As I contemplate on this reality we find ourselves in, no longer new but one we have been living in for a year, lyrics from the musical Hamilton come to mind, particularly the lyric: “The world turned upside down.”
For that’s what happened when Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic in March 2020. The world seemingly changed overnight. I was whisked away from college in the fourth most populated city in Georgia to my home in the country, population 4,000.
As I sit in my bedroom in my country home, sometimes a need will pop up, and as these needs pop up, more and more frequently I ask myself, “Is there a Black-owned business that sells this product?”
And more often than not, there is. Sheltering in place has increased my need to buy from Black businesses. If you have the desire to do the same but you don’t know where to start, here is how you can support Black businesses during your stay at home.
If you need to shop online for something, research to see if there are any Black business alternatives, first.
You would be surprised at the diversity of Black businesses. Do you need some soap? Slake Your Skin is the place for you. At least, that’s where I bought my soap. Whatever product you can think of, a Black business is selling it somewhere. The first place to go is Google. There are several Black-owned business directories that tell you, “Here’s 15 Black-owned deodorant products to support.” But sometimes the sheer number of businesses and products that pop up can be daunting. Why should I look through all of these businesses instead of just choosing Dove? What if I choose wrong? That brings us to our next tip.
Ask your friends.
The people in your circle might have products and businesses to recommend to you, if they buy Black. Several of my friends have already immersed themselves into buying Black, so when I need a product and I’m not sure what to go with, I’ll ask for their recommendations. And if they loved it and it worked for them, it might also be a good fit for me. But if they don’t have any particular recommendations, then……
Sometimes you just have to take a chance.
I’m sure we’ve all seen that one Black-owned business on Instagram that we scroll pass. I know I have several. Or we like the post but never actually support. Maybe it’s just not something we need in that moment, but when the moment arrives, those businesses you saw on Instagram are good places to start. You already followed the account, so you’re already one step into the door of trust. Now you just have to follow through on that like or comment. This is how I ended up ordering Powder Power, owned by a 14-year-old entrepreneur. It’s not that I necessarily needed powder, but I had known about it for awhile and I was curious, and I love the product I received. But if you’re uncomfortable with taking a chance, then you can follow our next tip.
Start with the people and the businesses you know.
You may know some people personally who sell certain items. You may already know about quality products from Black-owned businesses. You just simply have to tap into your reservoir of knowledge. That’s how I bought my first planner in a long time. It was more of a spur of the moment type of thing. I was up, contemplating my life at maybe 1am in the morning, when all of a sudden I was like, “I have so much to do the next day. It would really help if I had a way to write this stuff down.” Then, the next thought was, “I coulddddd buy a planner.” And I had the specific one I wanted in mind. I knew of a business, Now Journals owned by Kenetta Muhammad, and I already had a journal by her. Knowing the quality of the journals she provides and also seeing that she had a new product out, planners, I decided to buy one of her planners at 1am in the morning.
And that’s really a testament of just doing it. Really, Nike’s famous adage is the answer to how you can support Black businesses during Covid-19. Just do it, because there is no reason to not do it. If you’re unsure where to start, we hope that this guide is a helpful resource on where to start.