SHOPPE BLACK

Black Founder Raises $2.3M To Help Businesses Prevent Cyberattacks

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In this Black founder spotlight, we’re speaking with Tiffany Ricks, the CEO of HacWare, a company that helps organizations identify phishing attempts and defend against data breaches.

During this interview, Tiffany shares:

  • How businesses can reduce the risk of cyberattacks.
  • Thoughts on the recent closing of HBCU, Lincoln College due to a cyberattack.
  • Raising $2.3M and what the fundraising process was like.
  • What she feels made HacWare attractive to investors.
  • The milestones that she wants to achieve in the next 5 years.

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Here’s Why Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty is Expanding into 8 African Countries

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Fenty Beauty is a cosmetics brand that was launched by Rihanna in September of 2017. The brand is popular for its broad inclusivity across skin types and tones.

Fenty Beauty initially launched in 17 countries with a vision of inclusivity and global reach at its core.

On May 10th, Rihanna announced via an Instagram post that beginning May 27th, Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin products will be available in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe and that it’s “just the beginning”.

“I am a proud Bajan who also feels a close connection to Africa, and its people,” she said in a press release.

“I’ve had the pleasure, and the privilege, to spend time on the continent and those experiences never leave you. Now, being able to bring Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin to eight African countries and then hopefully more in the future — means so much to me.”

The African Beauty Market

Africa’s population of 1.4 billion people is projected to double by 2050. 

With this population growth, the potential in the African market is enormous. With rising disposable incomes, Africa’s 18 most populated cities could have a combined spending power of $ 1.3 trillion. 

Not only is the African population growing, so is the African beauty market. 70% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa is under the age of 30. This group is the most likely to be interested in a wide range of cosmetics and beauty products.

According to recent reports, the beauty and personal care market share in Africa is expected to increase by $1.26 billion from 2020 to 2025, and the market’s growth momentum will accelerate at a CAGR of 2%.

Some of the influential factors that are increasing market growth include the rising middle-class population and the rise in online shopping trends.

Another key factor driving growth in the beauty market in Africa is a demand for innovative products that address multiple concerns within a minimal time span.

Lastly, more African women, especially in the middle class, have attained higher education, allowing many to pursue careers that offer higher than average income and the luxury of spending on premium products, including skincare and cosmetics.

Fenty Beauty undoubtedly sees the potential in this promising market and has made its move.

 

Tony O. Lawson


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How to Reduce Your Facebook Ad Costs

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As more and more businesses utilize Facebook ads, the higher the competition on the platform—which results in a hike in the cost of advertising.

More number of players within a specific industry also means that your ads won’t reach as many potential leads as they can. But Facebook ads are crucial to any promotional strategy, so marketers cannot let go of them.

Facebook is the largest social media platform with the most users worldwide, so it’s a compelling platform for advertisements, despite the high costs. So how do you create a successful Facebook ad without burning a hole in your pocket?

This article highlights steps you can take to reduce advertising costs and optimize your budget. Keep reading to know more.

Get an Airtight Marketing Strategy

If your Facebook ads aren’t attracting as much attention as they should be, don’t always try to optimize your ads to expand reach. Try to figure out why or how you’re losing your target audience’s attention.

Bear in mind that while Facebook can track everything that happens on its platform and direct customers to your brand, it cannot track what customers do on your website and how they interact with it. Potential leads may access your website through Facebook, but they may choose to exit the website quickly if you do not have a fast, user-friendly, or mobile-friendly site.

Facebook cannot track and analyze customer action on your website. Using other analytical tools such as Google Analytics can help you prudently spend your marketing budget in an efficient way.

Effectively Use First-Party Data

Identify your target audience’s preferences, concerns, and expectations and alter your advertising strategy to address them. You can utilize the first-party data that Facebook tracks and stores on its platform to develop smart marketing strategies to expand reach and increase engagement.

Develop a brand awareness campaign to promote the posts, videos, and blogs that highlight key aspects of your business and brand image. You can reach new audiences by reverting back to advertising your fundamental services than by showcasing your expertise or skill.

An engagement campaign can also attract more organic attention to your brand and content. Optimizing your content and presenting it in a catchy and compelling way can help you gain organic traffic for your ads. Understanding the purpose of your promotional strategies can be cost-effective for your brand in the long run.

Switch Up Your Creative Style

Facebook users today are well aware of being surrounded by ads on the platform. Ads occupy a considerable chunk of space in a person’s timeline, so users find it easier to tune them out rather than paying attention to them.

During such times of advertising indifference, manually deciding where your ad should appear on a person’s timeline can help gain more attention for your brand. Surprising a potential customer with your ad placement can ensure that they actually take notice of you, thus creating brand awareness.

You can also try to make your ad copy sound more organic and appealing by adopting a casual, conversational tone. Tweaking your creative style will ensure that you expand reach and spend your advertising budget smartly and cost-effectively.

If you’re looking for digital marketing experts to optimize your Facebook ad performance, email us at agency@shoppeblack.us today.

157 Year Old HBCU, Lincoln College Now Closed Following Covid-19 And Cyberattack Related Struggles

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Lincoln College survived the economic crisis of 1887, a major campus fire in 1912, the Spanish flu of 1918, the Great Depression, World War II, the 2008 global financial crisis, and more.

Unfortunately, the Illinois-based institution has finally met its match and closed its doors for good today.

Despite record-breaking student enrollment in Fall 2019, the coronavirus pandemic dramatically impacted recruitment and fundraising efforts, sporting events, and all campus life activities.

lincoln college
Ke’Shawn Hess, a business student at Lincoln College | Credit: (Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune)/Chicago Tribune via AP)

The economic burdens initiated by the pandemic required large investments in technology and campus safety measures, as well as a significant drop in enrollment with students choosing to postpone college or take a leave of absence, which impacted the institution’s financial position.

According to a statement on the school website, Lincoln College was also a victim of a cyberattack in December 2021 that thwarted admissions activities and hindered access to all institutional data, creating an unclear picture of Fall 2022 enrollment projections.

All systems required for recruitment, retention, and fundraising efforts were inoperable. Fortunately, no personal identifying information was exposed. Once fully restored in March 2022, the projections showed significant enrollment shortfalls, requiring a transformational donation or partnership to sustain Lincoln College beyond the current semester.

A Facebook group called Save Lincoln College tried unsuccessfully to help the school keep its doors open. The school, named after President Abraham Lincoln, held its final graduation last week.

“Everyone started leaving and we said our goodbyes, but we kind of realized we weren’t coming back,” a student said. “Other universities are offering them tuition and allowing them to start into the programs there but there’s never going to be a place like Lincoln.”

 

Tony O. Lawson


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Naomi Osaka Becomes First Professional Woman Athlete To Open Her Own Sports Agency

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Four-time Grand Slam singles champion Naomi Osaka has announced that she is launching her own sports agency, Evolve.

naomi osaka

“I’ve spent my career doing things my way, even when people told me that it wasn’t what was expected or traditional,” Osaka said in an email. “Evolve is the natural next step in my journey as both an athlete and businesswoman, as well as a way to continue being myself and doing things my way.”

Osaka’s contract with IMG expired at the end of 2021, and as she explored a renewal with more flexibility in the kind of partnerships she could do, it became clear a renewal was not going to work.

Osaka started Evolve with her agent Stuart Duguid, who has also left IMG. Both will hold equity stakes in Evolve. There are no outside investors at this point.

The move isn’t unprecedented for athletes, though it’s rare.

LeBron James started LRMR for his marketing work in 2006 and entrusted close friend Rich Paul with his on-court contracts, while Maverick Carter handled business off the court.

Kevin Durant and Rich Kleinman founded Thirty Five Ventures in 2016 to operate the business of the four-time scoring champion.

However, Naomi Osaka is the first female athlete at that level to take full control of her business endeavors and attempt to build an agency.

In a recent statement to Sportico, Duguid said, “The core of Evolve is building Naomi’s business from $50 million a year to $150 million a year.”

 

Tony O. Lawson


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Mara Raises $23M for the First Crypto Exchange “Built by Africans, for Africans”

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Pan-African centralized crypto exchange Mara announced Wednesday that it has raised $23 million to create a portal to the crypto economy for Africans.

Investors include Coinbase Ventures, Alameda Research (FTX), Distributed Global, TQ Ventures, DIGITAL, Nexo, Huobi Ventures, Day One Ventures, Infinite Capital, DAO Jones, and about 100 other crypto investors.

mara
Chi Nnandi, CEO of Mara

Unlike its competitors from North America and Europe, Mara’s onboarding, support, and ecosystem reflect the needs of Africans. Customer support is easily accessed and will be available in both local and international languages.

“While there are other crypto exchanges in Africa, there is yet to be an indigenous African crypto exchange,” said Mara’s CEO, Chi Nnandi. “That’s where Mara comes in — we are a Pan-African crypto exchange built by Africans, for Africans.

The Lagos, Nigeria, and Nairobi, Kenya-based company has also announced a partnership with the Central African Republic, which just passed a bill legalizing Bitcoin as legal tender. As part of this partnership, Mara will become the official crypto partner of the Central African Republic and an adviser to the president on crypto strategy and planning.

Mara’s launch comes during a period in which political and economic instability has led to the devaluation of currencies across Africa. As a result, interest rates, as well as food prices, have skyrocketed.

“The inefficiencies inherent to the old 20th [century] centralized Sub-Saharan African financial systems has presented an obstacle to the proper development of Sub-Saharan individuals and economies for decades,” said Chi Nnandi, CEO of Mara, in an interview with VentureBeat. “A decentralized alternative (which will include but not be limited to finance, art, ownership, infrastructure, and business as a whole) will give Sub-Saharan Africans an alternative to these tired systems. Through this digital financial system — through this freedom — the region will find itself in a much stronger competitive position before other parts of the world.”

“Mara’s mission is to facilitate a more equitable distribution of capital by providing a decentralized alternative that spans across tribes, class, cultures, and countries,” said Nnadi. “Our goal is to close the gap in opportunities for Sub-Saharan individuals and establish a financial infrastructure that they can build their lives upon.”

 

Tony O. Lawson


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8 Ways to Intelligently Invest $500

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To ensure future financial stability, the best thing for you to do right now is to intelligently invest your money into profitable avenues.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to have thousands of dollars at your disposal to begin investing. With just $500, you can start investing and accumulating real, long-term wealth.

Keep reading to know how you can effectively invest your $500.

1.   Purchase a Certificate of Deposit

If you want to save for a short-term goal, certificates of deposit are a great way to invest your money. They’re safe to invest in as you get a guaranteed return on your investment, irrespective of the economy’s status. Interest paid on your certificate of deposit will be based on the initial deposit agreement you made and not market conditions.

2.   Start a Side Business

If your day job isn’t too demanding or you’d like to do something productive on the weekends, you could start a side business. Doing so will not only give you extra income but can also help you hone any other skills you have. You can buy items for cheap and flip them for profit, freelance as a content writer or graphic designer, sell second-hand goods on eBay or Craigslist, or open an e-commerce store.

3.   Pay Down Your Debt

With $500, you can pay down your debt and save thousands of dollars in interest. Getting rid of your debt as quickly as possible means that you won’t have to pay exorbitant interests to your creditors.

4.   Equity Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding refers to raising money from the public to finance a new business venture. In equity crowdfunding, public investors get a proportionate slice of equity in the business in exchange for their investment. Do some research and invest your $500 in a business that you think will provide lucrative returns.

5.   Set Up a Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP)

Purchase dividend-paying stocks and invest them into buying more stocks. Over time, you will begin to accumulate more money through these reinvestments. Your stock can also increase in value over time and boost your overall net worth.

6.   Use Robo-Advisors

Robo-advisors are automated investing platforms that manage your investments. Many financial institutions let you invest through Robo-advisors. When you sign up for one, you will have to answer questions regarding your finances. Based on your answers, the platform creates an investment portfolio tailored to your needs. When you don’t have too much money, Robo-advisors are a great way to get started on investing.

7.   Contribute to a 401(k) or IRA

Contribute your $500 to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, like a 401(k). Make it your goal to maximize your employer’s match to accumulate more money. Talk to the HR personnel in your company to see if you can make a one-time deposit of $500.

You can also invest your money by opening a Roth IRA (Individual Retirement Account), a retirement savings plan that allows you to contribute after-tax money to your investment account.

8.   Buy Savings Bonds

If you’re a prudent investor, purchasing savings bonds is a great way to invest your $500. Bonds are low-risk investments, which means that the return on investment you receive from them will be lesser than your returns on stocks. Usually, you purchase a bond at face value and receive the principal amount plus interest at the time of its redemption.

Investing isn’t as confusing or overwhelming as it seems on the outside. It doesn’t always take too much time, effort, and money. If you still have misgivings about investing your money, talk to a financial expert and ask them for professional guidance.

 

***Important: Please do as much research as you can beforehand before making any investments.***

 

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Instagram Hashtags: A Quick Guide for 2022

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Instagram hashtags have the potential to make or break your Instagram marketing strategy. When you use them properly, your posts will be seen by more people who are interested in your products or brand.

However, if you use them improperly, you can cause harm, ranging from annoying potential followers to being penalized by Instagram’s algorithm.

Continue reading to find out how to use Instagram hashtags successfully in 2022.

Four Ways to Use Instagram Hashtags

You can use hashtags on Instagram in four different ways — in posts, on Instagram Stories, on IGTV, and in reels. Let’s take a closer look at these:

Instagram Stories

  • You can add up to 10 hashtags
  • You can add a location, poll, question, countdown, quiz, donation sticker, or GIF
  • You may mention up to ten accounts in one story
  • It is possible to tag 1 product (available to Business Accounts with Shopping enabled)

Instagram Stories can be used by brands to:

  • Motivate
  • Educate
  • Run polls
  • Organize a Q&A session
  • Share customer feedback
  • Showcase the products or services
  • Share behind-the-scenes of the business or event

Show the people behind your company—you’ll notice that the more stories you add, the more engagement you’ll gain.

Instagram Posts

  • You can add up to 30 hashtags
  • To rank on Google, add Instagram alt text to your images
  • You can mark up to 5 products per post (for Instagram Business Account owners with Shopping enabled)
  • Make sure you tag up to 20 accounts for a greater chance of being featured on other pages.

 

Pro Tip: To outwit Instagram’s algorithm and increase your reach, try to get as many likes and comments as possible within the first hour of posting.

Joining a niche pod—an Instagram group of like-minded users interested in each other’s content and mutual support—is one way to accomplish this.

Members of the group like and comment on Instagram posts immediately after they are posted, which increases engagement, visibility, and attracts new followers.

It is critical to seek out like-minded users and to be genuine about the content you promote.

Instagram Reels

  • Allow you to include up to 30 hashtags.
  • Upload your Instagram Reel video to your Instagram Feed.
  • Up to 30 products or a product collection can be tagged.

An Instagram reel is a 15, 30, or 60-second video that includes audio from Instagram’s music library or something you provide. It is also possible to use augmented reality (AR) effects. Your reel could be noticed by a global audience if you have a public account.

When you share reels with specific songs, hashtags, or effects, your reel may show up on dedicated pages when a user clicks on that song, hashtag, or effect. Once your reel is ready, you can add hashtags.

IGTV

  • Include clickable links in captions.
  • Include up to 30 hashtags.
  • Add a cover photo and share IGTV videos to your Instagram feed.

IGTV videos must be at least one minute long, and can also be up to 15 minutes long if uploaded from a mobile device or 60 minutes long if uploaded from the web.

At Shoppe Black, we can help you utilize the power of Instagram to create a strong and effective content marketing strategy. To find out more, email us at agency@shoppeblack.us.

The 5 Best Vitamins for Hair and Nail Growth

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Vitamins are a kind of organic micronutrient that is vital in keeping our bodies healthy. They are responsible for keeping the cells in our body functioning normally, regulating growth and development, and also for the maintenance of healthy hair, skin, and nails.

This makes the fact that up to 92% of African-Americans may be vitamin deficient even more alarming.

If you are struggling with brittle nails that chip off easily, hair that is thinning, or skin that is dull and lifeless, you may have vitamin deficiencies.

Studies show that vitamin deficiencies can not only cause hair loss but also worsen hair loss that is caused by other circumstances.

Different vitamins are responsible for keeping different bodily functions healthy.

Here is a look at some of the vitamins most responsible for healthy skin, hair, and nails.

Biotin

Biotin is of the most important vitamins for hair growth. It is also known as Vitamin B7. It is found naturally in small amounts in foods like egg yolks and meat. Keep in mind that if you are taking certain antibiotics, medication for epilepsy, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, you are at a higher risk of being deficient in biotin.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential for your gut to be able to absorb iron, an essential mineral nutrient that carries oxygen to all parts of your body. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue, and pale skin.

To avoid this, ensure that you eat foods rich in vitamin C like citrus fruits, potatoes, and bell peppers. Taking vitamin supplements can ensure that you always have enough vitamins in your body irrespective of your diet.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is naturally made in our body when our skin is exposed to the sun. However, pigmentation can reduce the production of this vitamin and so, African-Americans are at a higher risk for developing Vitamin D insufficiency.

This vitamin is responsible for calcium and phosphorus regulation and is essential for maintaining strong bones, teeth, and nails. A lack of this vitamin may also result in red, dry, itchy patches on your skin.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps protect the skin’s two outermost layers against sun damage. It is an antioxidant, so it shields the skin from oxidative stress, allowing the skin cells to heal and regenerate at a much quicker rate while simultaneously destroying the free radicals that break down collagen. It is naturally available in cheese, eggs, and oily fish.

Vitamin E

Apart from maintaining a healthy immune system, this vitamin is essential for healthy hair, skin, and nails. It is a fat-soluble vitamin with several forms, but alpha-tocopherol is the only one used by the human body. It is naturally available in sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds, and beet greens.

Although vitamins are available from natural sources, availability, affordability, diet restrictions due to illness, and lifestyle choices may make it difficult for you to maintain optimum levels of all these vitamins through natural sources alone. This is why supplements are advised.

 

Check out Problk Health Vitamin supplements specially crafted to help ensure healthy hair and nail growth.

How Abbey Wemimo Built a Billion Dollar Business in 4 years

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Abbey Wemimo is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Esusu, the leading financial technology company helping individuals save money and build credit.

After receiving a $130 million investment in 2021, Esusu is now valued at $1 billion, making the four-year-old company one of only a few Black-owned unicorns in the world.

In this episode Abbey shares:

  • How his background and journey to America inspired the creation of Esusu.
  • How it feels to have built a billion-dollar business.
  • The factors that contributed to Esusu being so attractive to investors.
  • The initial struggle he and his co-founder Samir Goel experienced trying to raise money.
  • How Esusu benefits renters and property owners.
  • Growing pains and how they are being addressed.
  • Where he sees Esusu in 5 years.
  • Advice for founders who aspire to build sustainable multimillion and billion-dollar businesses.

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