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5 mins read

Conscious Consumerism & Racial Justice: The Importance of Supporting Black-Owned Businesses

The term “conscious consumerism” refers to the practice of being conscientious of the effects of one’s purchasing choices on both a personal and societal level.

This can include a range of factors like supporting marginalized communities, fair labor practices, and environmental sustainability.

Supporting Black-owned businesses is one aspect of conscious consumerism that we are particularly passionate about.

Supporting Black-owned businesses has the potential to empower the Black community economically as well as combat systemic racism and advance social justice.

Black entrepreneurs have been disproportionately affected by the history of systemic racism and discrimination in the United States, which has also restricted access to funding, customers, and other resources.

The National Bureau of Economic Research estimates that in 2017, the revenue disparity between Black-owned and non-Black-owned companies was around 23%. Even after accounting for variables like business size, industry, and location, this gap still exists. Customers can directly support the reduction of this gap and the advancement of economic equality by choosing to patronize Black-owned businesses.

Supporting Black-owned businesses can help address issues of representation and visibility in addition to economic empowerment. Many Black business owners have struggled to get their goods and services recognized and publicized in the general market. By making the decision to patronize Black-owned businesses, customers can contribute to boosting the visibility and voices of these business owners as well as drawing attention to their goods and services.

Customers can actively support Black-owned businesses in a number of ways, both online and in their own neighborhoods. One of the most effective ways is to simply choose to spend your money with these companies rather than with big, established corporations. Simple examples of this include choosing to eat at a Black-owned restaurant rather than a national chain or buying food at a farmers market run by Black people as opposed to a chain store.

Customers can also look for sources and directories that highlight businesses in their area that are run by Black people. Lists or directories of Black-owned businesses have been compiled by numerous cities and organizations, and they can be a useful place to start when looking for companies to support. Many options are available for searching for and buying products on websites like ours.

Customers can support Black-owned businesses by recommending them to their friends, family, and followers on social media in addition to making purchases from them. Word-of-mouth advertising has a lot of power, and a quick social media post or recommendation can do a lot to promote a Black-owned company and bring in new clients.

Finally, customers can help Black-owned businesses by supporting laws and policies that are advantageous to them. Supporting legislation that gives Black-owned businesses access to funding and resources or making an argument for their inclusion in government contracts and procurement procedures are two examples of this.

It’s crucial to understand that promoting social justice and battling systemic racism involve more than just supporting Black-owned businesses. Other actions that consumers can take include taking part in demonstrations and advocacy campaigns, giving financial support to organizations that promote racial equality, and educating themselves about racial and racist issues.

However, consumers can make a difference and help bring about positive change by patronizing Black-owned businesses, which is a concrete and effective way to do so. Customers can support Black entrepreneurs’ economic empowerment by choosing to patronize these companies and recommending them to others, as well as by encouraging representation and visibility for this group of business owners.

Individual consumer choices can have an impact and help build a more just and equitable society in today’s increasingly interconnected and globalized world.

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2 mins read

Why Black Businesses Fail (Part 5): Lack of Knowledge

In an unsophisticated and non-technological world, running a business is not rocket science. As I travel the so-called developing world, I see entrepreneurship thriving along streets and roadsides everywhere. All it takes is a spot to sell one’s wares, and business can boom. No special knowledge is required.

However, one entrepreneur’s success signals an opportunity, and other entrepreneurs join the fray soon. This competition, evolving sophistication, and modernization make it more and more difficult to be successful in business even in the developing world. Now consider starting a business in sophisticated and technologically advanced America where competition is robust.

Some entrepreneurs initiate a business because of their romantic image of being a business owner, or they start a business just to prove that they are capable of being an entrepreneur. However, before establishing a business they fail to study not only the science of business in general, but the science of business that is specifically related to the type of business that they seek to operate.

Starting a new business is surely not a case of “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.” It takes knowledge to start a new business, and one is well warranted in studying the science and art of business before setting out to achieve this goal.

What knowledges are basic prerequisites for business operation? Consider economics, accounting, finance, statistics, history, industrial organization, demography, psychology, information technology, logistics, and advertising.

It is not necessary that one have degrees in all of these fields, but a successful business operator must be knowledgeable in each field. In addition, entrepreneurs must be specialists in the goods and services that they produce and sell.

We all know that “knowledge is power,” and one will need all of the power that one can muster in order to be successful in business.

Contributed by Dr. Brooks Robinson


Founder of

2 mins read

Why Black Businesses Fail (Part 4): Insufficient Financial Capital

Starting a business can be viewed as a strategic game. Like all games that one intends to win, one must begin with a sound strategy. A key component of a business startup strategy is to have sufficient financial capital to promote the business to profitability.

Not operationalizing this strategy is akin to beginning a battle knowing that there are 10 kill targets, but having only seven rounds of ammunition. Such a situation seems doomed to failure, and generally is.

Why do entrepreneurs find themselves in this situation? Quite often, it is because of a poor business plan. That is, a business plan can be based on an inaccurate market study, the plan can overstate the potential market share that the new business might garner over the course of time, or a business plan’s proposal for price setting can be inconsistent with reality.

In these cases, the business plan leads the entrepreneur to believe that the financing required to initiate and sustain the business to profitability is less than what will actually be required.

Consequently, after the business is underway, the available financing and the revenues generated are insufficient to sustain the business to profitability, unless they contact a reputable business finance company to help them out. Belly-up it goes.

On the other hand, an entrepreneur can ignore the financing required to develop the business to a point of self-sustainability as dictated by a good business plan.

In his/her eagerness to start the business, he/she charges ahead knowing that there is insufficient financing—hoping for a miracle or that some other turn-of-events will prove the business plan wrong.

Too often, the business plan is proven correct, and the entrepreneur finds that he/she must close the business because there is insufficient financial capital to develop the business to the profitability point.

A fundamental key to business success is having sufficient startup financial capital. If you want to be successful, then find a way to find sufficient financial capital to initiate your business and sustain it until it is profitable.


Contributed by Dr. Brooks Robinson

financial capital

Founder of

3 mins read

Why Black Businesses Fail: Discrimination from Black People

Part of Shoppe Black’s mission is to help reduce the rate at which Black Businesses fail. To help identify and understand some of these reasons, we’ve enlisted the help of economist Dr. Brooks Robinson for a multi part series entitled “Why Black Businesses Fail.” Enjoy and stay tuned for upcoming parts!

It is propitious to expound on the necessity for Black Americans to not discriminate against each other, to unite, and to reap the benefits of unification. For example, one noted social critic said: “Blacks should be like the so-called Jews. See how unified and successful they are.”

Another social critic responded: “That’s too much to ask. Jews have supposedly been around for thousands of years and have learned well the hard lessons of disunity.

Black Americans have only been around for 400 years—only 150 of those years free from chattel slavery. Give us another 500 years and see where we will be.”

The thinking of the latter social critic is logical. However, as learned people who can read the history of the Jews and know our own history, it is perplexing that Black Americans should take another 500 years to respond appropriately to the painful lessons of disunity.

What we know is that there are three primary reasons why Black Americans discriminate against Black businesses. First, some Black Americans simply hate themselves and everything Black. Second, some have been duped psychologically into thinking that “someone else’s ice is colder.” Third, some Blacks have experienced negative outcomes with Black businesses.

The first two reasons cannot be resolved by Black businesses—these are issues that can only be overcome by self-introspection by Black Americans.

However, the third reason can be rationalized. Simply put, Black businesses must ensure that their products and services are of the highest possible quality so that no aspect of business performance serves as a reason for Black Americans to discriminate against Black businesses.

The thinking is that few Black Americans discriminate for the first reason, and the number discriminating for the second reason is declining. Therefore, if Black businesses provide high-quality goods and services, discrimination should become less and less of a failure factor going forward.


Contributed by  Dr. Brooks Robinson

Black businesses


Founder of