The mantra “Buy Black” seems to be playing loud and clear, but unfortunately Black business owners says Black consumers aren’t really listening. Many Black small business owners say that while they will get a lot of window shoppers who are Black, Black customers aren’t actually buying. A small business owner Terina McKinney, founder of Jypsea Leathergoods, told Chicago Business that while she gets Black shoppers checking out her products and asking her questions about her products, most of her patrons are white or Asian. She said of Black shoppers, “They all ooh and ahh and ask a ton of questions, but don’t necessarily make purchases.”
There are many reasons why this is so, reports Chicago Business: “The factors can be logistical or practical, such as being located farther away or having higher prices than big chain stores, retail experts and civic leaders say. Scarcity can be a reason: It can be hard to find businesses owned by African-Americans. But other considerations might be emotional, like wanting a trendy design everyone is wearing, or the perception that national brands are better.”
All in all, it seems there needs to be a mind shift by Black consumers before they will #BuyBlack. “There’s a myth that’s been placed on our communities for many generations: White people’s ice is colder. White businesses are superior to Black businesses,” Ron Busby, president of the U.S. Black Chambers, told Chicago Business. “We have to change that mentality. We have to be better, conscientious consumers.”
A new platform called Spendefy is hoping to make the process easier for Black shoppers to locate Black business. Even without online tools, it is possible to buy Black with a little initiative. Chicago-based Maggie Anderson, author of “Our Black Year,” spent a year buying products–everything from food to personal care items to services–from only Black-owned businesses exclusively.