Starting a new brand is not easy. Starting a new brand during race riots and a global pandemic, well let's just say, I can think of better ways to demonstrate resilience and perseverance. Our brand story is living proof, that even in difficult times, the need for aesthetics that challenge the dogma in home decor, wellness and self-care is ever so support important.
Don't Be Scared, Go Out There !
A year ago, during the George Floyd protest, I remember feeling incredible sorrow and compassion for the family and friends immediately impacted. Then I remember feeling like, this was the end of the world. Then I grew tired. Tired of hearing the same narrative over and over again. Tired of explaining blackness to my neighbors or so-called white allies.
At the time, I was living in a privileged community where I was a minority. I was often approached by my white neighbors about starting a conversation about current race relations in America and unraveling white privilege in America. It was as if they saw me as an ambassador for black culture, however I wasn't amused. Some of the bolder statements I was expected to receive on my patio while drinking coffee, included : "I didn't know that racism still existed", or "I agree with everything except the words white privilege....can we find something more palatable", or even "Obama brought racism back to this country".
As you can imagine, these were uncomfortable moments and it only further motivated me to develop a brand that could add cultural conversations to homes and other spaces. Entering the arena of home decor, lifestyle and wellness, in the United States, as a black woman-owned brand with handmade products has been a challenge. It is a world dominated by euro-centric aesthetics and a world view curated by white persons or non-black americans.
"You must act as if it is impossible to fail." - Ashanti Proverb
We can't talk about diversity and inclusion in America without first accepting that the American Dream was not designed for everybody. What we have the power to do, can't happen without a fight or chaotic event. Current attempts to leverage the distraction and systemic disruption of the pandemic, such as adding critical race theory into the curriculums of early education, are still controversial and resisted.
The ugly truth is that America is only united when it comes to foreign policy and entertainment. Representations of the black american experience is often colored in gratuitous acts of violence or poverty. I'm here to say that while those extremes exist, there is a more moderate experience lived by everyday people who's testimony and narratives are drowned out by the mainstream.
I'm here to say that the purpose of the brand is not to end racism or change anyone's convictions. The purpose of the brand is to add more cultural conversations to spaces, so that organic connections to other cultures can be made by the willing. It was designed for those interested in interconnectedness and expanding their world view.
Consider the brand, Sunsum, a beacon of light during dark times.
I've done all that I can do as a black creative.
Let capitalism sort out the rest.
Your buying power matters.