by Rachael David
In order to keep to my goal of spending at least 50% of my disposable income with black-owned businesses (as well as 100% of my wardrobe budget) I need to get properly organised and find black-owned businesses for all my needs, before I need them. Black Pound Day UK on 27th June inspired many other people to join the movement to intentionally buy black, which was great because it massively increased the visibility of black-owned brands and businesses everywhere.
I'd been relying on a small handful of black-owned business, but Black Pound Day and the recent interest in buying black has brought so many more to my attention. For the things I do weekly I have identified and started using the ones discussed below. I live in South East London so this may help others that do too, and for those who don't I hope it will inspire you to find black-owned businesses in your local area to use.
I anticipate that a normal week for me look in the aftermath of Covid-19 will include working from home on weekdays, one supermarket shop, a couple of takeaways, and dining out at least once (restaurants reopened after 3 months of lockdown on Saturday and I ate out on Sunday although it wasn't black-owned I didn't pay so it doesn't count against my quota). I can't imagine getting on four packed trains everyday to get to and from work any time soon and luckily nothing I do for my day job is slowed down by not being in the office, so I expect I will be working at home for the next few months at least. Whilst indoors and not working, I spend most of my time reading, watching TV and working on this blog. I normally entertain a fair bit and now the restrictions are lifting, I'm looking forward to doing that more.
Supermarkets and essential supplies
A new supermarket opened during the lockdown - Cinnamon Leaf - and I went to check it out for the first time a few weeks ago. It is on the other side of London from me in Tottenham but I think the drive will be worth the sacrifice to keep my money in my community for longer, which essentially is the point. There are some closer to me including Ade's, which I haven't been to yet and Eko Food Market, where I get all my West-African pantry essentials. For home cleaning products and basic cosmetic products (body moisturiser, shower gel etc) I go to Pempamsie on Lee High Road. They specialise in natural products which is perfect as I'm trying to reduce the amount of harsh chemicals I use on my body and in my home. There are branches on Brixton Hill and in Walthamstow and Mitcham as well. For afro hair products, I go to Xsandy in Lewisham Shopping Centre. They have their own natural hair care range called Primal Beauty that I really like. During the lockdown I've taken a few drives around London, a couple of which involved stopping at Dark Sugars for ice-cream and hot chocolates. The Greenwich location re-opened recently as well which means I have both on my doorstop.
Restaurants and take-aways
I regularly order food from Caribbean and Nigerian restaurants near me. In South East London where I live there are trillions of both. The best Nigerian restaurants available on delivery apps include Enish and Tomi's Kitchen (which has been on Deptford High Street as long as I can remember). Daphanie's in Peckham is out of my reach for delivery but their Caribbean food is outstanding. If I'm eating out, I'll go to 805 on Old Kent Road, which is another longstanding institution. I can cook many of the Nigerian dishes I like to eat but but ordering in saves hours of cooking and cleaning time (the apps on my phone tell me I've spent more than £220 on food delivery from local black-owned restaurants since the start of the lockdown). Obviously, I don't only eat Nigerian and Caribbean food. I intend to continue to eat other cuisines, and rightly pay people from those cultures and/or highly skilled chefs from non-black cultures for food and dining experiences. However as I am challenging myself to spend more within the black economy I will seek out as many black-owned restaurants especially those from other cooking traditions to patronise.
Alcohol is often a requirement for entertaining guests at home especially if your friendship group is anything like mine. Most of my friends drink (that's how I pick them) and, as many Nigerians do, have a preference for Champagne and Cognac. I found a black-owned off-license that many people I know have already been frequenting for years called Mr Drinks in Streatham that sells all the good quality brands of alcohol. As I've mentioned before I'm looking to find more black-owned alcohol brands available in the UK but to date I've not made much progress. If anyone would like to steal a business idea from me, please start an alcohol distribution company to import black-owned wine from the USA and South Africa to the UK.
Reading and entertainment
For books, I mostly try to source from black-owned bookshops. There are a few good ones in North London that many people would have heard of, New Beacon Books being the most well-known. As it's a bit of a trek for me but I can order from their online store.
I'm probably not the only person who has 'finished' Netflix and is now looking for new content to watch. I downloaded the Iroko TV app, it's only £24 for a year's subscription, and discovered a whole world of Nigerian TV content. It works with my Chromecast device so I can watch it on my big TV.