One year ago, co-founders Tika Sumpter and Thai Randolph found themselves launching Sugaberry — a forward-thinking lifestyle brand created by and for modern moms of color — at the peak of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, they celebrate one year of maintaining said brand to connect a community centered around Black women’s wellness and motherhood.
The idea behind Sugaberry’s digital platform originally came from famed actress, producer and entrepreneur Sumpter who took note of the lack of representation for Black moms and expecting mothers online and in media.
“The seed for [Sugaberry] started with me feeling like there wasn’t a place for Black moms or women who were interested in maybe having a child to go to,” Sumpter shared with AfroTech. “There was no thought or care put forth for us. I just felt like the joy of motherhood wasn’t really offered to Black women as far as what we see in media.”
From there, she came up with a business proposal that she approached Randolph with — an award-winning business executive — to help get her idea off the ground.
“I was really attracted to the breath of fresh air and the vision that she had,” Randolph shared with us. “It wasn’t about launching a mommy blog, it was really about launching a platform that would fill a hole in the marketplace where Black women and moms weren’t being seen.”
“We were wondering why are Black women and Black moms especially absent from these narratives around the joys and nuances of motherhood. The more I researched after our initial meeting, I realized not only is this something that I as a consumer need, but this is just a really great business proposition,” Randolph added.
What makes Sugaberry a standout platform is its dedication to sharing and validating information that Black moms need to hear. After observing the obtuse spectrum of white-led mommy platforms compared to content for Black moms, Sumpter and Randolph knew they had a duty to honor Black moms the right way.
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Through offerings that include editorial content, original programming, interviews, newsletters, live event series, and thoughtful product recommendations, Sugaberry operates as a vital part of the Black and brown mom experience.
Moreover, it works hard to present these moms with something “sweet” while also discussing “real things that are affecting us as a community,” Sumpter said. Most of all, the platform itself serves as a testament for Black women entrepreneurs thriving in the business world.
Although the two co-founders thought it would be easy getting people onboard with the mission behind Sugaberry, they both quickly realized how “severely undervalued women of color, and especially Black women, are in the entrepreneurship ecosystem,” according to Randolph.
“When you think about the $1.5 trillion of purchasing power that our community wields, the gatekeeper for that is the Black consumer mom,” Randolph revealed to us.
Creating a platform that caters to this level of buying power through content, commerce, and community not only puts Sugaberry at an advantage with this consumer audience, it also amplifies the influence of Black women and how we’re trendsetters.
Launching and maintaining a full-fledged lifestyle brand in the middle of two pandemics — the health crisis and social justice reckoning — would be challenging for any business owner, but Sumpter and Randolph were able to put their heads together to bring their inspiring vision for Sugaberry to life.
“I think launching any business is like growing a baby,” Sumpter laughs. “There are highs and there are lows, but that’s why passion is so important. We really love Black women and the platform that we’ve created, so we’re excited about where we’re going, what we’re doing, and that we made it to one years old.”
When Sugaberry launched last year, its initial mission was to serve as the “Brown moms’ guide to the sweet life,” but that has since evolved into a greater call to action that’s championing joy, hope, and luxury in aesthetics and care into the discussions around Black motherhood.
According to Randolph, “Our moonshot now is to realize a world where Black women’s health, wealth, and pleasure come first.”
Over the past year, Sugaberry has exhibited tremendous growth that has allowed it to hold its first breastfeeding event — which had over 2,000 registered attendees — launch its very own The Suga Podcast, and gain several new brand partners including P&G (My Black is Beautiful), as well as Culture House and Alfred Street who are working with the platform to develop Sugaberry Originals.
Looking ahead, both co-founders expect to explore the podcast space more for Sugaberry and recruit more voices onto the platform to uplift conversations that prioritize Black motherhood and their care.
Even when the odds were stacked against them, Sumpter and Randolph were able to launch a truly inspirational platform that shows how far you can go when you bet on Black women.
For more information about Sugaberry, visit its website.