Today is the last day of August — which is Black Business Month!
First I want to thank you. Because if you’re reading this it means you purchased from this brand within the past year. So you’ve recently supported a black-owned business!
Good, culture-shifting ideas can come from anywhere. But often times when those good business ideas come from a black person, they die before full fruition.
Now there are many reasons for this. Chief among them is that owning a small business is just really hard, and the failure rate is high across the board, regardless of race and ethnicity.
But, eight years into this, I’ve seen up close the unique challenges that black business owners face. We often have less access to capital and start up funding — whether from family and friends, or traditional financial institutions — so we either have to do without funding (which drastically increases our chances of going under) or forced to take poor quality funding that comes with rigid terms and sky high interest rates (think the payday loan version of a business loan.)
We also don’t always have social access to mentors and successful entrepreneurs who can show us what healthy business ownership looks like. Case in point, I’m currently in a business incubator and for the first time in my LIFE I’m communicating regularly with small business owners who aren’t stressed, have healthy profit margins and have been in business for years. It’s like the twilight zone, lol. Up until this point I’ve only really known other stressed out small business owners here in Brooklyn who, like me, are struggling to keep the lights on.
And the final one is that we tend to underprice our products and services, which makes it harder to generate the necessary surplus to keep a business afloat.
I was reading recently that Black Business Month was only started in 2004 (!) The two guys who started it — John William Templeton and Frederick E. Jordan Sr –are still alive, lol! They started it to raise awareness of and create visibility for black business. Black people in America were only legally permitted to own businesses post-slavery, so we’re sort of new to this in the grand scheme of things, lol! But we’re getting there.
BGLH Marketplace will celebrate nine years this November, which means that despite aaaallll the challenges I listed above, we’re still here. And we’re still here, in large part, because of YOU. Yes you reading this!
You made the choice to support a small, independent black-owned brand and I am so grateful! On my part I hope to keep making amazing products, providing good customer service and learning all I can so that our products can be here for you for many years to come.