“Game-changing” Black businesses and creators are at the heart of ‘Black to Z’ an uplifting new campaign led by Pinterest UK and cultural curator and founder Irene Agbontaen.
Black to Z showcases 26 game-changing Black businesses and creators whose influences and ideas represent Black creativity and innovation; a project so vitally important in a world that often overlooks these creatives.
As a founder whose business, fashion brand TTYA, was also inspired by a need for better representation and inclusion, Irene Agbontaen joined forces with Pinterest UK to launch Black to Z as its creative director.
Serial entrepreneur Irene is a podcaster, designer and cultural curator. She launched her brand TTYA (Taller Than Your Average) in 2013 to offer high quality apparel for women who were taller than 5’9. What started as a collection offering wardrobe staples soon expanded to become an inclusive lifestyle offering that encompasses TTYA Talks, a podcast series, cultural programming for brands and events targeted to inspire and influence young people with a drive and hustle. She has collaborated with high profile brands and has an inclusively sized footwear collaboration with global online fashion retailer ASOS.
Keen to share support the next generation of Black creative talent, her involvement with Black to Z is a natural progression. The Black to Z venture is designed to provide a space to show how Black businesses and creators kickstarted their creativity and ideas in their own words.
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Black to Z participants share their visual inspirations alongside a word that defines their influences, resulting in an alphabet of Black creativity that takes ‘Pinners’ through the richness of Black-British diaspora culture and its influence on Black business and creators.
Taking part in Black to Z are graduates from Pinterest’s Black Gold Accelerator programme including Prick Ldn, London’s first and only cactus and succulent boutique, Mama Dolce, luxury free from ice-cream and Sheer Chemistry an inclusive hosiery company to name a few.
The showcase was launched at an exclusive one night-only exhibition taking place at Noho Studios in central London. Abi Shokeye, founder of Rich Skxn the ‘ONLY online retailer for melanin-rich skin in the UK’ and actor, musician and all-round creative Tom Moutchi, joined Irene for an intimate fire-side chat on the night where they all talked about their creative journeys and their inspirations.
Irene Agbontaen said: “Bringing Black creators and Black owned businesses to the forefront of conversations is fundamentally what made this project with Pinterest so important. For me, when launching my brand TTYA, there were very few places that I saw people like me championed and supported. Black to Z highlights these businesses, showcases them and opens them to a wider market. Black to Z as a platform is important to empower Black British business owners and incite change.”
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Agreeing with these sentiments, Belinda Boakye, Marketing Manager at Pinterest said: “We want our platform to be a true representation of the world we live in – continuing to support and shine a light on Black-owned businesses and creators is an important part of our journey.”
The Black to Z showcase is live on the homepage of Pinterest UK from 12 May 2022.
The Black to Z showcase alphabet
Letter and word Business/creator
A_ Addis Ababa Khula store
C_Creator Base Plus
D_Disruptors Making The Manor
E_Escapism Maya Nije
F_Fingerprint Sheer Chemistry
G_Generations Oré mi
H_Hope Pleasure Stacks
I_Ive Philly & Friends
J_Joy Mama Dolce
L_Loopholes Oja HQ
M_Movement Keep it Simpelle
O_Originality Travel with Tolu
Q_Queen The Plain Shop
R_Recreate Tatted Chef
S_Sentimental Tom Moutchi
T_ Tallawah Abi Wright
U_Utilitarian Not Just another store
V_Vision Lude Magazine
W_Wildfire The Wind Collective
X_Xenacious Rich Skxn
Y_Youth Very Puzzled
Z_Zeitgeist Prick Ldn