Breakthrough Brands 2021:
Power in Representation
Changing the dynamics for minorities
In light of last year’s racially charged events, from the killing of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement to the pandemic-fueled targeting of Asian people and businesses, issues of race permeated every corner of life. This new cultural awakening (and reckoning) shone a light on well-deserving companies that are changing the power dynamics for BIPOC communities across industries.
Within the last 5 years, more and more buzzworthy brands have been founded by minority leaders on a mission to change racial dynamics. This year, we feature Greenwood Bank, BREAD Beauty Supply, Omsom, and SpringHill Company as a new crop of successful businesses that are bridging the gap between mainstream norms and minority needs.
Greenwood Bank, founded by an unlikely trio (media man Ryan Glover, rapper Killer Mike, and politician Andrew Young), was built specifically for Black and Latinx Americans who’ve been traditionally sidelined or mistreated by the mainstream financial industry. The bank aims to take power back by reimagining the system and encouraging wealth creation—squarely within minority communities.
Meanwhile, Omsom is changing perceptions around “international” food products. The self-described “loud, proud, and Asian” brand is using chef-created flavors, design, and social media to change perceptions of Asian packaged food brands, replacing stereotypes and Americanized ideas of dishes with something more modern, bold, and unapologetic.
This year, we also noted a large pool of Breakthrough Brand nominees selling products that catered to curly hair or distinctively African American hair types. While BREAD Beauty Supply ultimately won the day, standout brands like Pattern Beauty (founded by Tracee Ellis Ross), Adwoa Beauty, and Sunday II Sunday were also nominated. “Underpinning the runway for growth is the tailwinds of expanding shelf space for brands serving underrepresented communities and the increasing spending power of these communities” says Ann Chung, a Growth Managing Director for Blackstone Growth.
Lastly, SpringHill Company, the powerhouse initiative led by Lebron James and Maverick Carter, is creating a more empowered relationship between creators and entertainment & media companies. The brand is also deeply committed to creating or co-producing content that powerfully portrays diverse voices and stories, and amplifying them to the mainstream.
As society demands greater equality and representation, businesses that answer that call will continue to find success and widespread support.