There are a lot of different ways you can become an ally and take action in support of Black Lives Matter and the black community. Including self-educating, protesting, donating to organizations, signing petitions and having conversations with friends and family, you can also support and shop from black-owned businesses. As consumers, we have the power to better distribute wealth and affect long-term change – and we can use our individual buying power to support black-owned businesses. Here’s WHY it’s so important:
Minority groups – especially the Black community – have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and then again by the nationwide protests calling for an end to police brutality and racial injustice following George Floyd’s murder. The pandemic highlighted a few racial inequalities in the business world – and there’s a fear that those inequalities will deepen. Not only do white-owned businesses have easier access to capital, but many Black-owned businesses have become more vulnerable now more than ever. Since the start of business closures and social distancing in March, the number of working Black business owners has gone down more than 40% in the U.S. – a bigger drop than any other minority group. Because many Black-owned businesses are having trouble accessing government aid, operating businesses in industries that have been most affected by COVID-19 and having smaller financial cushions due to the racial wealth gap, they’re especially vulnerable to economic devastation right now. Additionally, 21% of Black-owned businesses say they don’t think they’ll survive the COVID-19 pandemic, versus just 5% of white-owned businesses.
NAACP reported that 58% of Black households in the U.S. don’t have enough income to cover three months of expenses without income – and many black business owners have been struggling to secure bank loans through the government’s $349 billion relief program for small businesses (aka the Paycheck Protection Program). The Center for Responsible Lending estimated that 95% of black-owned businesses almost have no chance of receiving a PPP loan. Minority business owners often have weaker banking relationships – and this is because they’re denied loans at higher rates than white business owners and banks have a history of refusing to lend to POC. Now, many banks are only looking to loan to existing clients with business accounts, meaning Black business owners with personal accounts or business accounts at other banks are shut out. On top of Black business owners having less access to capital, the same study found that 1% of Black owners received bank loans during their first year of business compared to 7% of white owners – and 30% of white owners use business credit cards during their first year compared to 15% of Black owners. Black-owned businesses are more likely to rely on family loans or personal funds than white-owned businesses – and this lowers their access to formal debt channels.
By supporting and shopping from Black-owned businesses, we as consumers can help close the racial wealth gap, strengthen local economies, foster job creation (many minority business owners tend to hire people in their racial groups), celebrate Black culture and communities and raise visibility and representation. Here are 6 Black-owned businesses I’m supporting! Stay tuned for many more to come.
This NYC-based contemporary jewelry brand was founded by husband and wife Kristin and Kofi Essel. They named their business Third Crown to celebrate the merging of two forces coming together to form something new – a powerful pair. Their jewelry is inspired by their fascination with architectural lines, structure and bold accents. They have great gender neutral everyday statement pieces – and I love the understated chicness of each piece!
KNC Beauty, founded by Kristen Noel Crawley, was the first brand to launch an all-natural collagen-infused lip mask. Kristen became OBSESSED with lip masks while on a trip to Tokyo – but she discovered that there were no natural lip masks on the market. So she created her own!
Aurora James founded Brother Vellies to keep traditional African design practices and techniques alive while also creating and sustaining artisanal jobs. Aurora creates luxury accessories using sustainable materials and techniques passed down from generation to generation.
As Black people account for 15% of the U.S. population, Aurora also created the 15% Pledge that calls on major retailers to pledge 15% of their shelf space to black-owned businesses!
Former fashion editor and stylist Brittany Kozerski founded JADE Swim with multifunctional versatility in mind – and I love how ready-to-wear all her suits are! If you’re looking for chic new swimwear this summer, JADE Swim has a minimalist aesthetic that’s both classic and edgy.
Founder Nancy Twine is the youngest black woman to launch a line at Sephora! Briogeo is a natural haircare brand that’s inspired by NYC’s culture and values – individuality, positivity, transparency and diversity.
The Koop is a black-owned business that highlights candles as a subtle luxury and scented reminders of where you’ve been, where you are and where you’re going. All of their candles are hand-poured in Brooklyn. There are 9 scents you can choose from and 50% of all proceeds will be donated to the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund!
What are some of your favorite black-owned businesses? I’d love to help support them!