Ebonyx, a new Afrocentric platform, merges culture and eCommercePosted on
The eCommerce platform is dedicated to showcasing brands whose products are rooted in African aesthetics.
Ebony is the name of a precious and dark wood, originating from ancient Egypt. Its luxurious texture made it a favourite material for carving decorative items. Over the centuries, the wood’s deep black features have transformed its name into a shorthand for Black identity. The derivative, Ebonyx, is a fitting name for the new eCommerce platform championing brands whose products, aesthetics, and imageries are rooted in “Black Atlantic” heritage. In a phone conversation, Ashley Ebanks, co-founder of Ebonyx, explained: “We wanted to bring the African culture and the designs of Africa, […] the Caribbean and South America to the world.”
Ebonyx was launched in December 2019. The platform was borne out of a recurring issue within the African and, by and large, the Black community: the difficulty to source affordable “African ornaments.” The same could be said of other African inspired products, fashion and accessories that members of the Black community aspire to have or need, as is the case for hair products. In response, Ebonyx has already corralled more than a hundred small labels whose products range from fashion to jewellery, home decor, and skincare, and anything in between. They also envision expanding their range to include African art, sculptures, and paintings.
Within five months, according to Mr. Ebanks, the site has garnered more than 100,000 monthly views. It is a testament to their viability as a business, their ability to meet the needs of their community, and their ethos of “championing small entrepreneurs.” The rise of online shopping and social media has simultaneously fostered the explosion of micro side businesses and made it exceedingly hard for these labels to rise above the fold and gain visibility. Ebonyx is stepping into that gap with a collaborative platform whose visibility and brand awareness can support the growth of the small businesses it serves.
For Axium_Clothing, an Afrocentric Menswear label, Ebonyx’s “slick online platform” has become one of their virtual shop windows in the absence of their proprietary website. For the three co-founders, being on Ebonyx also means being part of a community: “a support system of like-minded individuals with the same goals as us.” Mr. Ebanks insists they will continue working with small businesses and have no plans to work with “household names.” The brands they have selected have achieved a delicate balance of mixing African materials or aesthetics with modern contemporary design to create attractive products at reasonable prices.
So far, the coronavirus pandemic and the near-global lockdown it triggered have not derailed the nascent business even if sales have decreased. “People,” Mr. Ebanks said, “are still interested in the products [..] but are now more cautious to spend their money.” He insisted, their business, Ebonyx, is “lean” and is “in a strong position to keep going for the foreseeable future.”
So it turns out that the eCommerce platform has more in common with the wood than just the name. Both are resilient, and both beget, even if it is in very different ways, items of absolute beauty. For more, head to Ebonyx.