All Articles Tagged "black-owned businesses"
This past weekend I had the opportunity to meet my baby nephew for the first time. His mother, my sister, had been doing well but working very, very hard to take care of this baby boy by herself while her husband works overseas, and to help her pamper herself after months of being on diaper duty, I wanted us to go get our nails done–on me. Living in New York, the options for a nail salon are pretty unlimited, but as for a GOOD nail salon, that’s another story. I have a huge fear of a clumsy or lazy nail tech somehow managing to cut me to the point that I get an infection, something like the ones you read about or see on those scary health and science channels. And after my sister spoke about getting a huge gash on her foot a few years back and watching a nail tech massage my hands with an uncovered cut a few months ago, I wanted to do some REAL research.
To my dismay, however, I found that on a Sunday night, most of the nail shops were too far out and/or closed by 6 or 7 p.m. Bummed out, we headed to the train from an Indian restaurant in Brooklyn, only to run up on a nail bar two stores down. And when I walked in, I was ecstatic to hear Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite playing over the sound system, cookies and sandwiches on a plate in the corner, folks relishing good conversation, and see black faces doing all the work. A black owned nail salon!? Scooooooore. No disrespect to anybody who works at a nail salon that is owned or has employees of a different background, but I sometimes feel not all that welcomed or appreciated when go to other shops. Either people are speaking in another language in my face, or they’re not really speaking to me at all.
The decor was fancy, the prices were pretty good (I got a mani-pedi for $28) and the people who worked there were very nice and took time (kind of a long time) to be meticulous about their work, especially when it came to the manicures. The woman who did my nails even asked me about myself and offered tips on how to preserve my nail job for more than a few days (apply a clear coat on top of your manicure every two days). The owner, a bubbly, tall black woman, introduced herself to us, and seemed very appreciative of our business–something you don’t see very often.
In the end, I walked out with my nephew and sister, are nails both in a spicy form of orange, and for one of the first times in a long time, I looked at a black-owned business with glee and thought, “I’ll be back.”
I try my hardest to spend my money at black owned businesses, including hair salons, restaurants, accessory purveyors and more, but sadly, the quality of the things sold, the work done or the person who provides the service is not up to par sometimes. I’ve waited more than two hours before to get my hair done. I’ve had a woman poorly cut my hair into a mushroom cut when she didn’t want to be honest about the fact that she couldn’t line me up worth a damn. I’ve had people low-key yell at me when I didn’t pick up my food order fast enough, and gone to businesses that said they would be open at one time, and left me locked out in 90 degree heat in the summer (and then had no air condition when I finally got in that joint). For every genuinely great place of business owned by a committed, hard working black woman or man, there are few I doubt can even take themselves seriously with employees who spend more time talking than working, and care more for their time than yours.
Going to this particular nail bar was great for me, and I do intend to go back. But just the whole experience in itself, with the fun black women doing waxes, giving massages, painting nails and doing everything with a smile and a “Hey girl, hey” look, reminded me of how great we can be when we take things REALLY seriously, listen to customer thoughts and complaints, try and grow from them, and try to provide people with the type of service we ourselves would want. It’s so easy to tell one another to “buy black,” but at the same time, those we’re buying from need to make us want to, and the happy-go-lucky lady who owned this shop definitely persuaded me. Besides, I just really want our entrepreneurs to succeed, because if we can’t support those who tailor their goods and services for our skin, our hair, our tastes and our needs, who else will?
Think about it — African Americans spend $850 billion annually on goods and services. Yet many African-American businesses are struggling to get by. One of the reasons is that although blacks have major spending power, they are sending very little with black-owned businesses; just 10 percent. A Census report found black-owned businesses generated just 0.5 percent of all receipts in 2007.
Part of the problem is finding businesses owned by African Americans. In the past there have been local directories such as the Black Book and Black Pages, a Yellow Pages-type of listing of African-American owned companies and shops. But now black-owned business are making use of the black communities love of technology and are using digital media to get the word out.
We reported earlier about an app called Around The Way which locates black-owned businesses in your vicinity. Now, according to Black Voice News, “Black-owned businesses are turning to high tech to boost their bottom line.” One retailer doing this, reports Black Voice News is Cloeta Sterling. She sends out twice daily text alerts about what makes her shop stand out — handmade jewelry and the kind of personal service she says you won’t find at Macy’s. With more African Americans tweeting and using other digital media, it’s increasingly becoming a channel that black businesses use more aggressively to seek out black consumers.
And black spending power is only expected to increase to a whopping $1.1 trillion by 2015, found the special report “African American Consumers: Still Vital, Still Growing” released by Nielsen and the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Black businesses want a piece of this action.
Back in 2010, Khadija Nassif of BlackEconomicDevelopment.com wrote an open letter to aspiring African American business owners that if black-owned businesses merely rely on African-American consumers it could be “disastrous.”
“I would invite all aspiring Black business owners to look around at the wreckage of most businesses that tried to do business in Black residential areas as visibly Black-owned businesses,” wrote Nassif. “The primary reason is that African-American consumers don’t want to see visibly Black-owned businesses succeed. The only partial exceptions to this rule were African-American owned hair salons and barbershops.”
Do you think things have changed since Nassif wrote her open letter? Do you try to shop in black-owned businesses?
There has been much publicity this shopping season about supporting black-owned stores. It was made a little easier for shoppers with the Around the Way app that locates black-owned businesses in your area, but here’s a site you might want to keep in mind for the final hours of your gift hunt –Ujamaa Deals.
Ujamaa Market is the online store for Ujamaa Deals, which is a daily deals site and online store that features products from black-owned companies. And you get a discount as an added incentive to support them.
Ujamaa deals was founded to not only encourage consumers to shop at black-owned businesses, but on the concept that if more people frequent these businesses it would boost employment in the black community.
“My business partner, Lawrence Watkins, and I both recognized the need to make it easier for African Americans to support black-owned businesses and we didn’t think simply creating another black business directory was enough. We looked at the daily deals model (e.g. Groupon, LivingSocial, etc.) and thought that would be a good approach, so that’s where we started. Since then we’ve evolved to a more traditional e-commerce site, so while we still feature deals from time to time, customers can purchase the products we feature even after the deal ends,” Tre Baker, CEO of Ujamaa, explained to us in an email.
The partners wanted to combat this staggering statistic: African Americans spend more than 90 percent of their money with businesses they don’t own.
Ujamaa is on a mission. “Black-owned companies are more likely to hire black employees,” said Baker. ”Therefore, the best way to increase black employment is not to beg or demand that other companies hire so-called ‘minorities’ like Bob Johnson suggests, it is to support our own companies so they can grow and afford to hire more people. Affirmative action style policies can only take us so far. We need to start relying on ourselves for full employment.”
Ujamaa finds black-owned businesses via their own research and through submissions. “Once we’ve decided that their products would be a good fit for us, we verify their ownership and upload their products to our site,” Baker says of the process. “There are some key product categories we want to focus on. Right now our attention is on bath and body products so we’ll eventually have the largest online selection of soaps, lotions, hair products, etc., from black-owned companies.”
According to Baker, there is an increase in consumers looking to patronize black-owned businesses as the site is seeing more and more requests. “But our biggest challenge has been finding quality black-owned businesses with great products that people want to buy and convincing them to join us,” said Baker. “It’s going to be a long process, but as long as we keep supporting other businesses before our own, we’ll always have a problem with employment and wealth inequality. I think most African Americans understand this and just need a convenient way to support black businesses. “
Have you patronized black-owned businesses this holiday season?
Imagine having access to the more than 1.9 million black-owned businesses in the United States at your fingertips? A company called Around The Way, which is based in New York, teamed up with Washington, D.C.-based mobile-app development firm Clearly Innovative to create a mobile app that will locate black-owned businesses in your area.
The companies say they hope the Around The Way app will support and empower black-owned businesses, especially around this all-important Christmas shopping season. The app, which is available only for the Apple iPhone right now,can be downloaded from the Apple app store.
While the app doesn’t have all of the black-owned businesses in the U.S. yet, it does contain a substantial number and there’s a spot on the app’s website where you can add your business. “The app can locate 17,000 black-owned businesses in all 50 states. Many of the businesses are located in New York City, and other major metropolitan areas,” Eric Hamilton, chief marketing officer and co-founder of Around The Way wrote in an e-mail to The NorthStar News & Analysis.
To increase the number of black-owned businesses in the database, Around The Way is partnering with the New York African American Chamber of Commerce and other black chambers to encourage owners to download the app. By doing this, owners can encourage users to patronize their businesses.
“Around The Way’s sole purpose is to empower black-owned businesses by altering the point of purchase of potential customers… This newly available mobile application allows users to find the closest black-owned business in their vicinity with colorful maps and pinned locations,” Around The Way officials told The NorthStar News & Analysis. “Users can choose from nine-different categories of businesses to locate.” They are: ATM/Bank, Auto, Bakery/Café, Beauty Parlor/Barber Shop, Club/ Lounge, Laundry/Dry Cleaners, Lodging, Restaurants and Shopping.
From Black Voices
Black Friday is here and we’re all looking for great gifts for our loved ones. If you’re also looking to spend some of your hard-earned dollars with black-owned small businesses, we’ve got the perfect online fix for you.
Back by popular demand, we’ve compiled another list of amazing Etsy stores all run by entrepreneurs of color. You can buy everything from jewelry to natural beauty products to beautiful prints. All handmade, all black businesses!
If you know of any black-owned Etsy stores we may have missed, let us know in the comments.
Read more at BlackVoices.com.
The latest Census numbers show that the number of black-owned businesses (defined as those companies in which African Americans own at least 51 percent of the equity, stock, or interest) jumped 60.5 percent between 2002 and 2007 to 1.9 million.
But, Reuters reports, only about 100,000 of these companies have employees. Far fewer, 14,000, gross $1 million or more in a year.
One vital necessity for any burgeoning business (besides customers) is resources. “Limited access to financing… restricts the ability of minority business enterprises (MBEs) to achieve viability, generate new jobs and, in general, fulfill their potential to contribute to the development of communities in which they operate,” write Timothy Bates, a professor at Wayne State University and Alicia Robb, a senior research fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, in a guest article for Forbes. The two conducted research that found that MBEs rely on financial institutions more than other capital resources, but are more likely to run into issues like higher interest rates or outright rejection when trying to secure a loan or other funding.
MBEs trying to plant a flag in minority neighborhoods are also more likely to use things like consumer credit cards to get their businesses going, which also come at a steep financial cost.
Bates and Robb say the government and its regulators should be better at enforcing existing anti-discrimination laws, and they’re absolutely correct. They also suggest that breaking down barriers at the nation’s financial institutions would help minority-owned businesses get on their feet.
Reuters also provides a list of businesses and organizations that black-owned businesses can turn to for resources including the Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency, Black Business Women Online, the Small Business Administration and American Express, whose OPEN Forum program is especially for small businesses.
And working your personal network of resources, even if it’s just a good friend who can spread the word about your new business, can be helpful in building a cadre of loyal customers. Selling your product or service is a great resource as well.
As a new superstore opens for business in Detroit, the city’s last black-owned grocery store may be forced to say goodbye. The Detroit News reports that James Hooks’ supermarket Metro Foodland may face tough competition from the a Meijer store with a grocery, garden center and gas station that is planned to be built a mile and a half away. In his 27 years of owning a grocery store, he says that the competition from this planned supermarket could be enough to kill his business.
“From what I can tell, most people want it to happen,” Tom Goddeeris, executive director of the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp. said to The Detroit News. His nonprofit helps to promote the area in Detroit where Metro Foodland is located. He has sat in on two public hearings concerning the Meijer supermarket and the store’s proposal has received relatively few complaints.
“Of course, no one wants to see the Metro Foodland go away. But most residents seemed to realize that without strong retail, more residents will leave the area.”
Despite the negative outlook for Hooks, black-owned businesses have grown in Detroit and nationwide. Between 2002-2007, census data shows that black-owned companies rose 71 percent in the metro Detroit area. But these growing business owners rarely take on starting grocery stores. In fact, black owned grocery stores have been steadily dwindling down since the 1960s civil rights movement.
“There are only a handful left in the United States,” Ted Gregory said to The Detroit News. Gregory is the co-author of “Our Black Year: One Family’s Quest to Buy Black in America’s Racially Divided Economy.”
Gregory relays that “the emphasis became integrating stores where blacks had once been excluded” as opposed to inspiring more black-owned businesses.
Over the course of his 27-year career Hooks attempted to help former African Americans employees open grocery stores, but none of them survived the recession. Now Metro Foodland is the last black owned grocery store in Detroit among the city’s 83 supermarkets and its future looks dim.
Meijer’s $3.3 million tax credits were approved by Michigan Economic Growth Authority and construction will soon begin to develop its 26-acre site.
“I wish someone would give me a lot of money to open a new store,” Hooks said to The Detroit News, “instead of the company that’s already making lots of money.”
More on Madame Noire Business!
- How She Does It: Income Enhancement Coach and CPA Genevia Gee Fulbright
- Reality “Wives” – Exploitive Love or Master Networking?
- Behind The Click: Pauline Malcolm, Senior Vice President of Sales at StyleHaul, Inc
- Pursuing A Passion and A Business: How Dancer and Entrepreneur Consuela Buckley Does It
- Will OWN’s Struggles Reflect On Diddy & Magic’s Success?
As Americans become more aware of alarming obesity rates and increased instances of diabetes, many are making more conscious food choices and the food industry has taken notice. Health and wellness is a booming business, and within it, a trend is emerging: juicing. Juicing is exactly what it sounds like: fruits and vegetables pressed to a liquid and many are turning to it for detoxing, weight loss and just incorporating much needed fruits and vegetables into their diets.
Witnesses to the benefit of juicing firsthand are Brooklynite entrepreneurs Carl Foster and Kelly Keelo, who launched their business, Juice Hugger. The duo’s mission was to create tasty beverages that happen to be good for you. The company started as an online business in 2010 delivering juices to each customer individually and selling at festivals, events and corporate functions. They opened their first full scale location, incorporating food items in October and have tripled their sales in the first year.
BlackEnterprise.com: What was the impetus behind starting a business in the heath and wellness field?
Foster: I was fat (laughing). I’d reached 218 pounds on my 5’ 9” frame. I’d gained the weight while working as an auditor; a position with a great deal of travel which led to on the road eating at fast food stops. In 2009 I’d reached my breaking point and wanted desperately to get healthy. I was introduced to the benefits of pressed juices through a great friend. After I started shedding pounds while making my own juices, making better eating choices, and through moderate exercise; my friends started asking me to make juices for them. From there the company grew quite organically. I started researching, talking to nutritionists and personal trainers and taking classes on nutrition and cooking. It became my life mission to help people, like myself, gain access to more healthy beverage choices. Today, I weigh in at 160 pounds.
Check out the rest of their story at Black Enterprise.com.
More on Madame Noire!
- What Did You Do To My Hair!? 6 Signs You’re Dealing With a Ratchet Stylist
- Trayvon Martin, His Witness and What We Should Be Teaching Our Children About Racism
- Where Are They Now? The Cast of “A Different World”
- I Thought You Were Black? Teacher Tells Student to Read ‘Blacker’ in Class
- 6 Times You’ll Have To Accept No Sex For A While
- Teeny Weeny Afros & More: Celebrity Women Who Have Done the Big Chop
- Oh, The Ratchetness! Lewd Songs Women Can’t Deny They Love
- Monica and Brandy Open Up About Their Physical Altercation Back in 1998
The challenges of being an entrepreneur are many, especially for African-Americans. At a time when our economy is still in a weak recovery, some are opting to start their own businesses rather than looking for jobs. New entrepreneurs must realize that the business community requires its leaders to be able to grow their business, thrive, and embrace the notion of civic responsibility.
One successful black firm doing all these things is NOVAD Management Consulting. Founded in 2003, the corporation has grown to serve a wide clientele, and currently has offices in Maryland, Georgia, and New York. The CEO of the company, Davon Kelly, prides himself on steering his firm with high performance standards that exceed the needs of clients. In 2010, this level of commitment was recognized by the state of Maryland, as it named him as one of top Minority Business Enterprise owners of the year.
The Atlanta Post reached out to Davon Kelly to help us understand some of the challenges he faced in starting his business, his accomplishments after overcoming these obstacles, and the wisdom gained that every aspiring entrepreneur should seriously consider.
How did you start NOVAD Management Consulting?
I started NOVAD Management Consulting in 2003 based on my desire to grow a business and give back to the community. I did not want my consulting firm to focus on quick fixes or short-term answers; instead, I focused on cultivating long-term relationships with my clients. I work to understand my clients’ business and provide staff that can support and anticipate their needs. These relationships are built based on ongoing dialogue, mutual trust and integrity. Finally, and most importantly, I consider myself a “boots straps” businessman. I did not have family or friends to go to for seed money, so I used money saved from previous employment and small individual investment plans as the start-up funds for NOVAD. My personal mantra is, “slow and steady wins the race.” This philosophy has enabled my business to flourish despite the challenging economic times.
How did you grow the business?
NOVAD’s initial business came from relationships that I had developed with the CEOs of firms that I worked for as a consultant. Instead of remaining a 1099 consultant [or independent contractor], I decided to leverage these relationships to establish capabilities for my company. We developed a small resume by “pounding the pavement” like most other start up businesses – responding to RFPs [requests for proposals], and attending industry forums, government networking events and business leader groups. Getting the business is always a great start. However, the main reason our business has been able to grow is that with each new opportunity we have far exceeded the expectation of our clients, provided a viable solution to the problem that was assigned to us and helped integrate that solution into the client’s business. Each day, I make sure our team members understand that exceptional performance and seamless execution keeps our clients coming back. I also carefully select the consultants that work for NOVAD. Currently, we have technical expertise in the fields of project management, accounting and auditing, strategic planning, business process re-engineering, financial advisory services, asset and property management, IT support — as well as training and coaching skills.
As the black owner of a hair salon with such celebrity clientele as Angela Bassett, Paula Patton, Phylicia Rashad, Diana Ross and others, Daisy Curbeon managed a staff of six hair stylists for more than 10 years. A former runway model, she had worked her way up from sweeping beauty shop floors to styling for the stars. After opening a salon on Manhattan’s posh Park Avenue, she ran into resistance from some of her own black employees, women who “dissed” her largely because of race.
“Because I’m a black boss, they thought they could come in late,” Curbeon said. “If they had some daddy-mama drama, they might not come in at all. You know, a white salon wouldn’t put up with that. But in a black salon, I’d have to deal with it and be sympathetic because I’m a black woman too.” Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »