Event aims to help Black-owned small businesses get the word out, make profits

PITTSBURGH — Black-owned small businesses say selling their products at vending events can be critical during the holiday season.

“Sales are very important — you go into business to make a profit and be profitable,” said Monica Jackson, owner of Glam R’ Us.

For Jackson, who started her designer-inspired boutique less than a year ago, the holidays are a time to grind.

“From Thanksgiving through probably almost Christmas Eve, I’m busy every weekend,” Jackson said.

According to a recent study done by American Express, 78% of holiday sales will determine if a small business can stay afloat. For Black-owned businesses, the stakes are much higher — it’s make or break.

“I have to think about, OK how much is this going to break me if I don’t make a profit,” Jackson said.

That’s why vending opportunities like the one hosted by Hill & Company Events Center, another Black-owned business, are lifelines for Black entrepreneurs to network, sell, and ultimately gain more exposure.

“It’s been a beautiful, beautiful blessing to meet so many entrepreneurs,” said Erica Young with Viney Vybrationz Holistic Healing.

Young owns a health and wellness business where she makes and packages essential oils, candles, crystals, and all types of natural healing products by hand — something she loves but can be expensive.

“If I don’t have a good holiday season, it sets me back because I do spend a lot of money investing into my products,” Young said.

That’s why she says it is critical for Black entrepreneurs to tap into their community, and with African American spending power at a record $1.6 trillion last year, the business owners whom we spoke to say the holidays are a huge opportunity.

“People are going to spend what they want, so if given the opportunity and the chance, I am here for them,” Young said.

These business owners say they just hope customers think about small businesses first during this holiday season.

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