Bauce Haus Takes Black Business Beyond The Basics
Just as vital to your hot girl summer as finding the perfect pair of denim cut-offs and the right edge control is securing the bag. Bauce magazine founder Liane Membis gathered a group of experts to share their insights on how to turn those likes and views into dollars and cents at their first annual Bauce Haus Summit. Designed exclusively for the “self-made woman” the summit set aside vague advice, and stereotypical clichés and focused on discussing the use of tangible tools that those in attendance could use to turn their business around immediately.
Speakers explored the various shopping tools on Instagram business pages and discussed how to navigate the persistent stream updates to the ever-changing social media platform. Hands in the Victorian parlor-themed venue swept into the air with every mention of a new toggle, swipe, or button provided on profiles.
Another one of the tools explored in detail was Google Analytics, often employed for websites Chioma Ngwudo of CeeCee’s Closet noted its ability to improve social media conversion rates. “Track your social media via Google Analytics,” she advised. “Google Analytics is free.”
Ngwudo’s sister and partner in the million-dollar revenue-generating retail operation Uchenna pointed out the value of properly mining information from analytics reports. She stressed the importance of learning what each of the charts and graphs that the platform offers means to the bottom line of your business. She also suggested those in attendance connect with their core customers as opposed to blasting post after post to fringe fans in order to maximize investments. “Every post doesn’t have to be about your brand or your product,” she stated. “People who buy one thing are nice but people who buy five things are nicer,” she pointed out.
An example of a core customer engagement tool from the brand are their popular tutorial videos, a favorite among their devoted customers. In between posing for pictures in front of framed Cardi B lyrics and praising one another’s skirt suits guests continued to jot down notes about conversion rates and internal audits.
Rue 107 founder Marie Jean Baptiste noted the importance of listening to feedback even when it contradicts your expansion strategy. She referenced the intense “backlash,” she received from black women when she chose different models than usual for a campaign in an effort to make the brand appeal to mainstream audiences. “I listen to my customer, said Jean Baptiste. “That’s who I answer to every day.”
The panel’s moderator, Lit Brooklyn founder Denequa Williams Clarke avoids missteps in her business by allowing her customers to weigh in directly often hosting polls and appearing in branded Instagram stories herself. “People buy into you before they buy into your business,” she noted. She issues “restock alerts,” and allows customers to DM her their preferences prior to investing resources. In addition to the opportunities for success associated with engagement and conversion rates speakers acknowledged the pitfalls that await black businesses.
Senior Content Director for iOne Digital, Brande Victorian spoke plainly about how Black media companies sink themselves. “We don’t have that money to play with, so we don’t take that risk, so we don’t get that reward,” she stated. When an attendee asked about the regrettable bankruptcy of a former black media giant Victorian cited their failure to innovate. “They didn’t have a website until 2012,” she reminded everyone adding that “legacy brands” persistently have “a lack of adoption,” to relevant distribution methods.
She also cited iOne’s inclusivity as a major component of their success. Their brands often shirk respectability politics in an effort to further conversation. “People are looking for the most marginalized version of themselves. We can’t afford to be behind the ball.”
iOne has recently put forward its own effort at innovation distribution of independent content as a way to double down on its infrastructure. When discussing the project’s intention to “elevate the conversation” around the “independent content landscape” Director, Content Partnerships at Interactive One Alexis Cummings conceded that “It’s really key that creators have the opportunity to focus on the creative aspect.”
Titled “A Space For Creators,” the distribution channel will provide opportunity for those with a clear point of view who are already putting themselves out there. It’s a vehicle though not an incubator. “I’m looking for people who want to be found I can’t turn over a rock independently,” said Cummings.
Later in a breakout session Michelle A. Daniel, iOne Video Director spoke with a group of women looking to grow their businesses through content about refining their approach.
“There are a lot of mechanisms behind the scenes that we don’t see,” said Daniel as she took the time to break down the technical merits of each tool the participants inquired about. She warned attendees away from waiting on the proverbial co-sign informing them that she had worked her way to her current position on her own. “I started telling stories through scriptwriting, and I started producing those stories.”
Investing in content creators that have are capable of being self-sufficient is good business sense, and the practice has been employed by media companies and digital streaming providers across the industry. “Commerce has met art,” said Cummings.
Creatives are getting to benefit from that connect in more direct ways than ever before. “We’re coming in equal,” said Cummings, pointing out that the level of 50/50 partnership the company was offering was unprecedented in the space.
Partnerships between corporations and individuals weren’t the only ones explored. At the end of the summit actress and host Raval Davis and her friend and colleague Angel Lenise discussed the finances of their friendship revealing that they constantly advocate for one another in the boardroom, recommending each other for gigs and sharing contacts and rate information. The two reminded all of the self-made women in the room that the only way to reach parity was through transparency.
Telling the truth and sharing the wealth is always a Bauce move.
Learn how you can be in the room at BauceHaus 2020 here.