My Thoughts On Black Businesses

I love to see African entrepreneurship and feel pride when small black businesses gain popularity and patronage.

For example, I shopped for eyeshadow exclusively at Ulta since my teenage years and copped brands like Lorac and Makeup Revolution. But then, on a whim I tried the Nubian Eyeshadow Palette from Juvia’s Place. I was in a #treatyoself type of mood and felt like I deserved something nice! The eyeshadows were stunning and highly pigmented and my package came with a handwritten note. My only regret was that I hadn’t tried them sooner!

(Image taken from @juviasplace instagram)

(Image taken from @juviasplace instagram)

This is how everyone’s experience should be with black businesses. They should receive a high quality product in a timely manner and the customer service should be on point. But in reality, I’ve received a lot of negative feedback about black businesses from friends and family. And I have had some poor experiences in my own right. I’ve been followed in black-owned hair care stores as if I was a thief. And I think every black woman that enjoys looking fly, has had the experience of her hairdresser being at least an hour late to the appointment.

In my opinion, black businesses get a bad rep over qualities that are easily fixable. Here are my 3 tips for increasing community support for black businesses.

1.    Professionalism

So part of professionalism is actually being a professional. If you run a business, be sure to have the relevant certifications and the necessary education. We are all for supporting your ice-cream and soft pretzel joint, as long as everything is up to code! Who is going to buy your soft serve ice-cream if they’re unsure if it was frozen at the right temperature or if your kitchen is clean? It is unfair to the consumer, if you are disorganized and even worse, not even qualified to offer the service.

2.    Timeliness

As black women, we are the #1 consumers of hair products such as hair weaves, extensions and gels.  We enjoy being pampered and getting our hair done, but like everyone else we’re on a schedule! It’s only right if your appointment is at 9 am, that you get seen at 9 am unless there are extenuating circumstances. And in that case, it is important to communicate that there will be a time discrepancy ahead of time.

3.    Exemplary Customer Service

So when a customer enters your store they should feel welcomed, not like they’re under strict surveillance. Also, it makes a person feel like their patronage is desired if you try to anticipate their needs in a friendly manner. So if you see a woman with dreadlocks, you could say something as simple as, “Hello there! Would you like to see our products for locs?” It sounds silly but something as simple as acknowledging a customer and assisting them with a smile could make them a repeat patron!

Article by Amiah Taylor