How Black Entrepreneurs are supporting each other survive and thrive during these challenging times

Style Magazine Newswire | 9/1/2020, 2:41 p.m.

In the last few months we’ve seen many small businesses, especially Black businesses, suffer from the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the economic crisis. Following the protests that have erupted in support of Black Lives Matter, we’ve seen how so many Black entrepreneurs are stepping up and supporting other entrepreneurs of color in these challenging times.

Mark and Katrina Parris, co-founders of NiLu, a gift shop located in Harlem, saw this as an opportunity to support their community. The Parris’ struggled like so many other small businesses in New York City, but they were also determined to help others. The Parris’ decided to use the small sum they received from PPP to place orders with local makers of candles, accessories, masks, paper products and other items help them recover.

They are also planning to relaunch their art and maker pitch night in October. They invite makers and artists interested in selling their work at NiLu, and give them a five minute pitch to get their products on the shelves. In addition, the Parris’ are excited to start their free maker pop ups that run in store Saturday afternoons, in which makers receive 100% of their sales. This gives local makers a chance to get feedback, and work towards getting their products on shelves and on their e-commerce site, at NiLu.

For the upcoming holiday season, NiLu is featuring 2-5 items from last year’s pitch sessions, on the shelves and online. They are also inviting many of the makers back to sell their wares during the holiday season at their pop ups. Mark and Katrina are also creating an online pitch version which will pass through traffic to makers, who will be featured onNilu’s homepage for 1-5 days.

When the Black Lives Matter mural in Harlem was vandalized, they donated money to restore and guard the space until the street opened again to traffic.