Dr. Anne Beal, founder of Black-owned skincare brand AbsoluteJOI, wants you to spend your dollars where it matters most during the holidays.
“Businesses like ours and the other people in the guide had problems with supply chain that really impacted our businesses,” Beal tells BLACK ENTERPRISE about making it through COVID. “But instead of focusing on our business challenges, I decided to lean into our strengths—and one of those strengths is our community.”
“Building on that strength, I decided to bring us together to create the gift guide that allows us all to be featured and spread the word about one another.”
With everything from skincare to fashion and home fragrances, the featured brands in this charming new gifting guide offer an array of top picks for everyone on your list!
What inspired you to release your first-ever holiday gift guide?
There are a lot of retailers and other beauty companies offering programs and accelerators for small, Black-owned businesses. I have been fortunate to participate in several this past year, and when you hear the story of the other brands and see the quality of their products, it’s inspiring.
So, I thought it would be great if we could collaborate to offer a gift guide that features so many of these brands. I am raising awareness that where people choose to spend their dollars during the holidays really has an impact, and am featuring small, Black-owned, women-owned brands with a reminder that people should Shop Where It Matters, and where our dollars matter most.
From concept to finish, what did the process look like and how long did it take?
In that past year, I’ve met a number of brands through the Workshop at Macy’s, Credo for Change, the Essence Aveeno Pitch Contest, and the Black-owned business curation at Showfields. So I sent out an email to everyone I’ve met and asked if they wanted to be featured in our holiday gift guide. The response was overwhelming and we had over 25 brands that jumped in and said they wanted to participate. Frankly, that was the easy part.
Then we started to collect images from each brand, product descriptions, and asked each one to create a unique discount code for their products that was exclusively for the gift guide to help us keep track uptake and customer interest in the guide. Small business owners are incredibly busy and tight on time, so there was a lot of following up and back and forth we needed to do to get their information. We also hired a designer to help with layout so it would be visually appealing.
What was your intention behind releasing a digital gift guide?
We wanted to make it available digitally so all of the participating brands can link to it, or download it to share with their networks. Also, digital publishing allows you to do updates in case you have any typos or errors you missed, which is great for making sure your work is always well presented.
The format allows people to print it out if they want a paper version. But there are also links to the participating brands, and many have embedded discount codes in those links, so an electronic format is best for having that capability.
How can the featured businesses benefit?
My customers love skincare. But they also love fashion, home fragrances and wine. Similarly, the other brands may offer wrapping paper with Black holiday characters, but that customer also likes lingerie and body butters. While we offer different products, our customer profiles are similar. This is a great way for each brand to get itself in front of the customers of other brands, while offering more value to their own customers by featuring products way beyond what any one brand can provide.
Tell us about your selection process. What makes them “Dr. Anne Approved?”
It starts with knowing the business and the “why” behind the business.
It’s really a combination of the story behind each brand, knowing the founder, and hearing their commitment to creating something that is different, is needed, and is excellent Plus, I have purchased and used many of the products myself. Even though we are not talking about medicine, there is an expectation that when something is “physician recommended” it’s been reviewed and looked at thoroughly, so I took a critical approach to choosing which products to recommend.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who want to invest in and support other women-led companies?
Not all investment and support need to be about money. Yes, purchasing helps, but so does liking and sharing posts on social media, writing reviews, telling friends you use a product, and being mindful of where you do spend your holiday gift budget to include small, Black-owned, women-owned brands.
It’s also about the shoutouts and word of mouth, and the more we can come together to share an exchange exposure with our customers, the more we can build an ecosystem of thriving Black businesses.
Visit https://www.absolutejoi.com/pages/black-owned-small-business-holiday-gift-guide-2022 to check out AbsoluteJoi’s gift guide.