by Rachael David
I always celebrate my birthday and ever since I could afford to, I've celebrated many birthdays abroad. Last year I was partying in Miami, and the year before that, I was partying in Marbella. The year prior to Marbella, I went to Sardinia but that was a lowkey, chill time with Dami and a friend who lives on the island. The year before that my birthday was spent wining and fine dining with my two of my sisters in Amsterdam. The year before that, well, I'm sure you get the drift. This year, thanks to the novel Coronavirus, I won't be going anywhere except maybe Greenwich Park. This does mean that I have even more time to think about less trivial things like how much closer I am this year to achieving my life goals than I was last year. One of my key goals as I've discussed before is to increase the amount of money I spend with black businesses. As previously stated, I've made quite a daring but ultimately necessary commitment to buy ALL of my clothes and accessories from black-owned brands. But there are obviously many other things I spend my money on. I think I can reasonably aim to spend 50% of my disposable income with black-owned brands and I will certainly let you know how I intend to achieve that in my next post.
They say 'start as you mean to go on', and I certainly made a good start. To wear on my birthday, I got a new outfit from Jiro. The t-shirt is for sale online but I also got some custom shorts because, essentially, I got it like that. I want to get some beautiful trainers from Tobe but they're not available until July. The night before my birthday, one of my friends had gathering for his birthday (at a black-owned outdoor venue in North London), which I hijacked for my own celebration as it turned my birthday while we were there. I got a top from Maniere de Voir to wear there and carried my beaded black bag from The Vintage Smith. I finally got some hair extensions that match my hair texture when it's blown out from Hair by the Julie. I've spent the last 5 years trying to fall in love with my natural hair texture and I must say I'm still on that journey.
On my birthday eve wearing a top from Maniere de Voir and Hair by the Julie extensions
My sister and boyfriend stuck to the black-owned brief for my presents and I was very impressed. I got shoes from Fenty, makeup from the Pat McGrath Labs and UK-based MY by Mahina Makeup, and a workout outfit from DamiHow. Click the images to find them for sale online.
My friend got me a gorgeous birthday cake (pictured, top) but I'm not sure she'd recommend the supplier as she didn't have a great experience. There are zillions of black-owned bakers that specialise in occasion cakes but if you don't know where to find one, leave a comment.
It's an important consideration though, how to deal with black-owned businesses that don't meet your expectations, especially for people with a platform. It's always upset me when people with a large social media following slate a particular business or businesses. I really find it problematic when I hear or read things like 'that's why I don't use black / Nigerian / Jamaican businesses' after one or two negative experiences. Everyone has received terrible customer service from all types of businesses at some point yet a lot of us seem to hold black-owned ones to a much higher standard. The reason we started Sisí was to help other people find great black brands by doing the trial and error for them. We certainly have had many errors but we're only here to promote the businesses that we think should get your money and not slate those who perhaps need to do a bit more to deserve it.