A Black business owner: ONUA behind the scenes

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

ONUA takes us behind the scenes on their business and discuss what it means to be a Black creative in London.

Any advice for creatives trying to start their own business?

Do it! But make sure that you have done your research and have a structure and a plan in place. We created a small presentation, a ten slide presentation, which showed our vision, projection of sales, why we’re doing this, where we want to go and who are competitors are. And that is our Bible. This helps us stay true. Obviously it might change from time to time. The economy changes, the climate changes. But I would say make sure you have a plan, make sure you’ve done your research such as who your competitors are.

You don’t have to have a 20 page long idea. You can break it down like that with four or five different questions and then slowly build. You don’t necessarily have to sit there one evening and do it. You can give yourself a couple of days for each question once a week for example. Even if you have competitors, still do whatever you want to release. Because chances are that you probably have a unique selling point.

What does it mean to be a Black owned business?

One major challenge, for a lot of Black businesses, I think sometimes we need to be careful with the label black businesses. While we are Black businesses and we’re proud of it, the majority of us do want to reach out to not just Black people. There’s a bit of a fine line. And I think it’s probably something that we are also trying to figure out. Yes we’re a Black business and we definitely identify with that. I think that’s where we come in, especially with our vision. We are going down the path of really educating people and they don’t have to be only Africans.

I think it does have to get to a point where we move away from that label. We’re celebrating that Black people are coming up. Yes it is something special, but I want it to be the norm. We’re people that own a business and we happen to be black.

The future of ONUA

We’re excited about the future, we want to launch a full crockery set. At the moment we just have mugs so we want to have plates and bowls etc. One of the reasons why I'm really passionate about not boxing myself in is because one of our dreams is to be in John Lewis to bridge the gap. Right now you walk into any of those shops and they’ve got Asian crockery and Scandinavian interior and there’s nothing African. And if it is African, it is a really obscure wooden sculpture or some sort of animal. I’m from Ghana. We don’t have lions, no zebras. It’s not the first thing that comes to mind. I think for us it’s just really bridging the gap to show people that there are different parts of Africa. We’re just really excited to drive that agenda, where anyone can walk into a high street shop if they want African interior. And being able to easily find it in the shop as opposed to only finding it online or on Etsy. We want it to be as accessible as Asian designs or other themed home decor.

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