When we created The Empowerment Experiment, we knew things would be different. We knew we were going to miss certain businesses, services and products that we had grown so accustomed to using. What we could not predict or begin to prepare myself for is how absolutely fulfilling the shopping and the small sacrifices would be.
We’ve met some extraordinary entrepreneurs. We’ve discovered some of the best businesses in the world. We’ve made so many new friends who are genuinely committed to facilitating positive change in America, and bringing much needed vitality and economic development to struggling black communities. We go to bed every night knowing we’ve helped a black entrepreneur realize his or her dream; and helped create a new role model for black youth.
What an amazing way to live! That’s our powerful life.
So thank you Joslyn, owner of Jordan’s Closets on 51st street in the Bronzeville neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. Thank you for enabling this great life. Thank you for never giving up, as you bring your beautiful one-year old son to work with you everyday… even when your store was broken into three times in one month… where you provide our community with the most adorable children’s clothing and a wonderful role model for girls and moms alike.
Thank you Selena Cuffe, owner of Heritage Link Brands (a 2009 Black Enterprise Small Business Awards winner), for enabling me to live my new great life, my powerful life. Thank you for giving up your executive position in corporate America five years ago to now become the largest importer of African wines and distributor of wines from black wineries.
Thank you Debbie and Delxino Wilson de Briano, for my great life. Thank you for devoting all your talent and time to uplifting our community through self-help economics. Thank you for launching the Black Business Network this week and building the successful TagTeam Marketing enterprise—the largest black-owned network marketing organization committed to introducing, marketing and selling black-made and distributed goods and services. Thank you for using your millions to manifest your belief that black products, services and talent are some of the best in the world. Thank you for believing that and sharing that belief with the world in such an honest, eloquent, brilliant and momentous way.
And thanks so much Kerry Vine, owner of Health Conscious Coffees, for creating a delicious and healthy product and taking the time to introduce me to it in such a classy fashion. I salute you for finally deciding to identify yourself as a Black business, at the risk of losing some of your market or alienating potential customers, including those who claim they never pay attention to race when they shop but somehow spend no money with black-owned businesses. EE thanks you for committing to building community centers in under-served black neighborhoods to ensure that our at-risk kids have positive, nurturing environments and outlets to play and grow in. I send you love and thanks for helping me infuse sheer power and sincere purpose into my life.
Thanks so much Nicole Jones, owner of Sensual Steps Shoe Salon, for being such an awesome inspiration and role model for our girls and our entrepreneurs. You’ve been around for four years because your store is clean, beautiful, and a pillar in the community. You insist on using your success to promote other black businesses in the neglected Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side while teaching young women to be entrepreneurs too!
Thank you, we thank all of you, the outstanding entrepreneurs and professionals who step out on faith even though the odds are against you. We know our future is dependent on your success. The growing EE nation honors you and pledges to support you.
Other Empowerment Experiment blogs by Maggie Anderson:
Maggie Anderson, a business consultant, and her husband, John, a financial advisor, have been buying black made-products and services for all of 2009. They call their pledge The Empowerment Experiment (EE). Their experiment will serve as the foundation for a landmark study on self-help economics in the Black community. They live in Oak Park, Illinois, with their two daughters; Cori 2, and Cara, who is 4.