Two Indianapolis women are encouraging the Black community to think outside the “big box” this holiday shopping season.
Sisters Darice Rene (pictured)and Christina Snorten have organized the (REALLY) Black Friday Mega Shopping Event to bring African-American entrepreneurs and shoppers together and keep money circulating in the Black community.
“One of the things that has been historically important in Black communities is economic empowerment. As much as we have grown … our businesses are not growing at the same rate as other communities, and we know that,” Rene said. “We want to be able to empower our own to take care of our community better and to have a voice at the table.”
The event is scheduled for Nov. 25 from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. at the ballroom of the Caribbean Cove Hotel and Conference Center. Snorten said they’re hoping to fill the ballroom with a variety of vendors to give shoppers a mall-like experience.
“We want to pack in as many people as possible,” Snorten said. “One thing you want as you shop is options. We want this to be an authentic holiday shopping experience.”
Adding to the festive feel of the event, attendees will be eligible for door prizes and giveaways, and a live DJ will play music throughout the day while shoppers make their way from booth to booth.
So far, the ladies have lined up vendors who sell clothes, personal care products, makeup, cupcakes and desserts and more, and they are still accepting vendor registrations.
Snorten said she knows there are many more talented Black entrepreneurs out there who could “grow and shine” and connect with customers at (REALLY) Black Friday.
“Not only in Indiana, but in general, there is a lot of talent. There’s a lot of innovation, creativity, there’s a lot of Black genius out here. A lot of these entrepreneurs don’t always have the platform to get in front of their audience,” she said. “If you don’t have a storefront, you’re not always able to connect with the people who can benefit from your services.”
Beyond connecting sellers with buyers, Rene said the event will also offer learning opportunities for vendors, including casual workshops throughout the day where attendees can hear from professionals about growing their businesses. Rene is a regional business coach who works in marketing, and Snorten has a background in finance and accounting, and they each have more than a decade of experience organizing events in Indy, which gives them a vast network to bring together for this event.
Snorten and Rene said they have been surprised and pleased with the response to the event, both from vendors and future shoppers. Similar events have started to spring up in other parts of the country, too. Snorten said they have friends in Las Vegas who are working their own local version of the event.
Rene said the two are already looking beyond this year’s event to future possibilities to help Black business owners and Black consumers find each other.
“We don’t want this to be the last time that we bring these two parties together,” she said.
For more information about becoming a vendor at the (REALLY) Black Friday Mega Shopping Event, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (317) 401-9161.
Small Business Saturday
If you don’t get your shopping fill at the (REALLY) Black Friday Mega Shopping Event, you’ll get another chance Saturday to make your dollars work for minority communities.
The Indianapolis Chapter of Indiana Black Expo and Jael LLC are hosting the third annual Small Business Saturday Woman and Minority Small Business Market on Nov. 26 from 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
The event is free to attend and will be held at Basile Opera Center at 4011 N. Pennsylvania St.