The Empowerment Experiment ended in December 2009, but Maggie and John Anderson of Oak Park, Illinois, have yet to return to their previous consumer habits, at least not completely. The couple continues on their mission to “buy Black,” with the exception of a few things where no alternatives exist such as groceries—since the only Black-owned grocery store in Illinois shut down mid-experiment—health insurance, a cell phone provider and utilities.“It’s not like a diet to me, I just can’t go back,” says Maggie. Blackenterprise.com spoke with the Andersons, founders of EE, about the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses, demystifying the myths and why you can “buy Black” with the click of a button. Check out their tips!
Get your mind right. It’s a common belief that it’s “too hard” to find a Black-owned business. Debunk that! They’re out there. Of course, it may be easier to walk into a regular or discount department store; however, go the extra mile to find a Black-owned or invested business and support an entrepreneur. “We found tons of awesome businesses when we were doing The Empowerment Experiment, and we still support them till this day,” says Maggie.
Research. It takes some work, but these businesses are out there and it’s important that they have the community’s support. The Black consumer dollar stays in the community for a mere six hours, while in the Asian, Jewish, and Hispanic communities, to name a few, the dollar is recycled back into the community, lasting anywhere from 7-29 days on average. Want to find a directory for Black-owned businesses and services? Visit izania.com, blackbusinessnetwork.com or eefortomorrow.com.
Create a list of what you can get. Although a list of who you’re buying gifts for is helpful, what you can realistically buy (under these provisions) is essential. That will determine where you can shop.
Shop online. The Anderson’s will do 70% of their Christmas shopping online this year. They plan on buying from mass retail sites such as Carol’s Daughter, Sean Jean, and smaller ones like Jordan’s Closets.