You told us you wanted to support black-owned businesses, so we’ve created an almighty list for you to choose from…
Like everyone else, we’ve been doing a lot of listening and learning lately. We’ve looked back at our content, we’ve questioned our approach and we’ve come to the conclusion that we can do more, so we asked our readers to recommend black-owned businesses. And boy did they come through. Over the last week, we’ve spoken to everyone on this list – it’s been an incredible opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with businesses we know and introduce ourselves to ones we don’t. Now we’re going to help you do the same, and if it means we can help readjust the balance, even just a little, we’re all for it.
Gold’n Brown. Bramley-based husband and wife team Paul and Lizzi Owiredu have been baking delicious goodies as Gold’n Brown since 2016. From birthday brownie boxes to wedding cakes, they make treats for every occasion. They also take custom commissions, so you can get something truly bespoke. They’re open seven days a week, just send them a message on Facebook and choose a date for collection.
Jerk Express. Serving up classic Caribbean street food in the heart of Hyde Park, Jerk Express is all about chicken done the Jamaican way, by native chefs Audley Ellis and Clarkey. You can get it stuffed in a burger, served with rice and peas or all on its own in a finger-licking box of wings. They’re open every day from 10am to 9pm. Order direct, with Just Eat or with Deliveroo.
Hair by Rhonda. Hairdressing is Rhonda’s lifelong passion. After years of working in salons across Leeds, she’s now opened her own salon. She offers creative styling for all hair types, but specialises in box braids, weaves, crochet, feeder braids and specialised steam treatments. She’s based at the No.8 Salon in Headingley but also offers an in-home mobile service. She’s currently closed but is taking bookings online for July 2020.
Afrochops. It started as a pre-packaged meal delivery service, but Afrochops in Middleton has become one of the best Afro-Caribbean restaurants in Leeds. You can get classic starters like jerk wings and fish pepper soup before moving on to traditional mains like jollof rice, ogbono soup and curried goat. You can order a collection or delivery online.
Rock School UK. Set up by renowned session drummer and former Nightmares on Wax member, Isaac Heywood, in 2007, Rock School UK offers professional week-long music workshops for kids aged 9 to 16. They take place every half-term and during the Easter holidays at The Rock and Roll Circus Studios in Armley with a finale gig at The Wardrobe. They also deliver a range of workshops in schools during term-time and team up with community organisations like Breeze Leeds. You can find out more about their sessions by emailing Isaac.
Beautifully Biracial. Beautifully Biracial is an online shop for multiracial families by multiracial families. It was founded by Terri and Odion Akan, Leeds-based parents of two biracial boys. She’s curated a selection of beauty and lifestyle products to cater for the unique needs of biracial, dual heritage and mixed-race individuals. Their main focus is hair care for naturally curly, wavy and textured hair, but they stock everything from inclusive toys and books to clothes, cards and gifts.
Flavour Like Fancy. This independent gift shop in Meanwood is owned by Leeds-based jewellery designer, Tasha Grant. Inside, you can browse her own Loon Moon label, alongside everything from ceramics to cards, prints and homeware. She’s brought together a carefully curated mix of UK-based independent designers to give you something totally unique. Flavour Like Fancy is open from 10am to 6pm Tuesday to Friday and from 10am to 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Real Productions. Derek Lawrence, also known as Tubbs, is one of the most recognisable figures in the Leeds music scene. He’s promoted gigs in the city for years and is part of the team behind the Black Music Festival which takes place on Leeds West Indian Carnival weekend and Salute to Reggae in Millennium Square. For the last two decades, his company, Real Productions, has provided event organisers with professional backline equipment, instruments, PA set-ups and event management services.
Kalabash. They’ve been serving delicious Caribbean grub across West Yorkshire for over a decade, but now Kalabash calls Chapeltown home. From baked salmon to cayon stew, their menu is full of classic dishes derived from family recipes that have been handed down through generations. It’s open from 10am to 10pm every day for collections and you can order through Just Eat.
Maureen’s Caribbean Food. You can get a proper taste of the Caribbean at Maureen’s. It’s been one of the most popular takeaway restaurants in Harehills, nay Leeds, since 2003. Jerk chicken, curried goat and fried plantain all are on the menu, but if you fancy something different, give the ackee and saltfish a try. It’s open 9.30am to 10pm Monday to Saturday for collection or you can order delivery through Just Eat. They also do event catering.
BE.U. This Hunslet beauty studio offers bespoke natural beauty treatments. All their services are safe, pain-free and non-invasive. From anti-wrinkle facials to body contouring and cellulite reduction, they’ll help you get the body you want without enduring extreme medical procedures. They’re currently closed due to coronavirus, but are taking bookings from the start of July.
The Rock & Roll Circus. The Rock & Roll Circus rehearsal studios have been running since 2007. It’s a cool, psychedelic space for up and coming bands to rehearse their music. There are four rooms and each can be set up with amps, cabs and drum kits as artists wish. They’re open from 12pm to 2am Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm on Saturday and from 10am to 2am on Sunday.
LoveStorm Cakes. Renée Cottle’s knack for baking eye-catching cakes led her to start LoveStorm in 2015. Five years on, she prides herself on designing and baking bespoke cakes that will steal the show at your next celebration. From glitzy birthday bakes to classy wedding tiers, her creations look as good as they taste. You can place an order by sending a message through Facebook. But Renee’s business is just beginning because she’s raised an entire family of entrepreneurs…
LoveStorm Cupcakes by Leilani & Lei’s Rags. Leilani is Renée’s daughter and she has two start-ups of her own. She runs LoveStorm Cupcakes, where she bakes the most wonderfully indulgent cupcakes to order, and Lei’s Rags, where she makes colourful durags, although she’s currently switched production to masks to help people stay safe during lockdown.
The Kookie Kid & Rae Rae’s Vegan Sauces Avaiyia is also Renée’s daughter and she too has two successful businesses. The Kookie Kid makes handmade sugar cookies and cake pops for any and all occasions, while Rae Rae’s Vegan Sauces adds African Hot Sauce and her sweet, sticky Salty Karamel sauce into the mix. It doesn’t stop there though because Rae Rae’s has recently branched out into vegan beauty scrubs.
Wildcraft Bakery. This award-winning gluten-free bakery in Meanwood is run by Mina Allsopp and Samantha Havis, two coeliacs who struggled to find suitable bread and cakes, so decided to do it themselves. From fresh loaves to donuts, brownies and pies, everything they do is made with allergies in mind. Order online for local deliveries from Tuesday through to Saturday.
Bloom Bakers. This small-batch home bakery from Saskia Roskam and Lisa Shepherd is a must-try. From their Jammie Dodgers to iced cookies and chocolate brownies, Bloom Bakers make everything to order – you can even personalise the biscuits with your own messages. They’re still taking orders online in lockdown, but you’ll need to leave at least five days for delivery.
D-Workx. Saskia’s husband Darrell is the man behind D-Workx. He’s a talented woodworker and puts his skills to good use by transforming vintage furniture into modern creations. He works with everything from chairs to tables, wardrobes and drawers. As well as upcycling furniture, he also designs his own creations from scratch. You can order his pieces through his website.
Ryan’s Kitchen. Spiced, not spicy is the ethos at Ryan’s Kitchen. Since opening in 2017, this Jamaican takeaway on Kirkstall Road has become the go-to for vibrant Caribbean food. From saltfish in a creamy sauce to jerk chicken, coconut lentil curry and fried plantain, this is your chance to get an authentic taste of warmer climes, without the heat. Call 0113 212 1743 to order for collection or visit Just Eat for deliveries.
Akila Dolls. Olivia Thompson is a single mum to an autistic daughter who noticed the lack of diverse dolls on offer after leaving work to care for her full time. She created Akila Dolls to fill that gap and they are creating diverse and educational play dolls for children. The first will be called Bessie after Bessie Coleman, the very first African-American to hold a pilot’s license. You can find out more information on their Instagram and Facebook.
My Go To Lashes. Meena Maya is a mobile make-up artist. She does makeovers for weddings, proms and parties, as well as one-to-one sessions, so you can learn more about what works best for you. She’s currently closed but is taking bookings for when they can reopen this summer or you can head to her webshop to buy her own brand of beauty products.
Rae of Sunshine Events. Want to make your next party extra special? Give Rae of Sunshine a call. You can hire candy floss, popcorn and slush machines, all manned by a member of their team. Since parties are against lockdown rules, they’re now delivering treats to your door, so you can indulge in everything from cupcakes to candy floss at home. You can place an order by sending them a message through Facebook.
Book Dynasty. Leeds mum, Soraya Joof, wanted to help introduce kids to black history and culture, so she launched Book Dynasty. It’s an online bookstore where you get everything from child-friendly biographies of famous black people to non-fiction stories designed to promote positive black images. They pop up at markets across Leeds too.
Bad Gal Brows. Natalie Della-Verde is the brains behind the city’s first vegan and cruelty-free brow spa. Bad Gal Brows offer a range of facials, brow treatments and permanent make-up services, all done using ethically-produced products. They also have a shop where you can buy products to use at home and a Training Academy that helps new beauticians get into the industry. They’re currently closed but will reopen on Saturday 4th July 2020.
Yoga Kula. Want to get away from the stresses of the outside world? Head to Yoga Kula, an independent yoga studio in Chapel Allerton opened by Angela Sykesin 2012. Newbies are welcome to give their beginner’s sessions a go, or you can go straight in with advanced classes like Ashtanga, Hatha and Hot Vinyasa Flow. They also organise workshops, courses and retreats. The studio is currently closed but they’re running online classes.
Clothing By Machines. One of the UK’s best new streetwear brands is based in Whitkirk. From a twist on 90’s-style football shirts to on-trend jackets, hoodies and bags emblazoned with their logo, these stylish threads are already making waves in the industry, which is saying something because they’ve only been going for a few months. They’re open as normal for online orders.
Rum & Reason. This city centre bar is known for its love of rum and reggae, both of which are served in equal measure at Rum & Reason. The Caribbean-inspired joint has over 40 rums for you to choose from and a menu of colourful cocktails as DJs spin tunes to get you moving. Meanwhile, their first-floor restaurant serves up classics like jerk chicken and curried goat. They’re currently closed, but hope to reopen soon.
The Assembly. Husband and wife team Steph and Matt Cliffe opened The Assembly in 2018 and this cool-as-heck bottle shop-cum-bar has become a firm favourite for Crossgates locals. Their beer selection is a sight to behold – choose from the likes of Kirkstall, Beavertown and North Brewing Co. They do classic cocktails and a hand-picked selection of wine too. It’s currently open for collections only from 2pm to 8pm, Friday to Sunday.
Angel of Youths. This non-profit organisation plays a vital role in the lives of disadvantaged young people across the city. They host events, workshops and meetings to help people aged 18 to 30 build careers and explore entrepreneurial opportunities. It’s part of a wider network of community groups working against inequality and injustice in Leeds. You can find out about their upcoming events on their website.
Teisha Hair and Beauty. People travel from far and wide for an appointment at Teisha Hair and Beauty. Nateisha Dewdney opened the salon in 2011 and it’s now known as one of the best salons for Afro-Caribbean hair in Leeds. They offer everything from braiding to dreadlocking, curling perms to tints, and, they’re specialists in extensions and weaves. They’re currently closed but plan to reopen on 4th July 2020.
Our Place. Boomchikkaboom’s raves popped up all over the city until 2019 when owner Faye Kenny opened Our Place and gave them a permanent home. This multi-purpose space now hosts a regular programme of family-friendly raves and events. It’s also used by community groups, locals and freelancers. They’re currently closed, but can be hired for events that follow lockdown rules.
Dutch Pot. The authentic Caribbean flavours of Dutch Pot in Chapeltown have made it a must-try. They serve all the classics, including jerk chicken, saltfish fritters and fried dumplings, alongside traditional Caribbean favourites like negril chops and stew peas with oxtail spinners and beans. They’re open for collection and delivery through Just Eat from 9am to 10pm Sunday to Thursday and from 9am to 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Education Aid. This non-profit organisation was set up by three Leeds-based sisters, Amina, Nina and Mariama Weston, when they noticed that school uniforms were left in lost property at the end of each school year. Education Aid recycles unwanted school clothing and distributes it to parents and carers to help reduce the impact of child poverty in the city. You can help by donating time, money and uniforms through their website.
Flutes and Fizz. If you want to add a bit of sparkle to your next event, give Flutes and Fizz a call. They’ve converted a Piaggio Ape van into a prosecco bar on wheels. They serve Frizzante on tap from a 20-litre keg, alongside a range of prosecco-based cocktails. They’re taking bookings as normal for future dates across the North West and Yorkshire.
With a Difference Photography. Rebecca Golby and Natasha Clarke are the duo behind With a Difference Photography, a studio split between Leeds and Brighton. Their passion lies in creating unique portrait images, which they bring to life with special effects. It works wonderfully for wedding shoots, children’s portraits and even commercial clients. They’re still taking bookings, but only for future events.
Cakes by Michelle Walker. The name tells you everything! Leeds-based cake maker Michelle Walker turned her passion for baking into a career in 2018. Since then, she’s earned a legion of fans thanks to her incredible sweet treats. Whether you’re after cake pops, cupcakes or an elaborate wedding cake, she’ll give you the perfect slice of indulgence. You can order through her website.
Plenticupcakesfull. Maxine Nicholls has been baking sweet treats as Plenticupcakesfull for over a decade. Her cupcakes are to die for – they’re topped with all kinds of goodies, but if you fancy something different, she also does cake jars and cheesecakes. She’s open as normal during lockdown and taking orders through Facebook and Instagram.
Love & Tulips. Tanisha Wyatt is the brains behind Love & Tulips, a bespoke events styling company that’s guaranteed to dazzle your guests. They will help you source everything from balloons to flowers, decorations and even sweet-filled goody bags to make your events feel extra special. They’re currently taking future bookings online.
Female Magik. Esta Suma is the founder of Female Magik. It started as a podcast to help women share their stories and heal from their traumas as a collective. It’s since become so popular that they’ve expanded the business to offer workshops, talks and events that celebrate women of colour from across the north. You can check out their upcoming events on their website.
Casa Colombiana. Husband and wife team David and Marta Nkengmo opened Casa Colombiana in 2007 and this little slice of Latin America has been a favourite ever since. Their downstairs restaurant is where you can get authentic Latin American eats like arepas and llapingacho, while the upstairs cocktail bar hosts regular DJ nights and live music. They’re currently closed due to coronavirus, but are taking orders for coffee online.
Big Bellies Catering. If you want to add the vibrant flavours of classic West Indian cooking to your next celebration, give Big Bellies Catering a call. Available for parties and events, they’ll cook up delicious dishes like curried mutton, Jamaican brown stew, and Guyanese chickpea curry for all your guests. They’re currently taking bookings from July 2020 onwards.
Sher Naturel. What started as a YouTube series that showcased DIY hairstyles, has grown into so much more. Sher has created an online platform for the Afro-Caribbean community packed with hair and beauty tips. She also has a shop where you can order her own-design apparel inspired by culture and social politics. You can check it all out on her website.
Ally Customs. If you want to give your trainers wow factor, speak to Ally Customs. They paint bespoke designs onto your kicks to make them stand out. From graffiti-style patterns to pop-culture references, they do it all. It’s not just trainers either, they do caps and jackets too. Check out their Instagram for examples and drop them a message to discuss your ideas.
Phoenix Dance Theatre. The longest-standing contemporary dance company outside London was formed in 1981 by three black men, David Hamilton, Donald Edwards and Vilmore James. Now under the stewardship of Artistic Director Sharon Watson, Phoenix Dance Theatre prides itself on producing a diverse programme of work by new and established choreographers. You can find upcoming shows and stream past shows online.
Hair by Ebony. Ebony Wisdom is a self-taught braider who runs one of the most in-demand hair salons in Oakwood. Hair by Ebony offers styling for all hair types but specialise in two areas – braiding for naturally curly, wavy and textured hair and extensions from fully qualified technicians. They’re currently closed but are taking bookings for when they reopen on Saturday 4th July 2020.
AnonyMas Carnival. The carnival spirit runs right through AnonyMas. Started by Lorina Gumbs who now runs it with Cherise Hill and Fenella Gumbs, they design some of the most colourful, eye-catching costumes you ever did see. Their celebrations aren’t just confined to Leeds West Indian Carnival – they hold regular events throughout the year, including soca music-inspired HIIT classes and carnival-themed soirees for young and old people in the community, while also designing and producing bespoke costume and festival pieces. Find out about their upcoming events and classes by messaging them on Instagram and Facebook.
The OC Booth. Photo booths are now an essential part of any big party and you can book yours with The OC Booth. They’ll bring an 8 foot by 8 foot colour-changing inflatable cube to your shindig. Inside, you’ll find a photo booth with a big box of customised props made for your celebration. You’ll get unlimited prints on the day and digital copies after the event. They’re now taking bookings for August 2020 online.
Abyssinia. You can get a little taste of Ethiopia in Harehills thanks to Abyssinia. This cafe-style restaurant has been serving up authentic East African cuisine since 2014. You can tuck into classic dishes like lamb key tibes, beef kifto and chicken doro wot, all served with traditional injera bread. They’re open for collections from 11am to 11pm Monday to Sunday.
Jenny’s Jerk Chicken. The classic Caribbean street food at Jenny’s Jerk Chicken pleases the soul. You can get their jerk chicken, saltfish or veggie bean cakes piled on salad, but don’t overlook the curried goat, served with rice & peas. They’re open for takeaways from 10am to 4.30pm Monday to Saturday or you can pre-order for collection on Saturdays.
The Flava Hut. Caribbean food with a twist, that’s what The Flava Hut is all about. This Harehills restaurant has won over a hoard of fans with its vibrant flavours and traditional recipes. They do all the classics, like jerk chicken, curried goat and fried fish, but you can mix it up with specials like the honey and garlic salmon. It’s open from 2pm to 10pm Monday to Saturday – just nip by for collection or get a delivery through Just Eat.
HEAT North. HEAT stands for Home of Excellence and Talent, which is exactly what you can expect from this creative events company. Run by a team of eight people from around Leeds, they produce events for local community groups and dance troupes. But it’s more than that. Through their live stream series, they tell the stories of local artists and businesses. You can find out about their upcoming events on their Instagram page.
Team Creative. Tasha Brown is a former model and embalmer who started Team Creative as a non-profit organisation to promote community cohesion and raise awareness about the West Indian Carnival. She designs costumes for the annual carnival, but there’s much more to Team Creative than that. They organise dance performances and run carnival craft workshops in schools, as well as ensuring that vulnerable people in the local community have food.
Leeds Tuition Centre. Joanna Jacobs has been running the Leeds Tuition Centre since 2014. It provides top-class private tuition to 6 to 16-year-olds to help them achieve their potential. Whether it’s English or maths, SATs or GCSEs, Joanna and her team give their students everything they need to go the extra mile and improve their grades.
Mi Sucré Bake Shop. A charming little cafe in the heart of Guiseley, Mi Sucré Bake Shop is run by Tricia Miller and her family. You can grab a cup of Cielo coffee, paired with one of their breakfast bagels, homemade sandwiches or freshly-baked cakes. They also do afternoon tea with all the trimmings. It’s open 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, then from 9am to 3pm on Saturdays.
Tailors. By day it’s a traditional gentleman’s tailors and by night it’s a 1920’s speakeasy. Owned by Jamila Juma-Ware and Matthew Wignall, there are plenty inside Tailor’s. You can try their own brand of gin as you have a dig into their costume box and party to old dancehall hits. The bar is currently closed, but you can get their small-batch gin delivered to your door.
All Over the Drop. This online shop from Leeds local Jane Nriapia is designed to help you relax and deal with the stresses of daily life. She sells cruelty-free and plant-based skincare, wellbeing and spirituality products. From organic essential oils to gemstone face rollers, you can get all the things you need to keep your mind, body and soul in perfect shape.
Bajan Apple. If you’ve got printing needs, Bajan Apple has you covered. It was started in 2012 by Anthony Padmore. He has 24 years of professional experience in the business. With the help of his graphic designers, he can bring your ideas to life, before providing you with everything from business cards to posters and brochures.
Piassa Bar and Restaurant. This Chapeltown restaurant cooks up incredible Ethiopian food. You can get traditional favourites made to centuries-old recipes, like their signature dish, beyaynatu, a vibrant combination of chickpea stew, lentil stew, cooked carrots, cabbage, potato and salad. Piassa is open from 2pm to 10pm, Monday to Thursday, and from 2pm to 11.30pm, Friday to Sunday.
The Cultural Arts Heritage Circle. Dionne Edwards founded The Cultural Arts Heritage Circle to provide business support to budding BAME entrepreneurs. It currently has over 40 traders, who sell everything from black history books for kids to fine art, jewellery and homemade confectionery. They help their traders get started and secure space to sell their wares at markets across Leeds.
Soul Box. This plant-based takeaway in Chapeltown offers delicious food-to-go. The menus change on a regular basis, so one week you could tuck into pulled mushroom burritos and vegan enchiladas, then the next, you could enjoy southern-fried jackfruit bites and BBQ seitan. To place your order, send them a message on Twitter or Instagram.
Tipsy Bakes. Cupcakes and cheesecakes are great as they are, but what you know makes them better? Booze! Tipsy Bakes specialise in alcohol-infused sweet treats just for grown-ups. Think limoncello-heavy cheesecakes and espresso martini cupcakes. You can get them in boxes of 4, or if you want to go all out, they make bespoke giant cupcakes to share. They deliver between 11am and 8pm daily and you can order online.
Scotchie’s Caribbean Cuisine. This Harehills restaurant will bring a taste of the Caribbean to your door. Scotchie’s has been a longtime favourite since it opened in 2013 and it’s still going strong. From jerk chicken wings to ackee and saltfish, you’ll get a host of classic Caribbean dishes here, all made even more delicious by their homemade Tropical Sauce. It’s open for collections from 12.30pm to 10pm, Monday to Saturday – or you can order on Just Eat.
We couldn’t get hold of everyone you recommended before we went to press, so there are more to come, but if you think we’ve missed somewhere, we’d love to hear about it.