Nikki Porcher is committed to Black women-owned businesses.
According to a press release, the Buy From A Black Woman founder has driven $2.7 million toward businesses, an effort that was catalyzed in 2016. One year before the nonprofit’s inception, she was doing retail therapy at an event when she discovered the difficulty of finding Black women-owned brands.
“When I was at this particular event, there were no Black women there, there were no Black people there, to be honest with you,” Porcher said during an interview with AfroTech. “There was no representation of myself. It was a marketplace-type event similar to what we’re doing in conjunction with the Buy From A Black Woman Inspire Tour represented by H&M, and there was a lot of vendors selling things, but there were no Black people. And I was like, ‘Well maybe I should be doing something about this.”
Porcher then became very intentional about blogging her top finds from Black woman-owned businesses, and she would encourage readers to support these companies through a Buy From A Black Woman Challenge. The movement soon took off, and Porcher began receiving an influx of messages from more people looking to be involved.
“Some were trying to figure out how they could put their business on the blog. Some others wanted to know how they could send me money to keep going,” she detailed.
During this time, Porcher was working with a nonprofit until she was given an ultimatum — she had to stop her efforts if she wanted to maintain her current position.
Suddenly, she realized what she was doing was significant. Porcher chose purpose and later felt further validated in her efforts after receiving a letter from the IRS that Buy From A Black Woman had become a legalized tax-deductible nonprofit. The good news followed after Porcher awarded the first business grant to Shanae Jones, owner of tea company Flyest.
“I took both of those as a sign that this is what I’m supposed to be doing,” Porcher expressed.
She would keep her conviction close to heart, and it can be seen through countless actions over the past seven years. According to the press release, Buy From A Black Woman has empowered the community by hosting more than 100 workshops and trainings for Black women entrepreneurs, awarded 45 business grants, assisted over 20 business owners through the Relief Fund stipend, and aided over 30 Black Women through accelerator programs. Additionally, more than 15 founders received their Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification in partnership with H&M and peers at the NY & NJ National Minority Supplier Development Council.
View this post on Instagram
“I was thrilled when I received the acceptance notification for my participation [in the Black Woman Accelerator Program] because I recognized the transformative potential it held for my company to propel us to an entirely new platform of success,” Danielle M. Chery, owner of DMC Original Art, said in a statement provided to AfroTech. “I had the honor of joining a cohort that included a total of 15 Black women business owners. Over the course of six weeks, we gathered virtually to prepare for the certification application, and by the end of the course, we celebrated by submitting our applications together as a symbol of community — and an affirmed reminder that Black women deserve success. I recently received notification that my MBE certification application was processed and approved! As a Black woman business owner witnessing the challenges of a fast-paced business landscape, it is refreshing when opportunities such as attaining this certification become a reality.”
Creating opportunity to not only attract new consumers to Black woman businesses but also supporting the ecosystem of entrepreneurs is pivotal for Porcher and the nonprofit as they focus on promoting social and economic equality and creating opportunities to support wealth building.
To embolden these efforts, the nonprofit launched The Inspire Tour three years ago. The 2023 event involved 14 cities across 27 days through the month of July to showcase local Black women vendors in partnership with H&M.
View this post on Instagram
“I really just wanted to make sure that we hone in on what a true living partnership really looks like and just make sure we’re recognizing what Buy from A Black Women and H&M is doing together, changing what the narrative is around shopping with Black women, supporting Black women, standing with Black women,” Porcher told AfroTech. “It’s really history making. We’ve never seen anything like this before. So, this is something that is really a blueprint for how corporations can work with grassroots organizations for sustainable change.”
Looking ahead, Porcher says she wants the action encouraged by the nonprofit to become a natural instinct among consumers. It is not simply a movement, this should be a standard widely accepted in society.
“Even what we saw when people were flocking in droves to support Black businesses and Black women, that should be the norm,” she explained. “Until that’s the norm, until it’s not something that we have to remind people [to do] to be conscious consumers or why it’s important to support black women or black businesses, we’re going to keep doing the work.”