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共享经济新思路:出租美容美发店的闲置场地

共享经济新思路:出租美容美发店的闲置场地

Rachel King 2020年06月29日
ShearShare是全球首款美容沙龙、美发店场地出租应用程序。

ShearShare的联合创始人泰伊(左)和考特尼•考德维尔。图片来源:Courtesy of ShearShare

在封城数月后,随着各种管控措施逐渐放开,人们也越发意识到有件以往非常不起眼的小事现在已经变得愈发重要,甚至已然成为急需完成的头等大事之一。

这件事就是理发。

虽然相较于饭店、酒吧,美容沙龙和美发店重新开业时在执行社交疏离政策、个人防护用品佩戴等方面会更容易一些,但在封城期间,许多造型师已经失去了工作和收入来源,他们需要重新寻找客户和工作场所。

ShearShare是一款为美容沙龙与造型师牵线搭桥的应用程序,借助这款应用程序,造型师可以按天、按周或根据实际需要来租用美容沙龙的美发椅。近期,《财富》杂志采访了ShearShare的联合创始人泰伊和考特尼•考德维尔,询问了公共卫生事件对其业务的影响,以及发型师们如何从停摆的业务中恢复过来,并了解了他们在过去几个月中如何管理自身情绪和财务状况。

为简明起见,以下采访内容有所删改。

《财富》:你们创办ShearShare的初衷是什么?

泰伊:与所有的伟大企业一样,创办ShearShare最初只是为了解决我们自己所面临的实际问题。虽然开始时影响力有限,但现在我们可以助力625座城市的美容美发业实现复苏。作为一名有着近30年执业经验的美发造型师,我还拥有美发、美容专业的博士学位。我的美容沙龙已经开了超过26年时间,在此期间也是获奖无数。我还写过一本名为《向失败学习》(Mentored by Failure)的畅销书,介绍如何在美容美发行业获得长期的成功。早在2012年,我就意识到这个行业出现了巨大变化。行业“独立化”趋势明显,几乎所有的造型师都想按照自己的想法出去单干,获得经济上的流动性。随着社交媒体和技术的兴起,如今,70%的专业持证美容、美发师都已经成为了独立合同人。这个行业现在也是自由职业者人数排名第二的行业,而且在未来八年中,业内自由职业者的人数预计还将以超过其他行业均值的速度快速增长。

但在2012年,我可没有想到自己有朝一日能为促进地方经济增长、创造就业机会做出贡献。当时,有一名造型师打电话给我,表示自己想租用一天我的空置套房。她当时刚刚搬家,而大多数的客户还在原来的地方,丢掉这些客户对她来说损失太大,难以承受。如果能在我这按天租到房子,那她就不会丢饭碗了。当时,我有点犹豫,还好我抱着一种开放的心态,也就破天荒的租房给了她使用一天。后来,她又问我是不是可以帮忙在城里的其它地方租到临时工作室,原因是我对市场双方(持证美发师和美容沙龙老板)都很了解,能够帮助她联系其他美容沙龙的老板。

很快,三年就过去了,我和妻子也一直在为造型师和有空置房间的美容沙龙牵线搭桥。与此同时,知道我们能够提供这种帮助的人也越来越多了。有一天,我们发现接听寻求帮助的电话比做日常工作耗时还多,如果市场上有一款可以做此类中介工作的应用程序,我们就能够直接推荐给打电话来的造型师,于是我们决定找找看。虽然最后的结果是一无所获,但也让我们“眼前一亮”,就是在这一天,我们决定开发全球首款美容沙龙、美发店场地出租应用程序——ShearShare。

当地方政府和州政府在今年3月开始叫停非必须业务时,留给发廊、造型师、美发师等行业从业者的回旋余地就很小了。作为一家与这些企业和从业者有着直接联系的公司,这对你们的业务有何影响?

考特尼:影响非常大,不过我们行业以前也经受过类似的考验。无论是埃博拉、2008年的经济衰退、千禧危机还是其它的经济危机都没有把我们击垮。无论是否有公共卫生事件,对美容美发行业来说,一个亘古不变的事实就是我们是一个常青行业,无论受到怎样的冲击,总能逐渐恢复元气。事实上,在美国上次经历经济衰退时,美容美发及水疗行业还增加了75,000个工作岗位。我们知道,情况最终会好起来的,只是不清楚各州的“封城”措施会持续多久。曾经经历困难的我们,后来反而更加强大,所以现在我们是满怀信心,也在将这种信心传递给整个社区,让这些造型师能够满怀希望地回来工作。

ShearShare成立于2015年。这种封城措施对你公司未来的产品开发和融资工作有哪些影响?

泰伊:影响肯定是有的,不过我们还是会继续向前推进公司的各项工作。我们没有裁员,也没有给任何员工放无薪假。相反,我们除了将注意力都放在产品上,还在进一步强化小企业客户教育,用商业教育推动业务发展。比如,我们帮助超过100名原本未获“薪资保护计划”批准的造型师和ShearShare美容沙龙老板申请到了资格。在产品方面,我们利用这段时间对企业路线的优先级进行了重新规划,并继续构建、强化自身平台。我们的团队在新季度中已经发布了10多项新功能。美容沙龙和美发店可以借助这些功能将自己的部分业务转至线上。这样,如果今年秋天各州政府再次发布居家令或者地方经济出现停摆,ShearShare的用户也能通过我们的应用程序来获取一定收入。

考特尼:我们清楚,特殊时期过后,有些投资组合公司可能就会不复存在了,也正因此,投资者在分配资金、资源、精力时会非常谨慎。事实有些残酷,但真相就是如此。好在我们很早就跟投资伙伴指明了要对业务进行分类,也在我们提出的要求中做了明确规定,所以我们有着与投资者良好沟通的渠道,待到恢复正常时,就能继续进行相关事宜的讨论了。

我们知道有些州、有些城市已经开始解封了,ShearShare将如何适应所谓的“新常态”?是否采取了足够的防护措施?工作指南是否到位?消费者在见造型师时能放心么?

泰伊:大多数人都没有注意到,其实我们超过一半的培训内容都是在讲卫生防护。作为一名持证美容、美发师,我要跟大家分享的是,按照各州执照颁发及监管机构的要求,美容、美发师要想考取相关执照,必须学习、掌握相应的安全防护措施。作为专业的美容、美发师,我们很清楚如何保护我们的客户,比如在接待新客户前后必须佩戴手套、服务前要先洗手、服务后要更换围布,并对美发椅和美发工具进行彻底清洁,还要在醒目位置放上洗手液等。为了让用户更好地学习相关知识,ShearShare不仅提供了各州的卫生防护信息,还起草了客户健康声明模板、重开业策略、杀菌剂卫生认证等文件。有了这些措施,消费者在回到美容沙龙和美发店时,会感觉更舒适也更放松。由于我们团队本身也是美容美发行业的一份子,所以我们感觉自己背负着很大的责任。

在封城期间,我们为业内人士提供了很多实用信息,包括:如何申请经济伤害灾难贷款(EIDL)基金;特殊时期,如何在家赚钱;“新常态”背景下,如何以负责任的方式、有准备地实现重新开业;重新开张后,保持与银行的关系为何十分重要;特殊时期过后,如何定价;新的安全与卫生防护措施等。我们都知道公共卫生事件在短期会内对美容行业造成重大影响,但可能没有人知道当前事件带来的变化能有多大。我们刚刚发布了一份报告,重点介绍了公共卫生事件过后的行业现状,鉴于当前的大环境,整个行业都面临着巨大变化,造型师现在的工作方式、工作时间和工作地点都与特殊时期前大不相同。

考特尼:对我们这些科技行业而言,新常态表现为,3月前使用ShearShare较少的一些州现在的使用量出现了上升,这种情况让我们颇为意外,不过也是一个很积极的信号,对我们推动地方经济复苏来说尤其是件好事。可以看出,造型师在借助ShearShare来提升自己的经济流动性,他们预定的工作场所离家更近,也更符合自身的需求。虽然出现了公共卫生事件,但是在ShearShare上挂出的理发店空房资源却更多了。

过去一个月,社交媒体上出现了更强大也更一致的鼓励消费者支持黑人企业的声音。但与此同时,也有人担心,虽然这种行动或许能够在经济下行时带来短期营收增长,但非黑人消费者或许不会长期坚持做这件事。如果想保持并扩大对黑人企业的支持,其他商业界人士可以做些什么事呢?

泰伊:首先你要了解自己所在社区的黑人企业和黑人企业家。这样就能以合宜的方式在整个社区内建立起凝聚力,催生出更强大的本地生态。无论是在黑人社区还是多元化社区之中,黑人企业一直是各自社区的支柱。作为一名黑人企业家,我很清楚,我们在几乎所有消费类别的表现都更好。我认为,如果一家企业提供了出色的产品或服务,那么无论如何,这样的企业都能得到支持,因为人们会用自己的钱投票。

而现在,我们更应该积极扩大并(为黑人企业)提供任何可能的支持,因为支持黑人企业就是在支持整个的企业界。我们可以通过口碑宣传、线上推荐、捐赠、社交媒体对话(比如 Instagram 上@pullupforchange 的对话页面)或任何其他方式来推动企业的发展。小企业是美国经济的支柱,现在是,未来也会永远是。(财富中文网)

译者:Feb

在封城数月后,随着各种管控措施逐渐放开,人们也越发意识到有件以往非常不起眼的小事现在已经变得愈发重要,甚至已然成为急需完成的头等大事之一。

这件事就是理发。

虽然相较于饭店、酒吧,美容沙龙和美发店重新开业时在执行社交疏离政策、个人防护用品佩戴等方面会更容易一些,但在封城期间,许多造型师已经失去了工作和收入来源,他们需要重新寻找客户和工作场所。

ShearShare是一款为美容沙龙与造型师牵线搭桥的应用程序,借助这款应用程序,造型师可以按天、按周或根据实际需要来租用美容沙龙的美发椅。近期,《财富》杂志采访了ShearShare的联合创始人泰伊和考特尼•考德维尔,询问了公共卫生事件对其业务的影响,以及发型师们如何从停摆的业务中恢复过来,并了解了他们在过去几个月中如何管理自身情绪和财务状况。

为简明起见,以下采访内容有所删改。

《财富》:你们创办ShearShare的初衷是什么?

泰伊:与所有的伟大企业一样,创办ShearShare最初只是为了解决我们自己所面临的实际问题。虽然开始时影响力有限,但现在我们可以助力625座城市的美容美发业实现复苏。作为一名有着近30年执业经验的美发造型师,我还拥有美发、美容专业的博士学位。我的美容沙龙已经开了超过26年时间,在此期间也是获奖无数。我还写过一本名为《向失败学习》(Mentored by Failure)的畅销书,介绍如何在美容美发行业获得长期的成功。早在2012年,我就意识到这个行业出现了巨大变化。行业“独立化”趋势明显,几乎所有的造型师都想按照自己的想法出去单干,获得经济上的流动性。随着社交媒体和技术的兴起,如今,70%的专业持证美容、美发师都已经成为了独立合同人。这个行业现在也是自由职业者人数排名第二的行业,而且在未来八年中,业内自由职业者的人数预计还将以超过其他行业均值的速度快速增长。

但在2012年,我可没有想到自己有朝一日能为促进地方经济增长、创造就业机会做出贡献。当时,有一名造型师打电话给我,表示自己想租用一天我的空置套房。她当时刚刚搬家,而大多数的客户还在原来的地方,丢掉这些客户对她来说损失太大,难以承受。如果能在我这按天租到房子,那她就不会丢饭碗了。当时,我有点犹豫,还好我抱着一种开放的心态,也就破天荒的租房给了她使用一天。后来,她又问我是不是可以帮忙在城里的其它地方租到临时工作室,原因是我对市场双方(持证美发师和美容沙龙老板)都很了解,能够帮助她联系其他美容沙龙的老板。

很快,三年就过去了,我和妻子也一直在为造型师和有空置房间的美容沙龙牵线搭桥。与此同时,知道我们能够提供这种帮助的人也越来越多了。有一天,我们发现接听寻求帮助的电话比做日常工作耗时还多,如果市场上有一款可以做此类中介工作的应用程序,我们就能够直接推荐给打电话来的造型师,于是我们决定找找看。虽然最后的结果是一无所获,但也让我们“眼前一亮”,就是在这一天,我们决定开发全球首款美容沙龙、美发店场地出租应用程序——ShearShare。

当地方政府和州政府在今年3月开始叫停非必须业务时,留给发廊、造型师、美发师等行业从业者的回旋余地就很小了。作为一家与这些企业和从业者有着直接联系的公司,这对你们的业务有何影响?

考特尼:影响非常大,不过我们行业以前也经受过类似的考验。无论是埃博拉、2008年的经济衰退、千禧危机还是其它的经济危机都没有把我们击垮。无论是否有公共卫生事件,对美容美发行业来说,一个亘古不变的事实就是我们是一个常青行业,无论受到怎样的冲击,总能逐渐恢复元气。事实上,在美国上次经历经济衰退时,美容美发及水疗行业还增加了75,000个工作岗位。我们知道,情况最终会好起来的,只是不清楚各州的“封城”措施会持续多久。曾经经历困难的我们,后来反而更加强大,所以现在我们是满怀信心,也在将这种信心传递给整个社区,让这些造型师能够满怀希望地回来工作。

ShearShare成立于2015年。这种封城措施对你公司未来的产品开发和融资工作有哪些影响?

泰伊:影响肯定是有的,不过我们还是会继续向前推进公司的各项工作。我们没有裁员,也没有给任何员工放无薪假。相反,我们除了将注意力都放在产品上,还在进一步强化小企业客户教育,用商业教育推动业务发展。比如,我们帮助超过100名原本未获“薪资保护计划”批准的造型师和ShearShare美容沙龙老板申请到了资格。在产品方面,我们利用这段时间对企业路线的优先级进行了重新规划,并继续构建、强化自身平台。我们的团队在新季度中已经发布了10多项新功能。美容沙龙和美发店可以借助这些功能将自己的部分业务转至线上。这样,如果今年秋天各州政府再次发布居家令或者地方经济出现停摆,ShearShare的用户也能通过我们的应用程序来获取一定收入。

考特尼:我们清楚,特殊时期过后,有些投资组合公司可能就会不复存在了,也正因此,投资者在分配资金、资源、精力时会非常谨慎。事实有些残酷,但真相就是如此。好在我们很早就跟投资伙伴指明了要对业务进行分类,也在我们提出的要求中做了明确规定,所以我们有着与投资者良好沟通的渠道,待到恢复正常时,就能继续进行相关事宜的讨论了。

我们知道有些州、有些城市已经开始解封了,ShearShare将如何适应所谓的“新常态”?是否采取了足够的防护措施?工作指南是否到位?消费者在见造型师时能放心么?

泰伊:大多数人都没有注意到,其实我们超过一半的培训内容都是在讲卫生防护。作为一名持证美容、美发师,我要跟大家分享的是,按照各州执照颁发及监管机构的要求,美容、美发师要想考取相关执照,必须学习、掌握相应的安全防护措施。作为专业的美容、美发师,我们很清楚如何保护我们的客户,比如在接待新客户前后必须佩戴手套、服务前要先洗手、服务后要更换围布,并对美发椅和美发工具进行彻底清洁,还要在醒目位置放上洗手液等。为了让用户更好地学习相关知识,ShearShare不仅提供了各州的卫生防护信息,还起草了客户健康声明模板、重开业策略、杀菌剂卫生认证等文件。有了这些措施,消费者在回到美容沙龙和美发店时,会感觉更舒适也更放松。由于我们团队本身也是美容美发行业的一份子,所以我们感觉自己背负着很大的责任。

在封城期间,我们为业内人士提供了很多实用信息,包括:如何申请经济伤害灾难贷款(EIDL)基金;特殊时期,如何在家赚钱;“新常态”背景下,如何以负责任的方式、有准备地实现重新开业;重新开张后,保持与银行的关系为何十分重要;特殊时期过后,如何定价;新的安全与卫生防护措施等。我们都知道公共卫生事件在短期会内对美容行业造成重大影响,但可能没有人知道当前事件带来的变化能有多大。我们刚刚发布了一份报告,重点介绍了公共卫生事件过后的行业现状,鉴于当前的大环境,整个行业都面临着巨大变化,造型师现在的工作方式、工作时间和工作地点都与特殊时期前大不相同。

考特尼:对我们这些科技行业而言,新常态表现为,3月前使用ShearShare较少的一些州现在的使用量出现了上升,这种情况让我们颇为意外,不过也是一个很积极的信号,对我们推动地方经济复苏来说尤其是件好事。可以看出,造型师在借助ShearShare来提升自己的经济流动性,他们预定的工作场所离家更近,也更符合自身的需求。虽然出现了公共卫生事件,但是在ShearShare上挂出的理发店空房资源却更多了。

过去一个月,社交媒体上出现了更强大也更一致的鼓励消费者支持黑人企业的声音。但与此同时,也有人担心,虽然这种行动或许能够在经济下行时带来短期营收增长,但非黑人消费者或许不会长期坚持做这件事。如果想保持并扩大对黑人企业的支持,其他商业界人士可以做些什么事呢?

泰伊:首先你要了解自己所在社区的黑人企业和黑人企业家。这样就能以合宜的方式在整个社区内建立起凝聚力,催生出更强大的本地生态。无论是在黑人社区还是多元化社区之中,黑人企业一直是各自社区的支柱。作为一名黑人企业家,我很清楚,我们在几乎所有消费类别的表现都更好。我认为,如果一家企业提供了出色的产品或服务,那么无论如何,这样的企业都能得到支持,因为人们会用自己的钱投票。

而现在,我们更应该积极扩大并(为黑人企业)提供任何可能的支持,因为支持黑人企业就是在支持整个的企业界。我们可以通过口碑宣传、线上推荐、捐赠、社交媒体对话(比如 Instagram 上@pullupforchange 的对话页面)或任何其他方式来推动企业的发展。小企业是美国经济的支柱,现在是,未来也会永远是。(财富中文网)

译者:Feb

After months of lockdown, one of the top priorities for many people as restrictions are lifted might have been deemed inessential before but is increasingly becoming more essential for others.

That would be getting a haircut.

And while reopening salons and barbershops should be easier than opening restaurants and bars in terms of accommodating social distancing and PPE requirements, many hairstylists have lost their jobs and income in the interim period and will be looking for new clients and places to work.

Fortune spoke with Tye and Courtney Caldwell, cofounders of ShearShare—a mobile app connecting stylists with salons enabling them to lease chairs nearby for the day, week, or occasion—for a new series, The Coronavirus Economy, about how the outbreak has affected their business, how hairstylists can rebound after the shutdown, and how they have been handling the fraught past few months, both emotionally and financially.

The following interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Fortune: What inspired the launch of ShearShare?

Tye: Like all great businesses, ShearShare was first created because we were trying to solve our own problem. Today, we’re fueling industry recovery across 625 cities, but it didn’t start out that way. I’ve been a licensed barber and stylist for nearly three decades, earned my doctorate in professional barbering and cosmetology, have owned an award-winning salon and barbershop for more than 26 years, and wrote a bestselling book about how to maintain long-term success in our industry called Mentored by Failure. I recognized the change back in 2012 and saw a shift unlike anything I had seen before. Almost overnight, our industry started to become more and more independent, with stylists almost demanding economic mobility and wanting to manage and grow their small businesses on their own terms. With the advent of social media and technology, today 70% of licensed professionals are independent contractors; we are the second largest industry for freelancers and are expected to grow faster than the average for all other occupations over the next eight years.

But back in 2012, I didn’t know I’d be helping to grow local economies and get people back to work. I just took a phone call from a stylist who wanted to rent one of my empty suites by the day. She was moving across town and leaving the majority of her clientele behind and couldn’t afford to lose them. If I would allow her to do daily booth rental, she could still keep food on the table. I was unsure and quite reluctant but kept an open mind. After that first experience renting out my space unconventionally, she asked if I could help her get into a few more locations around town, really leaning in on the fact that my knowledge of both sides of the market (from being both a licensed professional and a salon owner) could help her when contacting other owners.

Fast-forward three years, and my wife and I were manually matching stylists to empty salon space as the word spread. One day we were spending more time fielding calls from stylists than working our regular jobs and decided to search for an app that did what we were doing, so that we could recommend that company the next time our phones rang. When we couldn’t find anything online, that became our proverbial “aha moment.” It was that same day that we decided to pioneer ShearShare, the first salon and barbershop space rental app.

When local and state governments started to shutdown nonessential businesses in March, there wasn’t much wiggle room for hair salons, stylists, barbers, and other beauty businesses. As a company that works with these companies and professionals directly, how has this affected your own business?

Courtney: It affected us greatly, but our industry has been here before. We’ve lived through Ebola, the 2008 recession, Y2K, and other economic downturns. What will always stand true for the beauty and barbering community—whether we live in a new coronavirus economy or not—is that we are an evergreen industry that bounces back. As a matter of fact, the last time the U.S. economy experienced a recession, salons and spas actually added 75,000 jobs during the same period. We knew things would eventually come back online but just didn’t know how long states would mandate closures. Because we’ve lived through hard times before and have come out stronger on the other side, we’re now sharing that encouragement with our community so that stylists can get back to work with confidence.

ShearShare was founded in 2015. How does a shutdown of this nature affect the future of the business, from product development to raising capital?

Tye: You feel it for sure, but we continued pushing along and pressing forward. We didn’t lay off or furlough any employees; instead, we focused on the product and doubled down on providing education for the small businesses we serve—business education that actually moved the needle, like helping more than 100 stylists and ShearShare hosts get approved for [Paycheck Protection Program] funds after they had been denied. Product-wise, we decided to take advantage of the time we had by re-prioritizing our road map and continuing to build out and enhance the platform. Because our team did the hard work during what we call “the COVID quarter,” we released more than 10 new features that help salons and barbershops transition aspects of their businesses online. So if states issue stay-at-home orders again or local economies have to hit pause later this fall, our ShearSharers will have options that make them money on our app.

Courtney: We knew investors were being careful about deploying capital, resources, attention, etc., because the truth is that some portfolio companies may not exist post-COVID-19. That’s a cold hard fact. However, we made it a point to triage the business early on with our investment partners and be prescriptive in our asks, which gave us the opportunity to keep those lines of communication open for when things returned to some sense of normalcy and we could continue conversations.

Now that select cities and states are starting to reopen, how is ShearShare adjusting to whatever the new normal might be? Are there enough precautions and guidelines in place that consumers can feel safe about meeting with stylists again?

Tye: Most people don’t realize that more than half of our training is actually devoted to sanitation precautions. As a licensed cosmetologist and barber myself, it’s important to share that each state’s respective licensing and regulations body mandates that these safety measures be learned in order to pass your cosmetology or barber license exam. We, as professionals, understand the safety precautions needed to protect the client—steps like mandatory wearing of gloves before and after each new client; washing hands between appointments; changing client capes after each service; thoroughly sanitizing chairs and tools between clients; providing hand sanitizer in visible locations, etc. ShearShare provided not just information by state but also drafted client health statement templates, reopen strategies, Barbicide sanitation certifications—anything to add to the extra layer of education for the customer to see—because all of this gives the consumer a better level of comfort and ease when coming back to the salon and barbershop. Because our team is from the industry, we realize that we are the community, so we feel extremely indebted.

During the coronavirus lockdown, we provided a slew of content that met the very real needs of our fellow professionals: topics like how to apply for EIDL [Economic Injury Disaster Loan] funds; how to come up with revenue-generating ideas while at home during ’rona; how to reopen with care and prep for a new normal; why a banking relationship is important to have after you get back to business; how to rethink pricing in a post-COVID-19 world; new safety and sanitary precautions, etc. Of course, we knew the pandemic would have a major effect on the beauty industry in the short term, but I don’t think we foresaw how much of a change that would be. We just released a report that highlights the current state of our industry after COVID-19, and given the current climate, stylists are choosing to work much more differently than they had before the pandemic—the how, when, and where marking the biggest transitions.

Courtney: For our tech business specifically, the new normal involves a surprising uptick in states where ShearShare wasn’t as active before March, so that’s been a very positive signal, especially because we’re doing our part to help local economies recover. Stylists are using ShearShare to increase their economic mobility, they’re booking locations closer to home, and they’re choosing workspaces that fit their unique needs. And despite the pandemic, we have more listings now than before.

Over the past month, there has been a much stronger and more concerted effort on social media to encourage consumers to support black-owned businesses. At the same time, there is the worry that while this might offer a much-needed sales bump during an economic downturn, nonblack consumers will not commit to this effort in the long term. What can other members of the business community do to amplify and sustain support for black-owned businesses?

Tye: Get to know the black businesses in your neighborhood and the black business owners. This creates legitimate cohesiveness within the community at large and encourages a stronger local ecosystem. Black-owned businesses have always been pillars in their respective communities, whether they are in a black neighborhood or a diverse community. As a black business-owner myself, I know that we over-index in nearly every spending category; and it’s my opinion that if a business is providing a great product or service, that business will be supported regardless, because people vote with their dollars.

Especially during this time, however, it would behoove us to actively amplify and give our energies to show support in any way possible, because supporting black-owned businesses is supporting businesses. And we can do that through word of mouth, online recommendations, sending donations, through social media conversations like the ones happening at the @pullupforchange page on Instagram, or anything that drives business forward. Small businesses are and forever will be the backbone of the U.S. economy.

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