It’s a common phrase heard from many consumer experts that people should empower companies with visions like theirs by “speaking with your wallets.” What’s a bit less clear is how you go about putting this into practice. Black Enterprise covers some ways to do so, important considering that Black spending power topped $1.2 trillion dollars in 2016, according to African-Americans: Demographic and Consumer Spending Trends, 10th Edition.
This wisdom comes from Our Black Year: One Family’s Quest to Buy Black in America’s Racially Divided Economy by Maggie Anderson with Ted Gregory. This story tells the tale of one family who pledged to only spend with Black-owned businesses for one year.
One recommendation they have is to start where things are easiest. “ For example, support black designers at department stores and open an account at a black-owned bank. Be sure to consider both services, as well as products. For example, you can prepay for treatments at your sister’s favorite black-owned hair salon and present it as a gift.” There’s nothing wrong with going for the low-hanging fruit when taking an undertaking like this.
A big piece of the puzzle is online shopping, allowing you to patronize Black businesses even if there are a dearth of them around you. “Many products by black-owned companies, such as The Cut Buddy (a grooming tool invented by Joshua Esnard, and recently featured on Shark Tank) can be purchased via Amazon and other mainstream retail sites. There are also websites such as izania.com that specialize in offering a wide range of goods and services being provided by black entrepreneurs.”
The same mentality means that you can cash in with Black companies on your app store. “There a number of new apps you can download, such as Official Black Wall Street, designed to help consumers identify and find black-owned businesses. These apps offer features such as geo-location, alerting you to nearby black-owned businesses, as well as directories of such companies, in addition to push notifications of special deals.”
Perhaps the most important thing is doing your due diligence. It’s important to note that not every Black-targeting company is Black-owned, and vice versa. If you want to leverage your Black spending power for the community’s benefit, be sure to look and see what the community actually is.