This is Part 4 of a 7-Part Series on leveraging our enormous buying power and making a commitment to supporting African American Women Owned Businesses for the Holidays. The Small Business Administration as well as African American women business owners, consumers and experts will weigh in on and give their perspective throughout the series.
This past October, Tiffany Duncan, 28, attended the 2015 Black Expo in Jacksonville, Florida. She visited the booths of up and coming African American entrepreneurs in hair care, bath and beauty as well as the legendary Bronner Brothers hair care company. After leaving, she vowed to support African American women owned businesses in the future. She began with E’TAE Natural Products and Smooth Naturals.
“These products will make great gift baskets for family and friends,” says Duncan. “I love the thought of supporting African American women owned businesses. I get products that work for me, my hair and body while supporting African American women at the same time.”
According to a 2013 study by Nielsen in collaboration with the National Newspaper Publishers Association, African American buying power is 1 trillion dollars. By 2017, those dollars will exceed 1.3 trillion among the 43 million Black people in the United States. Moreover, the report found that African American people shop more frequently than other ethnic groups and like Duncan, shop nine times more than others in the area of ethnic beauty and grooming. This holiday season, ESSENCE.com asks our readers to utilize some of the trillion dollars to revitalize the Black community.
“I encourage everyone to reach out to local business associations and Black Chambers of Commerce as many of them are creating events to encourage small businesses to shop small on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season,” says Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator, U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA). “Some of them are also listed at the Shop Small website.” Go to www.shopsmall.com.
In this segment of our series, experts reveal several choice sites that can best help in finding and supporting African American women owned businesses.
1. Afrobella.com “I really love when Bloggers/Vloggers create a master list of products they believe in,” says Mechal Roe founder and creative illustrator of Happy Hair™ (www.happyhairshop.com). “I think Afrobella is amazing. I share it with my community of African American women entrepreneurs because it is helpful, fresh, forward and necessary.” The blog, created by Patrice Grell Yursik, focuses on natural hair, beauty, makeup and style. Check out her post entitled 350+ Independent Black Owned Businesses to Support during the Holidays and Beyond.
2. TheBlackMall.com “It is a great site for women because it offers a comprehensive holiday gift guide and it features an online directory of African American owned businesses,” says Keya Grant, Supplier Diversity Consultant for Verizon. The extensive directory provides referrals for clothing stores, hair salons, beauty products, medical needs, restaurants, marketing, travel and more.
3. BlackPages.com “It is a good site for women to go to because it is up-to-date, well organized and very easy to use. I appreciate when information is front and center,” says Erica Bracey, Business Consultant, Small Business Development Center at Georgia State University. “Between the pressure of work, family and life in general, no one has time to sift through foolishness. Especially during the holidays!” The Internet’s largest African American search engine, BlackPages.com spotlights thousands of African American owned businesses in 100 different categories. Site visitors can search by city or by product type and service.