Black businesses see sales increase after being featured in directories
Nailah Ellis, founder and owner of Ellis Island Tea’s, recently noticed that the Detroit-based company was starting to receive an increase in online orders. Then she got a call from her crying sister. Her sister said Ellis Island Tea is listed in Beyonce’s “Black Parade Route” business directory.
“Everyone was super excited and together,” Ellis said. “The community has always been supportive. One of the most common responses was’ finally, you’re being noticed nationally like you deserve to be noticed.”
Black Parade Route is located on artist Beyonce’s website; it was created by Zerina Akers, founder of the Black Owned Everything business directory, named after a song Beyonce released on June.
All profits generated by the song will be donated to the BeyGOOD Black Business Impact Fund, administered by the National Urban League. BeyGOOD has also partnered with the NAACP to provide grants of $ 10,000 to black-owned businesses in five cities: Houston, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and Minneapolis.
Black-owned business directories like Beyonce’s have been created across the country with the goal of providing a direct channel for investing in the black community. Nationally, they became more relevant as black-owned businesses struggled to stay open during the first months of the coronavirus outbreak.
Robert Fairlie, professor of economics at the University of California at Santa Cruz, says 41% of black-owned businesses were closed in April.
“It has a lot of repercussions,” Fairlie said. “One repercussion is that lost income for that month. Business owners have to pay rent for their business, they have to pay for equipment, and they have a lot of other expenses that don’t necessarily go away because you’re not active. ”
But for now, Ellis, like many black business owners, believes the future is bright and hopes people will continue to support businesses. She started selling tea in her trunk 12 years ago. Online production and sale has been going on for six years now.
Detroit is the New Black is another local business listed in the ‘Black Parade Route’ directory. The brand started in 2014 and moved to a few locations before moving to its downtown storefront at 1430 Woodward Avenue in 2019.
“I think people are interested in buying black people and supporting minority-owned businesses, but sometimes it can be difficult to locate them,” Founder and CEO Roslyn Karamoko said. “I think the lists have been very helpful. We saw a huge increase in sales in June just by being included on a number of different lists. It was a blessing for sure.”
Karamoko said that DITNB doesn’t do a lot of marketing, but that they get their publicity from the work they do in the community. This includes working with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Bedrock Detroit to create the Industry Club, which is a small business accelerator and youth exposure program.
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Ultimately, Karamoko hopes people recognize black-owned businesses as a regular business with good products.
“I don’t want it to become that trend,” Karamoko said. “Buy it because it’s good and because you believe in what we do and the message behind the brand. I think that’s what creates a lasting customer base that you can plan your business around, as opposed to a trend that occurs a month and dies. ”
A common problem that many black business directory creators have reported is that people may not know where to go to support a black-owned business.
Here are three other black business directories that include Detroit Metro businesses:
Power to the people 313
Black health care providers, beauticians, lawyers, dentists, restaurants, clothing and more can be found on the new Black Business Directory of the Power to the People website 313. The People of Metro Detroit have the option of submitting businesses to the local online directory and may include an address, website, and Instagram link.
“The hope is that we will continue to use more black businesses,” said Khadijah Johnson, one of the main organizers of Power to the People 313. “Sometimes we don’t know where to go. so many suggestions. from friends and family. “
The organization was formed when Asia Horn formed the Power to the People movement for black women’s and women’s organizers in the Grand Rapids area. Other branches of power to the people began to form on the basis of the area code of the region.
Power to the People’s next initiative 313 will focus on voting in partnership with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
In addition to searching for businesses, the NOIR Detroit Black Business Directory is unique because of its calendar of additional events and community resource sections. The website also encourages community participation and highlights nonprofits.
The directory website was curated and designed by three friends: Mardi Woods, Debra Sanders and Alicia Nails. The idea came about years ago when Woods was researching events to attend and black businesses to support. When the three put their ideas together years later, they felt it was important to provide a free resource to the community.
“It’s open to everyone,” Woods said. “We wanted to make sure that we could try to get everyone to sign up because it’s free. There have been a lot of people looking to support black businesses.”
SMS and email notifications are also available to schedule a reminder when a visitor wants to attend an event.
Over 500 Black-Owned Businesses to Support in Metro Detroit
Food and drink, beauty and care, health and wellness, shopping and services are the five categories of this black business directory. Kaila Gardner and Philip Lewis have worked together to compile an extensive business directory called “500+ Black Owned Businesses to Support in Metro Detroit”.
“I think one of the main reasons I thought about creating a directory page was to show that black people are still tough, they’re still great, and they’re innovative,” Gardner said. . “By doing this resource page, I literally discovered so many businesses that I didn’t even know existed.”
Gardner says directories help people find out about businesses located in their own neighborhood. Gardner hopes they will gain new customers and a new market by being introduced.
To be added to the directory, Gardner and Lewis request to be contacted on their social media accounts.