Culture

Philadelphia Couple Sets Out To Create The First Global Black Business Directory

Philadelphia Couple Sets Out To Create The First Global Black Business Directory

Thanks to the commitment of this couple, very soon it will be much easier to #ShoppeBlack. 

In 2015, Shantrelle P. Lewis, a native of New Orleans, and her husband Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson, a native of Nigeria, embarked on a mission to make it easily accessible for Black people to find and support Black businesses across the globe.

SHOPPE BLACK boasts itself as a one stop shop for all things black owned across the globe. The site features extensive lists of Black owned nail salons, farms and gardens, clothing stores, yoga studios, and those are just the ones on the home site. They also profile breaking news about Black businesses and offer a variety of content ranging from Serena Williams’ investment in Mahmee, a company fighting maternal mortality, all the way to a list of affordable Black owned satin bonnet companies. 

The company first started as a Facebook page to direct people to Black businesses. Each of them were working separately on other things, Lawson pursuing entrepreneurship in the States and on the continent of Africa, and Lewis on her work as an art curator, focusing on the history, art and culture of the diaspora. Shoppe Black was the couple’s way of merging their two loves to make an even greater impact in the world. 

On August 2nd, SHOPPE BLACK launched a Kickstarter campaign to expand the business. In just 2 days, Kickstarter had already named it a “project [they] love” and the campaign has already raised over $15,000 towards their initial goal of $30,000. Their stretch goal is $100,000 in 30 days. The funds will go towards launching the international Black business directory, expanding their content and launching a business agency to help Black business owners with everything from branding and marketing to “offering access to a variety of business loans and credit via a strategic partnership with a Black owned business funding company.” 

Photo courtesy of Shoppe Black

Lewis spoke to Because Of Them We Can about why the work they’re doing is so necessary. “We all know the importance and value of SHOPPING BLACK. We know the statistics of the 1.2 trillion buying power of Black people in the U.S. We also know of the socio-economic devastation that happened to the Black community post-integration. What we're working on solving for is how to not only create and access wealth that can be passed down generationally, but how to design for a future that allows us to thrive as a people globally.”

Since its inception, the company has interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs and highlighted thousands of Black businesses. Lawson said their goal is sustainability and longevity for Black businesses everywhere. “This isn't just another Black biz directory. Google them and there are hundreds of them. SHOPPE BLACK is a multi-dimensional platform that we established to support businesses, not only so that they survive but that they can compete and thrive.”

SHOPPE BLACK is a lifestyle for us. We believe in conscious economics. Everything from our wedding ring designer to many of the services we utilize day to day are done by people of African descent,” the couple told us.

We agree that this is a necessary game changer. You can learn more about the campaign here.