Stormi Steele posted a video on her social media accounts in 2017 of how to use Black hair products she created herself with $800 of capital.
Her homegrown business, Canvas Beauty Brand, later brought in $435,000 in profits through a single $100 paid social media advertisement. Steele said even with this rapid progress, buyers were still asking the same question: Is this Black hair care brand Black-owned?
Instagram has been key to customers finding Black-owned businesses to support and Steele said it has been integral to her business’s growth. And now the platform is strengthening that relationship between customers and Black-owned businesses.
Instagram announced Wednesday its new “Black-owned” label that U.S.-based businesses like Canvas Beauty can add to their profiles. The company and Steele said the label will make it easier to find Black-owned businesses.
“People still ask, ‘Is this Black-owned?’ I think it’ll get rid of that question and it’ll make our consumer, the woman and the person that we market to, trust us,” Steele said. “It helps us to not have to continuously reiterate we’re Black-owned, because that’s the difference between the conversion or not, most of the time, especially to the customer who wants to know that answer.”
Business accounts can select to display the “Black-owned business” label in their bios, and may be included on the Shops page.
Instagram does not have concrete numbers regarding how many businesses are expected to enable this feature. But more than 1.3 million Instagram posts included “Black-owned” or “Black-led” during the height of the racial reckoning in summer 2020 and through the fall. And the number of U.S.-based businesses that listed these labels in their profiles increased by 50 percent during that same period.
“There was a lot of tragedy happening in the Black community,” said Rachel Brooks, a product manager at Instagram on the equity team who worked on developing the label. “On top of that, there was a global pandemic raging, and a lot of challenges particularly with Black-owned businesses being able to stay open, maintain livelihoods, those sorts of things. And so what we saw is the community really rallied around Black-owned businesses somewhat naturally and organically by using #BuyBlack and all sorts of other ways of amplifying Black-owned businesses.”