Supporting black owned businesses is a question that has come up more and more frequently lately. It’s a conversation that many want to have, but it can be awkward for some ethic groups to generate genuine conversation about. The phrase black owned business has become very politicized and due to some of the events that have happened in our country (The US), I can understand how this topic can make some Americans reluctant to discuss. On a Clubhouse (a new app that creates an open space for audio group discussions) chatroom this topic was discussed by a group of entrepreneurs. One entrepreneur in North Carolina asked a question that the black community asks of those wanting to support black owned businesses out of respect. Why do you want to support black owned businesses? Now, before you think of asking “Why does that matter”? Keep in mind, in our community intent is very important, not just for other demographics looking to support, but also for the black community as well.
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But first…Why do you want to support black owned business?
As a community we appreciate the support of anyone who’s interested in supporting. However, please do not want to support black owned businesses just because you feel bad for us and don’t genuinely like the product or service you are interested in. That can be very offensive to some black business owners. Money is important but the honesty and integrity of your support is just as important. As a community we strive to grow and be able to provide for our families like any other community. As you know it hasn’t been easy for some of us, but with genuine support we will continue to grow and build from generation to generation. Now that’s out of the way there’s also something else I would like to talk about before we talk about ways to support black owned businesses.
Some of us have heard or seen someone use support of a community as a defense for their wrongdoing. Whether the wrongdoing is through saying something offensive or physically doing something offensive, the person will use the line “I support a black business, so they can’t be racist. Or the support of a black owned business becomes an excuse to talk to African Americans as you please because the person feels the business is indebted to them. It would be best not to support at all if you feel that supporting a business means the business is indebted to you. It’s almost like the American sports world, where we all go to a stadium to cheer and show support, but some will support the athlete on game day; however, on the street the athlete is reduced back to a you know what…
So, if you are none of the above…How can you support a black owned business?
Well first I would say look up what black owned businesses are in your cities and local neighborhoods. Depending on where you live in the U.S., you may have some businesses close to you. Use Google to see what’s near you. After you find some black owned businesses in your area, find out if there are any products or services that you are interested in. Also check out black owned clothing stores, designers and restaurants that may be in your area. If you live in an area that does not have any black owned businesses, some businesses that sell beauty products and clothing are available to purchase online. Please do not forget to read the return policy on the websites for online stores. Some have 30 day or less return policies and may offer store credit. Here are some ways to support black owned businesses.
I know a few of my friends who started to sell their products on Esty and are still selling on Etsy because they love the resources and the platform. Etsy has been a great way for some entrepreneurs to start their business journey. Are you interested in purchasing candles, earrings, hand sanitizers, bowties, arts, and crafts? Visit Esty.com and find an entrepreneur that is selling a product that you like. Etsy is a great marketplace to support.
2. Online Stores
Do you enjoy shopping? Some black owned businesses have online stores. Some of the businesses online sell products ranging from cosmetics, to custom printed clothing, to jewelry and so much more. As stated before please read the return policy of the companies you are interested in. Also try a product or two before making a large purchase just to make sure it’s the right size, works well with skin, etc.
Restaurants are a great way to support Black owned businesses. The local support helps to stimulate the economy not just in the local area but also across our country. There are different types of restaurant all across the United States. Some restaurants range from vegan, to soul food, to Caribbean food, to American, and the list goes on. Research what restaurants are in your area and don’t forget to tip the wait staff 😊.
Businesses aren’t just limited to a physical building. We can’t forget about our entrepreneurs that offer services virtually. Are you interested in a photo shoot? Need help proof reading, creating a logo, or even building a website? Book a freelancer to help you. Freelancers sometimes have their own websites and can be located in your city or you can find a freelancer on Fiverr. If you’re not sure what Fiverr is, please see my post “What is Fiverr? How can Fiverr help us?”.
5. Support a local Artist or Author
Spoken word is not as popular now as it once was in the 70’s-90’s. However, art is still something that has created a great business opportunity for some in the black community. Before you think that I’m just referring hip hop…Art is more than just music. There’s painting, and even writing. Supporting a local artist is a great way to support a black owned business and it’s a way for us as Americans to learn to understand each other better.
Charities are an amazing way to support black owned businesses. Depending on where you live in the country, you might not have any black owned businesses to support. Or, if you do have black owned businesses in your area but there aren’t any products or services you are interested in you can donate to a cause instead. Some charities help inner city schools, children in need, provide scholarship opportunities and so much more. There are children in some neighborhoods that need help and support. If you are interested in finding a charity visit www.charitynavigator.org. Also, visit your cities list of charities to find a local charity to donate to.
7. Local trades
We all run into some tedious tasks around the house that need professional’s hand. Some of those issues can be electrical, plumbing, and even sometimes pest control. There are local black owned trades men and handymen that can help us with these tedious and sometimes “we don’t know what the heck to do” jobs. Also, there are landscaping businesses and local lawncare services that we can use at our homes or even at our rental properties.
8. Hold large corporations accountable
We have heard that some large corporations are planning to donate millions of dollars to black businesses and communities. One of the challenging things that some of us haven’t gotten an answer to is… “How the contributions are being verified”? We see in writing that money will be given but sometimes its just left at that, and we don’t witness where the money went. We are thankful for the contributions but would like support from other demographics to help us ask for the receipts and proof that these contributions were made.
9. Leave an honest review
I began this post emphasizing the importance of honesty and I’d like to end my list with it as well. It’s okay that you may dislike a product. I’m sure the black owned business owner would appreciate your honest review of their product. Some may take it personally, but others will ask a very important question. What will make the product or service better? What can I improve on? Those answers are crucial for most of us. The answers you give could be what helps improve the business ten-fold.
Why the term “Black Owned” Business? Does it need to be that specific?
Some would frown at this question depending on how it’s phrased. I will be addressing this in more detail in another post but I think this question is very important to understand why we have been very specific. Some may already know a few reasons why. One common reason is to address African Americans creating jobs and opportunities instead of being given the jobs, but there’s more at stake here…a lot more. I will be continuing to add more to this list and grow it over time. I hope that this post helped guide those who are interested in supporting black owned business discover the various ways they can. What are additional ways we can support black owned businesses? Please comment them below. Also, if you are new to Millennial Oaks, please subscribe!