The Black Hive: Bombas Brand's Black Employees Design Line to Benefit Black Communities
When Black creatives come together, we all win.
February 11, 2021 | By Alvin aqua Blanco
Black History Month means brands ushering out collections pandering to their Black customers. While they can sometimes seem contrite, apparel brand Bombas cooked up a fresh collection in time for BHM that was conceived and created by their Black employees expressly for uplifting the communities they represent.
In case you’re unfamiliar, Bombas is a brand that initially started selling socks and has since expanded into tees and underwear as well. What makes the brand particularly dope, beyond its high-quality goods, is that for every item someone purchases, another item is donated to homeless shelters.
At the top of February, Bombas dropped its Black Hive Collection which was created by the Black Hive, the moniker the company’s Black-identifying employees call themselves (the word Bombas is derived from the Latin word for “bee,” get it?).
“We refer to the full Bombas community as the Hive, so we adopted this name for the Black Hive which is a self-formed and titled collective of Black employees at Bombas,” explains Kendra Stepp-Davis, Senior Content Producer & Co-Chair of the Black Hive. “We established this group as a safe space – this started as a private Slack channel – to come together, support each other and create impactful change.”
The Black Hive includes members from across Bombas’ various departments including designers, engineers, customer happiness experts, and more. The protests of 2020 no doubt inspired the aforementioned creatives to organize with purpose.
Adds Stepp-Davis, “When the national conversation was reignited around racial and systemic injustices last year, the full team came together to discuss how we could ‘bee better’ (our brand mantra) and further support Black employees, partners and the Black community as a whole in a meaningful way. With the full support of the whole company, the Black Hive partnered with the Bombas design team to create a vibrant sock collection that celebrates Black culture and excellence—not just for us, but for Black Americans everywhere.”
The resulting Black Hive collection consists of 8 gender neutral sock styles, for a reasonable $12 a pair, dipped in eye-popping colors intended to inspire Black excellence throughout the past, present and future. Per the Bombas ethos, one pair purchased will equal a pair donated while an additional $100K will go to organizations hand-picked by the Black Hive. Those organizations include the A Second U Foundation, Sister’s Circle, National Bail Fund Network, and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, which all work to combat homelessness and systemic inequality.
“The Black Hive collectively chose these organizations because of the meaningful work they do in supporting Black individuals within their communities,” says Stepp-Davis. “It was important to us that these organizations reflect and address different intersectionalities of Blackness—from spectrums of identity to socioeconomic status and more.”
Not just a BHM play, the Black Hive Collection will be available through the spring on Bombas.com with new colors and patterns, as well as more products, set to drop in Fall 2021.
The goal is for more collections, and initiatives, to be delivered from Bombas’ Black Hive and external Black creatives with the aim of serving the Black community. We can dig it.