Samantha had the vision for her business but lacked financial backing to make it a reality. Seed funding gave her the early traction she desperately needed for her heritage brand Yard + Parish. Inspired by her desire to access high quality, ethical products from African countries, the GCU graduate partnered with her cousin Alesha to establish the business. The award enabled her to launch an online shopping platform offering Black-owned eco-luxe fashion, beauty and lifestyle products which are either handmade or produced in small batches by independent artisans. The array of brands tell inspiring stories steeped in tradition with many specialising in style solutions for darker skin tones.

Samantha graphic

“Being awarded seed funding has given my career a kick-start, and provided the brand with early-stage traction. Without the support from the Retail Trust I would have been at ground zero scrambling for ideas on how to get funding to get this going! It’s been an amazing journey so far. As Black-female founders, we have experienced the challenges of building a sustainable business in the face of systemic discrimination. As entrepreneurs and as customers, we understand exactly what it feels like to be an afterthought. Now more than ever, we encourage consumers to consciously make an effort to support Black-owned brands. There’s a misconception that Black-owned means ‘only suitable for Black people,’ which is simply untrue.

“The pandemic has thrown up challenges but through our collection of self-care and homeware brands, we’ve been able to provide products that promote health and happiness at home. While we’ve decided to take a break from connecting with our community in-person, we’ve become more engaged online and try to create meaningful virtual experiences with our audience. We’ve had to get really creative which is not necessarily a bad thing.

“Thank you Retail Trust for your financial contribution towards the start-up of Yard + Parish.”