread change in an industry which has given lip service to power reduction for so many years. It is already common knowledge that some data centers use more energy than some towns and cities in the world.

This cannot be allowed to continue unaddressed. We are able to do something about it now, with products that actually work and are not just theory. It is an exciting time for all. My team and I are eager to make their mark on the world. This is the way we will do it.

Tony O. Lawson

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5 mins read

Black Engineer Creates Eco-Friendly, Disaster Proof Smart Homes

Housing is amongst the most basic of human needs, and yet, it’s becoming increasingly elusive — even in wealthy countries like the US. Technology has changed every sector leaving construction as the last industry prime for revolution.

The SolutionRoombus produces high quality and eco-friendly modular Smart Homes that are affordable for everyone. The homes are engineered to withstand storms, earthquakes, and even stop burglars.

We caught up with founder, Dami Jegede to learn more about his company.

Roombus founder, Dami Jegede

What inspired you to start Roombus?

So my background is software engineering, and I’ve built 2 successful fintech companies. In 2018 I started looking to solve a bigger and more impactful global challenge. It became immediately clear that affordable housing was what I really, really wanted to do. It has been a big and hairy problem for decades and it gets bigger every year.


Initially, it was about building affordable homes, but when we took a deep dive, it evolved into building the future of housing. We believe that is smart, health-focused, safe and eco-friendly homes.

How does Roombus differ from the homes built from shipping containers?

We actually looked at shipping containers at the onset. In fact, it was what made the venture seem attainable to me, but we abandoned the direction after much research.

We found in the Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology found that the majority of containers have harmful levels of toxicity inside — with spillage of harmful substances and chemicals that were not removed by thorough washing.


Hazardous chemicals and pesticides are used to treat the wooden floors, and some were coated in paint which contains harmful chemicals like phosphorous and chromate.

To top it off, container housing was too niche a market for our vision, only 16% of people we surveyed were open to owning a container home.

Roombus, on the other hand, has designed a proprietary steel core frame system that allows us to build truly disaster proof and healthy homes. Great for humans and the environment. Our homes are not limited by container dimensions and compromise, and so our spaces are much bigger.

Please explain how the homes are designed with sustainability and eco-friendliness in mind.

Construction is one notorious industry that produces one of the highest amounts of waste in the world today. Building homes on lots are highly inefficient from cost, labor and waste perspectives.

Most of us have passed by homes under construction and seen the amount of wasted materials on-site — broken wood framing, off-cuts from roofing sheets, insulation, and drywall. Most of that new junk is heading to a landfill near you.


Our prefab method (building in a factory), and precision manufacturing reduces material wastage by a whopping 95%! Our steel framing system is 100% recyclable, and we use bamboo to replace as much wood as possible.

Bamboo grows super-fast and is extremely light on the environment. We utilize above-code insulation to save energy and reduce the need for heating and cooling all year round — from Florida to Alaska.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Grit and resilience can’t be overstated. You need to learn to pick yourself up and just keep moving. This is why you have to be double sure about your venture before you start.

Does it really matter to me? How much do I love this?  Hold on tightly to your destination, but let your path be flexible. Too many people waste too much time on a path that just never will open. Pull up your goal maps and try new routes!


Tony O. Lawson

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6 mins read

Couples, Inc. : Java and Michelle Help the Environment by Putting Your Food Waste to Work

Java’s Compost is a family-owned, full-service composting company that seeks to make composting as fast and convenient as possible. The husband and wife team, Java and Michelle Bradley of  South Orange, NJ, provide on-site composting equipment and services to sustainably dispose of food waste.

Their services include weekly at-home composting, consultation services, and the provision of a starter composting kit for customers’ homes. Additionally, excess household compost can be donated on the customer’s behalf to Java’s Compost’s urban farm partners in Newark.

We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate earth day than to spotlight a company that is doing their part to save the environment.

How did you both meet?

Michelle: We met in Massachusetts in 1992 as freshmen at Amherst College. We were mostly just friends there and luckily, didn’t start dating until after we graduated.

Java’s Compost
Java and Michelle Bradley

What inspired you to start a business together?

Michelle: Honestly, it wasn’t totally thought through. Java became really passionate about composting as a result of managing the compost system at a charter school in Newark. The transformation of taking what is normally considered trash and giving it a second chance at life, by turning into compost, was fascinating to him.

I, on the other hand, was completely repulsed by the idea and it literally took me years to even consider composting. I grew up in NYC and Java is from San Francisco so that should shed some light as to why!

After seeing the documentary, DIRT, the movie, I did a complete 180 and started to feel incredibly guilty when I threw away food. If I could feel this way, we knew there had to be other people that did too. So the idea to start a food scraps recycling service was born.

How do you balance being parents and business owners?

Michelle: Wow, great question. It’s anything but easy and most of the time we aren’t that successful at it. For the first year in business, all our “down time” would be spent working and much of it still is.

But we still make sure we keep up with our boys’ basketball practices and games, even if it means we have to bring some work along to do in between games or while we’re waiting for practices to be done.

Java’s Compost

Describe your individual personalities and how you blend them to make the business work?

Michelle: Blend them? We’re still working on that! Java and I are very different and going into business together has brought that out even more clearly. He is a gentle soul that would give away all his knowledge and expertise for free if he could.

He is extremely patient and works at a pace you would expect from a California kid. He is meticulous so his work is extremely thorough.

Java’s Compost

I, on the other hand, am the opposite. Growing up in Manhattan, I learned to do most things pretty quickly, which can serve a purpose but is not always good. I need to practice being more patient and also need to work on toning down my critical nature. My strengths lie in my ability to connect with people and get out there and hustle to help our business get to the next level.

What advice do you have for other couples in business together?

Michelle: Be willing to learn about and acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses. Be open to working on them but also be realistic in your expectations of one another. Java and I have been together for 22 years, so all our quirks and habits are pretty ingrained in us as is our dynamic.

Java’s Compost

Going into business together won’t change any of those things and may heighten them as you work through all the growing pains of starting a business. I think we went into a little naive thinking it will be “fun”. Some parts are fun and some challenging. Building something from nothing, together, is the best part.

Where do you see the business in 5 years?

Michelle: In 5 years, we hope Java’s Compost is known as the solution to residential and small scale commercial food waste production in Northern New Jersey. We want all people to understand that their food waste has value.

Right now, that is very hard to see when all food waste either gets piled up in a smelly landfill or burned in an incinerator. We’re trying to educate people that composting your food scraps reduces your garbage by more than 50% and that it actually turns into a valuable, useable product.

Java’s Compost

Composting can do everything from helping combat climate change to restore our nutrient depleted soils. Continuing to throw food in the trash isn’t sustainable and since we only have one planet that’s habitable at the moment, the sooner we adopt composting as the norm instead of the exception, the better it will be for all of us.


-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG@thebusyafrican)

8 mins read

Couples Inc. : Eco-Friendly Timepiece Makers, David and MarQuerite

As concerns about the environment have grown, so have the demand for eco-friendly and sustainable products. One couple that’s all about creating a business that has a minimal effect on the environment is David Gandy and MarQuerite Hamden, founders of Ecowrist.

David and MarQuerite

SB: How did you both meet?

David: We met in Amsterdam in 1999. Mutual friends of ours, Nicole and Glynis Terborg, convinced us to take a course called The Landmark Forum. We ended up becoming partners in the course and then partners in life.

SB: What inspired the creation of EcoWrist?

MarQuerite: We were traveling and found watches made with sustainable materials. We bought them and wore them every day when we got back to NY and everyone commented on how cool they were.

A light bulb went off and since I have a background in fashion and both David and I are performing artists and entrepreneurs, we decided to take the steps to create Afrocentric versions of the product.

We started with a couple of designs for wrist watches at first and Ecowrist grew organically with a collection each year that now consists of our signature wristwatches, pocket watches and sunglasses.

SB: What is the most important thing to remember when you are married to your business partner?

David: You are not going to agree on everything and it’s okay. Compromising and offering positive and honest feedback about something that your partner really is set on and giving them the room to develop it.

MarQuerite: I’d like to add that you discover each other’s strengths and weaknesses and with that knowledge you work to get the best out of each other and use that to benefit the company.

The positive effect is that it also benefits your marriage. Again, being straightforward, having integrity and leaving Ecowrist at the end of the day at the table/office, which is very hard. We work on that every day. Some days are better than others.

SB: What has been the most challenging part of your entrepreneurial journey so far? What is the most gratifying?

MarQuerite: Having the capital to help Ecowrist to further grow and getting it to the next level by funding a solid inventory, managing social media and affording the time to put into the company. But, raising three children and maintaining a relationship in the midst of it all has been quite challenging as well.

The most gratifying has been the love we receive for the products we design.This year marks our 10th anniversary! All of the love and support that we got from our customers, family, our tribe ( you know who you are) , and our team means the world to us! We could not have gotten this far without them (you).

David: The connections and relationships that come through Ecowrist are invaluable. Ujamaa and Umoja has been part of Ecowrist and one of our goals is to be a part of the movement to connect the Diaspora throughout the world.

We now see the fruits of our labor. The ideas and vision we had, has become a reality and is still continuing to manifest in a way that is much bigger then we hoped for and we are riding on that wave.

SB: In what ways do you both have similar entrepreneurial traits and in what ways are you different as entrepreneurs?

David: We both want to have passion about our career choices and really don’t want to work for anyone else.

I’d say that I’m a bit more spontaneous (not always good) while MarQuerite is a bit more detail oriented and processes information more thoroughly.

MarQuerite: We like to dive into something new and completely give it our all. If it works out, great! If not, we take that experience, cut our losses and proceed into a new direction.

We’re both competitive, have great negotiation skills, are people’s people, ambitious, fair, and have integrity with our work. I’m better with logistics and budget. David can stay calmer when there is a storm, and line the initial steps out.

SB: Why is it important for you to create products using sustainable material?

David: Why spend more money on developing raw resources, destroying the environment and contribute to more global warming (real news not alternate fact news) when everything has already been pretty much processed for us? It’s not just through their business where they think about using sustainable products and being environmentally friendly. They’ve even thought about making simple changes within their home too. From looking to replace their old toilet with something like the TOTO drake ii, to using energy efficient light bulbs around the house, every little bit helps in improving the environment. More people should be like this.

With minimal processing you save time, money and the environment.

MarQuerite: We have been incorporating a healthier lifestyle for over 15 years now through Organic nutrition, skincare, and much more. All of the research I do has turned me into a scholar.

There are so many toxins in our environment and most people don’t have a clue or don’t care. Wanting to be more knowledgeable and conscious to achieve and prioritize our well being is a priority for us but, not in this society.

It was only a natural step that followed with our business that we stayed on that path! Having the power to create a product that looks and feels great, and actually has a minimal impact on our environment is important to us. Having our children witness this will help them implement sustainability and an entrepreneurial mindset in their lives.

SB: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

David: Stay the course and be open to being critiqued by folks who know better. Just make sure the critique is coming from love and not jealousy.

MarQuerite: Go for what you believe in, even if no one else sees it. Follow through, trust your instinct. Have integrity and honesty.

Find out more about Ecowrist from their website.



-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson aka @thebusyafrican

10 mins read

Switch Fresh: The Patented Deodorant from Dwayne Wade’s Cousin

Antoine Wade, founder of Switch Fresh, has produced the world’s first replaceable deodorant. This patented product reduces plastic waste and is an eco-friendly alternative to the hundreds of deodorant bottles the average person will dispose of in their lifetime.

We caught up with him to find out more about his business:

SB: What inspired you to create Switch Fresh?

AW: Products evolve and deodorant has seen limited innovation. I wanted to break the cycle and change the way we use and purchase deodorant. After analyzing a bottle of deodorant I realized two things, most solid deodorants are only half full. Half is the stick you twist to raise it and the other half is the actual deodorant.

Also, I noticed that there’s nothing wrong with the packaging we discard, besides the fact that it’s empty. I wanted to create something that we could reuse, but also worked well and looked cool.

I thought, how awesome would it be to have a bottle with your favorite colors, designs or vacation spot? We love products that we have a connection to. We keep reminders of people we love and places we visited on our walls and screen savers. Why not have one in our bathroom to put a smile on our face?

With that in mind, I wanted to blend style and convenience. Everyone knows they’ll need to purchase deodorant again and again, so we created a platform to simplify the transaction. Order the bottle once and schedule how often you’ll need the refills to come. That way you can skip the store and spend time doing things that you value.

SB; Switch Fresh is patented product. How many patents do you have for it and for what specifically?

AW: I have two patents for the Switch Fresh deodorant bottle. One for utility and one for design. We wanted to protect the way it looks and functions. I also have three additional patents in the works.


SB: Dwyane Wade is your cousin. Have you discussed this project with him and what was his response? Is he involved in any way?

AW: Yes, he said it’s the best idea he’s ever heard(laughing) just kidding. Honestly, he was one of the first to know about it. He thought it was really unique and cool. He’s given great advice and encouraged me to pursue this dream. He’s not involved in any way besides being a supportive family member.

However, I can say that if I hadn’t worked with him for over a decade, learning the business of building a brand, I probably wouldn’t have set my sights on launching a company of my own.

SB: We’re always interested in businesses that manufacture. What was the process for finding the right manufacturer?

AW: Relentless searching. (laughing). The internet is an awesome tool to narrow down specifically what you’re looking for. A lot of companies told me to go international with both the injection mold (bottles) and deodorant to keep my costs down. But I wanted to keep the manufacturing of both our bottles and the deodorant in the US, and more specifically the Chicagoland area.

I think it’s important to be a short drive or plane trip away so I can easily meet face to face with our partners. From there, I had to find someone who was not only capable of producing our bottles, but willing to try something new since this is the first deodorant bottle of its kind. Some manufacturers weren’t interested in making anything other than standard deodorant bottles. Others required a huge minimum order that was much more than we could commit to, being that we’re a startup.

When it came to the product to fill the bottles, I needed a vendor who could produce a wide variety of deodorant and antiperspirant formulas, as well as other personal care products because we plan to grow the brand. The process took about a year and ultimately, I partnered with two great local companies that are experts at what they do. So, the time was well worth it.

SB: Your products have a cool design. Do you have a designer as part of your team are you outsourcing that task? 

AW: I was an art major so I love being involved in the design phase. On the other hand, it’s time consuming so we do have designers. Marlon Muñoz, our Creative Director handles the designs. He and I collaborate on the overall look and feel, but what you see is the result of his technical expertise.

We also have Melanie Gales who works with the product design and our lead engineer, Matt Nottingham, who helped bring the vision to life. Collectively I feel we have a great team that recognizes new consumer trends but also creates timeless designs customers will love.


SB:What is the most rewarding thing about being an entrepreneur. What is the most challenging thing?

AW: The most rewarding part is having a vision and watching it unfold into an actual tangible product. It’s extremely gratifying to see what once was an idea become real. I liken it to having a child. You plan, then wait as your baby grows to the point where it’s ready to be introduced to the world, later there’s birth.

Switch Fresh

You have this exciting addition in your life and you can only imagine how their life will unfold. We’ve given birth to Switch Fresh, now we get to watch it grow up. The most challenging part of being an entrepreneur – patience! We all want our businesses to be a huge success instantly. However, it takes time for a tree to become a tree. I constantly have to remind myself that the best growth is organic and that doesn’t happen overnight.

SB: Where do you see your business in 5 years?

AW: I see us doing new exciting things in personal care. I don’t want to jump the gun and divulge what we have in store. We’ll save that for a follow up interview. But I think we’ll be an up and coming player in our industry.

We already have preorders from all around the world and we’re brand new. To continue to build on that and turn our brand into a household name is the goal. I know God has a plan for our business and I just have to have faith and continue build it.


SB: What advice do you have for other aspiring entrepreneurs?

AW: You can do it! You’re smart, you’re creative don’t ever tell yourself or let someone tell you otherwise. What’s cool or important to you may not be to someone else, and that’s ok. Because there are people like you who are interested in the things you like and value your voice or creativity.

You will hear no very often. Not because it’s a bad idea, but because it’s difficult to explain your vision to someone and have them interpret it exactly as you see it. Don’t lose faith because they see in black and white while you see in color. Keep working and find those who speak the same language that you do.


To learn more about Switch Fresh and to support their crowdfunding campaign, click here.


-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson