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Black woman begins company to give children bags that look like them



Cilrette, founder of the bag company, in front of a colorful background.

Cilz is the founder of Nubian Reines (Image: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Welcome to Black Owned, a series that celebrates the brilliant black entrepreneurs doing things in the UK.

Despite the challenges, the community continues to do important and great work ̵

1; and we’re here to make sure you know about it.

This week we have Cilrette, the founder of Nubian Reines – a prestigious accessory company that specializes in putting black princesses on backpacks and hoodies.

People who grew up in the days before the Princess and the Frog know the pain of not having cartoons to look up to. Black and mixed girls were not kissed by princes or had good fairies; They didn’t exist at all.

Cilrette decided to take matters into her own hands to make sure her son and his contemporaries don’t grow up with the same problem.

When and why did you found Nubian Reines?

The idea of ​​Nubian Reines came to me in 2018 when I saw my son’s theater performance.

The kids had to dress up as one of their favorite characters and I noticed that a young girl disguised as Goldielocks was not in command of the stage.

Three black girls sitting on the floor together and reading a book against a pink background.

The brand is about representing black and mixed girls (Image: Agata Politanska-Konecka)

I wondered if the costume was what caused her lack of confidence, and if it was her inability to relate to the synthetic, straight, blonde wig that kept her from being as brave as usual.

That made me think about creating a figure with the same hair texture, color, and skin tone as her. Suddenly, Nubian Pure was born!

What does the name mean?

The word “reins” means queens – so Nubian means Pure Nubian Queens.

Is it your full time job?

Thanks to a recent surge in sales, Nubian Reines now has my full attention.

Why is it so important to have black princesses and cartoon characters?

One word: representation.

All children deserve to feel love, to have their facial features celebrated and to positively reflect their uniqueness in fashion and cartoons. Black and mixed girls have not been featured in media and fashion for a while, so it is especially important to them.

Representation determines how others see you, but more importantly, how you see yourself.

More black characters enable black children to feel seen and included.

A young black girl holding a three black princess backpack

The three queens have different skin colors to ensure that more girls see each other represented (Image: Nubian Reines).

What kind of feedback have you received from parents and children?

I am often told that as soon as the child sees one of the queens in the logo, they say, “She looks just like me!” It always warms my heart and motivates me.

The parents also spoke a lot about our quality. One of my goals while staring at Nubian Reines was to make sure the products are of high quality, yet reasonably priced.

Tell us a little more about the three young Nubian queens the brand is about.

When I hit the idea, I knew right away that the girls’ skin tones had to show the many skin tones of black and mixed kids. It was also important to me that her hair textures illustrated the natural hair textures of black and mixed girls.

Each of the queens’ names means “queen” in a different African language; Zhenga is a South African name, Morowa is Ghanaian, and Subject is Egyptian.

I chose these names so that kids, regardless of skin tone, can see themselves and be reminded that they are special – and that they are queens too.

Has your identity as a black woman caused any challenges when getting started?

My identity wasn’t the problem; Difficulties have developed because of the brand’s message. I was told that it was very racist of me to create a brand that only celebrates black beauty – to which I responded, and always will, “First and foremost, I’m a black woman. I celebrate my natural black beauty and beg others to do the same. ‘

I advise everyone – regardless of their skin color or culture – to create a brand that embodies them. We live in a diverse society and products should do justice to that. It’s not racism, it creates equality.

We cannot talk about diversity if we are not all represented.

A pink backpack with three black princesses

The perfect backpack for starting school (Image: Nubian Reines)

Has the company benefited from things like Black Pound Day?

The business has and I am grateful to the Swiss and others who started Black Pound Day and other groups that help bring black-owned companies to light.

What do you say to those who claim Black Pound Day is “discriminatory” to non-black business owners?

Black Pound Day simply shows consumers and other business owners of all ethnicities that there are black-owned businesses.

It helps serve advertisements to black-owned companies that may not have been able to reach large numbers of people.

It’s not about boycotting non-black-owned companies, but rather shedding light and investing in black-owned companies – most of them are online selling products that consumers can’t find in supermarkets or stores.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs looking to start their own business?

Do it – but do it for the right reasons.

Create a brand, product, or service that you can boldly stand by and that you would use or buy yourself. Be consistent, always ready to learn and grow. Most importantly, be patient with yourself and your business; Mistakes are not the end of the world, but the beginning of the lesson.

What’s next for business?

I am a proud (single) mother of a young black king and I will soon be launching Nubian Reines’ brother brand, Nubian Rois. Products for boys are sold. My son and I love to watch anime and feel like there isn’t enough representation, so I made the characters in the Afrocentric anime characters of the Nubian Rois logo.

The Nubian Reines line started with Rose Gold Backpacks, but our back-to-school line has just been expanded to include more products.

We just reissued our satin hoodies to keep the crowns warm and safe this winter.

For more information, you can follow Nubian Reines on Instagram.

Do you have a story you want to share?

Contact us by email at [email protected]

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