Often when the world of business owners is mentioned you may get the image of older white men. But there are black women leading the way to entrepreneurship. In fact, black women are the fastest growing entrepreneurial group in America. I looked high and low to find businesses founded and run by black women. This article is to show young black women everywhere that we are powerful and diverse in intelligence. Black women need to know we are more than secretaries, waitresses and reality tv stars (no offence to black women who have these occupations) We are smart, We run families and we run businesses and we all need to support these businesses.
3E Connections http://www.3econnections.com/
3E Connections is a Florida based PR firm that was started in 2007 by a Teana McDonald. The firm specializes in personalized marketing solutions for companies of different kinds of industries. The firm Specializes in public relations for companies, social media management and email marketing. Teana McDonald says she became an entrepreneur because “I wanted to build my own dreams and do it on my terms. I’m thankful for what I’ve learned in the corporate world but having the freedom to create the culture and vision on your own is priceless.”
826 and Co. https://826andco.com/
Handcrafted, non toxic hair care & skincare products. Made in America from the finest natural ingredients. 826 & Co. creates products using the power of nature to help correct perceived flaws or concerns. They desire to formulate luscious creations that get results. So they’ve omitted chemical fillers and created products with natural ingredients sourced from around the world. Every product is made by their hands in small batches. 10% of net profits will go to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education and The Global Orphan Project.
The Painted Pretzel https://www.thepaintedpretzel.com/
These delicious treats started with a black mom in her kitchen and today it can be found at many retail locations. The Painted Pretzel can also be bought online and offers many flavors for example chocolate pretzel with sprinkles on it, white chocolate, pretzels with peppermint on it and pretzels with candy on it. This brilliant snack idea was started by Raven Thomas. When I asked her how she got into entrepreneurship she explained “I decided to make pretzels as Christmas gifts to safe money. People ended up liking them so much, they wanted to pay me to make them for them. Eventually, making pretzels turned from a fun hobby to a business”
Cozy Oasis https://www.cozyoasis.nyc/
Cozy Oasis is a NY based vacation rental management & concierge company. They offer cleaning, laundry, and guest communication services. Anyone can use this service whether you are renting out your property or are accepting temporary guest. You can even order one time service online. The company was founded by Ashley Warmington. When I asked her why she became an entrepreneur she answered “The word freedom is a term, in some cases, attached to education and thus status amongst one's peers. There is some validity in that thought process. But I observed that the truly free individuals (black or white) owned businesses and they were well versed in financial literacy. They didn't necessarily have a higher education. Yet they had a control over their destiny and their family's future. They had the means and resources to positively affect the community around them.”
Hypnotique Creations https://www.hypnotiquecreations.com/
This business sells oils and baths for aromatherapy. Aromatherapy has been around for thousands of years. Ancient cultures extracted oils from plants as a way to heal mental, physical and spiritual ailments.
The smells of combined oils create a relaxing and soothing experience that reduces stress, anxiety, and other discomforts. Aromatherapy coupled with meditation elevates the mind to new levels of awareness which aids in reducing stress levels. The different smelling flavors such as Green Tea, Jasmine and money. This online soothing business was started by LaTonia Taylor and she says she joined entrepreneurship “because I wanted to have the opportunity to bring my value and commitment to the world. My grandmother raised me to be proud of who I am and where I come from. She also spent her career as a housekeeper. I chose to make her and myself proud by becoming a business owner. I decide my company culture, I decide the message I want to share with the world, I decide how much money I can make. I also have an opportunity to so what I love without asking permission from someone to do it. I can now show my children the true meaning of Empowerment by living it.”
Health Resource Solutions, LLC (HRS) http://healthresourcesolutions.com/
Health Resource Solutions is a boutique, woman and veteran owned management-consulting firm that specializes in developing innovative solutions in health and social issues for public and private organizations that serve vulnerable and disenfranchised communities. The president and CEO said she became an entrepreneur because “I realized that no one was going to pay me what I was worth, I had the knowledge and skills to do more, better by working for myself and because starting a business would allow me to leave a legacy for my family that I would otherwise not be able to do working for someone else. Being an entrepreneur gives me a degree of autonomy that allows me to constantly challenged and free to do the things I enjoy, like traveling.”
Luv Scrub http://www.theluvscrub.com/
Luv Scrub is daily body exfoliator used in west Africa for cleaning and smoothing skin. It removes dead skin and dirt with every use. For just $18 on their website one can order a mesh body exfoliator that comes in light blue or dark blue. Luv Scrub was started by Caroline Ansah who explained why she became an entrepreneur. “I’ve dreamed of being my own boss since I was a kid. I always knew it was what I supposed to do. The reason why I started LUV SCRUB was because I needed a change. My career in Visual Merchandising was always filled with uncertainty especially now since stores are closing and changing to the e-commerce platform. I also wanted to write my own story and control my own destiny. I have a great product that I believe in and have been using my whole life, a strong foundation from my career and a lot of passion. All these factors are so powerful when starting a business. I knew this was the perfect company for me to start and I’m so glad I did. The best part is my Customers tell me everyday that they “LUV” it and are now hooked. This West African bathing tradition is now a part of their everyday routine. It is the best feeling. “
Emore Campbell: Wedding Experience Curator
Emore Campbell turned her name into a business!!! Emore Campbell is a wedding experience coordinator for weddings big and small. I asked her what caused her to become an entrepreneur and she explained, “Entrepreneurship has always been in my DNA - I entered the workforce at 14 working at a local amusement park and exchanged my time selling sandwiches and t-shirts, so I could get into my high school basketball games for free. I loved the hustle, the art of persuading someone and turning their stubborn "no" into a "yes." After several years of working for "a boss" day in and day out - I got the courage to turn to entrepreneurship after my boss complained about my work performance. She said my ideas were too big and not executable, that my writing needed work, that although I was securing top tier placement in the New York Times and Vogue - that I just seemed like I didn't want to be there. She was right about one thing - I didn't want to be there. I had already started taking on outside clients at the firm and was constantly plotting my next move. I'm fueled by entrepreneurship obviously by the freedom to work for myself , but also because l love to prove naysayers wrong and do the unthinkable. It would have been easier to go to another job, punching the clock and passing the time - but I knew I'd run into the same 9-5 style boss, Who would encourage me to color inside the lines. As an entrepreneur no idea is too big - because anything is executable. I'm now a wedding planner executing big ideas everyday. My writing didn't need "work," as I'm now a freelance writer and copy editor for some of the countries most popular publications. Unless you have millions in the bank, you're going to have to work for somebody - so it might as well be yourself.”
Tinsel Experimental Design http://www.tinsel.nyc/
TINSEL is an event design shop based in Brooklyn, New York, that creates custom décor, styling, floral arrangements, and curated lifestyle pieces. When asked why she jumped into entrepreneurship she answered “ I started my business with two partners because I had felt underutilized, unappreciated, and uninspired working for a series of other people. I couldn't imagine going through my entire professional career dreading going to work each day, so the only option I saw was to create the kind of job that I wanted. Especially looking at the women whose trajectories I would be following, I was not about that life. I wanted a job where I could voice my opinions without fearing rejection; where I had control over the money I made and how my success was measured; where I had flexibility to travel and take time to recharge at my own discretion; and where my opportunities to grow weren't limited by someone else's bottom line. I worked too hard in school to settle for less. So when establishing my business, I was intentional about identifying trusted friends that I knew shared the same vision, values, and work ethic to make that happen.”
JH Collaborative is a Dallas based communications and content creation agency that was founded in 2007 by Jordan Hora. I asked her why she became an entrepreneur she explained. “There were (and still are) several factors that gave me the inspiration to launch my business. While handling the PR and marketing needs for several Fortune 500 companies, I slowly realized I was working for organizations that were once an idea birthed decades before by individuals just like me, people who had asked, "why can't we do it this way?" Years ago the founders of these Fortune 500 companies literally turned their ideas coupled with their experience into revenue generating organizations that I now work for. So, why can't I follow that same model? I can absolutely couple my ideas with my experience, toss in a little creativity and add something I only can offer the marketplace and do exactly what these great founders did. Why not me?
I realized this even more when thinking about my first job following college. One of my first career positions after working at The White House, was for a female entrepreneur. It was a boutique agency where wearing several hats was one of the keys to being successful. I learned and saw first-hand from the Founder & CEO and in a way it served as my training ground for how I'd want to be when my day came.
Additionally, I became an entrepreneur because I desire to show the world my way of how influence can be used for good and leveraged to bring about understanding from around the world in hidden and unique places. My company doesn't exist just to turn a profit. We exist to offer people additional sources and resources to learn from and be inspired by when needing to find inspiration, creativity and purpose in the world. I didn't see anyone else doing what I'm doing now, so naturally I had to create it.”
Nicolet Beauty https://www.nicoletbeauty.com/
Nicolet Beauty is a cosmetic line started by a black woman to make all women feel beautiful. I asked her to tell her story about entrepreneurship and she explained “I actually had another business before I started Nicolet Beauty. I was a fashion designer and had my own clothing line back in 2004. I was selling online and to a few stores. Things were going okay, but not great. I didn’t have enough operating capital and I couldn’t find an investor or qualify for a loan. So I had to shut it down in 2008. That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with. I was so discouraged. At the time, I had no plans whatsoever to start another business. I found a retail job. But, I was so depressed. I would come home from work and just lay in bed watching television or YouTube videos on my phone. Then I discovered I could watch YouTube on television, using their app. I wanted to learn how to do my eyebrows correctly, so I started watching makeup tutorials. But of course I didn't stop there.. After about 6 months, a makeup addict was born, and I ended up perfecting my entire makeup application routine. About a year later, I decided to start doing videos myself.
One day, I was thinking about a lipstick color that I would love to wear. But I couldn’t find it anywhere. I went to stores and searched online. No one was selling it. I decided to see if I could make it myself. I found some YouTube videos about handmade lipsticks. Then I bought the tools and ingredients. It took months of trial and error to finally get it right. I named the color Rocklin, after a town in California (I live in Los Angeles.) I showed it to a friend and she wanted one. As I started thinking about how much time and money it had taken just to create that one color, I decided I might as well make it a business. That’s how Nicolet Beauty was born. That was in 2015.”
Beyond Soaps http://etsy.com/shop/BeyondSoaps
Beyond Soaps sells soaps made of organic ingredients. I asked the founder what made her become an entrepreneur and she answered “Why I became an entrepreneur? I grew up in a family where my parents owned a catering business. So I've always been around entrepreneurship and was taught that you should always have a side hustle in case something happens with your full time job. I actually started my first business in middle school selling snacks out of my backpack. In high school I would write English papers for my classmates for a fee and I also hosted parties. I started Beyond Soaps, my sustainable lifestyle company, out of a desire to preserve my aging skin by using natural products. After posting a picture on Instagram people began to place orders and it became overwhelming because I was making products for myself. But when I saw there was a need to fill a gap with middle age women I took what I knew and made it a business.”
Blu Skin Care, LLC https://www.bluskincare.info/
"Blu Skin Care, LLC” was created by actress/model Zondra Wilson after years of being asked "What do you use on your skin?” Zondra’s family is from the South and her mom and aunt would tell her stories about how they couldn't afford expensive skin care products and how they used natural ingredients like Olive and Coconut Oils.
“Blu” manufacturers the only American-made USDA certified organic powdered facial cleanser sold in the United States. Zondra is also the only female, African American owner, manufacturer & distributor of a skin care company with USDA certified organic accreditation in the United States.
Blu Skin Care products are Cruelty Free, Gluten Free, Non-GMO, Vegan, No Parabens, No Polymers, No Sulfates, No Artificial Colors or Fragrances. Their ingredients are plant-derived and formulated with botanicals. Blu Skin Care is committed to all of its products being nutritious for your skin and as close to 100% USDA certified organic whenever possible.
Kazmaleje has hair products made especially for black girl hair. They have special shampoos, conditioners and detanglers made for black and kinky hair. The best part about the these hair products (as everything else on this list) it’s owned by a black woman. She explained why she became an entrepreneur by telling “I decided to become an entrepreneur because I wanted to have better control of my time and how I use it. I was tired of being tied down to a desk and wanted to leverage my skills in more diverse, dynamic ways. I became my own CEO in 2013 and have not looked back. “
Ponch Cosmetics http://www.ponchcosmetics.com/home.html
Black women are making strides big and small in the cosmetic industry. We are often under represented in mainstream makeup companies and in the media. This cosmetic line was built by a black woman for black women. The founder said she got into entrepreneurship because “My business started as a school project four years ago. In my Marketing class, I had to market a product that I loved and was knowledgeable about so I chose cosmetics. Once I successfully completed the project, I was encouraged to launch. So, I did. The soft launch was successful and my new business was born!”
Kaike Cosmetics https://www.shopkaike.com/
They believe in making products that are GOOD for your body and the environment, in using only CLEAN all-natural + vegan ingredients, and in finding every opportunity to have a little FUN celebrating our natural beauty! The Founder and CEO explained what got her into entrepreneurship. “A migraine turned out to be a milestone for me. After suffering from constant headaches, I started to take a good look at the beauty products I was using for my skin and hair and found that the natural products I was using on a daily basis were not so "natural" after all. Deciding to create my own handmade beauty products not only prevented my migraines but along the way KAIKE was born, giving me my first foray into entrepreneurship.
“Not only was it the encouragement of friends and family to share KAIKE with the rest of the world but having children changed my thoughts on becoming an entrepreneur and starting my own company.
Prior to starting a family, owning my own business was just a dream but I was fine with holding down a 9-to-5 and going about my life. But being an entrepreneur became a reality for me after having children. Thinking about their legacy and wanting to set an example of leadership, independence and financial freedom, I created KAIKE in order to have more time to spend with my children and have the flexibility to experience all that life has to offer them.
When we start a business, especially within the Black community, we think it begins with point A and ends with point B, when we should be thinking about A through Z. With KAIKE, I not only want to leave a legacy behind for my children but also give them the option to grow wealth and continue spreading GOOD CLEAN FUN within the beauty industry.
KAIKE was not only created with my children in mind but also as an ode to other millennial boss women and mompreneurs, too. Wanting to be a resource for women, I take pride in KAIKE being an example that you can be an successful entrepreneur whether you're a woman of color, mom or both!”
AC Miller Consulting, LLC (no website as of now)
AC Miller Consulting LLC is an IT consulting firm founded by a black woman. It’s pretty hard to find black women in technology and entrepreneurship at the same time and we are are often represented in these two fields. She became an entrepreneur for several reasons she explained “The first reason was due to lack of recognition and acknowledgement from my current employer. I was a manager with a great reputation. I had received several glowing reviews from my customer. I made several long lasting impacts to the organization and I was considered a thought leader that many people went to for advice and information. I realized that I reached a ceiling with my company when I asked them about advancement and they said they did not have any advancement at that time. I asked them areas I could work on to improve on and they said I was a fantastic. Well later I found out one of my counterparts (who has not made nearly the amount of contributions I have made) was promoted. So at that time I decided that I needed to find a new employer.
Second reason, when I started looking for employers I found an opportunity that was looking for 1099. So I decided to go for it and become an independent contractor. When I gave my two (but actually four weeks) to my employer about leaving. They were devastated and of course said they will match and beat whatever offer I have. I told them I started my own IT consulting company. Then the whole conversation changed. At that point I told them a salary is a non factor for the independence, satisfaction, and challenge of building my own company. So instead they said they will bring my company on a subcontractor and they will act as a protege for me.”