By Darlene Donloe
Nikki Porcher was tired of Black women entrepreneurs not receiving the support they needed.
So in 2016 she took it upon herself to do something. First, the Trenton, New Jersey native created the Buy From A Black Woman challenge and started blogging about Black women-owned businesses and how to support them.
Next, she created a grant to support Black women financially. Her efforts evolved into an organization called Buy From A Black Woman, which provides Black women business owners with the education, resources and support they need to succeed.
Since its launch, Porcher said Buy From A Black Woman has empowered, educated and inspired Black women business owners as well as the people who support them. The organization connects over 600 Black woman-owned businesses across the United States and provides a community of support.
Through funding, educational programs that include workshops, webinars and video content, and an online directory featuring hundreds of businesses owned and operated by Black women, Buy From A Black Woman ensures that Black women have the tools and resources they need. The organization also has a Black Woman Business Grant, a financial empowerment program that helps Black women business owners take their ideas to the next level.
In addition, there is a Black Woman Business Accelerator Program, a seven-week training program for Black woman business owners seeking to get a better understanding of current, social, financial and environmental concerns that affect their businesses.
A Buy From A Black Woman Holiday Market, presented by H&M, will take place Dec. 2 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Westfield Century City shopping center.
Some of the Black women vendors participating in the event includes LAMIK Beauty, Mahogany Brown Candle Co., Sainte Nèl, SUNNY&TED, and The Artsy Girl.
I recently spoke to Nikki Porcher about the upcoming event and Buy From A Black Woman.
DD: Why should people buy from a Black woman?
NP: When you support a Black woman business owner, you support a whole community. Black women lead when it comes to community care and support. As business owners they’re also creating jobs, helping develop and invest in infrastructure, attracting more business and paying taxes that support community development and lead to improvement.
All of this helps improve the community’s wealth, which positively affects health, education, and other areas of life. Black women are never doing things alone. We never do anything just for us. We support a whole community. Our work supports whole communities.
DD: Are you a Black entrepreneur as well? If so, what do you sell? Have you been successful? If so, explain.
NP: I don’t consider myself an entrepreneur in the traditional sense. My measure of success is defined differently as well. That is because Buy From A Black Woman is more than just a “business” I run. Yes, we have commerce, we sell merch, we have to identify opportunities, come up with solutions, secure resources, and navigate challenges to achieve business goals, all the things that you do with a business, however, everything we do revolves around questions like, “How will this help Black women? How will this push our mission forward? Do Black women feel seen, heard, and supported?” My primary focus is social impact and bringing equity to the retail landscape, rather than financial profit.
DD: How many times has the event been held in Los Angeles/Century City?
NP: We’ve held the Buy From A Black Woman Holiday Market presented by H&M in Los Angeles twice. This year will be our third year.
DD: How many people usually attend the event?
NP: It varies, but it’s usually anything from 100 people upwards. Last year we had a number of visitors, from Brandy to Richard Lawson. And I even got to meet the Black woman that Erika Alexander’s “Living Single” character was somewhat inspired by, Nina Shaw.
DD: How many Black female vendors are involved in the holiday market?
NP: This year we have 25 Black women business owners participating in the Buy From A Black Woman Holiday Market presented by H&M in three different cities. In addition to L.A., we will also host markets in New York and Atlanta this year.
DD: What kinds of wares can people expect at the holiday market?
NP: People can expect all kinds of products that are perfect for gifting during the holidays, from artwork and stationery to baked goods, beauty products and even bags and accessories. If you’re looking for it, we know a Black woman business that has it.
DD: Do all of the products have to come from Black woman-owned businesses sold in H&M locations?
NP: The Buy From A Black Woman Holiday Market presented by H&M is to highlight businesses owned and operated by Black women that are part of the Buy From A Black Woman Community and part of the Buy From A Black Woman Online Directory.
DD: How long has the organization been affiliated with H&M?
NP: H&M has been our trusted partner for just over three years now. They’ve been very supportive of our mission and we look forward to doing even more incredible work together in the future.
DD: You started the organization in 2016. What kind of increase in support of Black women have you seen?
NP: I’ve seen waves of support since 2016. There’s been an increase in programs, but often without financial support or with very small grants and funding that don’t compare to the capital being given to other groups. After the social justice uprising, there was an increase in support, with more people buying from Black women and supporting them in other ways, but that’s decreased significantly and may be even lower now than it was in 2020.
What we need is an increase in long-term support because supporting Black Women Business Owners throughout the challenges of the entrepreneurial journey is how we make a lasting impact.
DD: What makes you proud regarding the event?
NP: Black women are being seen, heard and supported.
“The Q&A” is a feature of Wave Newspapers asking provocative or engaging questions of some of L.A.’s most engaging newsmakers or celebrities.
Darlene Donloe is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers who covers South Los Angeles. She can be reached at email@example.com.