In July, BeyGOOD, Beyonce a philanthropic organization and the NAACP announced a “Black-Owned Small Business Impact Fund to help small business communities affected by recent events.”
At the end of the first round of reflection, 20 companies received grants.
Although there are other rounds to come, only a limited number of businesses can receive financial assistance. Beyoncé and her team found another way to support these businesses, however, with The Black Parade Route, a section of her site dedicated to promoting black-owned businesses.
Zerina Akers, founder of Black Owned Everything, manages the business directory and promotes different categories from time to time. Currently, The Black Parade Route features businesses owned by Africans.
Sharifah Issaka, 31, is an Accra-based creative professional and producer on “Black is King”. She spends her days exploring towns in her home country and making contact with people on the move across Ghana.
“I’m so happy that they are promoting work on continents and introducing new audiences to African brands,” she said. “I know everyone.”
One of the companies she knows and loves is Hanahana Beauty. Founded by Abena Boamah, 29, Hanahana Beauty is based in Chicago, although the company sources its supplies from Tamale, Ghana. The company produces shea butter-based beauty products such as lip creams and balms.
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“The mission is how to create sustainable pathways from our producer to our consumer,” Boamah says. She looks at everyone who works for her company and makes sure that she is making a positive contribution to the supply chain.
Hanahana Beauty premiered on The Black Parade Route in mid-June.
“I got a text that looked like ‘You lit’,” she said theGrio. At first, she didn’t realize what the text meant, but eventually she was able to figure out what had happened. She and her whole family were thrilled by the news.
“I really believe strongly in our mission, so I know that every time someone shares it, it will automatically impact that line: from our producer to our consumer, so I was excited,” Boamah says.
Hanahana Beauty accidentally sold out just before their appearance on The Black Parade Route; although the company missed a potential increase in sales, they are constantly seeing conversions from the site.
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Uzo njokuUzoArt’s brand was also featured on The Black Parade Route in June, and 13% of its site traffic during the first week of September came from Beyonce.com.
Her website started out as a simple portfolio for her masters program applications, but after people started asking for impressions, she started experimenting with different business models that worked best for her.
In July 2018, Njoku published a coloring book, which was a success. Fast forward to 2020, and Njoku is selling prints of his original art.
“With recent events, people are now trying to buy directly from artists instead of buying from companies,” she explains.
Being featured on Beyonce.com helped with sales, and Njoku says she got more clicks to her site from people who wouldn’t normally have landed there.
“I really think it helped my post on Hypebeast. I was posted with Virgil Abloh. “
Getting posted has been an amazing gift for talented people with great ideas who just need a little push to get started. Beyoncé’s features help legitimize small businesses that can be overlooked due to their novelty or lack of market share.
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“At first I was trying so hard to market my business and kind of gave up,” said Olajumoke Jimoh.
Jimoh founded Jumz Accessories in 2018. The company sells unique handcrafted bags in Lagos. After setting up the business, Jimoh said she didn’t feel established enough or didn’t have the right connections to gain traction. She decided to stop trying to increase her clientele and focus on her profession.
Consistency has paid off.
“I checked my professional emails and someone contacted me and said, ‘I saw you were on Black Parade, I would like to offer you a free service,’ he explains. she.
Jimoh was shocked because no one told him she would be introduced.
“People trust the companies on this list,” says the designer. While it is difficult to say whether or not the promotion led directly to sales, being there did validate.
“For small businesses, the best thing anyone can do for us is give us visibility,” Jimoh says.
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Christina horton-dennis, 36, founder of Life of Neon, a personalized neon shop, agrees with this.
“Beyoncé raised awareness that there are so many amazing black businesses here,” says Horton-Dennis. “The reality is that it is not part of our culture to look for black companies to spend our money with. more. ”
Although she has never been to art school, Horton-Dennis creates all of her popular designs herself.
“I want to bring our culture and our booty to it,” she says.
Horton-Dennis shares that his most popular designs are his crown design and African black fist design.
After being featured on The Black Parade Route, Horton-Dennis received many custom design requests and heavy traffic to his site.
“Those first two weeks were purely Beyoncé trafficking,” she explains.
Although he’s calmed down a bit, she still sees traffic from Beyonce.com to this day.
Beyoncé’s promotional gift not only has a ripple effect on the exposure of these brands, but also channels a steady stream of passionate and like-minded consumers to them. With a seemingly permanent place on the site, these businesses may continue to see the effects for some time.
In the words of Sharifah Issaka, “the Beyoncé effect is real”.
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