This is an open letter from one black business owner who doesn't claim to speak on behalf of ALL black business owners, but I'm pretty sure a good number.
We as a people talk often about supporting black business. We as a people are hardest on those same black businesses.
Skepticism is justified in some instances. Other times patience is warranted. But what do black businesses do when their own community doesn't support them like they claim they would?
Easy. We cater to everyone. Regardless of he complexion of your skin. We still give back. We still encourage others to patronize our business but we want to survive. We want to not only survive we want to be successful. We are proud to be a black owned business however we have to become known as just a business.
So what does this do? I'll tell you.... from first hand experience.
People who have never purchased anything from a store or a site tell you they dont see any images of black folks. Which is understandable. You want people who look like you to be in the goods you will purchase.
Little did they know your site was at one time full of melanated skin. So they have an excuse to not purchase, which they don't realize is not hurting you in a sense, because they had not purchased anything.
We as business owners are well aware in the power of the black dollar. However if the black dollar is still being spent on those "NAME" brands, how are we expected to succeed? Wait around. Hope for the best? Spend marketing dollars we dont have? Or keep posting on Facebook in groups on our own personal page and other social media platforms and just hope for the best?
You might say this is our problem...not yours. You would be exactly right.
But heres the thing. As responsible owners of our businesses we have to make the right decisions to feed our family and obtain our goals and see our dreams come to fruition.
So one thing if we are going to be honest with each other is: We dont like to be told about ourselves...but if we are being "woke" let me set the alarm and make sure we are being "100".
If we as a people continue to try and impress by buying the "nicer name brands" instead of investing in businesses of those who look like you, you won't get complain about alot of things.
Like being racially profiled in certain establishments.
Like not being helped in "name brand" stores because they don't think you are spending money.
Like wondering why your child is complaining of eating bland food in daycare. (ok thats a personal experience. I digress.
I wrote a blog one about being an alternative to Big Baller Brand. You would have thought I was calling GOD the Devil and there was no one left to shame. When in actuality I was letting those know who could not afford BBB that we are an option.
We need businesses like Big Baller Brand to succeed. If they don't succeed not only do YOU become more skeptical but because of all the press they get everyone else will be skeptical of black owned business.
We don't begrudge anyone selling whatever they want for however much they want. Just be about the business of YOUR business.
So what's all this about and what are we in this open letters as black business owners trying to tell you? Simple. Do your research. Don't SAY you are going to support us and not do it. Make the decision that you are going to invest not only in your personal lives but the businesses that are trying to give back to the communities they are from.
We went from selling out of our trunk and doing a crowdfunded kickstarter two years ago to being a company on target to make $10 million plus in 2018. Did black dollars help? They sure did... but like many things in the retail industry and many black businesses can attest to (and don't get mad at us for this next stat) but white women make up for 70% of our sales.
This is not a ROCKDEEP thing, its a business thing.
So do better. I'm not asking for just my business but ALL black owned businesses. If you want to truly make the difference show and prove. Gucci, LV and Jordan's can be your thing, but it only means you can afford to shop at some of our establishments.
This open letter may not do a thing, but if it shows some that we care about your business unless some of those you give all your money to it may begin a shift in the economic balance of many many things.
I'd be remiss if I didn't pitch us getting back to our roots for the service industry and those who are on their feet all day.
You don't have to be a big baller and you wont have to wait six months to get your kicks.. but you will be glad you got a pair or two.
The least you can do is check it out. --->
Also a pop up locally in the Washington DC area.
OTHER KICKS WE HAVE DONE: (or check the website)