Reviving Support For Black-Owned Businesses: Practical Steps For Sustained Impact.

In 2020, after George Floyd’s death, there was a notable surge in support for Black-owned businesses as people aimed to tackle systemic racism and promote economic equity. Numerous lists and directories were created and widely circulated online, facilitating consumer efforts to find and support these businesses. However, just four years later, Black business owners are questioning the current level of support.

At the SOKO MRKT Stage during the 2024 Essence Festival of Culture, Marissa Kearney, CEO of Retail While Black, Ashley Sutton, founder of Hustle & Hope, and Jon’ll Boyd, co-owner of Boyd Crew Wines, shared three actionable strategies to support Black-owned businesses in retail during a panel discussion led by Latoya Stirrup: shop, educate, and spread the word.

The Importance of Shopping at Black-Owned Businesses

“The most straightforward and impactful action is to shop at Black-owned brands across various stores,” Sutton stressed. “Liking a post or giving a shout-out is nice, but real support happens at the checkout counter. It’s incredibly challenging to get into and stay in retail,” she explained. Boyd echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of year-round support for sustainability.

Educating Consumers About Black-Owned Brands

Boyd highlighted the need for consumer education, stating, “It’s crucial to inform consumers about the immense effort required to get and stay on retail shelves.” Many people mistakenly believe that making it onto the shelves guarantees success, but Boyd pointed out that maintaining a presence is an ongoing challenge.

The Impact Of Word Of Mouth

Kearney, originally from Florida, faced difficulties finding Black-owned brands locally, prompting her to promote them on her platforms, @TargetWhileBlack and @RetailWhileBlack on Instagram and TikTok. “The impact was significant, with products flying off the shelves and customers returning for more,” she noted.

Boyd Crew Wines also benefited from word-of-mouth promotion. By leveraging local media, bloggers, and news outlets, the company experienced substantial growth, expanding from 3,000 to 32,000 social media followers, largely thanks to local media outreach. “As a community impact-driven company, we knew the importance of spreading the word through local channels,” Boyd said.

By engaging in these efforts, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for Black entrepreneurs in the retail sector, ensuring their sustained presence and impact in our communities.

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