This is Part 3 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.

Maggie and John Anderson and their beautiful daughters were living what many would perceive as The American Dream.  They lived comfortably in a nice Chicago suburb.  But in their opinion, it was too comfortable.  They soon embarked on a 365-day journey of African American empowerment that would forever change their lives and impact society for generations to come.

Anderson’s powerfully compelling story of self-exploration, pride, solidarity, ingenuity, excellence, humor, sometimes pain and overall collective purpose epitomizes all that our series espouses. We asked her to share her journey and the importance of supporting Black women-owned businesses for the holidays and beyond.

“I am so proud to join ESSENCE in promoting the value and importance of conscious consumerism to create strong, safe African American communities, and economic inclusion and quality as an American ideal,” says Anderson, founder and CEO of The Empowerment Experiment Foundation and author of Our Black Year.  “Black women have so much power and influence in this economy. Let’s use it!”

Shaping The Empowerment Experiment.  “My husband and I created The Empowerment Experiment Foundation to memorialize The Empowerment Experiment—our year-long stand and study living off of Black-owned businesses, Black professionals and Black-made products—and to fund and further the advocacy, research and awareness it triggered,” says Anderson.

A Kellogg study based on this experimentation revealed that given the opportunity, even a small increase in support of African American owned businesses could yield one million new jobs in the United States, primarily in the Black community.  You can incorporate The Empowerment Experiment on a smaller scale in your community.  As with the Anderson Family, firmly commit to supporting African American women owned businesses this holiday season. Be intentional in your efforts and share your research and findings with family and friends. 

Penning Our Black Year.  “The book does have a very pointed message intended for Black people,” says Anderson.  “We already have everything we need to make our community and underserved neighborhoods better—we just have to believe in and support each other.” This book chronicled an entire heart-wrenching, yet powerful, year of the Anderson family living, breathing and purchasing all things African American owned, made and operated. Take the time to read this digest as the family’s journey can give perspective to your desire to back Black-owned women’s businesses for the holidays and throughout the year.

Partnering with The $50 Billion Empowerment Plan. “The $50 Billion Empowerment plan is a movement to empower Black families across America with financial tools and strategies that create, protect, leverage and pass on generational wealth,” says Eugene Mitchell, MBA, Corporate Vice President and African American Market Manager for New York Life Insurance Company.  “Our African American women business owners stand proudly on the legacy that everyday heroes and civil rights leaders built for us all.”  Anderson’s organization partnered with Mitchell to promote closing the racial wealth gap and empowering communities and Black businesses.  To find out how to support your community with this plan, click here

Maggie’s Tips on Maximizing Support of African American Women Owned Businesses:

1. Condition Yourself for This. Buy hair care products, such as Taliah Waajid, manufactured and/or sold by Black women.
2. Unearth a Black Girls Directory.  Find African women who offer all services such as medical, accounting, financial and day care.
3. Run Tell That.  Commit to spreading the word to family and friends. Two of Maggie’s favorite businesses are Pretty Brown Girl by Sheri Crawley and Heritage Link Brands by Selena Cuffe.
4. Comb the Net. Conduct online searches utilizing key words Black women-owned businesses, blogs, websites and Facebook pages.
5. Pass the Baton.  Encourage your children, grandchildren and young women you know to drive a little further and put in more effort to support a Black woman-owned company.

To find out more about The Empowerment Experiment Foundation, go to To purchase Our Black Year, go to