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Home Furnishings

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54Kibo, the Digital Marketplace Showcasing The Beauty of African Aesthetic and Luxury Décor

54kibo is the premier luxury digital home décor retailer for interior design professionals and consumers.

The brand was launched in 2018 by Nana Quagraine. Nana was inspired after her travels back and forth between over a dozen African countries and her home in Brooklyn, New York.

54kibo
Nana Quagraine

These travels helped her identify the strengths across the continent that could be exported to the world. 

54kibo

As a black woman, Nana was tired of the existing vocabulary used to describe Africa, blackness and womanhood. After she became a mother, she worried that there are not enough visual symbols, especially in the U.S. to signal to her children that their blackness is valued by society. She wanted them to be proud of their roots and have the same appreciation for Africa and for being a black person that her family instilled in her. 

54kibo

Driven by these multiple experiences, Nana decided to build something that was tangible, something that introduces a new vocabulary for Africa. After exploring a number of ideas over the years, design seemed like a no brainer.

54kibo

“People globally appreciate beauty. When you see beautiful design in art, fashion or home decor, it is undeniable – it draws you in”, she explained.” The uniqueness and beauty of contemporary African design is undeniable, it invites you to learn, explore its origins, learn something new about Africa, about the diaspora, about the world and hopefully about yourself.”

Adinkra inspired swaddles and kids blankets

How would you describe African aesthetic and design?

The 54 in 54kibo represents the 54 countries that are in Africa because every country in the continent has so much creativity and beauty to offer! The African aesthetic is vibrant, unique, and most importantly, visually new and appealing in the home decor category.

Contrary to common knowledge, African design is not limited to tribal designs. It covers a broad spectrum that includes minimalist designs, and colorful, bold, maximalist designs.

Design is driven by people, their daily experiences, aspirations and dreams. With over a billion people in Africa and the diaspora; and thanks to a growing and more demanding middle class with easier access to technology and information, African art and design is flourishing.

African design is adding a flair of innovation to the design world by being truly distinctive in a relatively homogeneous market place. Thebe Magugu becoming the first LVMH prize recipient from Africa, at this point in time is not a coincidence. There is already a pipeline of creative talent in Africa and the diaspora that is ready to be discovered and experienced.

At 54kibo, we’re curating this talent and making it frictionless to shop luxury and uniquely beautiful home decor. For example, we now have a trade program for interior designers, architects and other design professionals which makes it easier to shop from multiple designers from the diaspora on one platform.

This reduces the effort required to research and navigate multiple websites, negotiate terms and navigate logistics, payment systems, customs, quality issues and multiple other hurdles. We received a shipment of the Ile-Ila Alaafia rocker chair  today and we’re all still in awe of its bold design and beauty! Now our customers can enjoy this beauty without having to think about and deal with the hurdles. 

To what would you attribute the growing popularity of African aesthetics?

There continues to be an explosion in demand for Contemporary African art and fashion in the U.S. and globally. For example when I first saw art by Eddie Ilunga, from Democratic Republic of Congo, three years ago in New York it was selling for $10k, this month his work sold for over $75k at Sothebys.

That is an amazing return on investment.  For the home furnishings sector, which is often influenced by art and fashion trends, two years ago IKEA partnered with Design Indaba in South Africa to create a global collection, featuring a collection of prolific African designers that launched this year. We are thrilled to see this, as it is extraordinarily validating for our business proposition.  

In general, we now live in a world that is increasingly digitally connected and global; and there is a growing population of consumers with cosmopolitan tastes who are eager to explore the undiscovered corners of this world. They’re looking for the unique, the unexplored.

There is a whole creative world in Africa and the diaspora – some of the world’s most beautiful and least well-known designs – all waiting to be experienced. For black consumers, in addition to the above, our value-add is also representation.

Our first shipment of this exquisite pillow collection from Yael et Valerie based in Haiti, sold out before we could even list it! We’re providing access to a previously overlooked source of beauty, from designers who look like them. Offering a new and fresh perspective of design to all our customers and introducing designers in Africa and the diaspora to the world.

54kibo

How do you decide what items to carry?

When choosing our items, we look at the quality of each piece, the distinctiveness of the design, the designer’s story and most importantly, consider the needs of our customers and where the piece might reside in their life.

There is so much talent in the industry, it’s hard to narrow down our selection but we have a team with experienced merchandisers who have worked in the home category at major retailers.

We also work closely with leading interior designers in the New York area who help guide our selections. For example, we’ve met a lot of amazing product designers and interior designers through the Black Artist + Designers Guild, founded by Malene Barnett.

This Summer, 54kibo participated in the BADG Transcend space at NY NOW Trade Show. The space was designed and transformed with bold and creative pieces by interior designers Beth Diana Smith and Kiyonda Powell. Their space clearly showcased black design in a modern and beautiful way, which also won them the IFDA award for most Innovative Design.

Where do you see the business in 5 years?

It is ambitious but we want to build a global retail brand. To become the world’s go-to source for home décor with contemporary African design. We currently have over 30 incredible designers on the platform and will be adding more. We have 450 skus listed but this is less than 2% of the products available to us.

So, if customers prove us right and if we can achieve our sales targets in the short term, we plan to expand our products by 5x over the next twelve months. We look forward to continue collaborating with more product designers, interior designers, other retailers, and the media to showcase Contemporary African Design throughout the US, and ultimately, the world.


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Black Owned Home Decor Companies You Should Know

The home decor market is growing at a steady pace. This is partly due to the fact that nowadays, everyone from millennials and Generation X-ers, wants to personalize their home and office spaces.

Black owned Home Decor Companies that can offer quality and convenience to savvy consumers like these are in a position to succeed.

Black Owned Home Decor Companies

Tackussanu Senegal

black owned home decor

GOODEE

ụlọ

54kibo

Mismatch

Peace & Riot

Elan by Uri

Established 25

Global Attic

Nicole Crowder Upholstery

Hana Getachew 

Black Owned Home Decor

Malene Barnett

Black Owned Home Decor

Expedition Subsahara Black Owned Home Decor

Black Pepper Paperie Co

Black Owned Home Decor

Sheila Bridges Design, Inc 

Black Owned Home Decor

Rayo & Honey 

Reflektion Design 

House of Versatile Styles (HVS)

Justina Blakeney

Rochelle Porter 

Eva Sonaike

Don’t Sleep Interiors 

Black Owned Home Decor

BLK MKT Vintage 

Black Owned Home Decor

xNasozi 

Livvy& Neva 

Estelle Colored Glass

-Tony O. Lawson

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Black Interior Designers You Should Know

From organizing rooms, picking flooring, to finding furniture to complement it all, a good interior designer should be able to transform your tastes and ideas into designs that are representative of your style, as well as help you design your home.

Here are some Black interior designers that can meet those needs and more.

Black Interior Designers

Anishka Clarke and Niya Bascom are the founders of Ishka designs, an interior design firm that creates efficiently beautiful interior experiences that lean towards minimalism.

Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason are the creators of Aphrochic, an interior design brand focused on high-end commercial and residential design.

Danielle Colding is founder of Danielle Colding Design, inc., a full-service interior design firm has taken on a wide variety of projects from high-end residential to distinctive commercial design projects both in the United States and abroad.

Ilé-Adé Designs & Interiors elevates dream spaces into reality by tastefully decorating personal residences and commercial properties. They also provide stunning graphic designs for all types of projects (business cards, logos, ads, etc).

Nicole Gibbons runs Nicole Gibbons Studio, a full-service design company specializing in high-style residential and commercial interiors that combine timeless sophistication with a fresh, modern edge.

black interior designers

Oloro Interiors is a full service space curation firm specializing in residential & commercial interiors and hospitality design.

Daryl Carter is an internationally-known interior decorator, furniture designer, lighting designer, published author, and has an eponymous home boutique.

Dominique Calhoun owner and founder of Remix Living. Her main goal is to remove the stress from your design dilemmas and to create a remarkable experience.

Erin Shakoor is the owner of Shakoor Interiors, an interior design, and renovation firm specializing in exclusive residences, boutique commercial spaces, and historic & vintage properties.

Rayman Boozer is the principal designer and CEO of Apartment 48. He has worked with clients on a multitude of projects including modern lofts, television studios, summer homes, and commercial offices.

Nile Johnson is the owner of Nile Johnson Interior Design, a boutique design firm that specializes in comfortable, curated, and elevated spaces.

Michel Smith Boyd’s breadth of influence includes residential and commercial interior design as well as curated collections of luxe rugs, fabrics and trims.

Kesha Franklin is defined by a commitment to a highly-personalized service for luxury interiors.

Me and General Design is a Brooklyn based boutique architectural interior design studio specializing in new residential and/or restorations, hospitality, and retail spaces along with designing and/or renovating private homes.

Butterfly Concepts is a full service Interior Design company creating spaces for the home and business.

Tony O. Lawson

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


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Black Owned Candle Companies You Should Get Into

Do you appreciate a good candle? We do. We’ve personally tried products from a few of these Black owned candle companies and literally have some of them scattered around the house right now. Needless to say, our place smells great. Treat yo self.

Black Owned Candle Companies

Bright Black

UNLAX Candles

black owned candle

One Eleven Candles

AfterGlow Candle Company

black owned candle

Sacred Space

black owned candle

Scent & Fire Candle Company

Southern Elegance Candle Company

Lit Moments Candle Co

Wick N Wink

Korai Candle

Blk Sunflower

Three IV Seven

Pontie Wax

black owned Candle

Candlessentials

black owned Candle

J & L Candles

Choose Your Bliss Candle Company

Gavin Luxe & Company

Harlem Candle Company

Posh Candle Co.

black owned candle

Simple Scents Candle Company

LIT Brooklyn

 

-Tony O. Lawson

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20 Black Owned Businesses in the UK

By now you must have seen our first list of Black Owned Businesses in the Diaspora. On that list, we mentioned several Black owned businesses based in the UK. This time, we are showing even MORE love to our brothers and sisters across the pond with a new list of dope businesses you should most definitely check out and support from your country or when you visit the United Kingdom.

20 Black Owned Businesses in the UK

Home Decor

Eva Sonaike is a lifestyle company that produces luxurious home décor, fashion accessories and textiles.

Black Owned Businesses

 

Fashion

Uptown Yardie is a British company inspired by Jamaican heritage, selling a lifestyle captured through shoes and clothes.

Black Owned Businesses

Afrination is an urban clothing brand inspired by African culture and tradition.

Black Owned Businesses

Dionne Gooding is a footwear designer that combines the latest London styles and soft leathers and suede with jaw dropping fabrics from West Africa.

Black Owned Businesses

Tsemaye Binite  is an award winning contemporary fashion label characterized by exquisite clothing encapsulating a love of luxury and innovative design.

Black Owned Businesses

 

Duro Olowu is impressing the right people with his vibrant mix of African prints, seventies tailoring, and unlikely color combos.

 

Hair/Skin Care

Hug My Hair

Curly by Nature

Almocado

Root2Tip

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Jewelry and Accessories

Mya and Joe il_570xN.811655049_1uq8

Afro Deco 

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MaroonDawta

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Sapelle 

Turquoise_Multistrand_necklace_grande

Food

The Black Farmer

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Check out our most recent list of Black owned businesses in the UK !

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