Business

Houston’s BLCK Market gives ‘buying black’ a boost







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A Houston-based company on Sunday kicked off day two of its annual Black History Month event where tens of thousands of socially-conscious consumers are expected to find it a breeze to buy Black.

BLCK Market, the company, is hosting its Black History Month Market outdoor sales event from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST on Sunday at Karbach Brewing Co, which is located in the city’s Spring Branch East neighborhood.

“We have the largest bi-monthly gathering of Black-owned businesses in the entire nation,” founder J.O. Malone said in an Instagram post promoting the event.

BLCK Market specializes in giving Black small business owners a prominent place to offer their brands and products to thousands of shoppers. It gives business owners added exposure at its Pearland Town Center storefront location in Houston and its online store.

Black business owners tend to have a harder time securing investment capital.

Prior to 2020, there were an estimated 2.5 million Black-owned businesses in the United States, according to U.S. Census data cited by Forbes. Only about 1% of those businesses were approved for loans during their first year of operation, according to a Stanford University study.

The same study found about 6% of white-owned businesses secured funding during their first year.

“Many banks and investors won’t work with a company unless they have years of sales data,” Alicia East, BLCK Market event manager, recently told the Houston Chronicle. “We’ll help founders make those sales and network so they have a strong foundation for their business.”

More than 15,000 people visited BLCK Market’s Black History Month events last year, according to the Houston Chronicle. East is hoping to have 25,000 people attend this year’s events.

BLCK Market’s services have become more critical amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had more severe effects on Black-owned businesses.

Kilali Cosmetics business owner Tope Adubi-Ashcroft, who moved to Texas from Nigeria in 2019, launched her skincare and cosmetics company a month before the pandemic hit Houston in 2020, the Houston Chronicle reported.

She was was one of the more than 50 small business owners, artists and performers who participated in a BLCK Market event on Saturday.

“Not only am I trying to start a business in a new city where I don’t have any connections, but now everything is shut down,” Adubi-Ashcroft told the Houston Chronicle. “It was a lot of hustling and resilience.”

Amanda Garner told the Houston Chronicle on Saturday that she and her 14-year-old daughter Makenzie Wilborn were happy to see the market’s events for Black History Month.

“I love to support smaller Black vendors, but it can be hard to find them,” Garner told the newspaper. “I’ve found companies through past market events that I still buy from today.”

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