Supporting local has never been more essential than it is this Christmas. With many shops crippled by the numerous lockdowns, Irish retailers are calling out for business this festive season. One way to be conscious with your shopping choices this year is to research who exactly, you’re buying from.
Last summer saw the creation of IBO – Irish Black Owned – a website compiling all the Irish black owned businesses offering services and goods right here in Ireland. Cultivating a diverse economic landscape is as important as supporting local, so we have compiled a list of some of our top picks from amongst the Irish, black female entrepreneurs listed on IBO. With an emphasis on organic, natural beauty and gorgeous, quality textiles and art, there is no shortage of beautiful products to choose from.
Charlot Kristensen ‘Lake of Harmony’ Print (RRP €8)
This illustrated print featuring a girl standing in a shallow lake, with a bouquet of flowers is just one of Charlot’s gorgeous illustrated collection. The illustrator & author of "What We Don't Talk About" has an online shop (The Orange Nest) selling art, graphic novels, prints, postcards and zines.
The Orange Nest is an online store set up by avid art enthusiasts Charlot and Jacek, who want to bring their products to a wider public. While Charlot is a professional illustrator and a graduate at London's Middlesex University, Jacek is a keen art lover with a strong passion for graphic design, photography and storytelling. Together they create a diverse and unique array of original art products.
Bees of Honey ‘Relaxing Fall Bundle’ (RRP €18.00)
The ‘Relaxing Fall Bundle’ will allow you to relax after showers and bath by applying the autumn blend mood oil which leaves a beautiful smell. Your skin will be hydrated, and moisture will be locked in leaving your skin with a gorgeous glow
The founder of Bees of Honey is 22-year-old Mimmie Malaba. She created this brand to be able to help people find a little happiness in self care having struggled for a few years to improve her own self care routine. She hand makes most of the products available.
‘When you shop with us, you are not only investing in yourself… you also invest into our small business… allowing it to grow Thank you.’
Emerald & Wax & Virtue Shine ‘Manye Kimono Jacket’ (RRP €249.00)
The Manye (man – ye) Kimono is inspired by the beautiful black and white traditional attire worn by the smart, strong women who are at the backbone of the men in the Ga Mantse Palace in Accra. The Manye kimono exudes beauty, confidence and strength. The sleeves alone say it all.
Made with meba embroidered fabric, which has a subtle silver embroidery running through it for a bit of glitz.
Emerald &Wax specialises in wearable art and slow fashion. Virtue’s ‘Fall in Love’ collection is inspired by ‘people, places, shapes and patterns that I have fallen in love with throughout my life so far. One example is the Odeley Kimono coat, named after my grandmother who inspired my love and passion for African prints. The names of the pieces are some very personal and full of memories. There’s also of course my love for bold prints and patterns that brings a bit of playfulness, joy and originality to the designs.’
‘These wax prints are a little bit of my childhood that I carry with me always, and a piece of my Ghana. I draw on this Ghanaian upbringing to bring the art and colour of traditional wax prints to European design, delivering what I like to describe as wearable art for today’s confident woman and also for women looking to bring colour into their everyday lives and wardrobes.’
Now living in Galway, on the West Coast of Ireland, she finds herself driven to design and produce each garment so that it is the essence of the Emerald & Wax brand.
Available online and soon in selected designer outlets, her collections are extremely wearable and add both colour and style to any capsule wardrobe.
Whipped2Glow ‘Milk & Honey’ (RRP €15.00-€55.00)
Appropriate for all skin types, safe for the eye area, to saturate skin for as long as 24 hours. Improved with skin relaxing milk and honey which is great for skin nourishing, this body butter is made with rich coconut and Shea butter oils and Vitamin E, to make a perfect mix of skin spoiling supplements for normal to dry skin.
Whipped is a holistic, hand–made butter whipped up from natural ingredients and void of any harsh chemicals that irritate or harm the skin. Your skin is the largest organ of the body, it absorbs everything that is applied to it. Are you still comfortable using products with names and chemicals you know nothing of?
This all natural, sustainable and cruelty free brand started as a mission to find a solution to constantly irritable, dry sensitive skin and unpredictable flare ups in the creator’s own skin and grew into something that was made for friends and family who complained of similar struggles. Her products have now become a healing source for all.
Whipped2Glow’s founder has said ‘Being mindful is arguably of the utmost importance in any one of our journeys in this lifetime. Being mindful of what or how you treat yourself and the body you live in is the greatest form of self–care.’
KunbiKouture Custom Clothing ‘Kate African print blazer’ (RRP €25.00)
Modern stylish African print kimono for every season and every occasion. A cover-up that will go with just about anything, whether its jeans, skirts, shorts or pants. This range includes all types of styles from shirts, off-shoulder tops, halter necks, wrap tops and tops with a unique finishing.
KunbiKouture’s mission was to transform handmade Afrocentric clothing into exclusive and everyday styles for men/women of all shades of colour. The brand name extends from CEO Ola-Kunbi Okeshola who has a passion for expressing culture and expressing that through couture, made-to-measure pieces – Kunbi Kouture.
Hand cut & handmade, KunbiKouture is a brand that offers bold chic unique pieces clothing to inspire all to feel beautiful, confident and comfortable in what they wear.
This unique brand creates pieces for people who are looking to stand out from the crowd in something bespoke and different using African wax print materials. Constantly evolving, their collections expand alongside society’s trends with some added twists. All garments are made with great attention to detail and provided with top quality material. Our key theme for our pieces is Ankara (Nigerian) but there are other key words across the world describing African wax print materials:
Dutch wax prints, Java print, real English wax, Aso ebi, Dutch hollandaise, Aso oke, Boubou, Kente, Kitenge, Damask etc.
Their vision is to become leaders in the African fashion industry and to open a wider door to a multicultural society where people feel just as comfortable and creative wearing their customizable pieces.
SOKONI ‘Bootes Constellation Mandala String Art’ (RRP €74.50)
Looking for some stunning art? This Mandala art has been made by Henry Mgogosi, a Tanzanian creative artist who predominantly works in the medium of string and abstract art, with a keen interest in decor and interior design. Since he was a boy he has been interested in handcrafting and drawing, he grew up helping his mother in event planning and handcrafting which was the catalyst to his artistic journey. In 2019 he started independently practising string art after seeing a friend work on Instagram and began his freelance carrier in 2020.
Sokoni is a business that sources handmade quality products from Tanzania. Products are sourced from various suppliers, most of whom are not only small income earners, but also breadwinners for their families.
‘People should buy from Sokoni because of the knock-on effect between itself and the crafter. As there is no middleman involved, the money Sokoni spends on the merchandise directly benefits the crafter,’ says its founder.
Sokoni, their trade name, is derived from Swahili meaning;
Soko = market
Sokoni = at the market
Soko langu = my market
ARLY ‘Cream Contour Palette – Rich Dark Brown’ (RRP €12.99)
6-well cream contour palette containing three highlighting and three contouring shades that work with your skin tone to create a picture ready finish. The smooth, luscious, creamy formula blends onto the skin to illuminate, accentuate, sculpt and define your facial features using a combination of the highlighting and contouring shades.
Founded by a pharmaceutical professional, with speciality in pharmaceutical quality assurance and regulation. She combined her experience in the pharmaceutical industry with her life-long affair with make-up, strong entrepreneurial spirit and creative eye, to create “ARLY COSMETICS”.
CEO of Arly discussed the quirky way that she came up with the name;
‘The name “ARLY” came from the word “pARsLeY” and “unARguabLY”. “PARsLeY”, often an afterthought additive used to enhance the flavour or presentation of an “unARguabLY” beautiful dish. Make-up is that additive used to enhance the unarguable beauty we already possess. On further review of the name, the urban dictionary defines ARLY as an amazing girl, smart, sassy, spirited, sweet and sarcastic. So, I said to myself, why not, we all definitely need ARLY in our lives.’
ARLY’s goal is to cultivate long-lasting relationships with their customers, promote everyday beauty, individuality, positive self-expression and educate women to be smart, sassy, spirited, and sweet while loving their beautiful. ARLY’s aim is to manufacture/distribute affordable quality products with vibrant, rich, wearable, long lasting formulas that are kind to skin, compliments skin tone and celebrates individuality. Products are made with care, passion and with that ARLY girl in mind.
BYO COSMETICS ‘Kissmas bundle – the originals’ (RRP €55.00)
Looking for the perfect gift for makeup lovers?? Well you’re in the right place! This Kissmas bundle includes 5 of BYO’s best-selling lip glosses with our special limited-edition accessories. Wrapped it just like a Christmas present for your convenience, this collection contains their richest, most pigmented and high shine lip glosses ever. Perfect for a sibling, friend, partner, or a ‘me to me’ gift
This Christmas bundle includes:
The full collection of the original lip glosses (Creme, Tease, OG, Mean Girl and Dulce), ByO Cosmetics limited edition hand mirror and BEAUTY bag, free candy cane and customised Christmas tag to write your ‘To’ and ‘From’ in the special instructions box.
ByO Cosmetics was founded in July 2020 by Irish makeup artist and CEO, Ola Anwo. ByO Cosmetics is a black owned business and they pride themselves in our luxury and high quality, yet very affordable products. They aim to give every customer an unforgettable, personal experience every single time, creating the best, smoothest and most efficient shopping experience.
They aim to bring out only the best standard cosmetics for their fellow makeup artists and makeup enthusiasts to enjoy. The CEO, being a makeup artist herself, has vowed that every product she releases matches, if not surpasses the standards of her own favourite makeup brands and will not launch anything below that standard.
The brand is committed to consistent improvement and innovation to ensure we deliver the highest quality products.
Care Online ‘Hair Growth Cream’ (RRP €10.00)
Tired of using harsh and damaging products? We have a solution for that!
This organic moisturising hair cream is 150mls of creamy hand whipped moisturising goodness for your curls.
Containing Aloe Vera gel, Shea butter, Coconut oil and Jamaican black castor oil, it actively works to hydrate and restore strength, bounce and shine to your hair. Its all-natural ingredients mean it is nothing but goodness. Your hair will thank you for it!
CEO of Care Online, Michaela told us how she began this journey into her online haircare business;
‘My hair is natural, and I have overcome my heat damage over a few months by using natural remedies. I started Care Online to help people avoid spending a lot of money of products with harsh chemicals and ingredients that you don't even trust to put on yourself. I always felt uneasy applying products with ingredients I cannot even pronounce. Care Online stands as a substitute for the market of Organic products. Care Online is the place you will find organic products for your hair skin and nails that are made with natural products. We promise to provide remedies without harmful ingredients.’
She is hoping to soon expand her brand to include skincare products and tells customers to ‘watch this space!’
Mahogany Crowns ‘Royalty Oil (60mls)’ (RRP €50.00)
The Royalty blend is formulated from essential oils known to promote hair growth; Rosemary, tea tree and peppermint oil. The tea tree oil has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties to help reduce dry, itchy and flaky scalp. The rosemary and peppermint oil stimulate blood flow to your scalp and hair follicles. Increased blood flow stimulates hair growth and aids the formation of stronger and thicker hair strands. The essential oils are supported by carrier oils which moisturise and condition your scalp and hair, as well as soften and strengthen the roots. Within 4-6 weeks royalty oil will;
Stimulate and promote hair growth
Thicken fine hair
Slow down balding
Protect and maintain healthy hair.
Mahogany Crownz CEO, Nkell Mushapho tells is that the company began ‘after experimenting with over 20 different oils to grow my hair. When I was 16, I suffered from traction alopecia (Damage to hair follicles) due to poor hair care, stress and frequent use of chemical treatments. With damaged follicles, my hair became dry, brittle, lifeless and stopped growing altogether. This affected my self-esteem and confidence. My urge to find a sustainable solution to treat hair loss and maintain healthy looking hair was enlightened during my degree in Pharmacy at Ulster university. In 3rd year I attended a Pharmacy summer school in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. We learnt how they use natural and organic remedies to treat acute and chronic conditions and also for cosmetic purposes. In Asia when faced with an illness or a cosmetic issue, individuals have a choice, a choice that most people here don't have. They can choose to either use synthetic or natural treatments.’
Mahogany crownz is established by a Pharmacist, which provides confidence and creditability to clients. Careful consideration has been taken and backed by positive client feedback to produce the best yet cost effective hair loss treatments. A choice for people who can't afford and sustain monthly hair supplements and invasive treatments that seem to be inaccessible to the majority middle class population. The products we offer caters to all hair types of all ethnicities which many brands fail to do. The products cater for all different causes of hair loss such as alopecia, postpartum hair loss etc. The products are all natural and offers the perfect alternative from synthetic products that are less effective and mostly harmful to your scalp and hair.
We Live Our Values ‘Blue Pink Flowers Fushcia Floppy Moderate Washable Reusable Menstrual Clothpad’ (RRP €27.00)
Saving money, reducing your waste, and having a better period experience is now possible with reusable washable cloth pads. We Live Our Value’s reusable washable cloth pads are cotton topped, so nice they offer a nice cool feeling, cotton cores, so they are breathable, and poly fleece backed which offer moisture resistance. You have gorgeous prints to choose from and different shapes, that are updated every few weeks so you can build your collection. Fellow menstruators have provided feedback that switching to reusable menstrual products helped them to have a more positive period experience.
CEO, Augustina, tell us ‘We love talking about reusable menstrual products, normalising menstruation, and the environment!
‘Part of my belief is that everything is indeed… connected. We are all accountable for what we do on this earth, and what we leave behind. SO, if we claim to value something, it is important that we live by our values and reflect it in our actions. In this day and age it can be tricky to be conscious about our waste, and it seems almost impossible to be completely waste free. Although ‘zero waste’, is the ultimate idealistic goal, I prefer to use the term ”Less waste” as it is less overwhelming, and easier to pick a starting point.
‘Therefore, we can all make daily decisions that reduce our impact whilst helping our environment.’
EKAYA ‘Lady’ Candles (RRP €10.00)
You’ve probably seen these ones all over your Instagram feed, on some of the coolest ‘morning coffee’ staged pictures and artsy feeds. Aesthetic and sustainable, these gorgeous little figures are only growing in popularity so move fast if you want one.
Lady comes not scented, as it is specially created for aesthetic purposes. They are currently available in two colours, but more coming soon in the colours requested by customers.
Ekaya provides those special little touches that highlight life's beauty and help you get in touch with yours. The store offers a handmade natural collection of candles and other products. From the candle to the packaging, the products are organic and environmentally conscious. Start shopping online today and find out more about what makes them so special.