Support for business

Amplify change: Trading Blak on how your everyday purchases can make a huge difference

Female-led First Nations businesses are building stronger communities and teaching the next generation.

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Wiradjuri woman Jarin Baigent runs Jarin Street, an activewear business that celebrates and gives back to her community.

Business was going well when a larger retailer asked to wholesale her product. Soon after the larger retailer duplicated Jarin's product.

“There are repeated exploitative tactics that I’ve seen across the sector,” Jarin said.

When Jarin found out she had no legal standing, she channelled that experience into helping other First Nations businesses protect themselves from similar exploitative tactics.

At first Trading Blak was just a page on social media. But within 6 weeks, Trading Blak had its founding members of 11 First Nations business owners. “All of us had experienced or seen similar, if not the same kind of behaviour from blackface businesses that I had,” said Jarin.

Trading Blak is a culturally safe, self-determined business collective. Together its members assert space for 100% Aboriginal owned businesses, work to strengthen those businesses and advocate for awareness.

“We’ve been able to transcend what was once confined to the weekend market or online space and take it to mainstream retail,” Jarin said.

The grassroots nature of many First Nations businesses means that each purchase doesn’t just help the business but has a ripple effect across families and communities.

Jarin Street employs 18 young Aboriginal people and has created a safe space in retail that never existed before. Her brick-and-mortar store in Warringah Mall employs young people who may want to become a business owner themselves.

“We teach our staff everything about business from what it’s like to be a manager to what a stock count is and how to manage stock.

“We’ve been able to really amplify the benefits and reasons why it's important to buy directly from Blak owned businesses,” Jarin said.

An overwhelming majority of the businesses that Trading Blak engages with are female-led. “We’re talking to a lot of mums! And that means 100% impact with every purchase, with intergenerational knowledge and teaching children how to step into business understanding what it is to be a business owner.”

Next time you’re thinking of making a purchase, check out Trading Blak and see if there’s a 100% Aboriginal owned business that can provide your next pair of leggings, sunglasses, socks and more.

Trading Blak received a City of Sydney knowledge exchange sponsorship grant. Applications are now open for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collaboration fund. The fund supports local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led projects that build stronger communities.

Published 31 October 2022, updated 29 February 2024