It’s National Small Business Week! That’s right, there’s a whole week dedicated to supporting small businesses. There are a ton of events around the week, including a free 2-day online seminar to help small business, Twitter chats, hackathons and more.
According to NIelsen, the Black community has a combined $1.2 trillion in buying power which is more than enough to support a lot of #buyingblack. Also, according to a national small business survey, Black-owned businesses are among the fastest-growing in the nation, with a 400% increase in new Black businesses from 2017 to 2018.
Here are some small Black businesses you can support this week:
Owned by Chef Erika Boyd and Kirsten Ussery
About: “Detroit Vegan Soul was born out of our desire to make good, healthy food accessible to everyone, and to break the cycle of diet related diseases in our families and community. We started our journey in February 2012 with a meal delivery and catering company which served the greater Downtown Detroit area. The response was overwhelming!” (via their website)
Owned by Melissa Mitchell
Mitchell is self-taught artist who has created over 500 art pieces including 40 murals. In 2016, she turned her art into wearable creations and has since been featured in Vogue and worked with Lupita N’yong’o and reality star Yandy Smith.
Business: Home Decor
Owner: Denequa Williams
“Smartest decision I ever made for myself was surrounding myself with goal chasers, hard workers, and people who continue to shock themselves with the accolades and accomplishments that they receive. All of my friends are killing it, in some shape and form, and that encourages me and pushes me to be the best version of myself daily.” (Essence.com)
Business: Personal Grooming
Owner: Calvin Quallis
“Transformation is a powerful concept. It’s the feeling you get when the barber finishes a fresh cut, removes the cape, brushes you off and hands you the mirror to reveal the cleanest version of you. Like magic, your swagger soars to 100, and you’re ready to take on the world.
“That feeling is what inspired me to quit my cushy corporate job to follow my passion for making people feel their best. I started small, opening a barber shop in my neighborhood just as my mother had done when I was a kid. From my kitchen, I began experimenting with botanicals and other ingredients that have NOT been clinically shown to be toxic or carcinogenic, creating products to solve the problems our customers talked about.
We’re married to the idea that men should be able to take care of themselves and not have to break the bank. That they shouldn’t have to use products packed with harmful chemicals just to look and feel like a boss,” – Calvin Quallis.
Owners: Lamont Bowens, Nijm Boyd
Open since March 2019
“Minnesota has a lot of opportunity for Black entreprenuers, from non-profits to city and state programs. We’ve inspired a lot of people by what we’ve done,” Lamont Bowles, interview.
Owner: Sharonda Frazier, @WaistedSociety
“I started Waisted Society on July 20th 2018! I never imagined the success I only prayed for it! As we are nearing our first year, I’m feeling an immense amount of gratitude! I have reached people in 10 states including my own Pennsylvania. I have lifted and encouraged complete strangers! I have received countless gifts and blessings along this journey and God keep surprising me! I’m so dedicated to this brand and its growth it comforts me! – Sharonda Frazier via @crownthyselfllc
LOS ANGELES, CA
Owners: Ermias Ashegedom, Samiel Ashegedom (and other partners)
If you were angered, saddened, moved, or all three by the murder of Los Angeles rapper Nipsey Hussle, you can still support his mission and his family via his Marathon Clothing Store.
“The best thing you can do for a person is to inspire them. That’s the best currency you can offer: inspiration. So, when a person can rely on you for that, that empowers them in every realm of their life. Being inspired. It empowers them in their relationships, in their business, in their art, in their creativity. It empowers them because without inspiration, you’re dry.” – Nipsey Hussle
NOTE: Understandably, Marathon is currently experiencing a backlog, so if you want to support, please be patient.
Hammer and Nails; 10 locations, 7 on the way
Owner: Mike Eliot
Business: Personal Services
While it may now be a growing success story, Hammer and Nails did begin with one Hollywood location. Owner Mike Eliot envisioned a manicure/pedicure experience for men in an atmosphere they would relate to. They did, and now it’s a nationwide business with franchising options for other potential owners. Eliot started the company in 2013. After appearing on Shark Tank and being rejected, former screenwriter Eliot was able to raise 175K from investors who saw him on the show.
“Part of the motivation is to create opportunities for people like me. I wanted to create a business that could be replicated, and empower other African-Americans and other people to go into business for themselves and devote my time to helping them succeed. You can grow quickly through franchising, but it is also a way to impact other people’s lives.” Mike Eliot, Forbes.com
PHOTO: Sharonda Frazier for Waisted Society
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