Black-owned businesses could see a boost this August with the launch of a new marketplace that aims to bolster African-American sellers.
Headed by tech consultant Love-leigh Trimiew, HellaBlack.com will feature an array of gifts, fashion items, kids’ apparel and beauty products created by Black-owned companies. Trimiew hopes the platform will ease the burden on these businesses, 41 percent of which have been forced to close under the economic strain of the coronavirus outbreak.
Drawing from her experience running a technology firm, Trimiew said the state-of-the-art site would be powered by digital marketing experts adept at building e-commerce channels. The dedicated marketplace will allow Black-owned businesses to break through the noise of other oversaturated online platforms, and market directly to Black consumers and shoppers interested in supporting Black-owned enterprises.
Trimiew also hopes the community of vendors will pool their advertising dollars to draw attention to their collective efforts.
“I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs and witnessed firsthand the obstacles small business owners face,” Trimiew said. “I took all those experiences and built a technology-first platform that makes it easy for Black people to find businesses that reflect our own communities.”
HellaBlack.com has committed to donating a percentage of its earnings to charitable organizations supporting Black causes, and to “remain an active participant towards social justice through economic empowerment,” Trimiew added.
HellaBlack.com is currently attempting to raise funds to supplement its August launch through a Kickstarter campaign. Prospective brand partners can visit the site for more information about how to join the platform.
The news comes in the wake of designer Aurora James’ call for retailers to carve out a portion of their shelf space for Black-owned brands. Dubbed the 15 Percent Pledge, the campaign now has its own Instagram page, which has attracted tens of thousands of followers.
Bolstering the Black community boils down to good business. “At 47.8 million strong and a buying power that’s on par with many countries’ gross domestic products, African Americans continue to outpace spending nationally,” Cheryl Grace, Nielsen’s senior vice president of community alliances and consumer engagement and co-creator of the the firm’s 2019 Diverse Intelligence Series Report on African Americans, said in a statement last year.
In addition to finding that Black consumers, with $1.3 trillion in annual spending power, indicate an affinity for premium store like Saks Fifth Ave (63 percent), Neiman Marcus (45 percent) and Bloomingdale’s (24 percent), the report also revealed that this demographic is 20 percent more inclined to “pay extra for a product that is consistent with the image I want to convey,” relative to the rest of the population.
What’s more, many Black shoppers fully expect commerce to intersect with causes, as 42 percent of this consumer cohort expects the brands they buy from to fund issues facing the community, 16 percent higher than other demographics, according to the Nielsen report.
E-commerce marketplaces have grown in prominence since the pandemic began, as homebound shoppers rely almost exclusively on online channels for all of their retail needs. While web titan Amazon continues to reign supreme with its unrivaled selection of gadgets, home essentials, clothing and more, big-box retailers like Walmart are attempting to close the gap.
After growing 74 percent during the last quarter, the ubiquitous superstore upped the capacity of its Walmart Marketplace—which, like Amazon, features independent sellers—by partnering with e-commerce and point-of-sale technology firm Shopify. The alignment will augment the reach of participating sellers, giving them access to 120 million monthly marketplace visitors.
Though contemporary U.K.-based fashion site Asos launched its fashion marketplace in 2010, the platform has grown in relevance over the past decade—and exploded in recent months. Housing vintage sellers and independent clothing brands, Asos Marketplace onboarded more than 80 new partners during the month of April alone—a 100 percent year-over-year increase.
Sustainably minded brands have also come together during the retail shutdown, with the launch of eco-conscious e-collective Sum of Small Parts. The web-based popup shop, hosted by New York-based Naked Retail Group, launched Monday with lifestyle labels selling footwear, home goods, supplements and more.