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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Indianapolis entrepreneurs speak out on buying Black

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Following what many considered a miscarriage of justice in Ferguson, Mo. with a failed indictment of police officer Darren Wilson in late November, thousands took to social media to mobilize a boycott against Black Friday shopping at major retailers.

Some dubbed the movement Brown Friday or Black Out Friday as an honorarium to fallen teen Michael Brown Jr. and to also encourage shoppers to support minority-owned businesses.

Reports have since circulated showing that Black Friday sales dropped between 7 and 11 percent this year. Although many analysts have attributed the decline to factors such as store hours and the lure of online shopping, the fact remains that recent efforts have piqued a collective interest in Black business.

Brian Williams, founder and CEO of PurchaseBlack.com, an e-commerce site similar to Etsy or Amazon that features Black-owned sellers of consumer products of all types from across the nation, said the benefits of supporting Black businesses are immeasurable for the Black consumer. “Black people have over a trillion dollars in buying power. If we were a county, our gross domestic product would make us the sixteenth biggest nation on the planet,” said Williams. “We spend less than 10 percent of that with each other. If we spent more fairly, we could improve our neighborhoods and increase property tax values thus bettering our local school systems. There are so many positive exponentialities that come from supporting Black businesses. It’s very hard to justify why we shouldn’t.”

Williams also shared that job creation is an additional reason for increased support. “Blacks are three times more likely to hire other Blacks than any other group,” said Williams. “By supporting a Black-owned business you can have a direct impact on the rate of African-American unemployment which is double the national average.”

Purchase Black, which launched during the Black Friday of 2013, currently hosts over 70 online sellers and is looking to expand. “The response to the site has been unbelievable and this has been an amazing experience. One of the sellers that has been with us for a year has recently been contacted by Target to sell their products there as well. Our goal is to have tens of thousands of Black businesses online,” said Williams.

Rehema McNeil, owner of Vibress Custom Jewelry: “People should continue to support Black businesses, because African-Americans are creative and innovative artists and business professionals that seek economic stability, societal growth and market presence.”

Natoya Woodruff, owner of Oya Enterprises: “I feel it’s very important to support Black businesses because frankly: ‘we all we got.’ This system was built on the backs of our ancestors. We MUST keep resources circulating in our own communities in order for us to grow. We must become the manufacturers and creators of everything we need. In my case, there will always be a need for celebratory cakes and custom confections.”

Samantha Pounds, owner of S’Tiare PR Consulting: “People should continue to support Black businesses because at the end of the day, we are all we have and instead of fighting against each other, we should support each other and by supporting a Black business, you are supporting your own kind.”

Douglas Morris, owner of Old Soul Entertainment and Deckademics DJ School: “Small businesses don’t turn into large companies or corporations over night. It usually starts with a couple of people building on a concept. This is why we have to support each other. In order to be able to take pride and ownership into an amazing product, part of our obligation is to help it rise into what it needs to be.”

Felicia Yvette, professional make-Up artist: “I can’t speak for anyone else on why they should support Black businesses. My father was the president of Blacks in Government years ago. My uncle was a Black Panther. I know the power of the Black dollar, so whenever I have a chance to support Black businesses, I do.”

Paul Best, owner of Paul D. Best Photography: “It is essential to continue to support Black Businesses who provide QUALITY services. Many other races and cultures support and build their own. Why can’t we? If we all help each other, we all win!”

Damen Bonner Jr., owner of Swap It Out: “People should support Black business because there are very few that become sustainable. Many Black businesses close due to lack of resources, little to no funding, or poor guidance. With more supported Black businesses, other Black businesses can learn how to grow, gain support, and teach other Black businesses how to build themselves.”

For more information on supporting or promoting a Black-owned business, visit PurchaseBlack.Com/Become-A-Seller.

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