Why Support Matters
Let’s start with some facts, friend. According to the Census Bureau, The U.S. is home to roughly 2.5 million black-owned businesses with it’s most recent survey showing that Black women are majority owners in over 1.5 million of these businesses with more than $42 billion in sales. Yet, we can clearly see across industries how clearly underrepresented these black women-owned businesses are and how much work they often have to go through just to get to where they are; from difficulty getting initial funding opportunities to limited affordable resources to grow their business in general along with unfair bias and discrimination.
We are currently experiencing a time where racial injustice, horrible acts of violence, lack of diversity and inclusion and so many more issues are being brought to light in the United States and around the world. With the last few weeks of protest mixed with the months of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the fact is many brick-and-mortar stores have been closed, even online businesses have had limited resources, and consumers haven’t been shopping as often. Creative businesses are no exception and so many incredible black women-owned brands are suffering and could use our support in more ways than one.
So, here are a few ways we can help support these amazing women, their families and their businesses right now.
5 Simple Ways You Can Show Support
#1 Do Your Research and Be Informed
From June 1st to June 2nd searches for “How to find black owned businesses in your area” saw a 300% spike in the United States, according to Google Trends data. Sure we could say that this is just a trend right now due to the current social climate, but what if consumers made this a regular practice when using their buying power or making recommendations? A simple way to show support that can help support both small, local and black businesses is just starting by doing your research. Wanting to order a special cake for your husband’s birthday party? Have you checked to see if there’s a black owned bakery in your community you could support with your order?
#2 Make a Purchase or Book a Service
As creative small business owners, we know what that power of the dollar can mean even if we don’t always think about the long term effects it may have. Sometimes we get stuck in a cycle of purchasing from those brands we already know and love, or the ones we continue to see on an ever circulating loop, rather than giving someone else a chance at that revenue. Challenge yourself to be more intentional about where your money is going with every purchase or service you are booking. If you find yourself in the market for a brand photographer or a new graphic designer, give yourself that push to look talented black-owned brands you haven’t worked with yet. Your purchasing has power behind it, and the dollars you spend keep businesses afloat whether we realize it or not.
#3 Follow, Share & Promote on Social Media
You constantly hear people talk about being more intentional and purposeful on social media- well, now is your chance. When is the last time you took inventory of the faces you were scrolling past during your morning Instagram scroll? Do you notice a strong representation of businesses who don’t look like you- is diversity easy to see with each passing feed? Social media can sometimes seem like such a trivial thing but when it comes down to it, it’s a huge aspect of marketing today. Make an effort to support black women-owned brands that you love by following their accounts, sharing them with your own audience and helping promote their work and their worth intentionally.
#4 Leave Reviews
If you’re a fellow small business owner than you know how important testimonials and reviews are for growing a business. After you are a patron with a black women-owned business, take the time to share your experience on Facebook, Google, Yelp, Etsy, by email or any other format. What a lot of people use as their “go to” for not being a consumer at more black brands and establishments is they didn’t know they hadn’t heard of them or wasn’t sure what the experience would be. Reviews are powerful and give future customers and clients a clear idea of what to expect. Even if it’s been forever since you worked with a business, it’s never too late to go leave a positive review! It will mean so much.
#5 Share the Stage & Pass the Mic
Yes, it’s important to show support in concrete ways but think about how sharing a spotlight that may grace you more easily can do so much in itself. It’s not always about the purchase or financial support or knowing exactly what to do or say. It’s about understanding the privilege that some of us have and the power in passing the mic to those who’s voices aren’t heard nearly enough. Asking how can you show support by sharing a platform or giving it up completely at times for these businesses? How can you help another onto the platform to begin with? This can be something as simple as asking a craft fair organizer how many women of color are participating in their vendor line up or challenging the host of that women’s panel you were invited to be on how they are planning to diversify their speakers this year? Think of ways you can highlight others voices and you’ll realize how much stronger your own can feel as it quiets.
50+ Black Women-Owned Businesses You Can Support Right Now
If you’re not sure where to start, check out some of these amazing badass women throughout different industries in the creative market. Check out their Instagrams, give them some love and get your shopping on!
Art & Handmade Goods:
Accessories & Jewelry
Natural Products & Services:
Branding & Graphic Design:
Marketing, Media & Mentorship:
Additional Black-Owned Business Directories:
***If you or someone you know has an amazing black women-owned business you’d like added to the list please drop it in the comments to have it added to the resource list above!
Show Support, Even When You Don’t Know How
Here’s what I’ve realized after some beautiful and difficult conversations these last few weeks with both white and nonwhite friends, family and colleagues- none of us are perfect. (Spoiler, right?) BUT right now perfection shouldn’t be the goal – it never should. Right now, the most important step is the one where we remind ourselves to show up.
- Show up for what you believe in.
- Show up for those who are hurting.
- Show up when it feels hard.
- Show up when you’re not sure what you’re doing.
- Show up to learn.
- Show up with empathy.
- Show up for change.
- Show up to advocate.
- Show up for Black lives.
- Show up imperfectly.
Right now, I absolutely don’t know the right answers but I promise I will keep showing up! Will you show up with me?