Almost six years ago, I went to an event that would change my life. It was there I discovered that people would actually spend $20 for something that most displaced throughout their day.
Lip balm. There was a woman who had sold out of lip balm and started collecting emails so that she could inform those who were interested when she would have more.
This was a white woman. A white woman business owner.
In fact everyone there was white.
I was the only Black Woman, Black person in the whole building.
This was and still is astounding to me.
How can I be the only Black person anywhere in Atlanta, GA…in 2015.
But, there I was. There “this” was.
“This” was a life changing event. The thing we often hear so many people mention or talk about. That one event that changed their trajectory.
I was living a moment that would not only change my life, but this moment would change the lives of many Black Women Business Owners.
In 2015, “The State of Women-Owned Business Report” reported that there were an estimated 9.4 million women-owned businesses in the United States. Black women own about 14 percent of all businesses nationwide. In 2019 this same report shared that Black Women owned businesses represented the highest rate of growth of any group between 2014 and 2019, and that we, Black Women started 42% of net new women-owned businesses. There was also a list that showcased the top four states to increase economic clout between these years.
Georgia was number one.
Was this a coincidence?
“A coincidence is a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances that have no apparent causal connection with one another.” - Dictionary.com
No. Me being there. In that place. In Atlanta, Georgia.
That was no coincidence. I was there for a purpose.
That purpose would allow me to see things & do things I never thought about before. Like looking for a grant to start a business. (In 2015, grants for Black Women didn’t exist like they do today.) When I couldn’t find one, I knew I wasn’t the only person looking so I created one just for Black Women. Black Women like Shanae Jones of Ivy’s Tea Co., our very first grant recipient who now pays it forward and funds a grant for other Black Women.
That purpose gave me the urge to celebrate and provide funding for projects that Black Women are doing. Black Women like Stephanie Dean of Stepstiches. Last year she received funding for her book, My Best Doll Friend and this year her business was listed as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things.
In 2018, that purpose allowed me to create a tradition of celebrating the month of my birthday with Black Women who inspire me. This tradition led to a national partnership that is placing Black Women in Times Square this holiday season.
That purpose was to create Buy From A Black Woman.
Tomorrow, on November 19, Buy From A Black Woman Awareness Day, we are asking you to tell others why it is important to be purposeful when it comes to supporting and buying from Black Women. Let the world know by sharing your story, sharing your reason, sharing your purpose.
I’ve never returned to that market since that day. I am grateful for that experience. It gave me the purpose to create something bigger than myself. (For those wondering, I get my lip balm from Cobalt Honey.)
It is because of purpose, people now know that if you support a Black Woman Business Owner, you support a whole community.
I am grateful for you being part of this community.
Founder, Buy From A Black Woman