Memphis Event Planner Turned Her Juneteenth Shop Black Festival Idea Into $1 Million Revenue For Black Businesses

Cynthia Daniels, a highly-respected event planner in Memphis, just held her second Juneteenth Shop Black  Festival. The event attracted hundreds of Memphis residents who were excited to support local businesses. Last year, her brilliant Juneteenth virtual experience generated over $1 million in sales.

The Juneteenth Shop Black Festival took place on Saturday, June 19th at Fourth Bluff Park on Front Street. The event featured live music, food trucks, a dance section, and local vendors. More than 50 Black-owned businesses participated in the festival, according to ABC Local 24.

“People need to understand that when they’re spending money with a Black business, you’re recirculating that money so they can reinvest it, they can expand their team, they can expand their business, invest in more marketing to have a larger platform,” Daniels said during a video interview with ABC Local 24. “When you are shopping Black you are really helping that business thrive.”

The Making of Juneteenth Shop Black Festival

When the pandemic hit in 2020, many small business owners were forced to shut down. Unfortunately, this led to a drastic decrease in revenue for millions of Black business owners across the country.

Even Daniels had to pause operations last year. As an event planner, she hosts large-scale events throughout the year. Some of her most popular events include Soulful Food Truck Festival, Black Christmas Expo, and Top 40 Under 40. Due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions, Daniels had to cancel 10 large-scale events last year. She was preparing to take the year off until a Mother’s Day Facebook post sparked the idea for a virtual festival.

“This all happened organically because of Mother’s Day weekend [2020]. My mother lives in Atlanta and I live in Memphis. This was the first time in years I was not going to be able to go home for the holidays. So, I decided to send my mom a care package filled with goodies from my favorite Black businesses in Memphis,” Daniels shared with Black Enterprise.

She added, “Then, I thought there are probably people like me who are stuck in Memphis and can’t get home to their moms. Let me share these business owner’s information on social media.”

Daniels’ posts spread across the internet and instantly boosted online sales for struggling business owners. That’s when she developed the idea for the Juneteenth Shop Black Virtual Experience.

Juneteenth Shop Black Festival Boosts Revenue for Small Business Owners

Over 100,000 visitors tapped into the virtual experience. The event helped 100 Black businesses multiply their sales within 72 hours.

“I wanted to create a virtual platform that would help black businesses that had experienced a loss in income and had to halt business operations,” says Daniels. “My goal was to get at least 50 black businesses in Memphis to participate. When I put the information out there, I started receiving emails from all over the country from business owners who wanted to be a part of this, and that’s when I knew this would be something big.”

This year, the virtual experience turned into an outdoor festival. The Juneteenth Shop Black Festival was the first major event that many business owners and residents attended since the pandemic started.

Daniels’ Facebook timeline was filled with positive reviews from the event.

Once again, Cynthia Daniels was able to leave Black business owners with thousands of dollars of revenue within a few hours.

McKinsey & Company’s released the economic state of Black America report last week. It reveals that there is a $1.6 trillion revenue gap between Black businesses and other racial groups. Approximately 96% of all Black-owned businesses are sole proprietorships. Most are concentrated in sectors with low growth prospects and profitability. The report states, “if Black-owned firms matched the average scale of their industry peers, they would add another $600 billion in revenue.”

With Daniels’ leading the charge for economic advancement, the future of Black businesses in Memphis is promising.