It has been two years since British rapper Swiss created Black Pound Day in the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, which pushed the importance of racial equality to the centre stage and highlighted the disparity in gender-based pay gaps in the UK.
Alarmingly, research from the Runnymede Trust, a company that investigates racial inequality in Britain, shows that for every pound a white household makes, a Black Caribbean household earns just 20p. In contrast, a Black African household earns 10p. Furthermore, Black people are less likely to have access to capital to fund their businesses.
And so Black Pound Day was wholeheartedly embraced upon launch in 2020, with more than 1,500 stores now registered on the scheme’s directory in the hope of levelling up the economic playing field by encouraging shoppers to buy from homegrown UK Black-owned businesses and brands on the first Saturday of every month.
While the scheme quickly took off, it has since seen a decline in interest and sales — but not to fret, because Black Pound Day has now opened up its very first shop in London’s Westfield shopping centre.
More than 80 different Black-owned businesses are stocked at the BPD’s permanent residence, including homeware, clothing and beauty essentials — the latter of which has been significantly influenced by the Black community. Hair extensions, nail art and acrylic nails, to name only a few, are steeped in black culture and have been a staple of Black beauty for decades, and are now beauty’s biggest trends and most booked treatments.
Black Pound Day founder Swiss delightedly said of the new opening: «We are so excited to be in a position to create this opportunity to bring the best of our homegrown Black brands to the general high street consumer, ensuring sustainability and consistency all year round. »
«Glancing back to when we launched our pop-up store in 2021’s Black History Month, it was a momentous achievement. For those that participated, you could feel the energy shift, how we brought Black retail therapy to the high street, resulting in a mass feeling of reward, which was unprecedented. We really showed how impactful our spending power is, which totally exceeded our expectations.
«Customers left us with no choice but to go ahead and answer calls to make the Black Pound Day Store a full-time retail experience, all year round, » he added.
What a wonderful and important business venture, and we can only continue to stress that the importance of purchasing from Black-owned brands is a key way to support a community that is so often marginalised.
The importance of investing in minority businesses is clear, even from a purely financial perspective. In order to create equity within different communities, we must build leverage within them. Hence why Black businesses need to be supported in order to grow the community as a whole.
We’re planning a trip down to London Westfield pronto to check it out!