Band-Aid recently announced it would be launching a range of bandages in light, medium and deep shades of Brown and Black skin tones. However, a Columbus-based business was already working towards a world where bandages come in more than just white flesh-tones.
Browndages sold its first Black and Brown flesh-toned bandages in November of 2018.
A few years ago, Browndages co-owners and husband-and-wife team Intisar Bashir and Rashid Mahdi took notice of the fact that the bandages they were buying didn’t match the shades of their family. The company started to fill that gap, first focusing on adult bandages.
Browndages adult bandages are sold in boxes of 20 with four different shades of brown in each box.
“Not everybody in one family is going to be the same shade so we wanted to include multiple shades in each box,” Bashir says.
Browndages children’s bandages were inspired by the couple’s own kids, now 10, 8 and 5. The trio started asking for bandages that had the likes of superheroes or princesses on them.
Instead, “We decided to launch a children’s line of bandages that the images on them that looked like them and were in professions that they could actually grow and aspire to be,” Bashir says.
Professions like pilot, astronaut, ballerina, judge, chef and veterinarian are featured on the kids’ bandages. Each box has two characters on a background of assorted colors as well as two different shades of brown.
The first set of kids’ bandages were made to look like the couple’s own children. Now, Browndages runs a contest with their supporters to submit their kids to be featured as one of the four new characters Browndages creates every year.
Browndages are sold online and at select small businesses across the country. Pre-pandemic, Bashir says they traveled to vending events around the country to find their target market and have face-to-face interactions with their customers. Now, Browndages are stocked in stores from Atlanta to Detroit and Portland. Locally they can be found at Talib’s Shoes, 1053 Livingston Ave. It’s Bashir’s father’s store – a store he has owned all her life and that she grew up working in, first instilling her entrepreneurial spirit.
Customers looking to buy the bandages through the company’s website might be waiting a few weeks as they work to restock as quickly as possible. Given Band-Aid’s announcement and the current climate that sees people trying to support more small and Black-owned businesses, Browndages blew through their stock that they expected to last the rest of the year.
Bashir says the huge show of support has been shocking and exciting. They’ve received orders as far away as Canada and Norway.
“Ideally we would like to become the go-to first-aid brand for people who support small businesses, who believe in Black-owned businesses and want to see us thrive,” Bashir says.
As for Band-Aid, Bashir says the announcement did bring a lot of exposure to their company, but she doesn’t see an over saturation of the market.
“I think there is space for us and them,” she says.
Browndages also hopes to continue to expand their product line, fulfilling customer requests for items like waterproof bandages, other speciality bandages and first-aid kits.
For more information, visit browndages.com.
All photos provided by Browndages