All-Minority Team Built ‘Easiest Way to Buy Black,’ Thanks to Pharrell Williams’ $100K Black Ambition Prize

All-Minority Team Built ‘Easiest Way to Buy Black,’ Thanks to Pharrell Williams’ $100K Black Ambition Prize

In 2021, Pharrell WilliamsBlack Ambition awarded its first set of prizes with hopes to reduce barriers to capital and bridge the wealth gap for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs, including the all-minority powerhouse team of five behind Shea’d.

Mya Havard and her co-founders, Ibrahim Conteh, Nashawn Chery, Faisal Gedi, and Simrun Mannan, are the recipients of the $100,000 Black Ambition prize which helped support their startup into what it is today. Each member brings experience from their respective fields and as alumni of Spelman, Stanford University, Morehouse, and Georgia Tech.

Since the feat, Shea’d has developed into a free browser extension that helps consumers find Black-owned products that meet their wants and needs. It aims to save consumers time by showing them Black-owned products similar to what they are already searching for online.

“Shea’d (pronounced “shade”) was built with one goal in mind: to make it remarkably simple to connect with Black-owned brands and businesses. We achieve our mission by elevating Black creativity, emphasizing inclusion, and underpinning Black economic empowerment. Join us in using your buying power for good,” the website reads.

The company began as a directory for the Black community to connect in the Bay Area. The idea was birthed out of the co founders’ state of shock when they all relocated from Atlanta to the Bay Area. Less than after a year of launching, Shea’d took off exponentially having garnered 3,000+ iOS downloads with a 4.8 rating, a growing audience of over 2,000 on social media, and 200+ engaged newsletter subscribers, according to its website.

“As we got more traction, we wanted to expand and realize[d] the best way to do that was to focus on online businesses and making shopping Black even easier with a browser extension,” Havard told Grown in an interview.

A home to thousands of businesses, Shea’d uses artificial intelligence (AI) to give users the best recommendations for Black-owned products.

“One challenge we overcame was staying focus[ed] and narrowing our target audience to people who work in or are interested in fashion so that we are able to solve one problem very well before expanding,” Havard explained, per the lifestyle outlet.

Download the free Shea’d extension to save time while you shop for trending styles, amazing deals, and new releases from Black-owned brands.