How much more will you pay to support local Black businesses?

Zaria Hill posted in front of her RareWear table at Pop Up Shop
Photo courtesy Justin Brown

Consumers who support local Black businesses regardless of the price of their merchandise, say they’ want to see Black entrepreneurs succeed.

Florida A&M University is home to some 10,000 students, the Incomparable Marching 100 and Black small businesses. Students create independently owned and operated companies to support themselves and build their brand. 

These businesses include merchandise such as eyelashes, clothes, hair, and accessories. Many of which are available at lesser prices online. Ali Express is a popular online retail service based in China with reportedly lower and more reasonable prices than their competitors of similar services. However, local businesses allow easier access to these products at a more expensive price. 

“If a business has products on hand, of course, I’m going to purchase from them rather than online,” Kendall Simmons, a sophomore pre-physical therapy student from West Palm Beach, said. “It doesn’t feel like they’re cheating people because it’s an easier access.”

Simmons believes that Black businesses do not get enough support. She feels as though Asian and white business owners successfully invest in businesses that cater to Black people. She typically supports local businesses such as nail technicians and eyelash vendors.

Along with accessibility, supporting Black companies allows consumers to help their community. 

“I want to see the money that I put in [to Black businesses] back,” Ty’ Daja Rodriguez, a sophomore social work student from Clarksdale, Mississippi said.  “If I wanted to start a business I want them to support me in return.”

Rodriguez says she supports Black businesses because she knows what it’s like to be on the producing perspective of it. The scholar’s mother owned a barbecue stand named KnD Shack where Rodriguez also worked as a child. She watched her mom’s business grow successfully with help from the supporters of her community. She chooses to always pay homage to small businesses because her mom once needed the same support.

“To get love, you must give love,” she said. “If we don’t care for each other, who will?”

Although local businesses may price above costs, the product isn’t the only gift being bought.

“Even though other vendors may sell cheaper,” said  Zarria Hill, a student businesswoman from Miami, “my products are appealing to others for many reasons.”

Hill is the owner of Rarewear, LLC. Rarewear is a local clothing brand that supplies shoes, clothes, and accessories. Hill believes businesses can build if people condone their time and energy into creatives. She is certain she would buy her products if she were a consumer. The vendor says when people shop with Rarewear, they won’t only buy shoes or clothes, they are buying inspiration as well. 

“People should buy from me because I’m not only making a brand for only myself, I am paving the way for future business owners,” she said.