Guest Blog: "Buying Black, Black Exploitation for Profit and Nike"

Guest Blogger, Shanae Jones shares her thoughts on the importance of buying black and the black exploitation for profit and how Nike is profiting.

The consumer class has considerable power and the scales don’t always tip in the favor of Black business owners. Most of us [Black business owners] are fully aware of the challenges Black consumers face when interacting with businesses across the board, but we’re especially attentive to the already strained relationship between Black consumers and Black business owners.

My tea business is a one woman show — I make the recipes, blend the teas, then bottle and label every tea myself. I also manage the marketing: promoting the teas, managing social media, creating and sending emails to current/potential customers, designing graphics, snapping/editing photos, attending trade shows, participating in podcast interviews, writing blogs, and curating informational content on IGTV and Twitter about herbalism and herbal tea. When all of that works together, I take the rest of my time to pack orders and ship them within two days. I also have a day job.

Thanks to the internet, everything is smaller. And, as a result, I am required to meet a higher standard and compete with Amazon and all the other more established tea companies out there. I rely heavily on my customers being individuals who see the value of their dollar and the importance in shopping small or minority owned, being health conscious, and liking me. Then, and only then, can I sell the high quality, full flavor, hand blended teas made by a hardworking and relatable herbalist. I want customers to see that I take this seriously and appreciate their business and that I am just like them — fulfilling my purpose, grinding, etc.

So, when I got a surprise influx of orders back in April-May 2018, a result of articles written by Black bloggers and social advocates, calling for the protest of Starbucks after two Black men were racially profiled and subsequently arrested by police in Philadelphia because a Starbucks employee was threatened by their presence, I was…happy. Not about the circumstances, but because people could find my business. That meant it was easy to find. My SEO and social media advertising and word-of-mouth had been working great. I wasn’t doing too badly for a solopreneur...

Read Shanae's full blog post here.

Learn more about Shanae and her company, Ivy's Tea here.