The Black Dollar.
Updated: Jun 12, 2020
I had a few ideas of what I wanted my next blog to pertain to, but due to the climate of America in response to the unjust deaths of our Black brothers and sisters, I wanted this one to be from the heart. I felt inspired to write an open letter to Black business owners & Black consumers, from one to another.
There was a time when I was one of those Black people who held Black businesses to a higher standard than any other business. I was very critical of lack of professionalism and sadly, more critical than I was of non-Black businesses. With age & maturity I started to question why I let one too many bad experiences with Black business owners be indicative of Black owned businesses overall? I can tell you, some of the things I've criticized my people for lacking, I have not received from Korean nail salons, or Dominican hair salons, White-owned retailers, etc. After coming to this realization that in all honesty, I was just being harder on my people because I expected more, I accepted that I needed to go about it a different way.
Unlike many family owned businesses owned by non-Black Americans, Black businesses do not always have the luxury & privilege of inheriting generational wealth or entrepreneurship. Many Black business owners, especially millennials, are starting out from scratch. They're catering to a brand new demographic that has a constantly evolving demand while living through an era where social media can either make or break you. This is not to downplay the fact that some Black people aren't running their business to the highest standard of professionalism, because we know they exist; but this is to share perspective.
I have heard the narrative: "I would love to support Black businesses, but we have to do better first" plenty of times & honestly it's played out. If you are genuinely someone who wants to support Black business, you will. You do not have to support businesses that do not value your dollar, but let's not generalize Black-owned ones.
Black business owners,
My message to you is to keep an ear towards your customers/clients/guests. Be accepting of constructive criticism, and invest in resources that help you grow. No amount of marketing will beat word of mouth; so please keep in mind your consumers are your main source of publicity. With that being said, don't let one bad review dull your light. You won't always be able to keep everyone happy, and that's OK.
It should never be hard for you to place yourselves in the shoes of Black business owners, because you know what obstacles they've faced better than anyone else. Be supportive of those trying to run a successful business & don't ever stop giving Black businesses a chance to be better. If you can, provide resources to our youth that promote professionalism, mentor Black entrepreneurs that can learn from you, share your knowledge with the community in a non-condescending way.
To shoppers who do want to support Black business but aren't sure where to start, there are SO many resources online. One of my recent favorites, has been "DOLLAR$ & SENSE" curated by Trinity G. (@iamthetrinity) featuring over 300+ Black owned businesses of all categories. You can access that here
I write this with much love when I say I'm rooting for everybody Black. Black business owners reading this, I am SO proud of you. I see you. I support you.