Juneteenth is a holiday celebrated throughout the black community as our Independence Day from slavery. This holiday commemorates the June 19th, 1865 announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas and more generally the emancipation of enslaved African Americans throughout the former Confederate States of America.
Now that we ran through our history lesson, I think it’s important to reflect on what this means for us as a community but also as black business owners. According to the United States Census, we as African Americans make up 13% of the population and 7% are small business owners. According to The Black Wealth Channel website, the cause of a lot of black-owned businesses closing is because they have limited resources like investors, capital, clientele, etc. Research also suggests that communities that have generational economic empowerment are linked to entrepreneurial success. Direct effects look like; wealthier communities, more jobs, and better schools.
The power of the black dollar is HUGE! According to The Nielsen Company, the buying power of Black America is at 1.1 trillion dollars annually. This would put our own money back into our community making it generational wealthy. WE COULD BE RICH! Think about this…
According to The Black Wealth Channel article written in 2017, “currently, a dollar circulates in Asian communities for a month, in Jewish communities approximately 20 days and white communities 17 days. How long does a dollar circulate in the black community? 6 hours! African American buying power is at 1.1 trillion, and yet, only 2 cents of every dollar an African American spends in this country goes to black-owned businesses.”
This idea of being able to track money in a community is disputed in the Truth Be Told article, "Does A Dollar Spent In The Black Community Really Stay There For Only Six Hours?" Ken Smikle, the president of Target Market News, which is a Chicago-based research firm, disagrees with the idea that money can be tracked in each community. He said it is impossible to track money from very diverse groups of people as there is no way to pinpoint what dollar belongs to what ethnic group. Nonetheless, whether you believe the black dollar can be tracked or not, the fact still remain the same that there is a problem for black business owners to sustain their business and grow it into an empire.
To celebrate Juneteenth and the BOOMING industry of women of color owned businesses, I interviewed two WOC business owners to chat about their thoughts on celebrating Juneteenth and what the ‘black dollar’ means to them.
I talked to Chloe who is the owner of Prepped by Chloe, a catering business that also offers pressed juices and daily, weekly and monthly meal preps. Chloe has been in business for a year now!
Q: What does Juneteenth mean to you?
A: As a black business owner, Juneteenth means I can operate freely. There are no set rules owning my own business…. If I don’t like how something is working anymore, I don’t need permission to change it.”
Q: As a small black business owner, what is your take on the black dollar, and have you noticed a correlation with your business?
“100% of my client base has been black so far. I’m blessed to be in LA where most young black adults are conscious of the black dollar and/or supporting black-owned businesses. Most of my clients are regulars, renewing their meal plan weekly and recommending their friends and family.”
Q: Being a small business owner how does that hands-on element help you grow your business?
"My business (for the most part) has all been word of mouth. Which I love! I’m not ready for all the corporate nonsense. And the personal interaction truly reminds me of home (you know the peach cobbler lady, the jerk rib man, etc.) I’m eternally grateful for my community.”
The other small business owner I talked to was Taylor Fredieu the CEO of a Creole food catering business named, La Saveur De Creole Catering. Taylor has been in business for four years.
Q: What's your take on the black dollar circulation?
“My customers are some of the most loyal clients, who purchase food from us often... They also support us by spreading the word about LA Saveur De Creole Catering. I am proud to say that every Sunday Sale I’ve had we’ve SOLD OUT & 90% of those clients are African American. I think it’s important as a black woman to represent for my people and my community.”
Q: How do you feel about growth in the community and moving the needle when talking about how the black dollar is spent?
“Too often you see black business owners move out of their communities, taking their goods and services with them. If we had more black-owned businesses in our neighborhoods I believe the black dollar would be spent there. In addition to that, we would be providing more jobs right in our neighborhoods. We have a responsibility to work together to rebuild and grow what’s right outside our doors. I’d like to see more of us look closer at how we can be a part of the solution and not contributors to the problem.”
Q: How do you keep Juneteenth alive and what does it mean to you and your business?
“I celebrate Juneteenth every year! I think it’s important to celebrate and acknowledge our ancestors who have fought for our freedom and have endured so much for us to make it this far. It’s important for us to keep this holiday alive in their name for generations to come. Juneteenth represents the endless possibilities for our people, and I am happy to be a part of it every year.”
There is a emphasis on supporting black businesses in recent years. This is a way to build that generational wealth as more businesses are opening. It is important to support, not just for the money, but because these are products made for us, and by US! It’s a WIN WIN!
In the words of entrepreneur Dana Chanel, “The mindset of the black community can sometimes cause us to devalue our business and set prices lower than they should be. Our community has money just bad spending habits if you are creating a business that is resourceful and needed in the community you have to devalue your business. You have to believe that you are valuable. Marketing makes people adjust to your business, not the other way around.”
Comment and tag your favorite WOC-owned businesses on our post and let’s get our dollars moving!