How You Can Support Black-Owned Businesses from Your Living Room

Things are going left, and fast. Across the country, and the world, things are going into shutdown mode due to the rapid spread of the unprecedented coronavirus. For some of the strictest limitations, like in San Francisco, citizens are not allowed to leave their homes unless it is for basic necessities like doctors appointments or grocery shopping. In areas that are only seeing a mild number of cases, the restrictions are still getting tighter by the day: bars and restaurants are closing; storefronts are shuttering; congregations of people are banned; and schools are being shut down. Just this weekend, y’all were still going to brunch and church with not a care in the world, so I can’t really say that these measures, as draconian as they are, aren’t warranted . . . but damn. STAY IN THE HOUSE.

But. However. As most Black Americans know, when things get tough for the country, things get even tougher for Black folks. Our unemployment rates are always higher, our access to capital is always more limited, and our ability to withstand economic downturns unscathed is much lower. The times ahead will be trying for most, defining for many, and insurmountable for some. Some folks truly will not make it. We can’t let the only ones that do be the Amazons and Walmarts of the world, though.

There is no better time to remember how key our support is for small businesses in general and Black-owned businesses in particular. With Black-owned businesses serving as the primary source of employment from African-Americans outside of government work, we cannot let them falter or fall. Now, Black folks know how to make something out of nothing and how to get creative, so I already know the innovations will abound. I’m waiting for the stories of some new age Underground Railroad to emerge as Black folks grind through quarantine. But until the super-extra creative solutions start to pop up, here are some basic ways to support your favorite Black-owned businesses:

1.       Shop online with Black brands! Sooooo, we may be a bit biased about this, given that Nile’s whole mission is to connect consumers with Black-owned brands that sell products online, but I mean, y’all are on the internet right now and there are thousands of brands out there waiting to ship you some tings. You can always support Black brands by heading to their dot com and placing an order. If you need help finding the brands that make the things you’re looking for, just use our search function to find what you need. And if you want to make sure you’re finding the brands that fit your interests, use our filter function to make sure that you’re only seeing businesses that cater to your needs.

2.       Follow brands on social media and share their content! If you know about amazing brands, follow them and share to let others know about them as well. The reason that I created Nile was because I realized that people want to buy Black but oftentimes don’t know where to shop. Don’t be stingy during this time of need!! Tell us about your faves! And remember that you can find the social media information for each business listed with Nile in the Connect with Nilist section. With people hosting quarantine parties on the Gram right now, you don’t want to miss out.

3.       Gift some e-giftcards to Black brands to your folks. I’m sure you will have some family and friends that could use a bit of love and support in the form of a gift card over the next several months. Send them something that they can use to get their needs met, that will also support a Black-owned business.

4.       Write reviews for your faves. As we saw with the recent HoneyPot fiasco, reviews matter. That’s why the racists of the internet went straight for HoneyPot’s reviews, and why the lovers of dope Black things had to combat the bad reviews with good reviews to help the company flourish. It’s also why Nile offers the ability to read and leave reviews for every business listed on our site. People are exponentially more likely to buy from a business if they have something to base their buying decisions on. So head to our search bar or discover page, find your favorite Black brands, and leave them some reviews so other Nil-vigators know how dope they are. We know y’all can take a pause from your Netflix . . . we’re sorry, your “work from home” binge in order to write a few reviews. Camman.

5.       Advocate for small Black brands with your local stores. Y’all seent what I seent the last time you went into the grocery store. Those shelves are looking ran through. Purell is a foregone conclusion. But, there are so many Black-owned alternatives out there (shout out to one of our favorite Nilists, Lizzie’s, for having some dope and NATURAL hand sanitizer and soap options on deck). And they barely ever get the shelf space they deserve! When you go to the store and they are struggling to stock the big brands, now is the perfect time to serve as a local advocate for the smaller brands. Ask the manager have they heard of X brand and tell them they should consider stocking it. Email your local store and tell them about a small Black brand that can help fill customer needs in this crazy time. Tag your local store on your favorite brands’ social media accounts! And let your favorite brands know when there may be an opportunity for shelf space in your local store! Remember that Connect with Nilist section on each business’s listing with Nile? You can find email and phone info there too to let your favorite Black brands know about opportunities!

Dassit for now, fam. Wash your hands (and take showers too) and mind your business, and other Black-owned ones too. And if you want to stay in the loop with Nile and other dope Black things, get on our mailing list below.


-Khadijah R.


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