Published on Saturday July 23rd, 2016 by Afrocks

We Spoke With The Team Behind The Trendy #UKBlackOwnedBusinesses And It’s Worth A Read! [Interview]

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If you are a black business person and use Twitter on a regular basis, you have probably heard about the hashtag #UkBlackOwnedBusiness , right?
A few weeks ago we even wrote a viral blog post based on the super trendy hashtag 26 Cool UK Black Owned Businesses We Picked Up From Twitter Hashtag #UKBlackOwnedBusinesses.
We went to meet with the team behind the hashtag and asked them a few questions:

Hello how are you guys today?

We are great thank you! Excited as our website has just launched 🙂

Can you tell us a bit about you? What is your background?

We are team made up of various people passionate about empowering Afro-Caribbean people and encouraging entrepreneurial spirit amongst the community.

Talking about the #UKBlackOwnedBusinesses hashtag you guys launched on Twitter, did you expect it to go that viral?
It all happened so quickly. We were shocked by how quickly the movement caught on, we had over 1000 followers after just 2 days, Buzzfeed featured us in an article which was then retweeted by BET International and the hashtag we created trended multiple times. We are so pleased with the responses and feedback and we could not have done it without the support of businesses and consumers alike.

How did you get the idea, and why?
We thought to ourselves there are no comprehensive central platforms out there to promote businesses that are owned by people of Afro-carribean heritage in the UK. For far too long we have noticed that black consumers’ needs don’t tend to be addressed by mainstream businesses. For example, our hair is drastically different to the hair of people from other races, just the other day one of the team members went into a non-black owned Afro-caribbean hair shop looking for a specific product, but the gentleman that worked there had no idea what I was talking about or how to cater to my request. We feel like who else knows best about our specialist needs than we do?
We also wanted to encourage ownership, innovation and self-sufficiency within the community.
So we thought it would be a good idea to start a positive movement to empower the Afro-Carribean community here in the UK and promote unity!

People often have the impression that black businesses lack customer services skills. What is your take on this?

There are so many black-owned businesses that offer amazing customer service, unfortunately there are some that perhaps need to refine their customer service skills in order to develop as a brand, but we are all about finding solutions to problems here at UKBOB, so we will be sharing tips online and running workshops offline – offering advice and support for business owners. Stay tuned!

Afrocks is an afro hair business, what are your views on the afro hair market in the UK?

We are so proud that there are so many varying Afro hair businesses. From wig-makers, virgin hair sellers, mobile hair stylists, natural hair product stockists – since starting the movement we have seen a huge volume of businesses targeting Afro hair !
We are also especially pleased at the rise of physical stores owned by those of Afro-Caribbean heritage such as Shear & Shine’s store in Croydon and X Sandy’s based in Lewisham and Peckham.

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If you had 3 advice to give to black business owners, what would they be?

Ensure to always act professionally. This ties in to what you mentioned about customer service but our first piece of advice would be if you aim to be a big successful business one day then act like it now. If a customer raises a grievance , don’t ignore it or respond in a harsh way. Display professionalism and always try to offer solutions – news of bad customer service will spread fast! Also in line with the professionalism point if you have a business and use social media as a personal account, try to create a separate account purely for the business.
USP – ensure to tap into something that distinguishes you from other people that may potentially be doing similar things
Network – networking is key, both with consumers and other businesses. You never know what opportunities may arise by simply engaging in conversation with someone or collaborating with others.

So you guys just launched your website, congratulations! Can you tell us a bit about it?
Our website is a comprehensive online directory. There are also additional features such as a reviews system, blogs, articles, occasional discounts and much more to come. Our site is completely free for all consumers. Businesses list on the site for free for the first 30 days then they only need to pay £2 a month, or they can choose to pay £15 annually.

Last question: since launching the hashtag, lots of businesses have tweeted you. If you had to pick a couple of good black businesses, which one would you recommend?
Of the top of our heads:
Vitae London
Capital Moments
Shear & Shine
Cafe Caribbean
Mour Mour creme
Cakes by Kels
And our logo designer Reaal media of course. There are too many to name but we are so inspired by all the amazing black-owned businesses out there.

Make sure to check out UKBOB brand new website http://www.ukblackowned.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/UKBlackOwned
Facebook: UK Black Owned

If you want to get more information, you can reach them on info@ukblackowned.co.uk.

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