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Connecting consumers to businesses created by women of color is her passion

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Janet Oganah, founder of Janet's List. She shines a spotlight on brands created by Black women and other women of color.

Janet Oganah, founder of Janet's List, shines a spotlight on brands created by Black women and other women of color. Funso Foluso-Henry

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As part of the movement for racial and economic justice, consumers are supporting more products and businesses created by Black Americans. These efforts have boosted sales for Black-owned businesses and even gained momentum overseas.

For Janet Oganah, connecting consumers with brands has been a years-long passion. She is the founder of Janet’s List, a platform that helps people discover independent brands created by Black women and women of color in the United Kingdom.

Through pop-up shops, retail partnerships and a podcast, Oganah aims to lessen the burdens Black businesses face when it comes to visibility and access to funding.

With the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, Oganah said, interest in brands affiliated with Janet’s List has spiked.

“For me, it’s completely validated what I’ve always known,” she said. “Fundamentally, access to money and finance is really at the heart of achieving systemic change, and really challenging that systemic racism that we’ve seen,” Oganah told Marketplace.

Janet Oganah outside a pop-up shop in the Islington neighborhood of London. (Courtesy of Oganah)

Through Oganah’s work with Janet’s list, one moment has stuck with her. It was at a pop-up shop in Amsterdam, where a young, mixed-race girl walked by and noticed dolls in the window display. “They were Black dolls, which is something that I imagined she just hadn’t seen.” The child’s mother purchased a doll before they left. Shortly afterward, they returned to buy another one for her friend, saying, “We both look like the dolls in the window.”

“I always look back at that little girl, and it makes me realize that this is why we’re doing it,” Oganah said. “So that for those who come after us, they can see themselves represented everywhere.”

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