Historically, Black voices have been left out of the environmental movement at large. However, sustainability shows up in Black communities in different ways than the mainstream. Reusing oil and repurposing containers are just a few ways that Black homes act as stewards of the environment.
We've highlighted some Black businesses that are leading the commitment to sustainability and are showing how businesses can make sustainability accessible to Black communities.
1. Lillian Augusta
Lillian Augusta is revolutionizing the Black hair care industry by offering hair without harm. Their plant-based braiding hair is a sustainable alternative to the plastic-based synthetic braiding hair currently on the market.
Started by two Black female scientists frustrated by uncomfortable synthetic braiding hair, this company is making their product with Black women in mind. Their plant-based braiding hair is lightweight, toxin free and allows for a comfortable experience in wearing braids. For generations, wearing synthetic braiding hair has caused discomfort, but it doesn't have to. Experience hair without harm with Lillian Augusta.
2. Terry Lu Naturals
Terry Lu Naturals is a natural hair care and skin care company. From her blessed butter to her shampoo bars, these organic, vegan and cruelty free products are a must have. Hunter Phelps, founder and CEO, started this company when she went natural and found what was currently available for natural hair left her hair dry and brittle. Thus, Terry Lu Naturals was born.
She has been running this business while being a full time student and has seen great success. Check out Terry Lu Naturals products today!
In developing countries, feminine hygiene products are not easily accessible. BanaPads is working to change that. Banapads is a Ugandan social impact business that creates low cost pads from banana stems and leaves.
Richard Bbaale founded this company when he saw his own sister suffer from lack of access to safe and affordable pads, so he made her some himself. They have received a number of awards and are currently upgrading their technology to expand their reach beyond Uganda.
4. OI Studio
OI Studio is bringing in a new wave of sleek luxury furniture that is also sustainable. OI Studio makes beautifully modern furniture that can complement any home. Their building materials are formaldehyde and PVC free and harvested from managed forests. They also use reclaimed beams, water-based lacquer, milk-based paints and fiber from recycled plastic bottles. Sign up for updates on their relaunch at their website.
5. Tri Herbal Cosmetics
Tri Herbal Cosmetics is an herbal, organic hair care line. Tristian Anderson, founder and CEO, is a passionate chemist who translated her love for science into this brand. She has been intentional to not include any parabens or sulfates in her products and keep customers informed on what goes into her products. She created the formulas for the products herself, and has built up Tri Herbal Cosmetics to gain customers nationally.
Whether you are looking to grow your beard or detangle your curls, Tri Herbal Cosmetics has got your back.
6. NaturAll Club
Avocados are great for chips and guac, why not hair too? NaturAll Club makes avocado-based hair care products for kinky and curly hair textures. Muhga Eltigani, CEO of NaturAll Club, designed NaturAll Club’s platform to guide customers directly to what they need. You can search by hair issue (dry, frizzy, damaged) and take their hair quiz to figure out exactly what your hair needs.
7. PUR Home
PUR Home is a line of environmentally friendly cleaning products. Standard cleaning products tend to use harsh ingredients that can adversely affect your health and the environment. PUR Home embodies the opposite, offering plant-based and biodegradable cleaning products that still can get the job done.
Clean your kitchen, scrub your bathroom and wash your clothes with PUR Home.
8. Smile Natural Products
Get the best smile ever with Smile Natural Products. Smile Natural Products is non-toxic, vegan and cruelty free oral hygiene. Based in Southern California, this company set up shop with a goal of being an ethical and eco-friendly source for oral hygiene. They are dedicated to community service in Southern California, and offer their space (The Smile Space) to other BIPOC small businesses to host events, sell products and more.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, they are raising money to contribute to a COVID-19 relief fund in Los Angeles.
9. Angel Cult
Vintage, but make it eco-friendly. Angel Cult does just that with thrift and vintage looks in their online store. They have also started the Beyond the Blue Horizon project, where they are upcycling jeans and donating a portion of the proceeds to RAICES, a non-profit organization bringing justice to immigrant families, and a host of Black Lives Matter organizations.
Stylishly support social justice and the environment by shopping with Angel Cult.
10. Omi Woods
Fast fashion has left us with jewelry that is here today and gone tomorrow. Get jewelry that will last a lifetime with Omi Woods. Omi Woods is fair trade gold jewelry sourced from small scale artisan mines that prioritize safe living and working conditions.
From simple to extravagant, Omi Woods has it all, including regional inspired gold pieces. Head over to Omi Woods and get chic gold pieces for you and your family.
11. Studio One Eighty Nine
Studio One Eighty Nine is an artisan fashion and lifestyle brand with a social impact. This clothing company features eclectic high fashion looks and community. On their website, they break down their process: details on craftsmanship, materials, dyes, post consumer and education are available for any who are interested in learning more. They utilize recycled glass for beading and plant-based dyes in production to minimize environmental impact while still creating gorgeous styles
12. Maya's Cookies
Maya’s Cookies makes plant-based, vegan, dairy free and cruelty free cookies. Maya started off making cookies at home for her husband and three sons. After raving reviews from her family and friends, she took her baking to the next level.
Maya’s cookies make great gifts, or late night snacks for yourself. Head over to her website and try some!
13. Almost On Time
Almost On Time sells handmade corsets upcycled from Nike sweaters and BudWeiser towels. Kayla Sade Famurewa, founder, found herself bored in quarantine due to COVID-19 and decided to make a corset. Her corset got so much attention online, she turned this small project into a full blown platform to sell her specialty corset in a matter of months.
Reel is flushing sustainability down the toilet, literally. Reel sells bamboo toilet paper, 100% biodegradable with no inks or dyes. Bamboo grows much faster than the trees used to make traditional toilet paper, and bamboo requires less water to grow. Reel is also committed to increasing access to toilets worldwide. Get real and get Reel in your house today.
15. Garner’s Garden
Garner's Garden has everything you need all in one place. Entrepreneur Phillip Garner lives a healthy lifestyle, and created Garner’s Garden so others can too. Garner’s Garden has deodorants, oils, facial scrubs and much more.
From farmer’s markets stands to a national customer base, Garner’s Garden is on its way to being a staple for natural personal care products.