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Black Friday commit your commerce
The OnePair team will celebrate the start up's one-year anniversary this Black Friday, Nov. 26. Operating on Troost Ave. on Kansas City, Missouri's east side, these young entrepreneurs buy, sell, and trade authentic sneakers, locally designed urban wear, and offer an education center to help students stay focused during virtual learning by providing equipment and hi-speed WIFI.

This Black Friday, commit your commerce, not just your support, to Black businesses

This year, there’s a call to claim Black Friday to intentionally focus the day’s holiday shopping to support Black-owned businesses – but for those in the work of equitable entrepreneurship, there’s hope that this moment will be a catalyst for a long-lasting movement to create an economy that works for all of us.

Purchase with purpose

Black model wearing a green knit hat poses in a black hoodie with the message, "Black Owned, Established 19XX," across the front in white lettering.
Available at Black Owned Outerwear

Check out our contributors’ lists of favorite Black-owned businesses and brands, as well as products and goods that made their giving and receiving lists this year.

While the share of new Black entrepreneurs has steadily increased, the pandemic has dealt Black business owners, specifically, a blow that only magnifies the inequities built into the American economy.

Calls to support Black businesses in the press releases of corporations have been viewed by many as performative and with limited impact.

This Black Friday, the commitment to “buy Black” requires consumers to put their money where their mouth is. We can purchase with purpose at Black businesses and in doing so, help boost revenue for Black entrepreneurs this holiday season. But it can also signal intentional support for the necessary, long-lasting investment in an inclusive economy that works for all of us.

We talked with Black entrepreneurs and those on the front lines of equitable entrepreneurship to discuss the impact of an intentional holiday shopping season but, more importantly, how consumers, communities, and policies can support a level playing field for Black entrepreneurs.

The thing is, says Felecia Hatcher, CEO of Black Ambition, Black business-owners don’t want your support. “What they want is your commerce. Support is fleeting. Commerce is making a buying decision to come again, and again, and again – because you are buying their products. It’s not just a charitable thing.”

That said, if Black Friday becomes a catalyst for intentional support for Black businesses “that’s not a bad thing for me. What happens next is everything.”

— Felecia Hatcher
Chief Executive Officer of Black Ambition
Felecia Hatcher Black Ambition

“So, how do we make this a movement not just a moment? It’s easy to press the Amazon button for many of us under time pressure with all we have going on, but easy is not always inclusive. It doesn’t necessarily create community.

“We know the heart of a strong city is community; it’s people who support each other. A way to support creating community is to show up for each other and support each other – and sharing great products and great services.”

Lia McIntosh, Kauffman Foundation program officer, Education

“When consumers are intentional about spending their money with small businesses (specifically those that are Black-owned), they are investing in the future of more than a single entrepreneur; they’re investing in families, neighbors, and neighborhoods. The direct targeting of our spending has the potential to change not only the Black community, but the COMMUNITY at large.

Allen Woods, co-founder and executive director, MORTAR

Studies have shown the broader impact on the entire nation if we collectively work to close the racial wealth gap, and one way to do that is to make sure that Black-owned businesses have an opportunity to earn your business and your dollars.

— Allen Woods
co-founder and executive director, MORTAR

“We’re investing in our local community and the ability to create jobs and bring equity that has been taken from Black communities.

“It means financial independence for more individuals in the Black community and the opportunity to tilt the balance of power toward equity.”

Brandon Calloway, co-founder and CEO, Kansas City G.I.F.T.

“Prioritizing entrepreneurship ecosystem building in Black communities is the best way to start. This requires looking at how local communities can holistically support Black small business development. Communities cannot just look at narrow challenges like access to capital, but must also look at broader things, such as supply chain access, place-based development in Black communities, more inclusive networks, and other things that go into strong ecosystems. This commitment must be sustained also, as many times things happen that draw short-run attention to these challenges, and they tend not to have long-run sustainability.”

Dell Gines, senior community development advisor, Omaha Branch-Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

“When I think of MORTAR’s ‘moment of obligation’ it was connected to seeing diversity on the sidewalks as we walked through Cincinnati – a city that is roughly 50% Black, but only 18% of our businesses are Black-owned. We knew that there were obstacles that have prevented our neighbors from starting, sustaining, or scaling a business, so we developed programming to change those outcomes.

“When I see thriving Black businesses, I immediately think of all of the children who will see these business owners and have the epiphany that entrepreneurship is a possible pathway for their pursuits. When it’s all said and done, this is about the legacies that live on way after we’re gone.”

Allen Woods, co-founder and executive director, MORTAR

“When consumers buy from Black-owned businesses they are investing in the future. Every dollar spent through these establishments signals hope like a drop of water in a ripple tank. This hope is realized in each family member and each network of each family member, and on and on.

“These dollars increase purchasing, saving, and investing power for the business and business owners’ family members. The influence of these dollars continues to provide a ripple of hope through the community as the business grows.”

Thalia Cherry, founder and CEO, Cherry Co.

“We need to raise awareness of the Black-owned businesses that are right here in our community. Until we have a need, or we ask, we don’t know about them because they don’t always have the media, the marketing, or the visibility. Most of them don’t have the budget for that.

“We have to find a way to value community and inclusivity over convenience or the lowest price. Investing locally will pay more dividends than saving $3 at Wal-Mart. It’s an investment in community and each other, and that creates exponential growth.”

Lia McIntosh, Kauffman Foundation Program Officer, Education

“We live like tourists in our city. We go to a different part of Miami or south Florida, drive through, stop, and eat. You’re discovering something and it takes you back to your childhood curiosity. It taps into that childlike optimism we have.”

Felecia Hatcher, Chief Executive Officer, Black Ambition

“When you need to make purchases, ask yourself is there a version of what I need that is produced by a Black-owned company? Is there a dry cleaner, grocery store, bodega, restaurant, that maybe outside of my typical routine that I can give a try? Are there designers, photographers, accountants, etc., that I can add to my marketing team as contractors that can help me grow my company as I am supporting the growth of their businesses? This is what cooperative economics looks like.”

Allen Woods, Co-founder and Executive Director, MORTAR

“Give to organizations that have a proven track record of pushing for, and making strides toward, lasting change. Make it clear to your city council reps that you care if the city invests in those organizations. Share the names and social media pages of Black-owned businesses that you support with your networks.”

Brandon Calloway, Co-founder and CEO, Kansas City G.I.F.T.

“Communities can lend their support by being more intentional and inclusive; make a real effort to include Black-owned businesses in community programs and events and make it possible for them to afford to participate.

“Policies can support long-lasting change for Black-owned businesses by creating structures designed to level the playing fields of access and finance such as the MBE/MWBE (Minority Business Enterprise/Minority or Woman-owned Business Enterprise) certifications. Further, policies, committees, or task forces could be created to ensure fairness in business services and financing, making sure practices such as redlining or blatant racism at the point of sale are sought out and severely penalized with the intent to eliminate barriers.”

Thalia Cherry, Founder and CEO, Cherry Co.

“Developers and landlords can create more favorable opportunities for businesses that are just getting started. In the same way that they’ve managed to create mixed-income housing, they should be able to also develop the same platform that allows small businesses to have an opportunity to launch in these newly invested in areas while exhibiting the patience required to allow them to grow their businesses and revenue at a pace that makes sense for them.”

Allen Woods, Co-founder and Executive Director, MORTAR

“It’s the one that is the collective. The Jamaican national motto is ‘out of many one people.’ It’s what the individual does but there’s an understanding that what the individual does and what the collective impact is. You can see that in voting. You hear people say, ‘My one vote doesn’t matter.’ If everyone feels like that then that’s how you end up with the millions that stay home. If you feel like that take someone with you. One becomes two; two becomes 10. Bring someone else with you.

“When people invite me to things. I’m a permanent plus-one. I’m always going to bring someone. You are making multiple buying decisions every single day. We just limit ourselves and the impact that we can have as one individual. Bring someone else along with you even if it’s one person. It’s about being purposeful and operating from an abundance mindset. As humans we don’t create abundance, we create limitations.

Felecia Hatcher, Chief Executive Officer, Black Ambition

We can give ourselves permission to be intentional that every Friday is going to be a Black Friday.

— Felecia Hatcher
Chief Executive Officer of Black Ambition


Contributors’ lists of favorite Black-owned businesses and brands

Check out our contributors’ lists of favorite Black-owned businesses and brands, as well as products and goods that made their giving and receiving lists this year.

Brandon Calloway

Calloway says Kansas City Cajun is definite go-to for food if you’re in the KC area. 2923 Comics for some more stories with characters that look like his son. For clothes for the family? Just A Girl From KC and Material Opulence.

Thalia Cherry

Favorite Black owned business? “Cherry, of course.”

Favorite Black-owned brands beside Cherry? “Target is killing the game of attracting Black-owned businesses.” Check out “Black Shop Friday,” in partnership with the Minneapolis-based retail corporation.

Dell Gines

Gines is a regular patron at a new Black-owned coffee shop, event space, and small retail shop in his community called Blac Coffee, which is run by a “phenomenal chef,” who also caters. He also recommends putting together an intentional “fix this please” list of contractors. At the top of his list are friends that run a construction business who help him keep up with home maintenance.

Felecia Hatcher

For food and drinks, Hatcher recommends My Black Pantry e-grocer – the world’s largest aggregator of Black-owned food and drink products throughout the United States – and the carbonated mixers, Avec, made from real juice, herbal botanicals, and spices that are naturally low in sugar. For skincare and self-care gifts, she turns to Beloved Box.

Lia McIntosh

On Troost Ave., on Kansas City’s east side, is One Pair – “a shoe store designed and operated by kids” – and McIntosh’s pick for kicks. These young entrepreneurs buy, sell, and trade authentic sneakers, locally designed urban wear, and offer an education center to help students stay focused during virtual learning by providing equipment and hi-speed WIFI. This Black Friday, Nov. 26, marks the shop’s one-year anniversary. Celebrate with them with your commerce or contribution.

Allen Woods

Woods provides a run-down of Cincinnati standouts.

DISTRICT 78: A mood company. Purveyors of candles, clothing, plants, and gifts.

According to Black Owned Outerwear founder Means Cameron, BlaCkOWned™️ energy is needed in all communities across America. “Our brand thrives at the intersection of fashion and BlaCk Excellence. Our mission is to promote BlaCk ownership, while challenging societal inequities through our garments and storytelling.”

Diamyn’s Crystal Bar’s online shop offers Diamyn Rembert’s jewelry designs, raw stones and crystals, and crystal sets. In shop, she offers reiki and crystal healing, crystal oracle reading, sound healing, and meditation and relaxation sessions.

Shop GO(O)D Co. Apparel for the whole family online and keep “GO(O)D company” by surrounding yourself with people who will encourage, support, and build you up on your road to success.

Shop Native Moon Apothecary’s herbal creations made sustainably in small, handmade batches by a mother-daughter team.