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ShopBlackCT celebrates CROWN Act, elevates beauty businesses

Updated: Feb 7, 2022

To celebrate the passing of the CROWN Act, is elevating area beauty businesses and helping shoppers grab discounts.

“This is a historic moment for Connecticut, and what better way to celebrate than to help connect consumers with Black-owned businesses that specialize in beauty products,” says Avon resident Sarah Thompson, founder of, a free online directory of Black-owned businesses in Connecticut.

The CROWN Act — an acronym for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair — seeks to end the hair discrimination that has been experienced by Black women and men for their natural hairstyles.

Black people in the workplace have sometimes been reprimanded and passed over for promotion — and even fired — based on their hairstyles. A study has found that 80% of Black women changed their hair from its natural state to fit into the corporate environment.

State Rep. Robyn Porter (D-New Haven), a sponsor of the legislation that established the CROWN Act, wrote in a Facebook post: "The way Black women, men and children choose to wear their hair has absolutely no bearing on our abilities to perform professionally, academically or otherwise."

“This is a historic moment for Connecticut" — Sarah Thompson • founder

Gov. Ned Lamont signed the CROWN Act into law on March 5. has teamed up with the YWCA Hartford Region for its special initiative, offering an online CROWN Act Discount Guide (see link below) to help consumers easily connect with Black-owned beauty and cosmetics businesses that are offering discounts through the end of March.

“ShopBlackCT’s invitation to celebrate this legislative accomplishment — during Women’s History Month, with community economic investment — is the kind of innovation that bridges legislative progress with community advancement,” says Melinda Johnson, director of community engagement for the YWCA Hartford Region.

She notes that Connecticut is the eighth state to pass "this transformative legislation." features more than 1400 businesses — including 150+ beauty and cosmetics businesses from 26 cities and towns across Connecticut, plus brands that are exclusively online. Other business categories include automotive, fitness, contractors, restaurants, salons and many more.

The not-for-profit and volunteer-run website is free to browse, and free for businesses to list and receive support from, helping connect consumers with businesses. The site has been visited by tens of thousands of people and has grown more than sevenfold since its launch on July 1, 2020.

“ has been a blessing for our business" — Nakia Kearse • Your CBD Store Simsbury

“ has been a blessing for our business,” says Your CBD Store Simsbury co-owner Nakia Kearse, who is on the board of the Simsbury Chamber of Commerce. "The site has helped us gain greater exposure in our local area and started a conversation around our story, our value and how we were working to uplift our community."

Statistics and studies show that Black-owned businesses nationwide receive fewer bank loans and less similar support than other businesses. ShopBlackCT seeks to amplify and elevate Black-owned businesses in the Farmington Valley and across Connecticut as a way to level the playing field.

“The positive image, the positivity coming out of, is so powerful," says chef Jay Lewis of Fud Inc. and Baby J’s Spices. "It's such a great movement.”

Visit to browse 1400+ Black-owned businesses in Connecticut.

• CROWN Act Discount Guide —

Promo code CROWNON — throughout March

Sources — ShopBlackCT + media reports has been featured on NBC CT, WFSB-3, FOX61 News, WTNH News 8 (New Haven ABC TV affiliate), News 12 Connecticut (cable news TV station), Hot 93.7 FM and other media outlets besides Today Magazine


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