A stock photography company focused on showcasing people of color and other underserved communities.


A couple years ago, Karen Okonkwo had a difficult time finding photos of women of color for her blog, Sorority Secrets. "If I ever found them, it took me hours, and the imagery was not up to par," Okonkwo says. This experience inspired her to start a stock photography company focused on showcasing people of color. She met photographer Joshua Kissi, and they launched Tonl in August 2017. "People equate a lot of imagery to social media, so it may feel full and robust based on people's profiles and Facebook and Instagram and all types of social media platforms, but when it comes to stock photography, that isn't the case," Kissi says. "That's where we come in." With no employees, the Seattle-based company relies on its small team of contracted workers--seven, to be exact--to keep the business humming. After just five months of operation, the company brought in nearly $47,000 in 2017 revenue. Tonl expects that number to quadruple to $188,000, thanks to partnerships with companies like PopSugar, Sundial Brands, and Google. "There's an opportunity to tell more stories, because that's what really moves people, within photography, and we really want to go into the depths of that when it comes to people of color," Kissi says. --Sarah Jackson