All Articles Tagged "black owned"
As we all know, the online space provides a world of opportunity for tech specialists who know how to generate traffic and command eyeballs for advertisors. But what we are less aware of is the idealogy that governs decisions by advertisors and how they handle the “urban” markets. Through their years of experience, Dawn Ali and Curtis Love understand how the playing field is not equal when it comes to how advertisers handle different demographics, which is why they teamed together to create IncreaseTraffic.co to cater to Black businesses online.
The idea for IncreaseTraffic.co was created when [Dawn] noticed that black websites/publishers weren’t treated or paid the same. The idea ascertains that black websites with higher traffic than websites that appeal to white individuals are not paid as much by advertisers, and it has become increasingly a challenge for anyone to profit online…especially black sites.
Ali is an internet marketer and website administrator who is best known for The Dawn Ali Network and the forum Loving My Sistas. Curtis Love is a website designer and programming specialist whose specialized in SEO techniques. IncreaseTraffic.co includes its own ad server and caters specifically to the African-American market. The teams’ goal is to increase the money-making opportunities for Black websites and blogs. According to BlackNews, the site is already ranked in the top 100,000 websites in the world based on Alexa traffic ranking site.
Read more about this new venture at BlackNews.com
Over the last few years, women the world over have been trading in their relaxers for a more natural look. And with any change in taste, comes opportunity.
Carol’s Daughter, the natural hair and beauty product company, estimates that the market for relaxers has gone from bringing in $100 million a year in sales to just $35 million. Taking advantage of such a steep decline in market share, Carol’s Daughter and other companies have created products that cater to more diverse hair textures and styles.
But while beauty store shelves were being flooded with natural hair care products, no one seemed to be thinking about educating women on how to discover and use these products. No one besides Myleik Teele, that is.
Teele, 32 is the founder and chief experience officer of curlBOX, the monthly subscription service she launched that sends members up to seven natural hair care products that have been vetted for women with multi-textured hair.
Here, Teele talks about how she launched curlBOX (her second business!), beauty industry obstacles and provides advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs.
MN: Let’s get this out of the way first. Are you natural? If not, do you think you have to have natural hair to understand this sector of the beauty industry?
Teele: Yes, I’ve been “natural” or without a chemical relaxer for a little over a decade. I think it’s important , although not necessary, that one be natural to really understand what the subscribers are experiencing and having my finger on the pulse of what they want and need. I’m “pre-pooing,” and finger-detangling right along with my VIP members.
MN: In a recent interview with UPTOWN magazine you said that you noticed a void in the beauty industry. Can you talk more about your epiphany moment and how you knew it was the right time for this type of product?
Teele: After working with my beauty clients and going to the World Natural Hair Show and other shows and hair “meet ups” I had an epiphany moment. How would it be possible to package or “BOX” this experience (products & information) and send it to someone’s doorstep? The idea hit me and wouldn’t leave. I couldn’t even sleep at night with the thought on my mind. I took one step and the rest is history.
MN: curlBOX seems to have been modeled after other beauty related mail-order subscription services. What made you go this route instead of launching your own natural hair product?
Teele: My expertise lends itself to this business model. Mail-order subscription services have been around for years – remember Columbia House CD Clubs? I’m a “what’s the latest and greatest” kind of girl and I genuinely believe that I can better serve the hair community with a sampling service as opposed to another product … I’ll leave that to the experts!
MN: How did you decide which companies to partner with for curlBOX?
Teele: [Member feedback and research]. I am a product junkie at my core and beauty obsessed so I’m always on the blogs and watching YouTube videos. I also read the emails and take a look at the survey results and work from there. You won’t see any products in curlBOX that aren’t personally endorsed by me.
MN: When you first made your pitch, were product companies receptive? Or, did you experience resistance?
Teele: Some brands like Karen’s Body Beautiful, Frizoff Curly Hair Solutions and Hair Rules got it right away and there were some that wanted to watch the brand for awhile which is completely understandable.
Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. For months now politicians have been encouraging shoppers to support independent store owners within their communities. We say why not show the sistahs some love. Black women have boutiques, wine stores, and a myriad of ways to help shoppers looking for a unique experience find exactly what they’re looking for. Here’s a list of some black women, with boutique businesses worth supporting:
Ooh La La Fashion boutique in Atlanta is owned and operated by fashionista Ronni McBride. The African American proprietor’s store promotes many Italian designs and showcases lines that are mostly European influenced. The store features innovative designers from around the world as well as talented locals. In addition offering fashion forward clothing, the boutique offers a range of unique and even custom made accessories including precious stone jewelry, purses, shoes, and hats.
(Black Enterprise) — When Maxine P. Gill was laid off from her job as a sales and marketing director for Comcast Corp. in 2008, she decided to explore her longtime dream of entrepreneurship. “I always knew I wanted to own my own business,” she says. After considering a rib restaurant venture with a business partner, she decided to look into franchises instead since they have a structure and support system already in place.
While sorting through opportunities with a franchise consultant, the 48-year-old quickly learned that franchise costs ran from about $50,000 to $200,000. She was particularly drawn to home-based opportunities because they tended to be on the lower end of the cost spectrum, which would allow her to start small and grow her business over time. Using about $80,000 in savings to cover startup costs that included the $35,000 franchise fee, Gill purchased a College Nannies & Tutors franchise that provides nanny and tutoring services in October 2008. She officially opened College Nannies & Tutors of Bethesda in February 2009. Her territory consists of the Maryland cities of Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Rockville, Potomac, and Cabin John, and also Washington, D.C.
(Black Enterprise) – Aklia Chinn is a jewelry designer who is a vet in the business, with more than 15 years catering to celebrity clients including Blair Underwood, Lisa Bonet, James Pickens and Lawrence Fishburne. Developing a hobby into a lifetime career, Chinn’s pieces have been worn in films including Spike Lee’s Crooklyn and TV shows includingLiving Single and A Different World, and featured in several national publications. Today, she still caters to a celebrity and every day professional clientele, with pieces custom-made with exotic materials she gathers from her international travels.
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with Chinn on how she’s been able to remain viable in the accessories industry, why she continues to pursue her passion in a saturated market and how other up-and-comers can remain competitive.
The continent of Africa has produced some of the most compelling global leaders and power players. But many cannot count youth as an asset. A few however can. Recently, Forbes magazine came up with a list of the youngest power players in Africa. From entrepreneurs to financial wizards to controversial politicians, the continent boasts a number of influential, and intellectually gifted leaders. Here’s a break down of the men:
At 29 years old Joseph Kabia was became President of his Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The position was granted to him just ten days after the former President Laurent Kabila, Joseph’s father, was assassinated during the nation’s civil war in 2001. In 2006 however, he won a controversial election to the office of president. Now 40, Kabila is seeking re-election.
Luxury designer Christopher Augmon started designing handbags and accessories about 15 years ago in Chicago without any core experience. Today, he oversees a thriving luxury brand that matches the likes of Hermes in quality and craftsmanship. Augmon recently spoke to RollingOut.com about his business and his brand, which has been touted by celebs like Zoe Saldana and Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls.
When did you decide you wanted to be in business for yourself?
I have always wanted to own my own company since I was in college. Owning my own company, for me, does not mean I am free from answering to anyone. It is actually the opposite, because I depend on a lot of companies and people to make my company work. Owning your own company does mean no matter if you fail or succeed, you accept the responsibility and outcome. I take full responsibility for my company.
As the CEO of ReCapturing the Vision International, Dr. Jacqueline Del Rosario leveraged her expertise in psychology, education and organizational leadership to launch a non-profit program targeting young people and their families and help them ” overcome the negative trends that lead to generational cycles of failure and dependency.” Her programs have received over $20 million in federal, state, and county funding. Known as “America’s Marriage Doctor, her work with relationships and family health has certainly caught the attention of policymakers and leaders. We caught up with Dr. Del Rosario to ask her about the secrets to her success.
What’s helped me most in building my career is the strategic network of partnerships and relationships that I’ve established along the way. Never underestimate the power of a relationship. As Jim Rohn so famously stated, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with,” so choose wisely. Surround yourself with people that embody the qualities that you admire and that are already where you want to be in life.
My greatest personal strength is my unmovable belief that anything is possible with a great God empowering a little me, along with my compassion for others. It’s what spawned my companies. It’s what has made me successful. It’s what makes me wake up and do what I do everyday.
The best piece of advice I ever got was from my mother who said, “No one is better than you. You can do whatever you want to do in life. PERIOD.” As the child of poor migrant workers growing up in the south, this statement was sometimes hard to believe. I was in the first class to be desegregated at my elementary school. There was so much racism, inequality and negativity. Even as a six-year-old, I remember the angry rioters, barricades and picket lines. I can still see the guards trying to keep to the peace as glass bottles sailed through the air as they were hurled at us in anger. It was a hostile time full of adversity. My parents gave me a sense of identity. They reminded me of who I was, but made sure to also show me where I could go in life. Eventually, my mother’s words rang true.
The best piece of advice I could give to other entrepreneurs would be to do it for the love, not for the money. For years, I worked full-time while being a wife and a mother to two young children while trying to get my company off the ground. Young companies usually don’t break even until about the third year, so trust me, there was no money. My husband and I dumped our savings into the companies, and times were tough. No more nannies, pedicures or hair appointments.
Inspiration comes from what moves your spirit. For some, it’s the majestic outdoors or music. For me, I get so much inspiration from the element of water – being around it, seeing it, hearing it.
I look up to people that stand up for what is right. I always say that it’s easy to do what’s wrong; doing what’s right is the hardest. It costs something when you speak out, or when you don’t cheat to get to the front of the line. Those tried-and-true leaders who exude integrity especially in the face of adversity are the people that I truly look up to.
I define success as found in the authenticity of every man and woman who become the people that they really are. Being authentic takes a deliberate decision. It requires courage to be unique. I also define success as being a sound, productive person that actively contributes to society with the aim of improving the status quo.
I wake up at 6 a.m. every morning. No alarm clocks necessary. Early starts help me to make the most of everyday.
If I could do it over again I would’ve chosen to be more comfortable with the growth that comes with adversity. We often fear change and upheavals, but I have learned that the resistance and struggle that we experience during those times are what truly shapes us and develops us into great leaders. So, if I could do it all over again, I can think of a few growing pains that I would have allowed to happen instead of fighting against the flow.
The first thing I really splurged on was my car. I used to drive around this old beat-up minivan while I was pregnant with my second child. I always chuckle to myself every time I think back to how much I disliked that van. After years of hard work and a few paychecks, I finally treated myself to the car that I’ve always wanted.
The lack of support networks has been identified as a critical aspect to involving more African Americans in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). While I agree that this is very important, I do not agree that African Americans lack technology support groups. I assert that the problem is that the African American community at large is not aware of the networks that do exist.
There are three that I have worked with over the years. I am sure there are others and I am even more certain that most of our people, particularly our young people are not aware of these groups. I know this because I do quite a bit of public speaking around the country. When I ask students if they are familiar with The Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA), BiTWiSE, or Blacks In Technology the answer is invariably no.
In all fairness, BiTWiSE and Blacks in Technology are recent developments. But BDPA has been around since 1975. I have been a professional software developer since 1986 and I only recently became aware of BDPA. We must do a better job of making our folks aware of these organizations.
This is not an indictment against BDPA as I personally know that they make every effort to ensure that our people know about their good work. The charge is ours. Any time I speak to a young person who has demonstrated an interest in technology, the first question I ask is ‘where do you live’ and if BDPA has a chapter in that city, I direct him or her to contact the chapter in their area.
The abundance of knowledge, experiences and social capital that exists within BDPA must be leveraged if our community is to become a player in the global technology game. As a speaker and blogger I am constantly receiving questions related to technology and how to get involved in the technology arena.
I am happy to answer these questions but how much better would it be for the learner to not only pose the question to a larger group but possibly someone who has experienced the same circumstance. This is a common occurrence on the web community, Blacks In Technology (BIT). BIT is a wonderful online community of Black technologists who are ready to share their stories, knowledge, wisdom and encouragement not only to those who are looking for others like themselves who are already involved in technology careers but also technology aspirants.
Without these kinds of support groups, African Americans in technology may began to deal with feelings of isolation. I can attest to this circumstance personally. Since I graduated from college with my undergraduate degree in computer science in 1986 I have rarely had the pleasure of working in an IT department with another African American.
This issue of isolation occurs in high school, the workplace as well as on college campuses. It is also one of the main reasons that African Americans do not persist in STEM careers.
Many scholars studying this issue from S. Craig Watkins in his book The Young and the Digital as well as Jane Margolis in the book Stuck in the Shallow End have reported on the importance of support groups or networks to combat the issue of isolation.
I would have loved being a part of either of these groups when I first became a software engineer. Why? Because it is great to be able to speak with someone who can relate to your circumstance. Someone who can understand what you may be going through.
I can remember having to explain to members of my family and friends what exactly it was that I did as a computer programmer. The people in my community simply did not understand that I was CREATING software, not using it! I also never had anyone to talk shop with for the early years of my career.
This is why I am so excited about this third group, BiTWiSE, which is a networking group dedicated to the African American software engineer and is sponsored by Microsoft. You can find BiTWiSE on LinkedIn under LinkedIn Groups. You can simply search Groups and enter ‘BiTWiSE’.
Technology support groups do indeed exist in the African American community. However they become less effective if they are unknown to the people who can benefit from them the most. We must do a better job of promoting the efforts of these groups in order to remove yet another obstacle to the inclusion of African-Americans participation in the digital society.
Kai Dupé is a doctoral student at Pepperdine University where he is conducting research on Why African American Males Are Underrepresented in Computing. Kai can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting his website at www.
Terica Kindred’s success is definitely related to the fact that she commands a broad expertise. She is a speaker, business consultant and investment strategist who heads OutEstate Investments, which specializes in real estate and international investments. She’s currently writing her first book The Next Global Millionaire based on her experiences in working with businesses across five continents. We recently caught up with Kindred to pick her brain for our series 10 Insights From A Millionaire.
What’s helped me most in building my career is working for Corporate America
I knew I was on the right track when I could make my annual corporate salary in a month
My greatest personal strength is my integrity. If you treat people right and you do things for the service of others you will always be successful.
The best mistake I made was not getting my MBA.
The best piece of advice I got was focus on one thing and do it well.
The best piece of advice I could give to other entrepreneurs would be: you don’t need a fancy business plan to start a business just get it started
Inspiration comes from God. I know that the work I do will change and impact nations of people. As long as I am doing his will and making a difference in the lives of others my day was well lived.
I wake up at 7am
If I could do it over again I wouldn’t change a thing the experience have been well worth it and has shaped who I am today. Changing anything would mean changing me.
The first thing I really splurged on was nothing. I haven’t really haven’t splurged. The more money I make the more I invest.