Wakuda.co.uk is an online marketplace where shoppers from all backgrounds can discover black diverse talent in the UK and spend with impact. As a platform that connects buyers to sellers, we provide anyone and everyone the opportunity to access amazing black-owned brands.
But more than that, we are working towards an equitable sustainable ecosystem where supporting independent black-owned businesses isn’t a reactive act that’s done in surges or that needs to be incentivised but one that is just as instinctive as purchasing from any other mainstream brand.
As we host businesses at different levels of their entrepreneurial career, we aim to provide them the tools and support to help them develop and grow their brand. Holding masterclasses and building a community of support where they can gain valuable tips to build their online presence.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
The idea was conceptualised during the worldwide protests which followed the death of George Floyd in 2020. We noticed a worldwide shift in the awareness of the challenges faced by the black community.
The intention to spend ethically with black-owned businesses and creatives reemerged from this however connecting the buyers and sellers on a long-term basis has historically been difficult, with it often being easier to buy from large mainstream brands. The idea then formed to create a safe online space for shoppers to discover these underrepresented retailers.
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How has the company evolved during the pandemic?
We launched during the pandemic. During this time there was a major shift to online shopping. So not only did we not get affected by the pandemic, we benefited from the shift. We saw accelerated growth in sales and the number of sellers joining our platform.
A unique thing was that so many of the 300 small businesses selling on Wakuda actually launched in the pandemic too. So there was a need for a platform like ours to represent the black-owned businesses that had just launched.
What can we hope to see from Wakuda in the future?
This disparity isn’t exclusive to the UK so we plan to expand the initiative into Europe, Africa and the US, where we have already seen an appetite both in retailers and shoppers alike.
We understand these issues exist further afield than the UK. We plan to continue expanding this targeted support.
We plan to keep evolving our platform so that Wakuda is known to be the marketplace where shoppers can shop alternatively for quality products by small businesses that they won’t find mainstream.