Becoming a better ally begins with education and action.
Our world coming together to once and for all end long-standing racial disparities is the coming together of small moments that unify into a movement.
Attending protests. Contacting your local governments. Donating to non-profits within your means. Buying from minority-owned businesses. We’re seeing these small actions move mountains, and together, we’ll continue on until all are equal — truly equal.
At Outbrain, we’re grateful enough to connect with over one billion people a month across our platform — people of all races, sexualities, genders, ages. And given this reach, we’ve realized that now is a pivotal time for us to take our small actions together — continuing with Amplifying Together.
Over the course of the last few months, we’ve freely sponsored a number of minority-owned businesses across the Outbrain network — all of which were founded by phenomenal people with phenomenal stories, and nominated by our very own Outbrain family.
This, with one objective in mind: Support minority-owned businesses — especially during a time where these communities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 — in an effort to allow new consumers to not only discover these amazing brands, but have them become a part of their every day.
We hope you’ll discover 8 of the inspiring Amplifying Together businesses below — and hey, they may just become your next favorite brand.
- Moisture Love
- Brotherman Comics
- Upendo Art
- Juice Easy
1. Clare — The Warby Parker of Buying Paint
If you know anything about Warby Parker, and how the brand disrupted an entire era of commerce, you’ll know how big that statement is.
At the helm of all D2C brands lies one factor: making typically complex commerce experiences simple. And that’s exactly what Clare does — ending the hassle that is paint shopping once and for all.
All of which started a few years back with Interior Design expert Nicole Gibbons. And to Nicole, behind every Designer is a process — one that does not include the overchoice of endless paint swatches, the multiple painful trips to the hardware store, or the unknown mixes of colors.
So, she streamlined the process — including a fun, two-minute quiz to personalize your paint recommendations, a narrowed down offer of 58 of only the best colors, quick and easy-to-apply (and remove!) sticker swatches — all done online and at an extremely fair price (especially in the premium paint world) at $54 a gallon.
With color choices from Goodnight Moon to Rosè Season to Golden Hour, I challenge you to try shopping Clare without wanting to purchase every paint available.
Good luck — may the odds be ever in your (colorful) favor.
2. SOUND — The New (Healthier!) La Croix
Yes, another analogy — because just as Warby Parker took storm on commerce, La Croix took storm on sparkling water.
That is, until SOUND was founded — not your usual sparkling beverage. This unsweetened, organic tea and sparkling water mash-up was developed by not one, but two Nuclear Power Engineers, Tommy Kelly and Salim Najjar — talk about a career pivot.
And this pivot goes beyond the fantastically refreshing taste (trust me, I have a case in my fridge!) and beautiful packaging — bringing the health benefits of tea, from reduced cholesterol and inflammation to lower cortisol — to a light, cold, and carbonated classic.
My personal fave? Blood Orange & Vanilla with Black Tea. No, no — I change my mind, Grapefruit & Lavender with Ginger Tea. Wait, no — Blueberry & Cinnamon With Hibiscus Tea.
Okay, you know what? It’s all amazing — try a sampler on for size, and discover your own favorite SOUND flavor. Talk about botanical, fruit extract goodness.
3. Moisture Love — A Natural, Curly-Haired Favorite
Don’t let the business degrees fool you — here’s yet another amazing brand founded by an Industrial Engineering expert, Jeannell Darden.
Having worked at big brands, from L’Oreal to P&G, Jeannell saw first-hand the inner workings of the beauty industry. She also experienced the love/hate relationship people tend to have with their natural hair, and wanted to rid the “hate” from that equation.
Thus, Moisture Love was born — a curated hair collection singularly focused on one thing: infusing your natural, highly-textured hair with the moisture it craves (and needs!).
All using proprietary “Hydralure” technology, Moisture Love products are scientifically formulated to infuse long-lasting, pH-balanced moisture to hair of all shapes and sizes.
Need more convincing? These products are entirely plant-based — and super cost-efficient during these hectic times. With Moisture Love’s sales skyrocketing 700% these last few months amid COVID-19, the product value speaks for itself.
4. Brotherman Comics — Comics That Went Down in History
Subconsciously, much of what we contextualize comes down to relatability, especially in entertainment such as books or comics. That moment when you can’t seem to put a book down because you feel a kindred spirit with a character you’re reading about.
It goes without saying that as humans, we tend to like characters that remind us of ourselves — be it values, motivations, struggles, backgrounds. And that’s what truly inspired brothers Dawud Anyabwile and Guy A. Sims to create Brotherman Comics, and the hero himself, Brotherman — not feeling as though there was a strong, black hero that resembled them and so many others.
And not only did they spawn a “black comic movement”, this duo made history — landing artifacts and memorabilia from the Brotherman series in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
What started as traveling trunk sales turned to millions of copies sold as Brotherman became more than a hero, but a movement that inspired many black comics to continue paving the way in heroic history.
With Anyabwile as an Emmy Award-winning artist and illustrator and Sims as a Head Writer for an award-winning publication, this duo is unstoppable, and you should definitely check out the series, even if you’re not a comic book fan — as this story goes beyond comics.
5. Upendo Art — The Artist Jay-Z Loves to Wear
What do Jay-Z, Adidas, Gatorade, Microsoft, and Nike all have in common? Upendo Taylor.
But, seriously — much of the art you see in your everyday just might have been inspired by Upendo himself, including the latest iteration of the Gatorade logo, the pinnacle of its brand identity. Worth mentioning — he’s also one-half of Leroy Jenkins, the brand that inspired the floral menswear trend. Yes, the same one you’ve likely seen Jay-Z sporting throughout the 2010s.
This big-brand Creative Director turned Independent Artist is as kind as he is creative. Inspired by inspiring others, Upendo believes by continuing on these traces of inspiration is how we can all affect real change.
And lucky for you, you can gain inspiration from Upendo himself as a few of his pieces are up for grabs — from hand-pulled silk screen canvases to designed throw blankets.
6. Juice Easy — Making Clean Beverage Choices Cool
You may be surprised to see what a devastating hurricane could help inspire — but that’s just what brought this family-run, juice-cleansing innovator together, as they were looking to help Houston get back on a healthy footing after Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
Juice Easy Founders, Bobby Humbert and Ashley Mcafee, quickly outgrew their post-hurricane, home-based operation and began opening retail locations throughout Texas. And their intentions went much deeper than the typical health foods brand, as this pair’s been focused on bringing healthy alternatives to cities that may lack these health-conscious options. Or, as “The Juice Crew” says, “Making it cool to drink clean.”
While retail took a bit of a hit during quarantine times, not even the coronavirus could stop the success of this tasty brand — as its detox packages continue to fly off the shelves.
Yes, they ship US-wide, and at the fairest prices I’ve ever seen on the detox market — all with organically fresh-pressed, plant-based juices — and in BPA-free bottles at that.
7. AndNoire — The Amazon For Black-Owned Brands
Okay, last analogy, I promise. But it’s extremely fitting for this fantastic trio of Founders — Travis Pinnock, Condola Brivitte, and Danielle Skeen — who wanted to make it easier for people to support black-owned businesses. And, in more ways than one, as with AndNoire, they are bridging the gap between the two, supporting the brand discovery for consumers and the marketplace for black-owned brands.
From Home & Decor to Tech, and everything in-between, there’s truly something for everybody on this user-friendly platform.
And as we mentioned earlier, with the #BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement expanding each and every day, consumers are looking for small (and big!) ways they can help support — from protesting to buying locally. AndNoire just makes it that much easier for you.
10 out of 10 would recommend — let AndNoire be your new Amazon.
8. Urbanshout — Protest Art, From Prints to Tees
Last, but certainly, not least, Urbanshout — the art of Zuri A. Stanback.
Zuri coined a style he dubbed “Hierograff” — mixing the vibrancy of graffiti, high regard for the written word, and spiritual connection with ancient glyphs. And that style has been amplified throughout the #BLM movement, as he shares a protest story within each and every piece he creates.
While you can discover Zuri’s artwork directly on his site, you can also find exclusive pieces on ComfiArt — Dionna Collins’ vision of bringing unique, collaborative art to a digital marketplace, and in an affordable way.
On ComfiArt, be sure to check out Zuri’s latest series titled “A Peace of Power”. And from the extremely powerful words of Zuri himself, this series “highlights the duality of life on this planet: the need for power over your enemies and the desire for peace amongst your allies. We strive for both on a daily basis never really knowing how much power is necessary or how much peace is realistic. Yet we press on faithfully with the pursuit of happiness knowing life will bring challenges we must overcome with strength and resilience.”
Discover, Support, Take Action
Zuri put it perfectly — “we must overcome with strength and resilience.”
No matter our race, gender, sexuality, or age, we all strive for equality in our own way. Though there’s much imbalance across races, across genders, across sexualities, across ages — and understanding that systemic imbalance is just the beginning to finding our equilibrium as a society.
Though all lives can’t matter until minority lives matter. And while this short list of amazing minority-owned businesses is just a tiny fraction of what we can all do to help find this equilibrium, it’s a start we hope you’ll all consider.
A huge, huge thank you to all of the Founders of these amazing brands for allowing us in to hear and share their stories. Now, we hope you’ll share them further — and continue discovering, supporting, and taking action.