Over the past few days, members of the black community have been taking to social media to share their lists of black businesses you can support in order to support racial equality, so we decided to come up with our own list. Here are 12 black businesses in Ottawa and Toronto you can support today.
Anaya Arts // African wall art, apparel, and lifestyle brand
When you think African art in Ottawa you have to think Anaya, named after an Igbo word meaning “look up to God”. What started with founder, Fiona’s incessant urge to doodle and sketch has turned into a minimalist, afro-centric and abstract art, apparel, accessory, colouring sheet, and greeting card company.
Founded by former Broadway dancer turned fashion designer, Stacey Bafi-Yeboa, Kania is a made-in-Canada luxury sweatshirt company based in Ottawa’s Byward Market. What started out in 2004 as a family affair in her childhood bedroom with her dad cutting fabric, her mom sewing labels, and her boyfriend (now husband) folding and doing quality control, is now one of Ottawa’s leading clothing brands. Alongside COO, technical designer and marketing director Arfie Lalani, Stacey made her debut at New York Fashion Week in 2017 and hasn’t looked back since.
The Drop is Ottawa’s go-to sneaker cleaning service, specializing in cleaning leather, suede and canvas. Founded in July 2018 by owner and operator Tevin Haye, The Drop was created for sneakerheads by sneakerheads. They are set to reopen soon with new measures to keep customers safe. Stay tuned.
Founded by Billy Altidor, Over The Top (Ott) is the ultimate Ottawa lifestyle brand. I wear my Ott hats so much people think I’m a brand ambassador.
If you wear an Ott hat long enough you’re guaranteed to have someone come up to you and ask, “Where did you get that hat?” It’s a well-made and quality product, worn by everyone from locals to Swae Lee of Rae Sremmurd. If you’re a proud Ottawan or someone who just likes cool hats, make sure to check out Over The Top.
The Origin Arts & Community Centre is the go-to event space for Ottawa’s hip-hop community. Run by Ottawa’s former poet laureate, Jamaal Rogers Jackson, aka JustJamaal thePoet, artist Jacqui Du Toi, and Ali “Captain” Misana, the venue is a intimate space with a good sound system and small kitchen and is ideal for everything from listening parties and small shows to rehearsals and panel discussions.
Martin Brown is a portrait photographer with over 15 years experience. He also does church and live event photography, as well as training under the Elyon Images banner, and has photographed everyone from Kirk Franklin to Lecrae.
Marting Brown is a kind soul, is passionate about what he does, and has integrity both as an individual and businessperson. Aside from being a business person, he’s also a husband and father of two girls, and provides some hilarious Facebook commentary on the Toronto Raptors.
Earthtones Naturals is a line of Canadian-made premium natural hair and body products. Their products are gentle and safe and over 80% natural, and avoid the use of unnecessary and potentially harmful ingredients and chemicals.
The products came out of founder and Naturopathic Doctor, Susan McDonald’s own experience of embracing her natural hair. Growing up in a smaller town, many of her friends were white so she grew up wanting long, silky, straight hair. It was only after having her first daughter that she learned to embrace her natural curls.
My family and I have been using Earthtones Naturals for the past four years so I stand behind their products. They’re made in Canada so you can’t lose.
Toyin Crandell Coaching // Success and wealth coaching
If you’ve seen SHIFTER blowing up over the past few months this is the women who is partly responsible. Now based in Chatham, Ontario, Toyin Crandell is the business and wealth coach who has been working with my wife and I over the past year. She’s been helping me to rewire my thinking and develop a no excuses mindset that has helped me to attract revenue and success.
She has a range of coaching programs designed to help you find your purpose, as well as build wealth. One catch is she only works with people who are really ready for change. If that’s you, here’s some more info.
Mortgages of Canada // Mortgage and refinancing company
Founded by mortgage broker, motivational speaker, media personality, and author Samantha Brookes, Mortgages of Canada is one of Canada’s leading mortgage companies. Samantha has been featured and seen on CP24, CBC, Forbes, Breakfast Television, and more! The “Cash Is Queen” author is a sought after commentator on the housing market, the economy, and money.
Blue is a line of Canadian made, refined quality outerwear, marrying fashion and function. With over 15 years of custom clothing experience, Creative Director, Natasha Patten, cares about the details, from fabrics to finishings.
The Ryerson University and Toronto School of Make Up Art is also the founder of Blue Image Group and is an experienced makeup artist, having worked on a number of TV shows and with a number of celebrities. The former instructor in the Faculty of Esthetics – Makeup Course at Bryan College of Applied Health and Sciences has also launched her own class called The Anti-Makeup Lesson to teach the basics of makeup knowledge and application to women of all backgrounds.
Williamson Accounting // Small business accounting and tax solutions
With over 20 years experience, Michael Williamson is a small business and tax accountant you can trust. Since 2003, he has focused on helping the startup and growing small businesses with quality professional services. His services range from business consulting to bookkeeping to corporate and personal tax filing.
Being a new entrepreneur can be tough. As our go-to accountant in the Greater Toronto Area, and my accountant when I was starting out as an entrepreneur, Michael Williamson held our hands and patiently helped us navigate the pitfalls of being a new business person.