A Black-owned business’ success in one city has transformed to make history in another.
Prior to opening his historic shop, Faulcon was formerly incarcerated and wanted to tap into entrepreneurship.
@newyorknico After 11 years of being incarcerated, Derrick Faulcon decided to become the “culinary Nat Turner.” In edition to helping over 200 inmates get their GED’s, Faulcon researched everything about the food industry while in prison with the hopes that one day he could build his own empire. He refused to believe that life would have limitations just because he was a felon. After almost a decade of working in the food industry post-incarceration, Faulcon opened @cloudydonutco in 2020 which is the first black owned food/beverage business in Brooklyn Heights. Derrick’s decision to open in the neighborhood was to begin a “reverse gentrification” process. The idea is to bring black businesses into affluent white neighborhoods for visibility to people who aren’t used to seeing black business owners. Faulcon’s goal is to build generational wealth. He and his business partner, Zewiditu Jewel created @the.browncollective which creates a space for black and brown culinary creatives. Derrick also continues to mentor and employ formerly incarcerated individuals so that they aren’t encouraged to go back to a life of crime. In addition to a great story and message, the donuts are really fucking good. Cloudy Donuts has over 44 flavor donuts all of which are entirely vegan and animal-free. They are open only on the weekends so make sure to schedule accordingly before making the trip to 14 Colombia place. #UnsungHeroesNYC ♬ Etude No.2 – Philip Glass & Eleonor Sandresky
“I spent 11 years total of my life in prison,” Faulcon shared in a TikTok video. “Two years in solitary confinement. I came home and started my own business.”
“My goal was, how can I create a luxury product in an affluent white space and now bridge the gap between that crowd and our crowd? It’s a generational wealth play,” he continued. “It’s like now, how can we put ourselves in a position where instead of keep complaining to these white folks let’s just start owning some sh-t. Let’s start going to their communities. Getting money from them. Giving them quality products. Bridging the gap. Creating those relationships. Building and architecting a life for ourselves and then giving back to the people behind it.”
What Faulcon describes is what he and Zewiditu Ruffin, Cloudy Donut Co.’s Partnerships Director and Brooklyn Heights’ shop operator, believe to be “reverse gentrification.”
“Reverse gentrification is this ideology that we bring out Black-owned businesses into predominantly white, affluent neighborhoods in order to bring visibility, diversity, and awareness,” Ruffin explained to VegNews. “We’re bringing quality products, connecting with the local community, and hiring a [diverse group] of people who don’t have to have a culinary background.”
Faulcon and Ruffin aim to support Black entrepreneurs in their own success. The duo has created a pop-up series where guest chefs of color will create specialty vegan desserts that will be featured on the Cloudy Donut Co. menu, the outlet noted.
“[Faulcon] and I have a goal to uplift and provide education to Black and people of color that are interested in the culinary space,” Ruffin said. “We want to provide specific systems and education to people and create a conversation that isn’t being had.”