Latesha Williams and Jay Bobo joined forces to create the foundation for the popular card game “Black Card Revoked” in 2015. Together with Jay Bobo’s mom, they have turned a basement side hustle into a multi-million dollar business that creates unique and memorable experiences for Black communities.
“A big piece of Black Card Revoked is integrity. We are Black people and know what the experience is like,” says Williams. “By creating that shared connection, it’s a love letter to Black culture and the Black experience.
Williams adds, “During trying times, that is really key to helping people gather together and find strength. We have created a product that provides education and humor. But most of all it celebrates the resiliency of being Black in America. I think that has really touched the hearts of our customers and allowed them to continue to support us. It brought some fun into their lives as everything around them continued to shut down and limit them. We are grateful that the community has opened their arms to us and allowed us to be that for them.”
The Making of Black Card Revoked
Williams and Jay Bobo started as bloggers and brand strategists, building expertise that allowed them to work for some of the biggest names in music, sports, and media.
Williams gives credit to Black Enterprise for her entry into sports marketing and working with Jay Bobo.
“Black Enterprise was the foundational piece to helping me get in front of Lebron and Maverick,” says Williams. “I was a rookie writer and pitched a story. Then, I immediately got on the phone with Maverick and his publicist and it turned into a job interview. It eventually led me to move to Ohio and work with Lebron and Maverick at LRMR marketing. I had the luxury of working with Jay and we acted as an internal agency for all things digital for Lebron.”
A few years later, the duo decided to use their experiences, research, and data insights to develop gaming experiences that met the needs of Black audiences.
“It started with us working with Lebron and trying to figure out how to monetize his digital following,” says Jay Bobo, a full-time software engineer and developer. “Then, we started thinking of ways to develop products so that we could sell directly to his fanbase.”
Williams adds, “We got to that point after we doubled down on the analytics. We were the nerdy kids digging deep into who that audience was, how old they are, and where they were.”
The research process paved the way for ideas that Williams and Jay Bobo could execute. They started looking at business models and became students of the game. “We looked at the data we had and tried a lot of things,” says Jay Bobo. “We started thinking about industries that we could work in that haven’t been disrupted. The cool thing about games is that there wasn’t a huge investment that we would have to make into it.”
Going from Side Hustle to Black Card Revoked Entrepreneurs
Black Card Revoked was developed to engage players with fun trivia about Black pop culture and history. The game has garnered attention from all over the country, making its way into Target and attracting support from the Obamas, Oprah Winfrey, Kevin Hart, and many more. The game has also turned into the first Black culture game show on BET, called “Black Card Revoked.”
“Know the customer and focus on your customer experience,” says Jay Bobo. “Gain an understanding of what they want and what they will actually pay for. Charge upfront because you are not really learning anything if you are giving away stuff for free.”
On the first day of sales for Black Card Revoked in 2015, the revenue numbers exceeded expectations. “We sold 800 games in one day,” says Jay Bobo. “We sold around $250,000 of presales within 72 hours. From there, we did a little over half a million dollars within our first six months.”
Despite the pandemic, Black Card Revoked hit record numbers in 2020. “It’s a great time to start an online business. Pay down your debt, get your credit in order, and then save,” says Jay Bobo. “If you’re not ready, there’s nothing wrong with that. Go find somebody who has had a track record of success growing and selling businesses and go work for them. Take whatever job that you can get because that helps. And ask a lot of questions.”.
Williams adds, “Take advantage of where we are in the world. Digital is the equalizer for people of color to create wealth in a way they haven’t done it before. The access to digital is the equalizer to everything you need to successfully become an entrepreneur right now.”