Updated: Nov 29, 2020
How did Ebonyx come to be?
Launched in late 2019, Ebonyx, The Afrocentric Marketplace, is a one-stop-shop platform for small black-owned businesses to showcase their products and items. Similar to the likes of Amazon and eBay, brands can sign up to Ebonyx for customers to directly discover and shop multiple brands in one place.
The business began after the founders, Ashley and Lucan, stumbled across a problem - where do you shop for afrocentric and culturally black items? This question was asked when Lucan was moving into his new home and was searching for cultural ornaments to decorate his house. Searching, the options to buy were few, with marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay being the only places to find any suitable items. However, after researching the items on these big marketplaces, Lucan was shocked to see the products were mostly made and shipped from China, lacking the authenticity he expected. After a more in-depth search, the friends eventually found a handful of black-owned brands making the cultural items he sought after, but discovering these brands was arduous and challenging due to a lack of exposure. After speaking with these brands, it became apparent a marketplace would be a solution to their exposure issues.
What is the inspiration behind your name?
Ebonyx is a blend of Ebony and Onyx, and a reference to black vernacular, ebonics.
How do you build an online marketplace? What were the first steps that you took to build your network?
With a knowledge in coding, Ashley did some of the development work himself with the help of his network who helped to build the site in areas he couldn’t. As with any marketplace, there is a ‘chicken and egg’ problem, where you need to get both brands and customers using the platform. However, we chose to focus on getting brands on site so that customers had a solid choice of items to choose from once they landed on the website.
What makes Ebonyx different from other Black business marketplaces?
Rather than focusing solely on the UK market, Ebonyx has brands from all over the globe. Also, the marketplace has various reward schemes in place to reward shoppers for supporting black-owned businesses.
Greatest accomplishments and challenges as a business so far?
Getting featured within a few big news outlets like Bustle, The Metro, and London on The Inside. Biggest challenge is trying to compete with big brands who want to monetise off the ‘support black-owned’ movement.
What does it mean to you to be Black owned business?
There are many amazing black-owned businesses that do not get the exposure they deserve. However, as a marketplace we can give exposure to many of these brands all in one place and can keep money circulating within the black community. This is something we are extremely passionate about and are proud to be helping other black-owned businesses.
How are you adapting your business to COVID-19 environment?
Like many other businesses there are positives and negatives. We’re seeing many new businesses emerge and join Ebonyx as people have more free time on their hands. However, with the uncertainty surrounding jobs and the economy, we’re finding that customers are a little more cautious to spend their money.
Any advice for Black creatives or entrepreneurs?
You miss 100% of the chances you don’t take, so just do it.
Interested in learning more? Then head to the Ebonyx marketplace to find some of your favourite Black owned brands!