In a pioneering initiative poised to reshape the landscape of the Black beauty and hair industry, BlackOwned Studios + Marketplace is set to launch scheduled in November 2023, at Red Bank arches in Manchester.
This groundbreaking venue will create flexible co-working spaces for Afro-beauty stylists and retail a wide range of Black-owned beauty products while building a community space for events, panels, and workshops.
With only 0.7% of the 45,000 salons in the UK able to cater towards Afro and textured hair, as reported by The New York Times, the hair and beauty industry has long suffered from a lack of diversity and inclusion. This disparity has led to limited resources for Black stylists and a lack of representation and accessibility for the Black consumer entering these spaces.
BlackOwned Studios + Marketplace was born from a deep-rooted commitment to addressing these issues and creating a more inclusive, supportive ecosystem in the beauty industry.
The platform offers three key components:
Thoughtfully designed spaces providing stylists with a private, creative environment, each uniquely themed to foster creativity. With an emphasis on flexibility, these pods will be bookable through a custom app, providing beauty professionals with an affordable choice of location with daily usage options.
In response to the lack of representation in mainstream marketplaces, BlackOwned Studios + Marketplace will host a range of Black-owned beauty products and accessories. From skincare to haircare, customers will be able to explore different brands and engage with knowledgeable staff, ensuring a comfortable shopping experience tailored to their needs.
BlackOwned Studios + Marketplace is committed to building a vibrant community that uplifts Black entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses and those looking to make new social connections. Through a diverse range of events, panels and workshops, BlackOwned Studios + Marketplace’s community calendar is designed to foster connection and support.
Founder and CEO – Efia Mainoo – recognised the need for a space where Black members of the beauty community could thrive without the barriers of today’s society.
Speaking on the new launch, Efia said: “BlackOwned Studios + Marketplace is more than just a business – it’s a movement. Our mission is to empower, inspire, and celebrate the beauty of Black beauty, by uplifting stylists and fostering connections between all members of the beauty industry.”
BlackOwned Studios + Marketplace will be located in the emerging Red Bank area – a neighbourhood of Manchester that is being transformed by property developers Far East Consortium (FEC). FEC’s experience-led meanwhile-use strategy from FOUND, has created a hotspot of independent restaurants and venues including Love Factory, Green Arches Brewery, Half Dozen Other bakery, Foundation Coffee House, The Sparrows, indie street food venue GRUB, and multi-events space, Fairfield Social.
Jake Scott-Thrale, Asset Manager at FEC, said: “The ethos of FOUND has always been to create inclusive and accessible spaces where the local community can come together to network, socialise, and be creative. We’re really excited to partner with BlackOwned Studios + Marketplace in the next leg of this journey.
“Manchester’s bustling and diverse community is at the heart of all we do, so it’s crucial to us that local residents have access to important initiatives like this one, which is working to showcase the city’s best and brightest black-owned businesses.”
The launch of BlackOwned Studios + Marketplace marks a turning point in the beauty community’s journey toward diversity, inclusion, and genuine representation. By providing a much-needed platform for Black beauty entrepreneurs and consumers, the initiative is set to make waves that extend far beyond the industry itself.