Founder of The 1-Stop Shop to UK’s Best Black-Owned Businesses [@AliAwoyera] Shares Her Journey

It’s Black Owned is a platform which shares the UK’s best Black-owned platforms across various sectors. We had the opportunity to speak with the Founder Alison Awoyera, where she shared insight on her motivations and future prospects for the platform. Gaining an understanding of what Alison seeks to do with the platform made this interview a crucial share, as elevating Black businesses is vital to the success of the community.

What motivated you to start your platform?
“From as long as I can remember, I’ve always been exposed to supporting black businesses. Whether it be the after-school club I attended in Dalston, run by a Trinidadian couple who introduced all the kids to Carnival, to supporting the one market stall owned by a black woman in Lewisham market: my mum showed me, rather than told, the importance of ‘supporting we own’. And that’s something that has become of more importance as I’ve become an adult.

This took shape as me sharing authentic Jamaican takeaways, skilled hairstylists and African tailors with friends. But it wasn’t until I had my daughter that the light bulb moment came: we really could do with a platform to showcase the best black-owned businesses and services, all in one place.”

What would you say has been the most interesting learning curve since starting ITSBLACKOWNED?

“The sheer amount of innovative business ideas has truly blown me away. From a wig-washing delivery service by Wig Wash & Drop to HVNDMXDE’s hand-drawn greeting cards depicting real-life photos, I’m always in awe of the creativity our community has to offer.

On a more personal level, it’s that perfectionism can hinder you from making progress. I take pride in my work, but I’ve learned that done is good enough – you can’t wait for the ‘perfect’ moment to get started. I owe a lot of my lack of fear to becoming a mum. Nothing prepares you for what comes and in all honesty, there’s little room for fear when you have to get on with it!”

How do you look to positively impact black business owners with your platform? 

“Firstly, my primary aim is to curate the best black-owned businesses: the spots and services I’d be excited to recommend to a friend, with the added feel-good bonus of circulating wealth within my community. This isn’t to alienate other ethnicities from discovering the brands either. It’s just a conscious effort to ensure we are proactively doing something to influence change.

For the brands who submit to be featured but aren’t a great fit for the site, I do my absolute best to give helpful feedback. Just because a brand or service isn’t meeting the standard for ITSBLACKOWNED now, doesn’t mean it can’t in the future.

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I’ve also seen how brands on site can work together organically. Whenever an opportunity arises i.e. one brand is looking for a service that I know another specialises in, I make the introductions. It’s what I call ‘dot connecting’, and it’s something many other communities have proven works.”

What can we expect to see in the future? 

“Definitely more incredible brands highlighted, both online and offline – we’ve not scratched the surface yet! I’d love to not only see more black businesses started, but also be part of the reason why they’re sustained.”

Are you a successful Black-owned business? Why not get in touch with Alison to have your business featured.

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