Creating and successfully maintaining a business is a tough feat for anyone and it relies primarily on continuous community support. This is especially true when pertains to a black-owned businesses, which need the love and support of the black community to ensure staying power. But a new program called theBOM is looking to do its part in making sure that black-owned businesses have all the support they need for lasting success.
theBOM, which is short for Black-Owned Market, is a curated pop-up market experience, that makes it convenient for people to shop black-owned businesses. Founder Michelle Dalzon wanted to create a space that supports the growth of these businesses by eliminating the cost of maintaining a brick and mortar space, and thus theBOM was born. What many outside of the business world may not know is that black Americans currently have $1.2 trillion dollars in buying power but yet only $0.02 of every dollar goes back into black-owned businesses.
Dalzon recently held her second pop-up shop at WeWork Times Square on August 12 with 15 local businesses in the hopes to increase the circulation of black dollars. Some of the local vendors included: independent candle company LIT Brooklyn, clothing company Byas and Leon and upcoming natural hair magazine CRWNMAG.
We recently spoke with Dalzon about the pop-up event that occurred earlier this month, why helping black-owned businesses is so vital to their overall success and future plans for program expansion.
Hello Beautiful: What was the inspiration for the pop-up event?
Michelle Dalzon: The inspiration behind theBOM stems from my parents who own a beauty supply store in Massachusetts. I saw how important it was to have a Black business in the community and the inspiration it provided to shoppers that they too can start their own companies. New York has a wealth of brands and I wanted to present them in a unique way separate from another list or directory.
HB: How was this year’s turnout?
MD: We met our goal of surpassing 300 attendees, so I would say the turnout was great. The beauty of this event is that this is an intimate shopping experience. The atmosphere allows you to shop, network, and chill comfortably.
HB: What is the importance of brick & mortar? Is there a direct correlation to poor sales performance from companies that don’t have that access?
MD: If we are really trying to change the alarming stats in the media I think it’s important to establish a headquarters that would serve as a place to shop with our vendors in person on a regular basis. The brick & mortar would also serve as a co-working space to equip our vendors with skills to grow their businesses. Business owners can use this as a launchpad to test their products in front of a live audience.
HB: What are some unique challenges that black business owners face when it comes to retail?
MD: Most businesses owners are not yet ready to own a brick and mortar store or it just simply doesn’t make sense. This will be their opportunity to have their own space w/o breaking the bank to do so. For many of our business owners, we’re providing press, new clientele, and affordable rental spaces.
HB: How can black business owners raise their profile?
MD: Perfect their brand and tell the right story. It’s important to establish your brand so that consumers and partners can take it seriously. Followers ultimately don’t matter if your brand is sub-par.
HB: How do you select the companies who are able to participate? How can people get involved/apply if they are interested?
MD: My rule of thumb is if I would not personally shop there than the average person wouldn’t either. It is extremely important for me to support quality Black businesses that make an effort to maintain their brand. We aren’t supporting brands just because they are Black. It is important to provide value to our shoppers. They have come to trust and invest in the consumers they find at theBOM. The interested vendors can email us directly for consideration.
HB: Is this something you are looking to spread nationwide?
MD: Yes, most definitely in due time. Funding is always the biggest issue.
The full list of the vendors who participated in this year’s theBOM event on August 12 is below: