Digital makeover for Black-owned businesses thanks to Virgin Media Business

Winners of the Digital Makeover Ephiphannie A and Woke Babies
Virgin Media
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
7 January 2021

Two Black-owned businesses have received a digital makeover worth £10,000 from Virgin Media Business.

Virgin Media Business received nominations for hundreds of Black-owned businesses that are stepping up, innovating or going the extra mile to support the Black community. Kelly-Jade Nicholls, founder of Woke Babies, and Annie Amusu, founder of Epiphannie A, were named the two winners after a public vote.

Leanna Edwards, the chair of Virgin Media’s Empower network, which was behind the programme, said: “We launched this initiative to support Black-owned businesses and drive awareness of the Black business economy so we’re thrilled to announce Woke Babies and Epiphannie A as the deserving winners.

“Both businesses are making waves in their industries after less than a year of being in business. By using their online platforms to connect with communities and customers, they have enormous potential and we can’t wait to see what they get up to next!”

Meet the winners

Woke Babies is a Brixton-based subscription service that delivers children’s books and activities to homes and schools, tailored for specific age groups and levels of understanding. Kelly-Jade launched the business after discovering that only five per cent of children’s books in the UK feature a person of colour as the main character.

She said: “Representation is something that has always been important to me. Growing up, my mother made sure I was always surrounded by positive Black images as a child. Wanting other children to have access to the same positive upbringing, I decided to self-publish my own Black children’s book.

Woke Babies founder Kelly-Jade Nicholls holding a giant cheque from Virgin Media Business
Virgin Media Business

“While promoting the book at fairs and events and speaking to several families, it became clear that many parents struggle to find books featuring characters that their children can relate to. I wanted to come up with a way to solve this problem while also helping authors reach their audiences – which is how the idea for Woke Babies was born.

“I feel extremely grateful to be receiving this digital makeover and consulting package from Virgin Media Business, it will help me in so many ways. My advice for other Black entrepreneurs would be to take risks and put 100% into everything you do, and most importantly, don’t be afraid to change direction if you need to.”

Epiphannie A is the UK’s first Black hair care and beauty price comparison site. Annie launched the site during the coronavirus lockdown after she noticed the lack of choice and inflated prices when buying her go-to hair product online.

She said: “We are a UK-based community where savvy Black women can come to compare the best prices for their favourite hair and beauty products while discovering new products that better suit them – saving them both time and money with our specialised directory platform.

Epiphannie A founder Annie Amusu standing in front of a Virgin Media van
Virgin Media Business

“Before lockdown, only 17% of UK BAME women bought their hair products online. As such, there is a severe lack of data on how and where this demographic shops. Not only are we making it easier for BAME shoppers to access products in a time where we rely on online shopping more than ever, but we’re also offering brands and retailers unique data insights on shopping behaviours so they can better serve their community.

“I was so shocked to find out I had been chosen as a winner and feel proud that my company has resonated with so many people outside of my friends and family. The digital makeover and consulting package from Virgin Media Business will help me accelerate my website further and continue to improve the user journey.”

Visit Virgin Media Business to find out more.