Black Women Know How to Lead A Successful Business
Through entrepreneurship, Black women are leading a new wave of Black excellence.
The 2016 State of Women-Owned Report found there were 1.9 million African American women-owned firms, employing 376,000 workers and generating $51.4 billion in revenues (that’s a lot of jobs and dough).
Black females have historically paved the way for African American entrepreneurship, particularly in the beauty industry with the likes of Madam C.J. Walker and Majorie Joyner, for example. But now, there’s no doubt that a new black, female business renaissance is happening across a multitude of industries and has the potential to grow.
Social Media and Black Businesses
Black culture is the essence of social media. It doesn’t take new Twitter users long before catching on to Black Twitter. And, as Facebook and Instagram continue to have a strong presence, it might have something to do with the 48% of Black internet users logging on to Instagram and 67% to Facebook, significantly more than Hispanic and Caucasian internet users.
Consequently, there has been an intertwining of social media and black business growth. Many Black female creative businesses thrive off of Black social media culture that allows them to find their niche audience and build a strong, relatable consumer base.
For example, artist and designer, Amina Mucciolo has used her 157,000 followers on instagram and a strong following on tumblr to grow her colorful and eccentric Tastle Fairy Studio, where you can buy all sorts of cute sweaters and party favors for your wardrobe and home. You can also check her out on her YouTube channel and learn how she gets her flawless fairy braids along with other hair and beauty tips.
Black culture expresses both originality and creativity that’s highly valued and will lead to more business growth. Because our culture is largely viewed through social media, many black female business owners are taking initiative in growing their brand on these platforms.
The Untapped Market
The fact is many Black consumer markets remain untapped. There are many industries that are not taking minority consumer markets seriously, even though Black consumers alone spent $1.2 trillion in 2016 and will spend an estimated $1.4 trillion by 2020. Black, female businesses understand the importance of reaching these forgotten consumers. And, by filling the gaps of profitable industries, they are carving out strong revenues and presence within the business sector.
We can see this occurring within lingerie industry. Only in 2015 did we get the magnificent Nubian Skin, catering to the need of Black women wanting to feel sexy with a bra in their natural tone. Nubian Skin founder, Ade Hassan found it difficult to find a nude bra that matched her skin tone and decided to build a business where not only the bras and underwear were incredibly made, but offered a variety of nude shades for women of color to enjoy.
Entrepreneur, Marie Jean Baptiste also established a strong business in the fashion industry. Many fashion design companies find themselves in trouble for appropriating Black and African culture (in an exploitative way) as well as not catering to the average size woman, which in the U.S. is 16–18. Batiste founded Rue 107, drawing from her creole heritage to create playful prints in both every-day and swimsuit wear, and she isn’t shy about catering to women of all sizes.
And, We Are Onyx founder, Delali Kpodzo satisfies the need of African American women struggling to find excellent beauty products to try and use by fellow women of color. Onyx serves as a necessity for women of color struggling to find these products due to the
decline in Black beauty stores and mainstream companies not offering specific products for their complexions.
By Black female entrepreneurs filling these gaps within large industries, they are also serving a large consumer base and have more opportunity to expand.
Lifting Each Other Up
As Black women, many of us are all too familiar with the stifling office culture we experience in a predominantly white industry, and unfortunately, owning a business is no exception. Even Black female business owners suffer the same disrespect, misogyny, and racism. And, Black women are still reported to have less revenue than white and other minority female’ entrepreneurs.
However, as entrepreneurship increases so will the opportunity for organizations to provide resources and networking opportunities for Black female business owners to succeed.
Here are some helpful resources:
Black Founders: An organization that provides advice, training, and funding for black entrepreneurs within the tech industry.
Minority Business Development Agency: As part of the Department of Commerce, the MBDA offers information for just-starting entrepreneurs and grants for all minorities.
Grow Her Business: This site offers information and over 200 resources to help female entrepreneurs take the first steps in building and growing their businesses.
As consumers, reaching out to fellow businesses in support of their products and services, whether writing a review or offering suggestions to their future efforts, can be a significant factor in continuing their success. Being a community member that’s actively engaged in that female’s business, particularly when they are growing their social media presence, will foster an engaged community and increase their popularity.
Black Female business owners are not only business-savvy in their consumer outreach, but also unapologetic in their Black excellence. I’m excited to see what comes next from Black Female entrepreneurs, and can’t wait to support the products and services we all want and need, but yet to see in the consumer market.