Unfortunately, committing to shopping black is not as easy as it sounds. If you’re black, you should understand the struggles black businesses face when it comes to finding the best resources so they’re prices are affordable, finding the right techniques so they can break into a saturated market and be noticed, and finding the help they need so they can scale quickly.
If you have a business yourself you definitely know these daunting milestones and can probably name a few more that uniquely affects your brand. I’ve been thinking so hard about how we can come together better to support what everyone else has going on. And I’ve realized this point is evident: we WILL NOT succeed if we don’t begin to financially support each other. And I blame outside sources just as much as I blame us. Why do you think a dollar in our community only lasts 6 hours? We have so much economic power it’s ridiculous! That’s why there’s so many convenient stores, liquor stores, pawn shops, restaurants, sweepstakes, etc. all around the black communities. How many times do you hit up one of these places in a week? I won’t lie, for me it’s at least 3.
For lack of a better phrase (and because you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about) we’ll use the term “The Man”. And “The Man” knows exactly what he’s doing when he sets these buildings up. He knows we are going to spend our hard-earned money, that likely came from “The Man”, and put it right back into the economy for “The Man” and his family. That’s a dope set up if you’re that “Man”. But we’re not! And it’s time to make a conscious effort to building our community economically again. If we did it once (and we did), we can do it again! As I’m making a better effort to buy black here’s some tactics I ran across that makes the process feel effortless and that you’re actually doing your part instead of just throwing some money at a black business one time and feeling “validated”…no-no we’re better than that. So let’s start:
Go to events
This is a great way to discover new black-owned businesses. When new brands are just emerging, you won’t find them at Walmart and Target. It’s a nasty competition to get on those shelves and a super expensive process for new brands that’s simply not worth it at their beginning stages. But something they can do is attend events that invite vendor opportunities. And you should go too! Not only because it’s fun and usually a low-cost activity, but because it allows these types of events to continue happening! They need participants because it’s not a low-cost for them to put it all together. And truly, every time I’ve gone to events with mostly black-owned vendors it’s always been such a beautiful vibe. Hearing music that I love with people I love to look at…it really elevates my mood and I leave ready to change the world!
In my opinion, right now this is the best way for black people to come together and spread support and love. So I highly suggest looking up events in your area to attend! Start with EventBrite.com
P.S. However if it’s hard for you to get out and attend events, I highly suggesting visiting WeBuyBlack.com
Discover what YOU need
Once you’ve decided you will be more conscious about where your dollars will go, I’d like you to think about what you actually NEED in your home. Whether it’s make up, hair products, food, even toiletries or cleaning products…make sure it’s something you need and/or have been thinking about for a long time.
I say this because I don’t want us to fall into this trap of buying black for buying black’s sake. No-no, businesses are here because they want to help those who need their products. And if that’s not you, that’s okay! Ironically, not buying is a form of support too and will help aspiring businesses become better and tailor their products and services until they’ve tapped into the people that will love them for creating it. Because if you purchase something from a black-owned business that you weren’t too passionate about (you just wanted to “support”) later on down the road, because that purchase was likely higher than what it could’ve been at Wal-mart, you’ll find yourself looking at it like, “Well, this is that shirt I paid $35 for because I wanted to support my brother/sister” instead of feeling like, “This is such a prized possession that came from the mind and hands of my brother/sister and I love it!”
See the difference?
The latter is going to keep your mind from being tainted and keep your intentions pure going forward. Buying what you actually need from black-owned companies is a worthy investment into yourself and your community. And it’ll encourage you to do it again and again.
Commit to a black owned company
Photo Credit: Jonny McLaren
Businesses survive off loyalty and repeat customers are arguably the backbone of any sustaining business. So this point is very important because once you’ve discovered what you truly want/need and you buy from a black-owned company and it WORKS…why the heck wouldn’t you buy from them again? It WORKS. So to get the scale tipping in the direction of upward social mobility in our black communities, we need to make sure a black business is getting our financial support each month. And what better way to do that than incorporating a black-owned brand into our lifestyle.
Whether it’s through home décor, skin care, jewelry, personal hygiene etc. it doesn’t matter. Commit to having an important area of your life solved by a black owned company. And eventually, your money will rise and you’ll be able to commit to another area with another black-owned business. The beauty in thisss!
For example, I’ve personally committed to simplysoulsistas.com to take care of my skin care needs. I put it off for an extremely long time and beat myself up about how bad my skin looked. One of the core issues is that I had no clue what I was doing or how to begin handling the problem. When I attended an event I got to meet and chat with the owner, Imani Blaize, and she really gave me confidence that it’s not as hard as I’m making it out to be. I checked out her website and saw she even offered a trial-size skin care set. And I was ready! I tried it out and loved it from the first day! And now she has an enthused customer on her hands who trusts her with their skin! That’s major. I’ve looked up videos on skin care with suggestions from people, I’ve bought the generic brands from Walmart/Target but honestly, nothing compared to the one-on-one experience and mini teaching lesson I received from this black woman.
Now I’m working on supporting only small black-owned hair product companies. And I’ll continue to move step-by-step until most of all purchases are with black-owned companies. Remember we have power behind the money we make if we strategize where we will place it. So I hope this helps to get you pumped up to buy black, the right way! We need you.