If you have ever made buying Black a specific goal of yours, then you know that it can be hard as hell to do. One family in Chicago even made it their mission to only spend their dollars with Black-owned businesses for a full year, and ended up authoring an entire book about how hard of a year it was. That’s the situation in Black-Mecca-of-the-Midwest Chicago, of all places! Sometimes trying to hunt out Black-owned businesses that do or make the specific thing you need when you need it can feel like waiting for something intelligent to come out of your president’s (yours, not mine) mouth.
There are millions of black-owned businesses across the U.S., and the number of businesses started by Black women, in particular, has grown tremendously in the last decade. There is just a huge disconnect when it comes to finding them.
There are a lot of helpful resources out there. Webuyblack.com serves as a sort of Black Etsy, giving vendors a platform to set up mini shops on their site. Shoppe Black publishes a great series of article compilations on different Black businesses of interest, such as the recent “18 Black Owned Businesses That Most Likely Serve Better Fried Chicken Than Popeyes” published as the Popeye’s chicken sandwich craze took hold. Official Black Wallstreet and Katika are great apps that help connect you to local Black-owned businesses and services. But no one of these resources really fully services the online shopper looking to buy Black.
Which is why I created Nile.
I know folks are tired of having to go deep into the recesses of Google to find a Black-owned business making the products they want or to figure out if a brand they see online is actually Black-owned. And if you’ve ever been Blackfished (Black Opal until very recently), then you know that “what the hell” feeling you get when you think you’re being sooooo dope by supporting a Black-owned business, only to find out that the Blackness of the models and the advertising was just a front for the real owners the whole time.
Nile is all about ease, convenience, and assurance. It’s easy to use. It’s convenient for discovering Black-owned products online. And it provides assurance that the brands listed on our site are wholly or partially Black-owned. It’s also an experience. We’re not just throwing information at you in a phone-book format. We’re connecting you with Black-owned brands online in a meaningful way that lets you discover more about the founders, the ethos, the products, and the communal space occupied by the business. So go ahead. Nil-vigate.
- Khadijah R.