Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Untapped Creatives and Black-owned luxury at Selfridges

Written by Sam Scougall-Knight
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Trevor Stuurman

Media and retails are moving toward a more inclusive plan of action to reflect different backgrounds, stories and needs. Finally, the premium market is following the same route with the arrival of Untapped Creatives at Selfridges.

Untapped Creatives is not a common label but a curated platform of sustainable and luxury brands embracing a wide array of lifestyle collections. On 28th May, Untapped Creatives introduces British Black-owned brands to customers of Selfridges in exciting in-store and online collaboration.

About Untapped Creatives

Funmi Scott founded Untapped Creatives in 2020 to fill the gap between premium retail offer and customers. She noticed how underrepresented are Black-owned brands and how little space have black customers in today's luxury market. Many misconceptions still run about Black-founded businesses, such as these are not enough to be labelled as 'premium' or that behind every Black-owned initiative there are struggles and social reclusion. Funmi wants to debunk these false myths and promote stories of creativity, passion and success. With the assistance of Jennifer Leslie, Funmi created an independent platform to represent and support Black-owned British luxury brands by securing long-term sales channels in which these brands can grow and partner with premium retailers and corporates. Untapped Creatives hosts over 20 premium brands in its Afro-Luxe Concept Store, and it covers different lifestyle sectors such as fashion and jewellery design, luxury wellness and perfumes, homeware, accessories and children. Its goal is to ensure Black-owned brands are noticed and understood by luxury retailers, consumers and investors and achieve the same levels of success and recognition as all luxury brands.

Save The Date: Untapped Creatives Launches In Selfridges

At the forefront of the diversity and inclusion movement that is sweeping through the luxury retail space, Untapped Creatives’ unique Afro-Luxe Concept will be launching in Selfridges on May 28th, 2021. A ground-breaking collaboration with the luxury retailer, the partnership will see British Black-owned brands displayed in prominent positions in Selfridges’ London flagship on Oxford Street and available to buy on Selfridges.com.

The first company of its kind to work with stores in this way and on this scale, Untapped Creatives represents a diverse portfolio of Black-owned brands that sells a range of luxury and sustainable lifestyle products. The Selfridges partnership is a culmination of 12 months of Funmi’s focus, having ownership of a project that encapsulates Untapped Creatives’ key goal to raise the profile of Black brands by connecting them with premium retailers and sales platforms that are looking to take tangible inclusive action.

Carefully selected with an editorial eye, Untapped Creatives’ curated collection of over 20 brands to date - 10 of which arriving at Selfridges this May - encompassing men’s and womenswear, childrenswear, beauty, eyewear, jewellery, accessories, watches, home fragrances, toys and greeting cards, reveals the luxury of African artisans and beauty of African craftsmanship.

Brands Included By Untapped Creatives 

Ori - a beauty brand founded by lawyer Titi with a proud origin in Afro-textured hair care. This launch sees the first heat cap in luxury space (essential for black hair care) and the first brand dedicated to afro-textured hair at Selfridges.

House of RG - a luxury ready-to-wear and custom womenswear label that will be debuting its new Capsule Collection exclusively at Selfridges. Fusing the decadence and embellishments of designer Dorothy Ogwuru’s Nigerian culture with the sharp, bold lines of Western clothing, each one-of-a-kind creation is a statement piece, entirely handcrafted by a small team of highly skilled artisans.

Fela and Friends - handmade dolls, which are the true definition of inclusivity as they cover boys and girls along with every skin colour. Created by Femi, a mother who couldn’t find toys that her child could identify with, so not only created that, but toys that would resonate with all children.

Afro Touch Designs - an independent handcrafted Afrocentric greeting card brand that uses Ankara print. Founded by Georgina while on maternity leave to fill a gap in representation in the greetings cards industry.

Moyo by BiBi - founded by Bibi Ahmed, Moyo creates modernist accessories using traditional African beading methods that the designer describes as “wearable art”. Made in the UK and Kenya, each piece tells a different story through detail, colour and shape, and provides vital support to the women and mothers in a Kenyan village who are employed by Bibi to make the jewels.  

Sustainability is at the core of the Untapped Creatives business, with all of the Black-owned brands under its umbrella placing it at the heart of their stories. Whether they are handcrafting the pieces themselves on a made-to-order basis or in small batch runs to avoid wastage, employing artisans in the countries from which their crafts or materials originate or supporting African charities with their sales, it was a guiding principle for the founders.

'Our aim is to be a single uniting voice for black creative businesses,” explains Funmi, who, as an international finance lawyer born in Edinburgh to Nigerian parents and married to an Irishman, embodies the Untapped Creatives brand. “With my professional background and as creative entrepreneurs ourselves, we know that Black-owned businesses have difficulties in accessing premium retailers, and premium retailers have difficulty accessing them. We realised that in being a conduit we could hopefully solve pain points for Black independent designers, amongst which are concerns about access, financing and long-term growth, as well as streamline the process for buying teams to discover new and dynamic brands.'

Scott continues, 'With Untapped Creatives, we want to highlight the abundance of creativity within the Black community and find a viable and long-lasting economic solution to help Black businesses reach that next level.'

Through its partnership with Selfridges, Untapped Creatives hopes to prove that luxury is universal and is excited to introduce its impressive roster of innovative Black-owned businesses to the Selfridges customer.

Untapped Creatives launches its e-commerce website in June at UntappedCreatives.com.