Stepping Up in August: HBCU Leggings and the Power of Black Business Month

Stepping Up in August: HBCU Leggings and the Power of Black Business Month

Did you know that August is Black Business Month? As we recognize the importance of Black-owned and -founded businesses, HBCU Leggings stands proudly in support of Black schools, institutions, and entrepreneurship. Established in 2004, Black Business Month pays tribute to the resilience and achievements of Black entrepreneurs nationwide. Lean into the transformative impact of Black businesses, the barriers they overcome, and the increasing demand for Black owned and led organizations. Embrace the spirit of Black Business Month by supporting brands like HBCU Leggings, as we build a brighter future together, celebrating the creativity and empowerment of Black-owned businesses.

August brings with it a unique and powerful moment of celebration - it's Black Business Month! This special occasion, established in 2004, serves as a dedicated time to acknowledge, appreciate, and support Black businesses across the U.S. During this month, Nordstrom takes center stage, creating meaningful experiences that are built around Black enterprises while fostering local community ties. All month, Nordstrom shines a spotlight on Black-owned and Black-founded brands, all while propelling the march toward a more diverse and inclusive marketplace.This annual event provides a platform to celebrate the achievements, resilience, and creativity of Black businesses. It is a time to recognize the unique challenges faced by Black-owned businesses, such as limited access to capital and resources, and to show support for their growth and success.

#BuyBlack Market Pop-Ups: Celebrating Black Creativity and Entrepreneurship 

A thrilling highlight of this year's Black Business Month at Nordstrom is the introduction of the #BuyBlack Market Pop-Ups. Throughout August, six Nordstrom stores across the U.S. will host these vibrant markets, offering customers an opportunity to explore a carefully curated selection of local Black businesses. Step into a world of creativity and talent as you discover innovative brands like UOMA BEAUTY, founded by Nigerian-born Sharon Chuter, who aims to redefine beauty industry norms and celebrates individuality. Another fantastic find is SPGBK Watches, a brand born out of a mission to inspire and support people, with each watch made from sustainable materials.

The #BuyBlack Market Pop-Ups are more than just shopping events; they are celebrations of culture, identity, and the power of representation in the retail landscape. By attending these pop-ups, customers not only support Black-owned businesses but also contribute to a cultural exchange, appreciating the unique stories and inspirations behind each brand. It's an opportunity to make a meaningful connection with the people and ideas that make these businesses thrive.

The Importance of Black Business Month: Nurturing Growth in Black Business

Why is celebrating Black Business Month so crucial? The numbers speak volumes - currently, only 2 percent of U.S. businesses with employees are Black-owned, and Black-owned brands represented less than 1.5 percent of the total retail spend in 2020. This underrepresentation is a result of the systemic barriers that Black entrepreneurs face, from access to capital and resources to fair market opportunities.

However, there is an undeniable and growing demand for inclusivity and diverse representation on retail shelves.The global management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, estimates that companies better meeting the needs of Black households can tap into an astonishing $300 billion in unmet demand. This immense economic potential is a testament to the value and relevance of Black businesses in today's marketplace.

Amidst these challenges, there is a glimmer of hope as Black business ownership is experiencing its fastest growth in 26 years. This surge in Black entrepreneurship demonstrates the resilience and determination of Black entrepreneurs to carve their paths in the business world.

However, Black-owned businesses continue to face unique challenges that make them more susceptible to economic shocks. According to McKinsey, only 4 percent of Black businesses last longer than 3.5 years, compared to around 55.5 percent of all businesses. These challenges underscore the need for ongoing support and advocacy to ensure the long-term success and sustainability of Black-owned businesses.

Nordstrom's Ongoing Commitment to Supporting Black Business

Nordstrom is more than just a participant in Black Business Month; they are steadfast champions of the cause. In 2020, they pledged to deliver $500 million in retail sales from brands owned by, operated by, or designed by Black and/or Latinx individuals by the end of 2025. This commitment is not just a marketing slogan but a tangible effort to level the playing field and create economic opportunities for underrepresented communities.

And in 2021, Nordstrom doubled down on their commitment by signing the 15 Percent Pledge. This pledge, founded by Aurora James, calls on retailers to dedicate 15 percent of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses. By joining this pledge, Nordstrom took a bold step toward increasing the visibility and representation of Black-owned brands in their stores.

With dedication and passion, Nordstrom made significant progress toward their goals. They recorded over $177 million in retail sales from Black and/or Latinx individuals by the end of 2021. This milestone is a testament to Nordstrom's commitment to promoting economic equity and supporting businesses founded and operated by individuals from historically underrepresented communities.

Fostering Thriving Communities: Nurturing Black-Owned Brands

For Nordstrom, supporting Black-owned and -founded brands is more than just a business endeavor; it's a mission to create thriving communities. They understand that their influence goes beyond the retail shelf.

Nordstrom revamped their Supplier Onboarding process, making it faster and more efficient for brands of all sizes to join Nordstrom's platform. This streamlined process ensures that Black-owned and -founded brands have equal access to opportunities and resources, creating a level playing field for all entrepreneurs.

With monthly campaigns and founder features on, Nordstrom consistently spotlights these brands. By elevating their stories and products, Nordstrom creates a powerful platform for increased visibility and customer engagement. Through these efforts, Nordstrom ensures that Black-owned and -founded brands receive the recognition they deserve, amplifying their voices and empowering them to reach new heights of success.

Nordstrom actively seeks out vendors that align with their values and can scale and grow in partnership with the retailer. By establishing meaningful and sustainable relationships with suppliers, Nordstrom helps build a strong foundation for these nascent brands to flourish and thrive in the long run.

A Call to Celebration and Support

As we embrace Black Business Month, we are reminded of the immense power that each of us holds as consumers. Our choices and actions can shape the landscape of business and contribute to a more inclusive and equitable future. By actively supporting Black-owned and -founded brands like HBCU Leggings, we not only contribute to the growth and prosperity of these businesses but also drive positive change in society.

Shop at HBCU Leggings to wear your values proudly, with a wide selection of stylish and empowering HBCU apparel. Enjoy free shipping on orders over $100, making it easier than ever to support a brand that embodies the essence of Black Business Month.Through our support and patronage, we can collectively make a significant impact on the economic empowerment of Black business.

Bibi Mama is a first generation Beninese-American actress born and raised in Mansfield, CT. Growing up she watched her father, an English professor and author, continue the Yoruba oral tradition through storytelling, which inspired her. She earned her B.F.A. from Howard University and recently finished her MFA at the Old Globe/University of San Diego MFA Graduate Acting Program.
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