Black Entrepreneurship is on the rise amid the pandemic, with the number of Black-owned businesses increasing by 38 percent last year. According to new research, Black-owned businesses have experienced the strongest rebound among other ethnic groups.
Despite being overall disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, Black-owned businesses are showing resilience and are inspiring more people to start their own and bring awareness to the Black community. Here are five pieces of advice for starting a business from inspiring Black business owners whose businesses are centered around meaningful core values.
Use your business to give back. I started my business at 13-years-old as a passion project. I’m living proof that if you want to give back to a cause, you’re never too young – as long as you put creativity behind your idea. I combined my love for animals with my gift of style to create a pet accessories brand that gives back to shelter pets. For every bowtie purchased on my website or Facebook Shop page, my business donates a bow tie to a shelter pet to help them stand out and find their fur-ever homes. I’ve learned that when your business gives back to the community, your community will give back to you. In fact, through my sales, I’ve been able to help raise over $300,000 to support animal shelters, sponsor adoption fees, and give thousands of bow ties to shelters and adoption centers across the world. — Sir Darius Brown (pictured above), owner of Beaux & Paws
Connect your audience to your culture. I remember when I was a kid, my dad would have to drive all the way out of town just to find a greeting card with black representation to send to family. Now, there’s been progress in including Black culture in the art we see and I’m proud to be a part of that change as a contemporary artist and business owner. My business, DomoINK, is a curated online shop that includes accessories and home goods with an eye towards cultural understanding. My goal as an artist, business owner and Black woman is to share Black voices and stories and create a new level of discussion on the topic of Black culture. Beyond my online store, I’ve been able to connect with other amazing Black artists and entrepreneurs on Instagram to create exciting collaborations and grow consumer awareness for my business. Because of my growing social media following, my business has even been noticed by celebrities! — Domonique Brown, Owner of DomoINK
Share your sustainable efforts. With my skincare business, I get a lot of questions from shoppers who need specific natural ingredients in their products due to allergies or other factors. Social media is a huge help in providing education on my company’s sustainable efforts. I use Facebook Live to start discussions about sustainability and the ingredients in my products so my customers are aware of what they’re buying. I also use Messenger to provide real-time 1-on-1 consultations with customers and answer any questions. Through these methods, we’ve seen an increase in sales by 40 percent over the past year, and now we’re able to invest in more eco-friendly packaging and resources. — Rita Pardo, Owner of Pardo Naturals
Be a model for inclusion. I thought up my business model from an art project with a friend to celebrate my Caribbean heritage and my queer identity. As a part of my art piece, I created my own hot sauce during a local Drag show that I participated in. After receiving strong reception from my peers, I decided to turn my recipe into a business as an extension of my drag queen persona, Shaquanda. For me, Shaquanda is the embodiment of feminine and masculine energies and I’ve taken inspiration from the people around me to cultivate the persona and infuse it into my business. I’ve been able to move my business forward with Shaquanda’s spirit – whether through marketing strategies or creating inclusive labels on my hot sauce bottles – I ensure that my brand is showing shoppers that you can be queer in any industry and succeed. — Andre Springer, Owner of Shaquanda’s Hot Pepper Sauce
Make your business or product accessible to everyone. Before I became an entrepreneur, I built a career in tech at Microsoft in Nigeria. As a millennial myself, I wanted to give other younger people the same opportunities to learn that were afforded to me and help to bridge the knowledge gap between technology jobs and young workers. So I founded Coven Works, a youth training and recruitment service for technology jobs. Since 2017, I’ve expanded my business from Nigeria to the U.S. and now offer online services to make our training more accessible to everyone. Today we have trained more than 1,900 young people on data science and artificial intelligence. — Olusola Amusan, Founder and CEO of Coven Works
In addition to taking the advice of these five business owners, you can visit Facebook for Business and Instagram for Business to find educational tools, inspirational content and personalized support to help you adapt to the ways your customers shop, communicate and interact with your brand. You can also take a look at Instagram’s @shop account that profiles small-owned businesses and their founder stories for more inspiration.
Sir Darius Brown is the owner of Beaux and Paws, Domonique Brown is the owner of DomoINK, Rita Pardo is the owner of Pardo Naturals, Andre Springer is the owner of Shaquanda’s Hot Pepper Sauce, and Olusola Amusan is the Founder and CEO of Coven Works.