Small Black businesses are thriving during COVID-19

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WALKAMOON boutique is a small online/pickup business in Detroit that has been growing since the pandemic. Owner Miya Allen’s fur-styled parkas are a popular quarantine style-trend this winter.

“I would always create and market my own content and everyone would ask who did it. I started taking it seriously once I saw my talent in it,” Allen said, who owns WALKAMOON boutique.

WALKAMOON home-screen website design.

Allen said she always had a taste in fashion. And, that she always believed in her vision for the WALKAMOON brand. She loves being self-made and appreciates how far she has come.

Allen started her business selling moon boots, then she moved into the section of selling over-exaggerated fur parkas. Both of which she sought out to sell because of the lack of availability in the city. Quarantine helped her boutique and overall brand grow due to social media advertising and marketing during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Facebook and Instagram Advertisements help grow my business. Being able to express myself through the content I put into the world. I love being able to share my perspective of fashion with others, it’s my favorite thing about being an entrepreneur,” Allen said.

Allen said her business expanded from marketing/advertising locally on social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook. She says specifically the Facebook group “DETROIT HAIR AND NAILS” has helped her business make a name locally in the metro area. Allen said Detroit has many supportive and loyal customers, that local small businesses must not get discouraged and should stick together.

“To be truly happy and at peace with whatever you put your heart into while adding more to the world, is the definition of success to me,” Allen said.

Image: Headshot is of the owner Ke’Shyra Green.

Ke’Shyra Green is an entrepreneur and is always thinking about how to grow her startup business. Green is the owner of Paradise Lash Extensions and wants to put her stamp on the city. Green is trying to gain new customer flow during the pandemic, as a traveling makeup and lash technician.

Green said social media has helped strongly impact her local customer flow since COVID-19. Since the pandemic, Green says her customer sales have increased by 32%. She says this allowed her to gain a new marketing perspective.

“COVID-19 cannot stop my drive for success, but instead increase my urge to grow and learn,” Green said. 

New perspectives and successes during COVID-19 are expressed in sitting down with three successful local businesses over Zoom. “Since the pandemic, businesses have been filled with hard workers who are putting their lives in danger on a daily basis in the pandemic,” Green said.

“I put myself at risk for my passion and although I thought about not accepting clients, that would poorly affect my business flow and failure is not an option,” Green said.

Green talks about the safety precautions she requires of herself and clients. She says it’s important for everyone in her business to participate in active handwashing and wearing a mask that covers the entire nose. In doing eyelash extensions she says it’s important to be clean, and how easy a person can become infected when being so close to the facial area.

“The thing that motivated me to create my business is my family, I don’t want to see them struggling. I want to be able to grow my business and make as much money as I can to support my family,” said Timia Griffin, who owns Allure Divine Cosmetics.

In the Zoom interview with Griffin, she said her business has been increasing in popularity. In making sales in both Detroit and Atlanta, said Griffin, her Instagram followers have positively  increased due to many people choosing a healthy lifestyle in efforts to better avoid COVID-19. This beauty skin-care line prides itself in stocking handmade products and has been successfully growing since the pandemic.

“I was like ‘Hey, I’m going to create my own lip-gloss’,” Griffin said.

  Image: Allure Divine Lip-gloss

Griffin chose vegan homemade products because it’s the safer route. She said she got into cosmetics after having a dream about selling different colored lip glosses.

Twitter has also become a branding tool for Griffin. She shares how she feels it is important to advertise her business on their platform. Griffin arranges for her business to have photoshoots for new products, and even promotes them herself.

“Professional branding has had a positive influence over my business, and for that I am grateful,” Griffin said.

According to the New York Times, securing aid for struggling businesses has been difficult. In late March 2021, Congress passed the $2.2-trillion CARES Act, which authorized $659 billion for Paycheck Protection Program loans to help small businesses meet payroll and other expenses.

“In three years hopefully, I see my cosmetic line in stores and if not, I see myself having a larger variety of cosmetics, and I’ll be doing wholesale, plus I’ll have a clothing line,” Griffin said.

A survey of nearly 6,000 small businesses by Main Street America in late March and early April showed that almost 80% had closed at some point in the first weeks of the pandemic and that entrepreneurs needed help. The physical connectivity of our places  —  and the people and small businesses within them —  are helping small businesses more durably withstand the crisis said Michael Powe, Director of Research.

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